Well you donâ€™t have to pay anything if you donâ€™t want to, but to find peace, thatâ€™s the price tag.
Looking back at the personal journey I have travelled since I was a teenager, I can see certain cross-roads that I was faced with. Like Nemo in the Matrix faced with the red and blue pills, or Alice in Wonderland thinking about whether to drink the liquid, there comes a time in life â€“ if youâ€™re lucky â€“ when two options are presented in clear-cut form, so clear-cut that you can no longer pull the wool back over your eyes. You know that itâ€™s D-Day.
And perhaps the most important D-Day is the day you realize that youâ€™ve been living a wretched life addicted to your own emotionalism. Now, there is a difference (in the way I use these words) between emotionalism and emotions. The former is attachment to emotions and feelings, the latter is just the emotions playing out. It is the former that keeps you unhappy, and it is the latter which allows space for natural joy arises. Barry Long, an incisive spiritual teacher, said:
“Even in every day living you’re continually interpreting experience via your emotions instead of being the experience direct. “This is good, that’s bad,” your feelings swing subtly to and fro all day long obscuring the reality, the sensational knowledge or gnosis that it’s not bad at all; it’s simply life as it is.”
The reason why itâ€™s so hard to get this is that we are far too habituated to seeking constant excitement, drama, and â€˜goodâ€™ feelings. We falsely believe that such a life is a full life, but in fact a truly full life â€“ a life rich in experience and humanity in the present moment â€“ is one that is emptied out of this emotional drama for then there is space for real, direct experience.
“To be full of things is to be empty of God. To be empty of things is to be full of God. “(Meister Eckhart)
The mindâ€™s constant emotionalism is a barrier to our happiness because we have an unconscious addiction to wanting to feel feelings, whatever they are, it matters not. We equate â€“ erroneously â€“ the achievement of the feelings we want to happiness. We do not see that a mind that is full, means a heart that is empty. We do not see that striving for anything gives you the experience of striving, not of the thing that you are striving for, because the striving impetus is in the way of experiencing the strived-for-thing for what it is. Thatâ€™s why we experience feelings of anti-climax or a lack of satisfaction when we actually achieve goals, because what we imagined we would feel was simply a fantasy â€“ the reality is usually very different. Itâ€™s the classic example of falling in love versus the reality of married or committed life together with a living, breathing human being, and all the challenges relationship brings.
Even as a goal is achieved, it doesnâ€™t matter if the result is â€˜goodâ€™, the need to achieve is still not satiated, because needs by their very nature cannot be satiated since they are needs. They can only be given up as a method of operation, in order to make space for freedom of behaviour and choice.
But what we usually consider to be freedom is actually a roller-coaster of feelings, on a ride that we donâ€™t want to end. If you feel happy feelings, then you consider you are happy, and if you feel unhappy feelings, then you consider yourself to be unhappy, depressed, or a number of other adjectives. Very early on in life, such analysis and self-judgment leads us to have an image of ourselves, thus you consider yourself, either consciously or unconsciously, to be â€˜Iâ€™m happy,â€™ or â€˜Iâ€™m depressedâ€™, or â€˜Iâ€™m a failureâ€™ or â€˜Iâ€™m a success.â€™ So instead of simply being, simply experiencing experiences that bring forth feelings of happiness, depression, success and failure, you form an image of yourself (â€œI am happyâ€ etc), and then your actions and thoughts correspond to that image. In this way, there forms a mis-match between what you think of as you, your life, and your relationships, and what is actually real. This way of living involves a lot of effort, thinking and stress, whilst we go chasing our tail to find happiness which we think lies within the field of emotion.
True happiness however, does not involve chasing any tails, or any roller-coaster rides. It is a permanent state of joy, that is here, now, always present, like a well of joy that is ever there, calmly waiting for you to drop down a bucket and scoop up the water. In order to get some water into the bucket you must first get rid of the false beliefs you have of yourself that are taking up all the space in the bucket. The image you have created of yourself is a defense mechanism for what you really believe to be who you are (unworthy) â€“ which is also illusion, but it is believed to be real. This is what few are willing to do, and this is why I honour each and every one of my clients because I know how much courage it takes to do this work. And when you do this work? Well, the bucket lowers itself down of its own accord into your well of joy and peace.
Letâ€™s look at why itâ€™s hard to do this work. Unconsciously, most people are obsessed with their self-image. Just think about it. Who is it that you spend all day and everyday thinking about? Itâ€™s you! Have you ever realized this? Have you ever seen how much space inside your thinking is taken up by thoughts of yourself? You may not even be aware of this, but try to see this with some detachment. The truth is that the majority of your thoughts relate back to you, to this image. And such a self-obsessional past-time is one that we do because we in fact enjoy the whole drama of our internal chatter, even if this is angry, depressed, guilty, or anguished.
This is why many people know themselves â€“ their issues â€“ quite well, but they donâ€™t move beyond them. For example someone who has been on a personal journey for years, or has some level of self-knowledge, but who still remains conflicted in some way. The truth is they enjoy the feeling of their feelings, even if they say they want to change. If they truly wanted to change they would be willing to give up the habitual emotional addictions, whatever these might be. This may sound harsh, but itâ€™s true. Theyâ€™d rather feel justified about their feelings, than change.
Barry Long again:
â€œYou’ve been beating your head against the wall to get some feelings and all you’ve got to do is break the habit and get used to living anew without pain and conflict. But that’s a mighty realisation, and a mighty simple one which few are going to accept – they’ll be too busy defending their feelings! So, I guess I’ll still be demonstrating this the day I die.â€
If we can take a moment to step back from our attachment to our feelings we would see how attachment takes us completely away from reality. We would see that feelings are not â€˜goodâ€™ or â€˜badâ€™, they just are. Itâ€™s called being human. To judge those feelings as if we can change them into something else is to pretend we have an ability we do not have. Energy cannot be changed just because we say so. Energy can only be transmuted through its acknowledgment and acceptance. In the end it is so very simple, but in our subtle arrogance, we believe we can play God, we believe we can mold reality just on a whim. Yet if we could just let our experiences play out within ourselves instead of introducing the tiresome habit of analysis and defense, we would be much happier, more at peace and more stable.
In my own experience, one day, I just got real weary of this game of emotionalism. It wasnâ€™t easy for sure. But by then I had little choice, somehow the train had left the station and the driver was gone. So I journeyed into the Now, and found that happiness could be found there, and that the Now was me, and everyone. I was filled with such sorrow initially because I saw how life, and all its variety and diversity, was passing people by, me included, whilst we went around living inside our heads like paranoid chickens. But then I started laughing, and I laughed real hard, because even such sorrow had me addicted. I realized how I loved being sad. Itâ€™s why people love weepy films! And I saw that in the space of Truth, in our I AM, in the Beingness that we essentially are (ie what we are without the analysis), sorrow and laughter arise, and they are welcome to, because they change nothing and are not personal.
When you get how addicted to your feelings you are, suffering will be unimportant, itâ€™s just part of the human experience, as is indeed, the happiness that you think you have from happy feelings. And when you get this, you are back in your Essential Nature, before such conditioning and addictions arose, in a space of just being and allowing.
And emotions? They are just what happen when youâ€™re human. What’s the big deal?
To Your Emotional Health,
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