"I never knew I could feel like this; like I never saw the sky before..." song, "Come What May," Moulin Rouge
I studied for many years under a Taoist Master, who had studied under a Taoist Master who studied at the Wudang Monestary. I cannot begin to tell you the many lessons I learned, while under her wing, but I can tell you one, that left a sizeable impression upon me.
Many of us go through life, hiding our emotions. We pretend that they are ours; we stare at them as though we are pulling pretty ornaments out of our Christmas stash; we try them on, but we never fully experience them. Not completely. If we did feel them honestly, openly, and completely, we would never have the issues in the world that we experience at this point in human history.
Emotions and feelings are what makes us human. I believe that we are Spirits, living in a very human world, that our beingness makes us one with one another. I believe that our Spirit side looks at the emotional side of us, especially when we refuse to acknowledge what we feel, and that our Spirit crosses its arms, smirks casually, and says, "Well, is that so?" If we knew ourselves much better, we would aptly be able to understand this facet of ourselves; it took me many years to understand this one for myself. And believe me, a lot of denial went on, during that process.
It takes a serious illness, a face to face with death, to understand how emotions are like window dressing. Let me explain this, in terms that I hope you will be able to understand.
When we experience an emotion, however fleeting it may be, we have been told, by parents, by teachers, by friends, by others in general, to put that feeling away, to pay attention to the matters at hand. This is how we, as humans, normally function. But we are left feeling unfulfilled, and it is usually the emotional aspect of us that is feeling this way. We hide away from ourselves, we stick the feelings in the corner somewhere, and when it is safe to do so, we take it out of the box we hid it in, we look at it, we admire it, and we put it away.
We very rarely FEEL it.
When I realized that I was just admiring my feelings, I had this pointed out to me by my Master. She had said that a lot of the times, it feels safer to stare at our emotions without fully "trying them on". It's akin to window shopping, only with a more dangerous debt that it leaves us in, should we choose to purchase.
Let's take anger, for example. Anger can make us feel full of rage, furious, and leave us, wanting to tear something apart. This is not accepted by society by any means; we must follow the plan, we must not harm, we need to "let it go". But how can you let something go that you never experienced? When we hide away our anger, we are left with feelings of depression, anxiety, and we usually turn to something "safer", such as overeating, gambling, overspending, or the like, in order to stuff down those feelings. It is simple psychology 101. But try telling me that, five years ago. I didn't want to hear it.
It took a serious illness, where I lost a piece of my lung, to understand the importance of FEELING. When we have an emotion that gives us issues, it is because we have stuffed it away too long; we have left it unaddressed, and we never experienced it in the first place, especially because it feels too "dangerous" to do so. But the important thing to remember here is that feeling is part of being human. Emotions are what makes us unique. One person's pain is another person's joy.
When you are faced with an issue, give yourself plenty of space to feel. If you need to go into a dark room, light a candle, and sit quietly, this is the best remedy. However, many of us are unaccustomed to doing this. We find ourselves dealing with what is known to yogis as "the monkey mind", which sounds a little like this: "Why am I sitting here, doing nothing, when I have laundry to do/I have to repair the gutters, why am I wasting my time here with this nonsense/I would rather be out, partying with my friends..." and the like. Nobody likes to sit still; we are trained to feel unproductive when we are just sitting. However, we are human BEINGS, not human DOINGS. It is our doingness that gets us unstrung, sometimes. We need to learn to BE, to feel our emotions, to give in to the pain. It is not weakness; rather, facing emotions and trying them on and keeping them there until they find their natural place, which is to be felt and then they go away, is a lot easier, a lot more beneficial to the learning of your life, than to say, "Oh, I'll deal with that tomorrow." BEING allows us to become one with who we are, as well as who others are. It gives us a sense of empathy, and it gives us empathy towards ourselves, as well as others. This is where love truly comes in, and this is why we are here; to learn about what feelings can teach us. There are many lessons here; it's important to learn what you can, during your time here, and to impart those lessons on those who are coming up behind you, so that we can dispel some of the mystery behind what illnesses and stressors emotions can build up in, in our lives.
So, the next time you feel something, don't reach for a cookie. Don't take your emotion out, just to stare at it, and put it back in the box. Feel it. Really, don't be afraid to feel it. For when you do, as much as you feel as though you are living on the edge, it is there that you are truly living.
"Feelings...nothing more than feelings...trying to forget my feelings of love..." Morris Albert