I don’t know if this is true for everyone but in my life I tend to go through many emotional phases. Some are angry, some are sad. Some are joyful and some are tender. The pleasant feeling phases are always short-lived and the more unsettling ones usually stick around for a while. Of course the emotion is almost always tied to some sort of event or events which have taken place in the past, present or future, but it’s not always easy to understand what emotion belongs to what event. I suppose an emotion can also simply be there with no attachment to anything in particular, but I would think it to be hard for an emotion to exist without some reason. I’m not sure if this is good or bad but I usually tend to try and search for the reasons behind my emotions. Many times I believe I have found the reason but a deeper one still remains and even if I find that deeper reason, this by no means will get rid of it, if that is what I desire.
My current phase in life is one of anxiety and nervousness. I’ve talked about nervousness many times before but this emotion is apparently encoded in my DNA and habitually rises more often than I would like so I must once again work through these feelings. In my recent entry entitled “Nervousness, It’s All in My Mind”, I came up with a mantra which would banish nervousness and fear in my life and create a self which would treat the unknown with absolute confidence. By stating, “I will face the unknown with confidence, it will work out, it always does”, I would teach my subconscious the proper way to behave and whip it into shape. It seemed like an excellent idea at the time and I was repeating the mantra constantly, but as the process wore on my nervousness was becoming worse. In my effort to constantly train my subconscious, the moments when I would be feeling relatively peaceful, I would begin stating the mantra and suddenly feel nervous. It was as if the words I came up with had become attached to the emotion of nervousness so that when stated, my “negative” emotion arose.
The more I think I know, the more I realize I know nothing at all. Over and over again in my life this becomes apparent. The minute I think I have a large piece of life figured out I get smacked in the face and come to realize that I know nothing. This usually frustrates me and causes pain. Buddhists call this samsara, meaning suffering caused by the constant cycle of comfort and pain as we continually try and seek out permanent pleasure in life. We believe pleasure is meant to be found and everlasting, but the truth is, for now anyways, that life is full of impermanence. Nothing lasts forever and the more we attach ourselves to the idea that feelings last, the more we will suffer.
During my downtimes I’m constantly wondering why it is I feel that way, immediately label the negative feelings as bad and rack my brain to figure out a way to get rid of them. Whenever pleasurable or disturbing feelings arise in people the first instinct is always to run away from them, to discover some way to cover them up so that we do not have to face being uncomfortable. Life is not a constant walk in the sunshine. Rain and clouds will always move in but yet the clouds also will soon come to an end letting rays of sunshine break apart the mist. There is no stopping the constant transitioning of our emotional states because life is constantly changing. It is our idea that pleasurable feelings should lasts forever and the uncomfortable ones are unnatural and imposing.
I’m learning recently that the downtimes is not a curse but can be embraced as a gift to learn more about myself and my deeper insecurities. It’s a chance to discover my fears, overcome them and grow in spirit. Instead of banishing my fears I need to get to know them and become intimate with that which shakes the ground of my foundation. It is by shattering the ground on which I stand, on which I believe is permanent and everlasting, that I may shatter the suffering I impose upon myself believing that life is meant to stand still during the good times. Good times come and go, bad times come and go. This fact must be accepted so that a peaceful understanding may be reached and I can intimately know my full self good and bad. Instead of scolding the bad feelings and praising the good, I must have compassion for each and in so have compassion for myself. It’s only until one gains full compassion for oneself that one can have compassion for others, and that is where true peace can be found.
Befriending our fears in life is not an easy way to live. Peeling away the layers of insecurity will last a lifetime and it will be a life of constantly taking oneself to the edge, constantly living life each day diving headfirst into the chasms of emotions whose depth is infinite. It is however an honest and noble way to live for the deeper one wishes to go, the closer one reaches towards the true self and the more one can open themselves up to the rest of the world. The more honest you are with yourself and the more willing you are to face emotional adversaries with courage, the more God’s light will shine through your pores. It is my path in life to dig deeper and deeper into the depths of myself. Many times I wish I was like other people who are unaware of the thick shell which surrounds them. Instead of chipping away at the shell, it remains protecting the ego and deflecting insecurities. A relatively comfortable life is lived but habits, addictions, and a constant need to satisfy oneself rather than others remains. You live life repeatedly reaching for impermanent, material gains and the hunger is never satisfied.
At the present time I am not looking for escape route from my nervousness. Instead of trying to kick my nervousness out the door, I am inviting it in and getting to know the side of myself which I constantly try and ignore. I’m no longer trying to fix myself because there isn’t necessarily anything wrong. Each moment I live is different than the last and will be different than the next. I will love the self I encounter at each moment and realize there is no attachment to any moment good or bad because nothing lasts forever. Pleasure is meant to be found and lost only to be found again and all the while I will remain.
I’m getting back on the horse tomorrow and waterskiing again. Hopefully the story I will tell will be much less exciting than the last.