Have you ever caught yourself making something up in an attempt to justify a situation?
Here are some examples:
- “He’s really anxious because he doesn’t know it’s his thinking.”
- “The driver who cut me up might have been rushing to a hospital.”
- “This too shall pass.”
- “My friends are just busy, that’s why they ignore my messages.”
- “We need the pain to enjoy the pleasure.”
- “This understanding means I won’t be hurt by their actions.”
All of these are ways of trying to set the situation in a context that makes it acceptable, so that you can be OK with it. In other words, we’re trying to think differently, to feel better, to suffer less.
It’s a mistaken effort, though. It might work for a little while, but it’s papering over the cracks. Eventually, something comes along where the rationalising and reasoning don’t work.
Why? Essentially this effort in based on a misunderstanding that while circumstances can’t always be managed and controlled, thinking can—and there are always going to be exceptions to that. It’s easy to brush aside the exceptions with phrases like “we’re still human”, but exceptions don’t prove a rule, they break it.
So, let’s look at the assumptions behind all that activity:
First, there’s a belief that those emotions—worried, scared, sad, angry—are wrong. But what if they are fine? Normal? What if those emotions naturally come and go, regardless of whether the situation—or the thinking about it—ever changes?
Behind it all, there is a belief in the existence of the one who suffers. A separate person, with the limits and destiny of the body and mind. There is definitely the experience of the body and mind (sensation, perception, feeling, thought). But can we actually find a separate person? What we do find, easily, is the awareness that knows the emotion. When we explore that awareness, we find no limits, no separation.
If your sense of self, your identity, is tied to the body and mind, suffering is inevitable. The more we explore the impossibility of that belief, the more clearly the peace that goes beyond emotion is seen at the heart of every emotion.
The truth is, It’s 100 percent OK to feel the way you feel.
Rather than trying to fix or avoid emotion, my suggestion is to feel it, to know it—and in the heart of the knowing find who you truly are.