Last week’s blog on being indifferent under the guise of being detached (https://rajshankar.wordpress.com/2013/01/09/vedantic-wednesday-detachment-not-indifference/) led to a lot of conversations with few of you. While the discussions themselves were a mixed bag, it did bring out that few of us were doing some serious introspection. This week I want to place in front for your consideration my humble understanding on a similar area of misunderstanding – feeling emotions and emotional.
Typically we see ourselves reacting to situations. Then on analysis we remark, ‘ I should stop being so emotional’. What does this mean? To many of us it means not feeling the emotions at all. We assume a great sage is one who does not feel any emotions of sadness, happiness, anger, pain etc. So without much further investigation we begin to control our emotions. We adopt practices of controlling our natural feelings that arise at any situation. This is a process of systematically numbing ourselves to feelings.
Numbing of feelings at physical and mental plane is not the method to exhibit self-control. It is akin to rote-learning vs understanding. It can take you only that far in life and journey of realization. In simple words (at the cost of technical transgression) we can understand becoming emotional to indicate falling a victim to the after-effects of feeling an emotion. You get angry. That is an emotion; but what do you do about it? Throw tantrums? Or understand that not everything has to happen as per your plan and look at what needs to be done? Somebody steals your wallet. You feel sad about having lost a sizable sum. What do you do about it? Grieve and curse ? Or figure out what vulnerability in your behaviour was exploited and how to ensure you cover it up going forward?
One cannot at the initial level control feeling these different emotions. But one can control the actions that get triggered on experience of emotions. This is the difference that we need to understand. For a person who has realized life in its true essence, everything that life dishes out is a Prasad. A blessing; an opportunity. So the only emotion that runs through him at every instance is happiness, peace and bliss. Through deeper understanding of life, he has only emotions of bliss and gratitude in him.
However, till the time we reach that stage, we have to take smaller steps everyday to control how we react when we feel an emotion. We should not be controlling the feeling that arises in us. We should not become inert. We should become more aware – of ourselves and our impact on others!