All of our invented fears involve either the past or the future; only love is in the present. Now is the only real moment we have, and love is the only real emotion because it’s the only one that occurs in the present moment. Fear is always based on something that happened in the past and causes us to be afraid of something we think may happen to us in the future. To live in the present, then, is to live in love, not fear. That’s our goal, to live in love. And we can work toward that goal by learning to love ourselves. Infusing ourselves with love begins the washing away of our fears. ~David Kessler
Hello, friends! I always love when I wake up of a morning and shoot into enlightenment mode right out of the gate. Not the ohm kind, though that’s welcome too, but the illumination of my personal life lessons, and how to go about applying that light to my daily thoughts and actions. This morning, very early before anyone else was up, I sipped my coffee and rocked in my meditation chair and looked around as is my wont and quietly began to receive little sparks of intuition and understanding. I LOVE it when that happens. Never underestimate the importance of caffeine to the spiritual journey. Or rocking.
One of my life lessons is about emotions–what they are and how to deal with them. I’ll try my best to explain. Say I’m going about my business and all of a sudden I feel… something. A negative something in my body that makes my stomach clench or my throat close up or exhaustion wash over me. In the past, I would give this feeling a name and dandle it on my knee and water it and feed it and pet it until it grew so big and heavy that I could do nothing but sit paralyzed with the monster in my lap, mired in a swamp of depression that sometimes lasted for years.
This is what I’ve come to understand about emotion. It’s a body sensation. That’s all. It’s when we assign stories to the clenched stomach or closed up throat or inner exhaustion that it takes on substance and form. I believe in being aware of the ‘whys’ of our emotions–I’m not saying we shouldn’t be reflective. We learn from understanding the reasons behind the steps we’ve taken; self-examination is a wise course. But if we chew the same stories over and over again for too long, like old cud, they turn rancid and do us harm instead of good. If I can manage to let a negative feeling in my body just BE there, without assigning a story to it, it soon dissipates. No kidding, I’ll find myself wanting to fall on the couch in a flood of tears one moment over the introduction of some rampant emotion and then, if I let it be and refuse to add a story to it, two minutes later I’ll be laughing over some silly thing I’ve thought of, something entirely unrelated, and the earlier negative emotion be will completely gone. Sometimes it takes longer, but the principle’s the same. This is a new and delightful revelation to me–it’s changed my life.
There are two core emotions: fear and love. Every other emotion springs from them. Fear occurs when we think of ‘bad’ things that have happened in the past or might happen in the future. Love occurs in the moment, when our minds are free. Fear keeps us from fully living because the only true living is the Love-ing kind, and that’s happening right now. Only right now. Not before when that happened, not afterward when this could happen. Now.
There’s something else I’ve learned about myself, regarding emotion. Sometimes I assign the wrong definition to the negative feeling that’s in my body. Like, the other day, I felt this kind of cloudy restlessness come over me and immediately thought, ‘I’m lonely.’ However, rather than take the loneliness monster on my lap where it could suckle me dry, I considered my statement and wondered if it was really true. Was I lonely? I ran through my list of people and thought, ‘Hm, I could call one of them if I wanted, could arrange getting together, or simply talk.’ But I really didn’t want to do any of that. To my surprise, it turned out I wasn’t feeling lonely at all–I was bored. As soon as I realized this I was able to turn my attention to finding something tangible to do and I was fine.
There are times that when we think we’re lonely we really are lonely, but if we recognize the feeling for what it is then we can make the most effective decision about it, can call a friend or get out in public or whatever else is helpful. When we think it’s something else, we can get severely sidetracked and lost. All the projects in the world can’t help us if what we need to do is phone a friend, or vice versa.
Here’s another thing I’ve become aware of in the past couple days. I have a short memory. It’s very easy for me to get stuck in the negative emotions that accompany decisions–there are pros and cons to every situation–instead of remembering the reasons I made them in the first place. Por example! Recently a friend came back into my life, a friend whom I had been ruing because we’d drifted apart and I couldn’t figure out why. Well, now this friend is back and I’m remembering why I’d pulled away. I think it was Elisabeth Kubler-Ross who said that, when it’s time, previous relationships reappear in our lives to help us peel back another layer of our lessons or finally finish them–people disappear and reappear for a very good reason. I get it now. This particular friend is going to help me stand in wholeness, stay true to myself in the face of very strong opinion, and remain peaceful and draw from the light and love of God when I begin to feel drained by another’s energy–none of which I was able to manage when we were friends before. To be honest, I don’t know if I will do any better this time around, but if I shrink from the challenge of this renewed relationship, then I’m caving in to fear instead of embracing the opportunity with love and eagerness to learn something new. I’m very happy to get to practice what I’ve been preaching–delighted that I’m ready for it. If I wasn’t ready for it, it wouldn’t be happening. I love how life works like that. It’s so simple.
Thanks for being here, you guys. Really. It’s a pleasure to know there’s a place I can come to share what I’m learning in such detail, and that there are people who take the time to listen. I appreciate you! Love. xo