I propose that all emotional suffering is the result of believing erroneous thoughts.
As a simple example; if I see something occur that I don’t like and say that it shouldn’t have happened, or shouldn’t be allowed to happen, then I get angry or frustrated or depressed, or dejected etc. etc. depending on the intensity of the belief and seriousness of the subject ‘that shouldn’t……..’
For someone who doesn’t have the ‘that shouldn’t ……’ position, there is none of the frustration, anger etc.
This clearly illustrates that it’s the believing in the ‘that shouldn’t……’ that creates the anger, frustration etc.
If something has happened, saying that it shouldn’t is tantamount to putting one’s hand in a fire and then complaining and saying it shouldn’t burn. Reality is what ACTUALLY happens, it’s beliefs about that happening that causes the suffering.
I’m not saying that it’s all bleak and we just have to accept the world the way it is.
If you want to be fitter, more supple, have more strength or stamina, you can exercise.
If you want the world to be a better place, then do whatever you can to make it a better place.
What I’m saying is there need be no emotional suffering whilst doing it.
And in fact, the less of an emotional wreck we are, the more effective we become in whatever we put our attention to.
Thoughts may just be thoughts, yes, but thoughts often become words, actions, and reality. We can make our own reality sometimes, if we want it, think it, and try it hard enough.
I long ago decided I could never be a successful Jedi because I am an emotional being. I am the girl who gets a little misty at 30 second commercials, and chokes up reading news stories, lol.
I think that the emotional “suffering” that I go through when reading a story about a child being abused/neglected, or the bubbling well of teary warmth and happiness I get from watching a video about a soldier saving the life of a mother and child in the middle of a raging war, etc…that is a motivator. My emotional… consistency is what connects me to my world. What inspires me to get off my (too sexy to be sitting on, rofl) ass and help people, pay it forward, dig in, and change the world. There has to be a trigger. Something that makes someone say, “Enough is enough!”…..KWIM?
I agree with the idea that emotional suffering can come from simply not wanting to accept that part of what is happening in your life. Most of the time the stress we endure is because we just don’t agree with reality. In life there is no room for agreeance or disagreeance. It’s goin to happen no matter what you have to say, think, or feel about it. Life, that is.
Emotion is not just a powerful thing, it is also a necessary thing. Essential to our existence. I’ve spent a lot of time with people helping them organize the emotional part of their lives, and the most consistent thing has to be that their emotions directly affect their actions. People often find their lives to be unmanageable because of this.
One of the best ways to change this is too constantly create a positive environment. Responding to people positively and sincerely while smiling, for example. This can cause others to react positively. You have just made the world a better place. Now, I’m not saying to keep your feelings secret. If you are very upset about something allow yourself the time to be upset. But don’t let it determine the direction of your life.
In the end we get what we give. If we allow ourselves to become emotional whirlwinds, we might miss out on some truly great experiences. Suffering through your days is no way to live. I did it for years. Simply changing the direction of my emotional flow so that it will empty into the sea instead of letting it flood my world.
I know what you mean Rain,
And you express it well.
I didn’t mean to imply emotional insensitivity…… I think that’s central in the urge to help.
The more sensitive one is, the more one is aware of insensitive action that causes suffering.
My experience is that it leads to caring and careful food choices, home schooling and withdrawing from the economic and social paradigm that is destroying lives, livelihoods and ecosystems.
I was simply trying to point out that much that saps our energy and that leaves us needing more support rather than leaving us brimming with energy is the common trait of creating emotional suffering by ‘arguing with what is’.
And as Ka suggests, Byron Katie’s ‘work’ is full of amazing examples where she enables people to see that it’s not other people and situations that makes them unhappy, it’s the stories they tell themselves about those people & situations and even stories they tell about themselves.