Emotions are integral part of our existence and living, whether it is joy, fear, love, anger, sadness or surprise. Day in an out we experience them, some we emote and some we hide. But the beauty of emotions is that they are not permanent. You can’t hold on to them. That’s why they are called “emotions”, the word comes from motion- movement.
They move from one to another and keep changing. One moment you are sad and the next you could be happy. One moment you are peaceful and quiet and the other moment you could be furious with anger.
What comes and goes can’t be us, which means underneath these emotional ups and downs lays our real self and why does this self needs these various emotions?
The science says it was the evolutionary need. The emotions have helped us survive. When we lived in the wild with tigers and wolfs, we needed emotions in order to react quickly to dangerous stimuli. We developed an emotional system because it could induce quick responses to danger.
Although we developed basic emotions of fear and joy like the other animals but we also developed a more complex rational system, in which we could imagine our own past and future selves.
It was the ability to reason about old and future selves that allowed humans to dominate the food chain and survive. Rational thought helped us shape the world for our future: trapping and caging tigers, farming, rerouting rivers.
So now we have two highly developed systems: reasoning mind and the emotional core like the primitive animal inside us.
If emotions are so important for survival then why does human race suffer because of emotions?
Our in built fight or flight phenomena is inadequate in the modern context. One could fight a tiger; but you have to work hard, for a long time, to fight a financial crisis or the relationship battles. Here the reasoning mind comes into picture.
The rational thinking and reasoning mind tells us that basically emotions are overwhelming and non permanent in nature. They come like a storm and fizzle down in some time.
When we don’t pay attention to our reasoning and either ride on the emotional storm and cling to it even when it has passed or don’t acknowledge and deny their presence, the suffering starts.
Honour your emotions:
Children are the best example for honouring emotions- they laugh and dance when happy, cry when scared or in pain, shout and throw a fit when angry and once they are done they are back to playing. They express their feelings with considerable clarity… until the conditioning starts and they learn to control themselves with strict instructions such as “Behave yourself!” and “Grow up!”
Behaving self in adult life puts you on the yoyo of suppression or aggression leading to havoc in the form of sickness, reduced flexibility and mobility, tiredness and generally lower vitality and immunity.
So watch your emotions, they are here for a reason- find out- respond — don’t hold on to them- they are in motion.