People are strange creatures. They will insist on talking about their problems but will never listen to solutions. In fact it isn’t even necessary for them to talk about their problems! Any human creature with a semblance of a brain could quite rapidly articulate almost any problem they are likely to meet, enumerate the actions they could take and decide what to do or not to do.
If you look into any domestic problem it boils down to something really quite simple. Take for instance the situation of a parent with a child who insists on abusing substances.
In this case the problem is “My child abuses substances”. There is nothing difficult to apprehend in such a proposition. After articulating this predicament to a fellow hominid the being who pronounced it generally shakes their head and says something along the lines of “I just don’t know what to do?!”.
On what grounds do they make such a dismal statement? Have they endeavoured to analyse the situation? Have they even spent an iota of effort on divining possible actions they could take?
No! In almost every case the adult – and it is adults who engage in this activity! I am yet to see a child genuinely hang its head and mutter “I just don’t know what to do!” – just pollutes the air around himself with vacuous ejaculations of misery!
Just to show how easy it is to analyse such a circumstance:
Either I can do something to stop my child being a substance abuser or I cannot.
What actions can I do to remedy the situation?
- Shout at child
- Tempt child with money or other desirables
- reason with the child
- etc (Come up with actions till your creative faculty has spent itself)
After you have gone through this list you are left with the fact that there is nothing you can do.
Now that you realize this you can either accept reality or continue stressing. Most people continue stressing despite the fact that out of the alternatives (Substance abusing child without you stressing and substance abusing child with you stressing) this is the least desirable (at least on a conscious level).
Even when people become consciously aware of this state of affairs they do not desist from enacting them again and again. Actually I think it is this very phenomenon that is the cause of stories concerning demonic possession!
The trick with emotions is to acknowledge them but not to always express them. By this I mean that if you are experiencing anger don’t hide away from the fact or be ashamed about it. It’s there and you can’t make it go away by disavowing it. In fact by doing so you give it power.
Also often – well all the time in my opinion – if you express anger that just causes it to flare up, to become more entrenched and “angry” than if you just let it be.
I think a lot of emotions are like children’s tantrums. Have you seen those kids who have a fit at the shop because their parent won’t let them have something. Some parents shout at them under there breath. It looks quite absurd to see an adult losing his temper with a toddler all the more so for how ineffective it so often is. There are also the parents who give in to the toddler. The second the water-works are turned on there they are giving in, giving the child whatever it wants or if they cannot give it what it wants they enter into hysterics themselves. This is really quite sad; to see an adult in the thrall of a child.
Emotions are no different. They come in demanding attention… or at least they seem to be demanding attention but what they really want is an action. They are – or at least they behave – as independent entities that vie for control over your body. They have their place and that is as an information source. They tell you whether or not you like something. Whether or not you are happy. But they are useless as a decision maker.
Just as the child’s tantrum tells you that the child wants ice-cream doesn’t mean you have to give it ice-cream. It may have had enough ice-cream already and any more would give it diarrhea so you simply say “No” and let it tantrum away. Watch it tantrum! there is nothing so amusing as a child’s tantrum in my opinion. Emotions are exactly the same!
Sometimes situations that you do not want are inevitable. If you are in the thrall of your emotions you’re going to go mad when they happen. It’s much like you’re a donkey and the farmer’s trying to get you to move a house which is impossible but nevertheless he whips and whips you.
The trick with emotions is to watch them, meditate on them, be mindful of them. Let them settle down before you decide what course of action to take. They are nothing but another voice – albeit a non-verbal one – that gives you advice! Advice is not compulsory.
I have a confession to make… It is a bit shameful… At least I find it shameful or rather there is a feeling of shame attached to it though rationally I know there is no justification for that shame. A couple of posts ago I talked about how I’d quit watching pornography. Though I didn’t also mention it I’d also quit masturbation generally.
I hadn’t quit either of them for any moral reasons but because I’ve heard from multiple sources that there is a lot of energy surrounding sex and orgasm in the body. So I wanted to experiment with that in my spiritual/meditative practices.
To do so I’d have to quit masturbation which is easier said than done. Especially if you’re like me and you’ve got a libido that would shame a rabbit. For months I tried quitting. Some times I’d manage 5 whole days before up the tumescent member popped and demanded to be touched and I – being the grotty servant I am – would acquiesce in shame.
This was until a month ago. I don’t know how or why but the desire just left. I’d get erect from time to time but it had no pull, no attachment to my inclination. So for a month I did not masturbate and it was easy. It was like I was in a state of grace.
On this weekend though… the day before I posted my analysis of my view of beauty before and after porn – see how shameful it is… I’m almost as bad as those WWJD priests preaching abstinence whilst fondling choir girls (at least I wasn’t saying you shouldn’t do anything phew!) – I got very drunk. The next day on the hang-over I watched porn and masturbated!!! And since then the tumescent member has regained his influence!
And the reason I watched porn and masturbated wasn’t because I had a desire to… but because I wanted to see if I was truly free of it… I tested the state of grace and it broke 😥
WOE IS ME! :p