I read an article on somebody’s opinion about what causes stress the other day. Insofar as I understood, the author believes that the problem doesn’t lie in situations or circumstances but in our need to try and control when we’re unsure of an outcome. Up to that point I agreed.
But then he said that we need to let go of our fear and of our need to hold on to earthly things.
That’s where we diverge. Why have we got fear if it’s no use to us? Evolutionarily – good word there – when we don’t use something it disappears. Well, we do our best – and have for ever and ever – to ignore or suppress our emotions but they don’t go away. They get stronger and more impactful, more uncomfortable and increasingly difficult to ignore.
I’m more convinced than ever that emotions are symptoms of a need. Just like the dashboard lights on a car. When the gas light comes on you don’t try to meditate it away, or force the car to “let go”. You recognize it’s a symptom, and you do whatever it tells you needs to be done. If you don’t, the car grinds to a halt.
Same with emotions – fear, anger, sorrow, happiness. They require something – expression and sometimes an action which is about giving yourself something or getting it from somebody else. Accurate information, love, protection… If you do that, the emotion goes away and you don’t have to deliberately “let go”. It’s just natural. Moreover your head clears, your heart and soul feel shiny and new and you have a whole lot of energy.
If I stick my finger in a flame it hurts. The pain tells me get your finger out the flame and fast! I can’t meditate the pain away, I have to listen to it and take my finger out the flame.
Yes? When something unexpected happens to me, I get scared that there won’t be a solution. In fact I positively believe there won’t be one.
My fear tells me I need reassurance that I can access protection or whatever I need, that solution exists for me, that god hasn’t forgotten me, that I’m still loved by real people, that I’m not alone. When I get enough of it – and from somebody I believe and trust – my fear goes away and I stop trying to control. I let go. And solution comes towards me. Letting go of fear? I think it’s a consequence, not a deliberate action.
I’ll put my head on a block on this.
I think we judge our emotions because we don’t know how to read them, don’t know what they really represent. They’re scary and exceptionally uncomfortable. But they don’t have to be.
My debate the other day about whether my current levels of stress are about slipping too far down Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has cleared up. The stress is about believing things aren’t going to change.
But some friends of mine gave me some warm clothing, and some wool fabric I can make a warm coat out of. They also gave me some delicious food which has lasted me three days. The experience turned my world around.
So it’s a mix. I’m responsible for my ideas and what I believe, and for taking my fear to somebody who can reassure me. But I’m also responsible for making sure I eat properly. When I do both effectively my stress is relieved.
To go back to the author who believed we need to let go of our earthly fixations. Why are we on earth if being earthly is a bad thing? I like it. I love my earthliness, my emotions, my trials and tribulations and my triumphs, my highs and my lows. I’m not anywhere near ready to give them up.