Growing up, I was in an environment where insanity was the norm. My experience was one of finding a way to cope with an environment that was often completely irrational and unreasonable.
As a child, my dad would frequently burst into rage. He had bouts of anger so destructive and extreme, he became like a raging inferno. I learnt early on, you cannot reason with emotion. You cannot try to reason with senseless outbursts or violence. You cannot try to think your way out of insanity.
If someone is irrational, let them be. Find a way to walk away, hide away or stay far away. Being my father, it wasn’t always easy completely avoiding him; but when the blaze was bursting I could usually find a safe place hidden away from view. I developed this strategy at a very early age and in some respects and at certain times; that strategy is still in use. There is a certain distance and sometime disengagement with the world that keeps me safe. It’s helpful for all people on the planet right now, particular in some areas, to shield ourselves from potential dangers. Keeping the framework and understanding that outside of the illusion that surrounds us; we can imagine, find and create our own world.
My approach is never to reveal everything all at once. I keep a certain hidden distance, not to be aloof or mysterious, but just to keep my guard up. Not everyone I come across wishes to go deeper, to understand the hidden mysteries of our world. There is a certain prudence in staying at a safe distance, especially if you are creating a happy space.
For someone who works in the area behind the veil, it is important to recognise that many do not wish to part the veil for fear of what may be exposed. Not everyone is comfortable exploring something of an illusionary nature along with a depth of feelings and emotions. Some feel at ease only operating on a surface-level.
I recently had an engagement with a woman on Facebook that interested me from an emotional perspective. I could see that her feelings were hurt, as she was desperately clinging on to her ego identity, holding on so strongly to her feelings. Her pain-body was activated, and most of her experience was in that pain. Being a person with very strong feelings, she couldn’t sit outside those emotions and she was unable to introduce other perspectives. When emotions hit hard they are the most powerful forces known to this human experience. Hollywood producers know that all too well and with that knowledge comes the wilful manipulation of our emotional responses.
It is near-impossible to engage with emotions by rationale. Reasoning with the unreasonable is simply impractical.
How does one approach the emotional world, in the context of relationships?
Does one walk away or engage with it?
When your desires aren’t met it can easily lead to frustration, blame and anger. The feeling of being in control, or its contrast, being out of control feeds an insanity in relating terms, that says, “I need to be in control.” Hence the frequent manipulation that happens in exchanging energy with people.
The cycle of blame starts with a feeling. I am feeling X. On some level, the awareness shifts into a thought – something or somebody has caused me to feel X. Why are my needs not being met? It must be someone else’s FAULT.
Blame arises and leads to anger but also the self-righteous notion that there is justification in blaming another person for our feelings. Self-responsibility requires a person to see absolutely that they are responsible for their own feelings.
Adyashanti writes, “If you listen to people interact, at the very instant they get sucked into a vortex, you’ll hear them start to blame, condemn, try to control each other.” (Falling Into Grace, p.59)
This wheel of suffering, or samsara as the Buddha called it, is a vortex of suffering that is so compulsive and feels so real. We plant ourselves deep into its roots and get sucked into the false reality it reveals. The only way to shift out of this egoic dream state is to become aware of it. When we are aware of its power it no longer has complete control over us. Just like an addict once aware of his addiction can at least begin to get some ability to listen to another channel or de-program the hypnosis of addiction.
The low vibration of fear and anger holds us hostage; keeping us stuck in a holding pattern of suffering with no hope of release or resolution. The more we look to someone else to satisfy our ego needs, the less power we have and the more desperate we become. It is a pathway to emptiness and increasing unhappiness. It can never be truly fulfilled by another person because the lack is within, inside and separate from externalities. We can never escape ourselves.
Coming back to my personal experience: how does one relate to emotions – especially when the pain-body has been triggered and we’ve entered into a field of irrationality we can’t control?
First, when trying to “control” it only makes it worse and is essentially pouring fuel on the fire. So what did I do? I initially attempted to engage with the emotion but when I felt the person’s behaviour had become toxic, I completely withdrew.
My concern with this woman was that her pain-body was all too easily activated and being so easily triggered makes relating to her challenging. Since she has a strong sense of self-importance (taking herself very seriously) means that when her feelings are hurt it’s a very big deal in her heart and mind. She hasn’t yet developed the ability to look within at people’s intentions and develop equanimity rather than reactivity. Or to take responsibility for how she is feeling and not project them outwards on others and blame them for her feelings. I did not see any recognition or ability to have a conscience about her behaviour.
I felt tremendous love for this person, whilst stepping away. I just didn’t know another way. The wounded child in her just wants to be accepted, loved and embraced. I can transmute her pain only so much by forgiveness.
The reason I share this is not to be in-judgement of her feelings. They are okay. It is just the behaviour that comes with those feelings that becomes difficult for me to engage with. In addition, this is about my ability to discern what I want to manifest in my life, create boundaries around what is within the realm of acceptable behaviour or not and keep my bubble of reality sacred and peaceful.
As a teacher, perhaps I failed her, or perhaps some day she will learn something from my “lesson?”
How could I awaken her from believing that I was the cause of her feelings and the thoughts she created and imagined around those feelings were not real? She genuinely believed that I was the cause of her suffering.
Speaking of his childhood insights (epiphany), Adyshanti writes: “What I realized was that adults spent a lot of time thinking, and and more important than that—and more odd, it seemed to me—they actually believed what they were thinking. They believed the thoughts in their head.” (Falling from Grace, p.2)
What gives rise to suffering is a sense of self and a story created by the mind, called ego. This is the ego identity we created as infants to keep us safe. As we develop into adults, it starts to limit our growth, keeping us separate and disconnecting us from our whole connection to life. A dog can feel pain and disquiet, yet it does not hold onto its feelings, it does not reside in alienation. Animals experience life as vast happenings that they are intrinsically a part of.
“When we see ourselves as essentially separate, then we start to think that I have to take care of “me,” that my needs and my wants are of utmost importance, and so we have to make sure that we get what we want, irrespective of what someone else may want or need.” (Adyashanti)
It’s not that thoughts and feelings are meaningless, it’s just that we are the meaning-creators. We are the ones filling the void with a life that expresses who we are. If we are unable to separate from our creations and be aware of the expansive consciousness beyond that, we may become lost in our creations, lost in our feelings, and lost in our thoughts.
The way out of the vortex of suffering is to develop a dialogue with that part of you that is suffering. Speak to the rage, speak to the suffering – start a conversation – it may surprise you how the relationship will develop.
To understand the nature of who we are and the reality around us – is to enter a field of understanding, a field of immense consciousness of which we are a small part. Since all is GOD, all is alive with awareness and sentience. We are infinite creators living in a world of infinite creations. What could be more sacred than that?
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