Read a story about a famous actor who’s fame happened overnight and it was so overwhelming to him he sought out a monastery in the dessert and counsel from one of the monks. He unburdened himself for hours to this monk who sat quietly and listened. Having exhausted all his woes and having nothing more to say the actor sat quiet.
The monk leaned over and whispered in his ear, “Me, too.”
Isn’t it wonderful how we all have the same emotions?
Our situations may differ but our emotions are the same.
It has nothing to do with gender, wealth or intelligence.
There are different degrees of emotions and we find different ways to cope with them – but we all experience them.
Some people insist on having emotions over traumatic situations that haven’t even occurred. Who hasn’t wept over the contemplation of the death of a loved one who is still alive?
Apparently 85-90% of what we worry about never happens.
That doesn’t stop the chemicals in our body responding as if there’s a real live woolly mammoth in front of us.
What would happen if there was no good and no bad experience? Just complete acceptance of whatever happens and loving what is?
First you have to be aware of your emotions and welcome them, as Rumi says in his poem The Guest House:
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
Sit still, observe, and name the sensations happening in your body as you observe your state of mind. Each state coming to our minds is a visitor. Get to know them. Let them become your friend.
Only then will they start to visit less.
Two things are certain: they will come.
But they will also leave. Do not get attached to the ones that are pleasing, just notice how they feel because they, too, will bid you farewell.
For over a year now I’ve faced intense worries and fears, coping as best I could by welcoming the impermanence of them. Last night I realised I still am holding onto some of them (although the situation has improved).
I cling to them like they will help the situation when I know better.
The worst times were when I felt the pain was too much to bear, far less share, and thought I really was all on my own.