Through out the day, we experience a rich variety of emotion as we respond to the situations we find ourselves in. Some of these emotions, unfortunately, aren’t worth the energy we give them. Here’s a small list of some basic yet redundant emotions most of us feel on a regular basis:
What’s the point in dwelling in our sorrow? It does nothing to change the situation. Our hearts hurt. Our spirit wails. And after all the hurting and crying, we find that we’ve lost a chunk of time we could’ve used to feel at peace instead. Sadness is a sickness. When I get sad I tell myself I have a case of sad-sickness. It doesn’t help the sadness to leave much, but it does help me to be at peace; I rest easy knowing that better times are bound to come.
Envy is a poison that taints the purity of the spirit; it causes us to think in evil ways. We envy others when we see ourselves coming from a place of lack and we fail to see the abundance that surrounds us in life. We unhealthily desire what others have which we don’t because the mind convinces us we need more to feel happy, fulfilled, complete. And because that person has something that we do not, we think them “better off” and we feel inferior.
Nothing could be farther than the truth than believing that you need something more than what you already have to be at peace if not happy with yourself and your life. You’re alive and breathing. That in itself is the greatest joy one can imagine. Sure, things could be better. But, things could also be worse. Embrace you and your life for what it is in its totality. There is much to be grateful for.
Buddha once said that “holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal intending another to get burned”. Psychologically flawed, we think getting angry (and getting angrier if the initial intensity of anger does not work), will get the other person to stop doing whatever it is that’s making us angry in the first place. It’s like we expect our anger to hurt the other into submission. It never works. What happens instead is we hurt them into opposition. And if we look close enough at ourselves, we will find that we have hurt not only them, but ourselves as well. And that, sometimes, is an even greater hurt. We realize something: what I do to others I do to myself; we are all connected.
Anger is never worth it. Unless you’re transmuting it into something positive, like this guy, who used his anger over the oppressive caste system in India to free over 83, 000 child slaves.
The entirety of our lives is built upon the foundations of the choices we make each moment, but sometimes we respond to life in unfavourable ways that cause us to feel regret; we wish we could have acted differently.
Looking back to the past does little to no good. It’s helpful to analyze situations and learn from them if our intention is to change our behaviour in the present. But if we have no intention of changing ourselves, and instead we are dwelling in the past out of habit based upon unhealthy thinking patterns, we would be causing ourselves unnecessary suffering.
The past is something that cannot ever be changed. If we regret and no longer want to regret, we must realize that the now is all we have. We can compensate for our past deeds by being the person we want to be and living the life we want to live. They say if you want to know your past, look at who you are today and if you want to know your future look at what you are doing today. The past, present and future are all connected, but we only have power over the present.
Fear is like living life in a prison as it prevents us from freely engaging with life in the way we want to. It is a debilitating emotion to live with. It paralyzes progress. It is the destroyer of dreams. It is a tyrant of the mind and heart. It is indeed the enemy of life.
I have a quote unforgettably ingrained in my memory as I have it written in red Sharpie on a piece of paper posted above my writing desk which says, “Courage is not the absence of fear but the mastery of fear.” To master fear, we must first understand what fear is, which I briefly explore in this article I wrote through the work of Jiddu Krishnamurti. I will say this though: fear never leaves. When we fear, for whatever reason, that is our response to reality. We can do nothing about that. It has come. What we can do is decide how to respond to fear. Do we submit to the tyrant? Or do we move forward with our plans?
A quote by Louis C.K on boredom:
“I’m bored’ is a useless thing to say. I mean, you live in a great, big, vast world that you’ve seen none percent of. Even the inside of your own mind is endless; it goes on forever, inwardly, do you understand? The fact that you’re alive is amazing, so you don’t get to say ‘I’m bored.”
Boredom isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Boredom to me is a calling from my inner muse to create myself and my life; to spend my time in creative ways. Numbing our boredom with trivial things like binging on Netflix, at the most is entertaining; but spending our time engaging ourselves in those kinds of activities never has the power to truly fulfill us. I believe, as it is in my experience, only when we begin to honour the divinity and truth within us do we begin to live.
There’s a difference between aloneness and loneliness. It is a fact that we are alone; we are individuals experiencing our reality for ourselves. But it is a lie to feel lonely. We only feel lonely when we forget who we are inside. We feel lonely when we think with our little minds and forget the big truth that we are all connected; we are all one.
Loneliness is a haunting feeling. It makes us feel terribly small and insignificant. It makes us question the meaning of life. Which can be good; if we open ourselves up to that feeling, we dig deep for the answer inside of us and almost inevitably come to the conclusion that, yes, we may be small and insignificant—we indeed are a blip in oblivion—but we are also grand and important beyond conception.
These all too common emotions are, in my opinion, not worth the energy and focus we give so much of. It’s why I’ve taken it upon myself for quite some time now in my quest for self-mastery to rid myself of them. As I progress, I find that the path of progress isn’t linear, it’s cyclical, and these emotions that I master in one point of my life comes back with a new intensity in another part of my life. With each experience, we can either submit to the mastery of the emotion, or master the emotion. Each time we have the courage to find and feel our way through the difficulty, we deepen our mastery and life flows again with a richness and ease categorized of the good life.
Christopher Tan is a writer, film-maker and artist, passionate about self-mastery, enlightenment and world change. He writes regularly at his blog The Art Of Life, spews wisdom daily on Twitter, and enjoys posting his art on Instagram. Subscribe to his blog’s newsletter to get a free book.