As a perpetual spiritual student and seeker of ultimate joy, I often find myself stuck in a web of conflict. Self-imposed and created, of course. After contemplation and mind games I play with myself to manage my emotions and implement my “schooling,” I am left confused, frustrated and no happier than when I began. I persist in hopes of finding a way, “the” way, to relinquish bad feelings and resume feel-good living.
There’s something about the spiritual path of evolution that can make one feel “bad” for having thoughts and emotions that are anything less than happy or positive or hopeful or expansive. We often feel like we have failed if we experience sadness, anger or frustration, or if we cannot immediately resolve a feeling or something that bothers us. We are bothered that we are bothered!
This happens to me whenever something major comes up (or not so major but something I have a strong aversion to). And so begins my very unproductive cycle of “working through it.” I try every tool in my box. My first response is usually to shut down and use avoidance techniques like the “ostrich.” I introvert. “If I don’t see you, you don’t see me.” Likewise, if I don’t see the problem, it isn’t there.
Since that never works, I move on to phase two: Convincing myself why I shouldn’t be bothered in an attempt to “let go” of the nagging feelings. “You know better than this. Just appreciate what is and move on. It’s all an illusion anyway.” Though I mean well, this phase usually leads to subconscious suppression of my real core feelings and raw emotions. In the next phase, I think I feel better, but really it’s a farce. And guess what? It comes back. Without fail. It may take a day, or a week, maybe a month. But inevitably the “bother” returns. And in the meantime, as I try to digest this sweeping under the rug of my feelings, my tolerance to everyday life and people is lowered because there is now a film of yuck over my glasses (true vision). And as we know, we experience life as we are, a reflection of what’s inside. That film also leaves us open for some ass-kicking as we are weakened and vulnerable.
As for the process I innocently fall back into time and again? At best it’s draining, anxiety-producing and cuts into my happy, feel-good time. I indulge in this losing battle with myself: having feelings and trying to get rid of them – quickly. I’m not sure why we step back into patterns that don’t serve us, but what I do know is we are all human (for now) and that means we’ve got thoughts and feelings. And we’ve got challenges (opportunities). And it’s okay to have a bad day, to slip or to struggle.
What’s not okay is suffering by our own hand. Unnecessarily. Denying ourselves true freedom that comes with acceptance of all we are. That includes the stuff we may not view as pleasant or pretty. If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times. “Feel your feelings.” Do what you need to do to really feel better. Skip the games and trickery and face it head on. Unwavering. Courageously. Without judgment or expectation. Maybe it’s uncomfortable or scary to do so, but the sting will be far less than the pain of not doing it.
What’s coming up has a place in your life. Especially if it’s repetitive. Until we uncover the core pain and heal the hurt, any other tactic will simply be a bandaid and incredibly temporary. Perhaps hidden beneath this “bother” is a soul lesson you committed to learning. Maybe it’s intuition speaking to you and guiding you. Whatever it is, it’s for a reason.
You’ve worked hard to get where you are. And we all do the best we can with the tools we’ve got. Be patient and gentle with yourself. And if you don’t know what to do? Just breathe. Sit with yourself and try to make out the whispers of your soul as she speaks to you through intuition and bodily reactions. Try new ways to dissolve the ego while respecting its role in your life. You can’t fail. Everything is a learning experience and door to expansion. Remember that this is a process and life is a journey. There is no finish line to rush to. You’re never “done.”
As you wobble through this rocky terrain, give yourself a break… And some credit. You’ve likely come a long way already. Hold on tight. This too shall pass as you learn new tools to evolve and maintain authenticity and joy, and to address your “bothers” gracefully.