How to stop struggling with our feelings?

We often find ourselves obstructed by our feelings, as when we feel bored, annoyed, perplexed, frustrated, enraged, lonely, misunderstood, neglected, rejected, tormented, discouraged or defeated. 

When subjected to such feelings, we usually ask ourselves: “How can I feel better?” Even if we find something that makes us feel better, the overall result is unhealthy: our consciousness becomes more attached to and constricted by our feelings. Unwittingly, we make ourselves more vulnerable to future unpleasant feelings and more needy for future sources of pleasant feelings. As we can’t always do the things that make us feel good and as we can’t avoid the situations that make us feel bad, our life becomes reduced to an unending struggle with our emotions. 

How can we get out of this struggle? By changing our driving question: not “How can I feel better?” but “What can I do right now that is truly meaningful for me?” To have a ready answer, we need to take time out for some serious soul-searching: “What am I deeply driven to do for improving my life and improving things around me, even if in a small way?”

Gita wisdom aids us in such soul-searching by explaining our essential spiritual identity and our ultimate spiritual destiny. When we take steps toward a meaningful purpose, even if those are baby steps that are impeded by our hostile feelings, our consciousness starts expanding beyond our feelings. As we become increasingly yoked to things that matter, other things including feelings start mattering less. And we steadily rise beyond the duality of running away from unpleasant feelings or running toward pleasant feelings (05.20).

One-sentence summary:

Life is meant for something much bigger than struggling with our feelings; find that something bigger and the struggle with our feelings will become smaller.

Think it over:

  • How do we reduce our life to an unending struggle with our emotions?
  • How can we expand our consciousness beyond our feelings?
  • Note three things that are deeply meaningful for you and that you can do something about. 

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05.20: A person who neither rejoices upon achieving something pleasant nor laments upon obtaining something unpleasant, who is self-intelligent, who is unbewildered, and who knows the science of God is already situated in transcendence.

 

Author: Chaitanya Charan

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