by Robert Wilkinson
From long years of past personal experience and knowing many people throughout my life who have had similar responses, it seems safe to say that the holiday season brings up difficult feelings. Not that we all have them every year, but it is normal for many to experience sadness or some difficulty with their emotions. While I believe this can be antidoted over time, for those who are struggling it can be challenging. Today's article offers some ideas to help those trying to cope.
First, I'll reiterate that it is very normal to have deep feelings and some measure of sorrow or sadness at this time of the year. In the Northern Hemisphere it is the end of the year, the "harvests" have been tallied, and usually there are unfulfilled dreams. There isn't much solar force to cheer us up, and those places that are cold and barren are, well, cold and barren. And yet we're supposed to be happy, cheerful, filled with merriment and goodwill to all. Or so our legends, myths, and advertisers tell us. Those who are cheered by such things are blessed, but there are some times when these do not help us feel better.
There are many contributing causes to all kinds of sorrowful or frustrating feelings. Because it is considered "the end of the year" in Western cultures, of course we would feel that another year is gone, and what has been done? What have we fulfilled? How have we fallen short of what we desired for the past year relative to last year's intention? Just what have we accomplished? Due to the nature of desire and the subjective mind, it is natural to go into negative or unhappy states.
I believe it is human to feel like we should be doing more, accomplishing more, having more, knowing more, and all those desires with which our higher aspirations would feel fulfilled. And yet, as humans we also have natural limitations that viewed from one point of view both keep us out of trouble AND offer us unlimited promise for the future. We cannot have the lower pleasures and the higher ones simultaneously, except for a very brief time. We must lose people who no longer belong with us or we with them, so that we can make time and space for better ones in the future. Old jobs give way to new skills that promise a more fulfilling life.
Why now? Since nature is in its season of rest after a year of putting forth leaves, flowers, and fruits, Winter is where we can understand the past year's events as a whole "cycle of manifestation." In that sense, Winter is a season of "making report" to one's God, Master, or Truth-of-Being. Unfortunately, due to the nature of our subjective self-judgments, we are more apt to find that which is lacking than that which we have accomplished.
It is natural to feel all sorts of things because of all sorts of reasons. It's part of being human. And yet, we have the power to redirect our body, feelings, and mind any time we want. This is not denial in the sense of avoidance, but it is the power of radical dispassion that yields infinite compassion for ourselves and others as humans.
Over the years my own feelings have gone through all kinds of changes. Sometimes I've experienced very sad states, and within hours also experienced true joy. This perplexed me when I was younger and didn't understand just how much power we humans have to redirect when we choose to. I learned that we cannot force it in the usual sense, but we can coax forth better feelings if we persist in not feeding the sorrow and take heart in the moment, breathing and loving the best we're able.
While it wasn't easy when I started, it's become easier over the years to move through strong sad feelings, my own and others', with compassion. While it's human to feel sad at endings it's also possible not to lose one's equilibrium. I can truly say that every time I've chosen to "take the high road" consistently as part of my Spiritual practice, most of my difficult feelings quickly went away and I was left with compassion.
For those who struggle with frustrating feelings, please remember that these too shall pass, and your view will be different quicker than you think if you don't clutch at strong negative feelings. When any trial of endurance is over, we are left with Self knowledge, strength, forms of wisdom born of our experiences, and the space to grow toward a better life and relationships. The trick is not to do destructive things while we are feeling sad, since these only aggravate our frustration and the intensity of our sorrow.
No matter how bad it seems, it's not as bad as it could be as long as we don't feed the negativity. And tomorrow holds tremendous promise, if we're ready to perceive it and embrace it. Even in apparent failure, our creative imagination is stimulated and we are strengthened by our effort. I have found that gently and persistently choosing to discipline the Higher Mind to remember that lower states are always temporary usually helps us not go into spaces we don't need to, and can even help us realize some parts of our common humanity.
While sometimes it seems grim, we're never as alone, isolated, or powerless as we may feel. Everything changes the moment you awaken to your Eternal Self that possesses the Divine Power of Magnetic Attraction. This ensures that you WILL find that which fulfills you if only you release your internal blockages and reservations about being truly fulfilled. Sometimes it's as simple as opening the door to greet the guest, or getting out of the "house of personality" and seeing a larger view of how we came to be who we are and choosing anew.
We must feel all the feelings there are to feel if we are to master our emotions. We must think all the thoughts we can think so we can come to understand our power to build positive and productive thought forms while rejecting erroneous perceptions and assumptions. These help us realize and apply our Divine powers, taking them from latent to active as we master various states of human-ness.
As we master our feelings and our minds, we can commune with others who struggle with those same difficulties we also once had. That allows us to practice our ability to be a loving light in the darkness of worldly experience, and demonstrate a higher Love that antidotes the fear, anger, and suffering that all humans experience who are still struggling with their feelings and perceptions.
© Copyright 2008 Robert Wilkinson