Enlightening the Passions – Day 22 (Understanding)

I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars. — Og Mandino

In the beginning of this experiment I didn’t know how long it would take. Than, in the course of delving deeper into my feeling nature – forced, in a way by circumstances that triggered my whole inner drama, but then as I was getting the hang of it, going deeper and further guided by my own experiences, needs and wants – a practice developed that is invading my life now more and more, the practice that can be indicated by “de-restricting my feeling”, or to put it more positively “remaining connected on the feeling-field level”.
This is far from being automatic and needs continual attention and encouragement; nevertheless as a result of the experiment often now in a conversation or a situation I am confronted with an ‘inner query’ asking, “Avoiding feeling this?” Or also, “What is it right now that I feel?”. So until this becomes a habit – meaning a doing that doesn’t require an extra effort to do it; on the contrary, that would require an extra effort to stop doing – until it becomes a habit I need to feed it with practice.

Far from reading through the posts on this experiment and looking for patterns and such, which eventually I will do here one of these days, I’m now in a stage where I look back on the landscape of ground signatures of my feeling-field intuitively – without consulting with recorded realities – and I see something that gives me satisfaction: My ability to “stay tuned” has grown tremendously, and so has my wish to do so even in challenging times. This doesn’t mean I unconditionally accept the very difficult feelings in their full bloom, like jealousy or self-loathing, for instance, I don’t think I can accept them without any condition whatsoever. I wouldn’t even know what it means. But remembering to let go of my restriction to being with feeling right now, this is possible, always possible.

This day has been challenging and beautiful; challenging in that it’s extremely hard to wait on a decision that is going to effect my life on a very deep level. Beautiful in that I’m learning to make “bad decisions”. A “bad decision” is one that proceeds from knowing and understanding my limits, limits I “mentally” do not really agree with, limits that I thought/think I should transcend or not have at all – a “bad decision” is one based on those very limits, and also is a capitulation facing the greater force of my feeling-body.
The beauty is in starting to understand a terrible fact of life, that I need to limit other’s freedom at times to create the surround/atmosphere or time-window that I personally need to be well. The beauty is in learning that just as I need to bend at times to the will of another, I too need to make my will known so that others can bend. Feelings, having their very own logic which is not always open to understanding with the mental models of reality that I know, are much, much more an important factor in our decisions than I thought – only we can so easily rationalize something that intrinsically is not.

I’m reminded of having to tell my son all kinds of stories, stories he could understand, so as to make him cooperate in behavior that is necessary in our world. You can often see parents talk to their disgruntled kids in hushed but passionate voices in public places like restaurants, for instance, trying to make them understand this, that or the other. Maybe the skillfulness of parents in the discipline of explaining, making understand, reasoning with their kids – and when exactly they resort to good old-fashioned force – determines very much how later we deal with our disgruntled feelings (disgruntled because they haven’t been listened to).
Maybe one of the main evolutionary drives behind understanding is the taming of “wild feelings” and untamed sentiments that might otherwise turn people in close quarters – like a modern city – into unpredictable and egotistical maniacs? Whether this is the case or not, when encountering and dealing with feelings, understanding is way overrated and loving, open wisdom is very much underrated.

Understanding can “kill” feelings. Explanation, analysis and close looks can and often does change the “basic vibration” of feelings significantly. Some feelings can only thrive in semi-conscious states: certain types of aggression that I feel immediately turn to sadness and powerlessness upon closer inspection so that to investigate those feelings I would have to find a way to somehow look away while having these feelings in such a way that I could gain insight into the immediate side-effects and deduce from there.
Jealousy, on the other hand, can handle close inspection easily – actually most of the times it is nourished by any kind of awareness. So what I found within the bearable realm of jealousy was sadness, forlornness, all kinds of fears, anger, a burning heart-area, solar-plexus and even guts: putting awareness there the best one can hope for is to move to the realm of deep sadness because of loss. Coming close to the unbearable realm of jealousy seemingly irrevocable decisions are made to self-protect, even at the cost of great suffering as a consequence.
“Revenge is a meal best served cold”, the saying goes; well, jealousy getting cold turns into desires for revenge, and when this comes up the deep understanding that revenge never satisfies actually pulls the plug into a deep cold water of despair.

So given what I know about the interaction between understanding and feeling, what can I do? I always start somewhere in between and get my education from experience. And I’m sure that in my case that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be…

If you would ask me how I feel now I would say, “I am a mystery. And during this experiment I have learned the deep value I give to accepting the mystery of my character that is partly rational, partly irrational, very emotional, a times deeply spiritual, partly out of control and partly under control.”

So if you want me, you get me in one piece, as a whole. That is the only way.
And that is the way I want you.

Starting up the experiment
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4 (Powerlessness)
Day 5
Day 6 (Jealousy)
Day 7 (Guilt & Jealousy)
Day 8
Day 9 (Shame)
Day 10 (Interlude)
Day 11 (Under Pressure)
Day 12
Day 13 (Clear Delight)

Day 14
Day 15 & 16
Day 17
Day 18
Day 19 (Dark Waves)
Day 20 (Time Out)
Day 21 (Splash)
Day 22 (Understanding)
Day 23 (Fear & Imagination)
Day 24 (Vulnerable)
Day 25
Day 26 (The Presence of The Past)
Ending the Experiment – Day 27 (Intentional Vulnerability)