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Sunday, September 22, 2013

On Being the "Slave to our Emotions"

We’ve all heard the saying that we shouldn’t be “the slave to our emotions.”  And then psychology tells us we must acknowledge our legitimate emotions rather than repress them.That perhaps "letting it all hang out" is better than "stuffing it."

Perhaps the whole bell curve of us lie between the two poles—somewhere between repressing emotions and needing anger management classes.

Emotions are tricky. Do we have them? Or do they have us? In the very necessity to control our anger, can we say that even in that way, even in the way of controlling it, it controls us?

Here are two quotes to consider:

“If it depends on something other than myself whether I become angry or not, I am not the master of my life.” Rudolf Steiner

"We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are."  The Talmud

There is some great truth hovering in the middle of these two quotes and if we can hang out with them a while, some of it will seep into our consciousness. We might want to argue with the first quote that things happen that should make us angry if we are normal people. But I don’t believe anybody could really argue with the second quote if they took the time to consider it fully.

However though you might not be able to argue that there is anything wrong with the quote, or incorrect about it. No quote can be the truth of anything. The only thing that can be the truth of anything is us. We can’t know truth as a object so the only thing we can do with truth is be it. I know I’ve said this often before. And these two quotes are such a good example of what I mean.

Just because we intellectually apprehend some idea doesn’t mean we actually fully experience the truth of it as it pertains to us unless we make an effort to do so. Not to just stop and think about it, though, of course, that is where we must begin. But we must take more time than that. And put more into it than our thinking faculties allow. And perhaps more time than our busy world now allows. We must do what Walt Whitman in his “Song of Myself” suggests: “I loaf and invite my soul.”

And if you loaf and invite your soul to hang out with these two quotes they may be of great service.  For myself, I’ve been reading Rudolf Steiner lately as, as always, I might spend several days on one page. When I decided to commit the above quote of his to memory it took me three days to memorize one sentence. Must be a reason for that.

One thing I have noticed is that since I have committed that little sentence to memory, it pops up when circumstances occur that tend to make me angry--for instance my dog barking in the morning a half hour before I wanted to wake up. When that emotion starts to flair, the sentence occurs to me as well and I look at that instant of my life in a slightly different way. I don't go "heedless into it." I consider myself. I take a wider look.

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