Emotion Pain and Health

Emotion/Pain and Health

Leslie Stangler

“Love is not an emotion or thought. Both pleasure and pain are equally binding. They condition and prevent fresh experiences of life and we do not have experiences as a child has. A scenery that enthralls us on first sight soon becomes stale and we stop noticing it.

Thinking or trying to prevent it is not going to help but an understanding of the psyche which is there at the background of our thought. Love is not thinking surely. Love is where you are. Thoughts may be incidental or secondary.

Love requires a mind that is innocent and not clinging or grasping at anything but being unobstructive to the flow of Energy”- Gurusfeet

“You don’t have emotions to be enslaved by them, to be imprisoned by them. You have them so you can master them, they are your servants, they let you know if you’re buying into something negative that doesn’t belong to you. Befriend them, befriend anger even, when it arises take a step back and see that you’re choosing to be angry, the first time you see that it’s a choice will shock you, but from then on, it will get easier and easier to control. Change your attitude towards life, stop trying to control every little aspect and detail of it, learn to let go whenever you need too, drop the assumptions, the expectations, flow with the river, because it’s only when you learn how to flow with the river that you gain any real sense of control, because guess what? You are the river itself.” -Francis Pinto 

This is the essence of my way of coping with pain and suffering.

Healthy and normal expressions of emotions for me are to notice the sensations that arise in the body, how it affects my heart rate and breath intake. Where in the body are the emotions arising? I wonder these things, just as I observe my thinking patterns. I do not feed the thoughts that are going to negatively affect my body, mind, and soul. Unhealthy expressions of emotions for me would be anger, envy, contempt, jealousy, hatred, etc. These are unhealthy for the body, mind, and soul. I focus on being content, aware, non judgmental, grateful, forgiving, and accepting what is. I do not hold onto emotions or thoughts, I allow these to flow through me and so I maintain a state of equilibrium, harmony, and peace. I stay focused on the pure consciousness and bliss that is within.

My cultures understanding of the function or purpose of emotions and pain are: I feel like the society I live in has a problem with suppressing emotions, that they are there and people stuff them into their muscles, cells, and bones, to later come out uncontrollably when there is a trigger. I like to keep emotions from being stored in the body by remaining stable, calm, and giving up the need to control my emotions. By letting things go, and becoming mindful and present in the moment has allowed me emotional freedom and intelligence to live a happy life, happy and free.

Cultural messages about the appropriate ways to express pain or suffering are to suck it up and be strong is something I learned in the military culture. I feel society turns away from people who are suffering, and this brings feelings of isolation and abandonment. When someone is suffering and you see them suffering, I believe they need to be treated well, like they are family, we are all brothers and sisters on Earth. 

I was taught to respond to pain by expressing it freely, that complaining, drama, and judgmentalism is a cool thing to do, that when people come together it’s a good opportunity to gossip or complain. Until I joined the yoga world and this became unacceptable behavior for me. I became aware that  emotions, attitudes, and beliefs can cause psychological, spiritual, and physical harm to ourselves and others.

Can I relate my families cultural attitude to a particular culture? America is my culture, and I realize Americans are the most unhappy people in the world, lacking social integrity in many aspects. People are too busy on their cellphones to see who and what is around them. I wish people would wake up to reality, that big corporations are breeding a zombie nation full of consumerism and unhappiness. 

Have these affected my health and wellbeing? This is a constant struggle for me, and I continuously fall back on the teaching I learned in India to find peace of mind. I teach love and light in my yoga classes, contentment, to be the change you want to see in the world, and to lift all others up through the act of yoga. Life can be suffering if we let it. But if we allow ourselves to love all aspects of the truth and reality, we can love the changes and transformations suffering brings. To simply notice the sensations that arise, to know the body and understand the emotions that arise is the way to process these emotions so they do not carry with you into the future. Live in the moment, and all is well! Its liberating to notice body, to just be aware, to not become attached to feelings. Effortless living while being in awareness is truly enough. To live in a place of non reacting or acting, so simply be. I suffer when I hold on to ideals, or beliefs on the way things ought to be.

I suffer because I do not want to see the world suffer, and since others are suffering, I suffer too. I feel I am empathetic and not to whats on tv, I do not own a tv or cellphone, Im talking about what I see when Im at yoga or feel when Im at the grocery store. The happiest people are the ones who are free in their bodies, free to love themselves and all others. People who eat well and care about their bodies. I want more people to become awakened to the inherent ability to be happy within our selves and not needing external materialistic things to bring happiness.

I was taught crying is ok because Im a girl, and we have hormones, boys on the other hand probley have a harder time of it while showing sad feelings for they want to retain their masculine identity. I on the other hand am more like a man in many ways, since my Navy background, I grew to be resilient and emotions do not arise as freely. I have become much stronger, stable, and emotions just don’t happen as much. I have felt feelings like abandonment, discontentment, betrayal, and these feelings do pass if you no longer feed into them. I feel like emotions arise and they only grow if you water their seeds.

The practice of yoga has changed my life forever. I am consistently peaceful. I do have occasional depression and pessimism which passes as soon as I realize its a waste of my energy, there is not enough time in our life to live miserably. Life is a beautiful thing to be joyful, and share many thanks. I am grateful to be immersed in the India yogic culture, to have these teachings to live by. I am also fortunate for my upbringing and teachings in faith and God, which is universal. It means much more to me now that it ever has.

Funeral rituals or cultural custom: My family has rituals that support the grieving process. My grandparents who have all mostly passed have had nice funerals. I grieved when I saw my grandmother pass before my very eyes. Tears were flowing and I showed my true emotions. Only way to release these feelings is by facing them. I felt very bipolar, like I was happy for her that she was going to pass, and as soon as someone passes a sadness overwhelms me, which is healthy to grieve those you care about. Only a sociopath would not feel anything for people who they should be grieving over.

Oftentimes I feel numb to things that I should be sad about. Ive had three pregnancies, and all resulting in miscarriage or abortion, the first one was very devastating, the second not as bad, and the third well I felt very desensitized to feeling anything anymore. I do want a family and to be happily married, and grieve that I have not settled down with a descent man yet to have a family with. I did not want to bring a child into a world so full of suffering, nor under the circumstances I am living at the moment.

It’s a miserable and pessimistic attitude to think that there are too many people on this planet causing damage to Earth, when the reason we are here to feel connected and have families for building connections. The current society I live in is confused, we don’t know who we are. IN other cultures and societies each person in the family has a purpose. Right now, I feel lost in this culture we have created, I have seen so much love and community while traveling, but this western attitude is spreading like the plague.

I feel like I don’t know my neighbors, I feel a disconnect and distance from my own immediate family. My dad and his brother hate each others guts. I feel sibling rivalry with my own big sister, who I cant get along with because I cant stand her materialistic ways. I am the only yogini in the family and so different from everyone else, I feel I don’t belong here, I belong in an ashram in the Himalayas singing mantras with other Buddhist yogins. When I express my distaste for the way things are in my mothers household, she becomes aloof and does not care the state of our house, she is a Facebook addict, and focuses too much on politics.

I am learning to accept her and the way the house is, that it may never change. That I should love her regardless, because I am my mothers daughter. Its hard for me to respect people who don’t care for the things they do have, To love your families by giving them the attention and love they need and not put more importance on ‘things’ is what I want to see happen. This is why Im letting go of the want for my mom to clean the house, is it worth losing a relationship over things?

People can be very desensitized to what they are feeling, what they need, and what others need. There are so many distractions that are keeping us from taking care of ourselves and others. Meditation and yoga is here to save the world.

When someone is hurt, they will bite others, what they need is a hug and some loving energy. Dogs for instance, they have feelings and become neurotic from being caged up all day while their owners are slaving away in the cubicle from dusk till dawn, and when the owner returns they don’t walk them, they sit on the television. This is a very mundane unhealthy lifestyle that will breed a very unhappy dog. Dogs just like people need affection, reassurance, lots of outdoor activities, and time spent together, not in front of a tv. You are all your dog knows, and it’s your responsibility to make that dogs life great, otherwise he will suffer.

After too long of being hurt and not receiving the love we need, we will become emotionless beings, or angered and bitter beings. Being emotionless is a protective mechanism, its very human to feel, to think, to want love, and when you don’t get it you go looking in the wrong places. Being angry is like putting up walls around you to protect you, it’s a human conditioning. I want so bad for people in this culture to uncondition themselves into thinking they need to get defensive, be passive, be aggressive and be turned on to love. Be love, be light, be well.

The culture we are in would benefit from learning about the Divine love and consciousness that is in all things everywhere. To care more about the Earth, eat less meat, and love ourselves and others enough to share love freely.

Health is greatly influenced by our attitudes and emotions. What we think we become. If we think we are shit, we become shit. If we feel we are beautiful goddess, strong warrior, prosperous peacekeeper, we become all these things. The universe responds to our thinking, so be careful what messages you are sending. We are such small creatures and we have the capacity to be very large and change the world with our little thoughts.

I worry the culture we are in is doomed. I also think we have the power within to save our selves through liberation. The food we eat is poison, the air we breath is poisoned, Im skeptical about many things, and this all leads to my suffering, my emotions becoming unhealthy. I realize this is not healthy to go from one extreme to the other, from happiness to unhappiness. So I decided to follow  the middle path, what is taught in Buddhism. This has worked so well for me, I have become very stable by not becoming over excited or over burdened by the doom and gloom in the world or the overabundance and happiness that can be felt. These are two extremes, and living in duality is unstable. To become aware of these dualities, to understand the Tao, is to understand how to live at peace with the self and all others. I decided not to be judgemental, and to each his own, others may find liberation temporarily by buying new things, I find liberation from noticing the sensations in my body, counting my breaths, practicing yoga, thinking about where to travel next, how I can be of service to God, etc.

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