Monday, September 3, 2012

Validity or Tyranny

Every man or woman has some consistently negative polarities in them. This is necessary, because we all need poles in us between which energies flow. In addition, we live in a place that is a place of effort and trial, inevitably producing negativity in us. One might argue that that is, in fact, the point of this level.

So the negativity of the day is a reality—as Christ said, sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. It's a truth we can't avoid. Since we are caught in the middle of this, it's important to try and achieve a moment to moment understanding of both its presence, its validity, and its place.

I say validity, because our negativity is valid. The root of the word comes from the Latin valere, meaning to be strong. So our negativity is strong—it is true. By saying it is valid, we also say that it is real and that we can't avoid it or sweep it under the rug. We have to respect it and give it its due and its place as a necessary force. Philosophies and ideologies that try to expunge negativity sound wonderful, but they don't give it any credit—and it deserves credit, because it helps us in configuring our Being. The repression or denial of negativity magnifies it in an unhealthy way that conscious awareness of it does not.

 The validity of our day to day negativity can be affirmed and acknowledged, but if we allow it tyranny, it becomes a destructive force. So we acknowledge the day to day, whether it be positive or negative, and agree that it is valid, but we do not assign it power—we don't allow it tyranny. In this, it's important to see that our emotional states are temporary aspects that arise from the conditions of the organism, are essentially chemical in nature, and are only a part of our Being, a fraction.

This can be very hard to keep sight of if one is in the grip of a depressive emotion. I have had several minor bouts of this lately, and it's interesting to see how absolutely filled with conviction they are. They arrive as if from nowhere, insisting not only that they are completely valid, but that they are exclusive—that is, that there is no alternative to them, and that they represent an endpoint or final result.

It's no surprise that emotions of this kind can lead people to do desperate things, but this happens largely because of identification. Emotional identification is a nearly effortless action in man, and unless we work, we are completely unaware of it. One might say it's one of the chief features of what Gurdjieff called sleep.

 A moment to moment understanding is essential, because emotions don't take place later. They always take place now. They may capitalize on the past or the future, but these are merely justifying reflexes. As with thought, and with movement, the emotions are always now, and we can't know much about them unless we do it now.

Typically, of course, we explain what is happening now by using then. For example, I've had these bouts of depression, and I tell myself it's connected to the death of my sister last October—this is just grieving which has not worked itself out yet. Or, I tell myself it's the atmospheric pressure, because many friends are going through the same experience. Who knows? It may be tension between planets, some astral phenomenon.

This almost doesn't matter. The story may be interesting, but my responsibility is to see how I am, and assign that validity, without allowing it tyranny. Here is an essential place in which the practice of compassion towards oneself is paramount.

 Back when I first met my wife, on our first date, I pointed out to her that our emotions frequently lie to us. Each emotion, as it comes along, proudly announces: “Look at me! Aren't I wonderful? (Or not.) I am everything. I am all that there is. Love me." So in a certain specific sense, ordinary emotion is  essentially narcissistic.

This distinguishes it from real feeling, higher emotion, which never, never has that quality.

 I respectfully hope you will take good care.

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