In the previous post, we saw that the common thread that ties all 10 kinds of healthy love is the love for the present moment NOW. How much room we give to the present moment (and love, respectively) depends on how the present feels, what we think about the past and the future, and to what extent we are perfectionists. We defined the path to sustainable improvement to be the channeling of our energy into the quality of our relationships with the people in our lives now as they are.
But what happens (to our relationships) when we split our alternating focus between positive and negative emotions?
In the healthy scenarios, we either
1) register & pass on the positive emotions (which means we know how to love) or
2) register & quarantine the negative emotions (which means we know how to be wise).
In the first case, we are opening up and giving ourselves away to a delirious, passive floating on the present flow of the dynamic pulsating and active energy of everything around us. We find our hearts overflowing with love as if automatically and instinctively engulfed in the internal sensation (the content) that blinds us to the external world (the package). [We never know what's the time when we have a good one, but we always do when we count the seconds until what we imagine would be salvation.]
In the second case, we are packing and isolating the negative emotion by focusing not on its debilitating internal sensation but rather on the conscious, proactive, meticulous, analytical mental work of registering the external stimuli that provoked it so that the next time we encounter them, we are better prepared to recognize them and so avoid or destroy them.
The unhealthy scenarios:
It is against the natural course of events and generally not a good idea to try to store positive emotions like we can food for the winter (remember that the same fruits and vegetables are acid-forming when consumed canned and alkaline-forming when consumed fresh) nor pass on negative emotions like we discard garbage cans into nature (remember the impact of not recycling and preventing natural decomposition on the planet - the same thing happens when we throw away our negative emotions at people in the form of anger, frustration, bitterness, and accusation.) When we greedily store instead of share positive emotions, they rot and feed the bacteria of isolating fantasies that make us long about the past so much that we feel doomed never to experience it again and thus prefer to bury ourselves together with it, locking ourselves away from the potential of the present, and respectively, the future. On the other hand, passing on instead of filtering (decomposing and ceremonially burying in a R.I.P. fashion our negative emotions in private) makes them contagious. Storing positive emotions is irresponsible towards ourselves, and passing on negative emotions is irresponsible toward others.
LOVE makes us weightless and high: up in the sky (and eternity);
WISDOM - heavy and low: down to earth (and mortality).
Because we are naturally predisposed
1) to melt away and dissolve in the things we love when we are light and high (full of love but dangerously oblivious to the rest of the world because we lack the heaviness of wisdom), and
2) to get ourselves together (store some energy for flight) when we are low (sad) on love but heavy on data collected in times of pain waiting to be converted into knowledge (organized data), understanding (=non-contradicting interpretations within a web of meanings), and ultimately wisdom (adaptation of the web of meanings to the present situations that is potent = creative) we are bound to alternate states - fall down and get up as many times as Fortune spines her will.
There is not much room then for the concepts of sustainable improvement, progress, evolution, irreversible gain, and growth unless we embrace it all (both positive and negative emotions) as perfect and valuable already.
We will be in peace with Fortune's whims (the constant change of mood, prospects, and luck) only after we voluntarily choose the company of Lady Philosophy (the warm welcoming of trouble and pain as the fertilizers of wisdom).
Fortune and Lady Philosophy
These two "women" (or features within the same person) operate on diametrically opposite principles:
Fortune seduces us with good times and invites us to use her as we please but spins us away on the ground when we forget ourselves in fun. For this, some may find her cruel but too irresistible.
Lady Philosophy will be there if we ask her to pick us up from the ground but will not force or tempt us into making this decision: access to her riches (stones and the like) is granted only to those who want to find them, not to those who want to use them. For this, some may find her kind but too unengaging.
Suppose we want to be able to afford the luxury of believing in sustainable improvement, progress, evolution, irreversible gain, and growth. In that case, we need to embrace and befriend both Fortune and Lady Philosophy because Fortune brings in the element of dynamism/ action/ change/ transformation/ motion/ spinning and generally moving about. Still, Lady Philosophy gives direction to this motion from a place of stillness and calmness, only contemplation/ meditation and forgiveness as outcomes of the solitary work on our past experiences can provide. In other words, philosophy provides a comprehensible view of our past towards a future as contexts only within which our fortunate present could safely exist. We do this magic by allowing ourselves to experience the entire range of emotions and deal with them accordingly: register & pass on the positive emotions that teach us how to love (our fellow creatures) or register & quarantine the negative emotions that teach us how to be wise.
When we don't recognize, acknowledge, and treat our emotions properly.
Existence demands that we get in touch and juggle both of the above principles; they are integral, and our integrity depends on the following:
our ability to balance out their manifestations in equal measure if we are single and
our ability to "throw and catch" the ball with a partner without letting it fall on the ground if we are in a relationship. The inability to shift gear between passing on positive emotions and quarantining negative ones manifests as the inability to be satisfied with ourselves or with a single partner. Our internal imbalance becomes externally visible when
1) we start a relationship with someone out of nostalgia for the past and/or fantasy for the future or
2) we start an affair outside of our official relationship for the same above reasons.
We "hire outsourcing companies"/ fortunas, fortunos, ladies, or lords philosophers to help us start recognizing the different shades, tones, and tints of emotions/colors. If we are not able to recognize, acknowledge, and treat our emotions properly, we turn to outsiders to teach us the craft the hard way for a fee - our most precious: the time of our lives.
Next time you find it hard to deal with your emotions alone or with your partner, remember that nothing wastes resources like a toxic relationship/ affair, and the pain that accompanies all of your efforts is nothing in comparison with the pain caused by regrets over the waste and devastation in the aftermath of a toxic relationship. This perspective may save you some guilt and shame.
The adequate treatment of emotions secures our healthy relationship with time.
That is, we have no problem with the past, the present, and the future to the extent that they blend into one single experience - the time-stopping/ existence beyond & regardless of time, we experience when our potent past wisdom actualizes itself in the love for the present moment in the name of a future that is greater than the sum of its "parents"/ building blocks - past and present. Such time-stopping experiences are the only kind we do not regret on a deathbed. So far, for me, they are writing, painting, sometimes teaching, and, once in a while, playing the piano. For you, it may be something else, but it will inevitably fall into either of the two groups: creation (artistic and athletic performances in this number) or procreation. How you aggregate and synthesize past, present, and future or the male and female principles of wisdom and love through your being is all that matters to the Being.
Conversely, the inadequate treatment of our emotions splits the past, the present, and the future to the dramatic effect of sacrificing and killing all three: obsessing over a past we cannot relive, or change engulfs the present and thus prevents the creation of a future that's different enough from the traumatic past or similar enough to the joyful past we obsess about - we close a vicious circle when 1) we hang on to what we must let go (the nostalgia for or trauma in the past and our fantasy for the future) and when 2) we let go of what we must hold on to (the adequate treatment of our emotions in the present which are its only healthy supplier of substance). The core by-product of the vicious circle is fear. Because it is fear (of life and death) that makes people cruel and foolish and so prone to procrastination in nostalgia and fantasy that leads to insanity (= the inability to feel love, duty, guilt, shame, or anything really - the numbness of sensations caused by a mind that wandered too far away back and/or forth), love (for your fellow creatures) and its products - art and/or our children are what would tie us to the rhythm, meter, and foot of life best.
"At the touch of Love, everyone becomes a poet, even when one had no music in oneself before." - Plato