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Accepting Emotions

I listened to this Thought For The Day from a week or two ago and found it interesting and helpful.

The world can seem broken, with so much sadness and cruelty, that it feels much easier to turn away from it, to not feel the fear or anger that arise in us. The distress can feel so great or our lack of power so overwhelming, that we seek distraction or refuse to watch - we choose not to see things as they are. If hearing about so much sadness around us is painful then is not reasonable to simply turn away and just not feel these things right? Especially if we are powerless to change it anyway?

We are faced with this temptation both in the wider world and our inner world. Through our everday life we feel or see things that seem overwhelming and impossible to change so, rather than face them, we choose instead to push the feelings away and distract ourselves with food or aclohol, is more comfortable and safe. We choose not to shine a light on our deeply held fears instead leaving them to fester in our minds.

This is not to say we should not distract ourselves - take pleasure in life and the joys it offers. These pleasures can be the reward for our hard work with family, friends, dealing with the stresses of everyday life. Without these distractions life would no doubt be extremely difficult.

However, I also believe we can overcome the both worldwide difficulties and our internal anxiety and fears if we harness the emotions that arise and take a little time to reflect on them. Anger is not a "negative emotion" - it can galvanise us into action, it can warn us of danger. The answer it seems to me is to turn toward the anger, notice its cause and then, when we can, act with compassion and do what we can to alleviate it - even if all we can do is bear witness to it.

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