Sometimes I think that the mind is like the General and the heart is like the President. It’s kind of like a family.
And what really fascinates me in it is the role of the feelings. They seem like children, tugging on their parent’s sleeves to get attention and get their wishes satisfied.
Don’t get me wrong. I love feelings. Not saying otherwise.
But I also watch myself craft my behavior according to how I feel, without raising my feelings to awareness, without sharing what I’m doing with anyone else, or without even “seeing” myself what I’m doing. If asked, I may even deny that I’m “just being crabby.”
Sir, I decided this case on the basis of how I feel, not on the basis of the law. I’m sure you see the fairness in that. As a young friend says, no, it wouldn’t pass mustard. (1)
Not acceptable in a court of law. (2) But largely the way it is in everyday life.
I watched myself, yesterday, on the bus. I was feeling out of sorts. I was looking for an item to purchase, on my cellphone, and my cellphone was not cooperating so I was annoyed.
My life is a workshop, a constant and ongoing experiment in awareness, so, experimentally, I began watching myself . It carried on well into the evening.
Annoyed, what was I doing? Judging every person on the bus. Irritated with the bus driver for lurching. This guy was taking up too much room. That guy had his groceries perched precariously. Whatever anyone did, I had a criticism for it.
I saw how my annoyance was shaping the way I was interacting. Interact I must but my feelings – as long as I was unconscious of them – determined how I interacted.
Second case in point. Normally I’m a grumpy old bear but this day I had some happy moments. Where they came from, I don’t know. And what did I do? Exchange pleasantries with people.
Me? Exchange pleasantries?
Nevertheless, after I overcame my shock, I saw again that (A) what I was doing was determined by the General and President, going through their process, but (B) how I was doing it was largely determined by my feelings.
Light bulb moment!
What that said to me in that instant about the value of encouraging happiness in myself I can’t say. It was inestimable in value.
When I realized where I was headed (happiness), I immediately began holding on to my grumpiness for dear life.
I was not going to be fooled again. You have to keep your guard up; never let it down. It’s the one you don’t see … etc., etc.
The experiment (and the battle) went on. I fought hard to hold onto my identity.
But, in the end, I saw that there was actual advantage to be had from being happy – for instance, feeling on top of the world, successful interactions, others being happy, leaving no residue, and so on.
You gotta get that this admission is coming from your local troll under the bridge. Bah humbug, you say? No, this is big for me. This is the Great Awakening, is it not?
No? There’s more?
Groovy. This is a whole new world.
(1) Pass muster. Your honor, I’ve never passed mustard.
(2) And yet I remember how feelings could not entirely be kept out of my decisions as a refugee decision-maker. This is the basis for the very sage advice: Don’t p!ss the judge off.