Confession time! I am a very emotional person. So much so, my teacher in elementary school practically coined the phrase “suck it up”. It sounds harsh and maybe it was for an 8 year old, but to be honest I cried about almost everything! (Mess up my perfect ponytail? Tears.) I know that was her way of trying to toughen me up. This attitude followed me through middle school and high school. I remember letting the anxiety of not understanding a math equation consume me and in turn, I would claim to be incapable of learning it entirely. I would get angry at the teacher who would call me up to the board, wanting to walk me through it step by step. As I clung to these strong feelings making them a part of my being, I allowed them to make all of my decisions for me. I would think “this teacher knows I’m horrible at math, she is trying to embarrass me” and hold onto this anger for days, weeks, even months. Then I wouldn’t ‘apply myself’ in class and either fail or just pass with a C-.
After a multitude of ‘life lessons’, in desperation, I reached for a book called “Buddhism for Beginners”. To make a long story short, this was the beginning of my mindfulness practice and where I first learned that my feelings are not who I am.
This popular quote by Mooji, a spiritual teacher originally from Jamaica, offers a solution to this constant battle. (Visit www.mooji.org for more quotes and teachings!)
You may be thinking “but my feelings are important!” And you’re right, they are! BUT you do not have to let them control your life. If you take just a few minutes (maybe set a timer so you can really focus) have a seat and close your eyes. Now just observe. Watch how your mind will jump from one subject to another. Perhaps a good song comes on Pandora that makes you smile, but then the neighbors dog starts to bark repeatedly making it impossible to hear. Now you are frustrated, annoyed, disappointed. No matter what the feelings are, notice how they changed in an instant. If we were to live our entire life based on our feelings we would be all over the place! How exhausting.
So, remember, feelings are just visitors, let them come and go! Recognize it, greet it with open arms and know that it will soon change.