If you are someone who was naturally born with a high happiness baseline and relatively stable emotions then skip this post – it is not written for you and you might even think I am making much ado about nothing. However, if you are someone who has experienced the blues and hues of oscillating human emotions and like me are on your own journey of riding these waves then read on –
Here’s what I want you to keep reminding yourself (and I write these now as a reminder for me as much as for you)
It is both a gift and a curse that you can experience such highs and lows of human emotions during your day – what if this was not necessarily a problem, but just a uniqueness of your experience? What if high variance is an issue only if we decide that low variance is the preferred norm?
The one thing that you don’t want to believe (especially when you feel low) is your own thoughts. Our brains are simple mechanistic programmable devices and our thoughts are often just old associations of words randomly ejected out from our memory, and at other times just patterns that are mimicked or picked up from other people’s brain through our mirror neurons. Most times these thoughts have hardly any relevance to what might be unfolding in the present so please don’t give them too much importance.
In fact mirror neurons applies to picking up and mimicking other people’s emotions as well ( I discuss this in my TED talk herehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiJDXqzaWcU) , and so the emotion itself in the first place might have nothing to do with your current context. So please don’t get attached to the emotions you are experiencing, and don’t make yourself wrong for experiencing it as well. If left alone it will actually dissipate faster as the next (perhaps equally irrelevant) wave of thought and emotion finds it’s place in your psyche.
In case I am making our brains sound stupid please bear with me – I totally respect nature’s design and the fact that she (nature) believed we need a brain to function with. So rather than make the design of the brain wrong why not see how we can work to program the brain to assist us in living our lives instead of taking us down rollercoasters that can sometimes seem too catastrophic and dangerous to handle in the heat of the moment. There are a whole bunch of tools you can use to train the brain and most meditation techniques involve one or more of such tools. I am not going to go into specifics of various meditation techniques in this post (this is a quick reminder post remember), but just remind you that such training is possible. Even though I usually meditate regularly I have been travelling a lot this month and having so much fun in exotic locations like Maldives and the western ghats near Pune that I skipped my morning routine of meditation. I was anyway on a high with all that nature and beauty. Then without warning the low struck – no reason, no trigger, just an unannounced entry of dark thoughts and emotions that threaten to suck my life force out and make me question if I even should live? Luckily for me such thoughts are not strangers – I have known them in the past and I know that they are baseless thoughts without foundation. Luckily again, my husband was with me and his love and support helped to make me see the falseness of these thoughts. I realized immediately that I had been skipping my meditations and then I complained to him ‘ why do I need to meditate every morning like a ritual to remain sane when others can get away with sleeping in late’? His answer was again a potent reminder – we are all different. So some people just might have to work on their mental habits and reprogram their brains more regularly than others.
So treat this post as a reminder to meditate if it is something that helps you and here are some other useful tips to remember when the dark cloud of unwanted thoughts strike:
When you feel like dying what you want to kill or create space from is not yourself but your thoughts.
When you feel like you don’t like anybody in the world what you don’t like is not people per say but their judgements and projections of their thoughts.
When you feel like there is no purpose to your existence then just address that thought with a question – ‘What if I didn’t need to justify my existence with a purpose’
Good luck – stay strong and remember you can get out of any pit that your thoughts take you into because YOU are way stronger than your thoughts! If you know someone else who also experiences a wide spectrum of emotions (which goes under various labels in our society) then please do share this with them.