It is very important to be able to discern the negative emotions from a state of suffering of the emotional center, which could be a more or less permanent result of an emotional wound that may leave visible signs. It is a totally different phenomenon from the ordinary emotional oscillations.
As we have seen in a previous post, the centers belong to one’s Being. The relevant experiences of life penetrate the emotional field, leaving deep traces. This is the reason of why, from his childhood, a child manifests determined tendencies, even before acquiring external influences.
This means that it is possible to notice a condition of emotional suffering that is not determined from mind or acquired conditionings. The release of such a condition before having “cleaned” the emotional field from conditionings is a very difficult task, because it is very difficult to distinguish what belongs to the deepest emotional level, and what has been formed on the surface of the emotional field.
But this is a so complex an argument that it is best to discuss it for a future time.
Let’s remain in the field of the negative emotions acquired during this life experience. Indeed, such emotions are transmitted to us since the childhood, and condition all our life; such conditionings are acquired through parents, school, basic concepts of society, readings, films, friends…. and we strenghten the tendency to express negative feelings through our emotional field from everything which surrounds us. After a certain period, such feelings become automatic, and from that moment we totally identify ourselves with them.
This process is so deep that we stop searching for pleasure. This is a very important mechanism to be understood, because it defines the tragedy of our lives: indeed, what ordinarily a human being considers as “pleasure” is just a momentary cessation of a negative emotion. This is such a difficult aspect of ourselves to understand, and above all to digest, because we find it quite impossible to accept that almost all (if not all) the moments of pleasure which we experienced in our life are just a cessation of suffering.
This automatism is so subtle to be perceived that is very important to pay particular attention to it. So, it would be more useful not to take this statement in a superficial way. We know almost only negative emotions, and their temporary absence is considered from us “pleasure”, if not even “estatic pleasures”. Our life is a constant flow of negative feelings, and they generate “suffering”; willy -nilly, the positive itself doesn’t exist: it is an emptiness, a loss, namely the absence of the “negative”.
And here lies the trap: this condition bring us to identify, namely to recognize and “feel” ourselves through negative emotions.
So, if it is true that suffering is a part of us, and joy and pleasure are a momentary absence of that suffering, is it possible to identify ourselves with something that is absent? Can we reflect upon ourselves in the nothingness? Obviously, not, and this is the problem. We have been taught to recognize and express not uplifting feelings and to identify ourselves with the hints of their states. We connect ourselves with every painful and unpleasant perception as though it is a part of ourselves. And we are unable to recognize this.
The world in which we are born does not teach us how to reflect upon ourselves in joy, beauty, freedom, and positivity…. such conditions are nonexistent for us. Or, better said, they partially appear once the negativity declines. We don’t recognize positive emotions as stable conditions.
The only reality we recognize and, paradoxically, from which we attempt constantly to escape from, is represented by the negative emotions.
But, even once escaped from them, we still consider them as an integral part of us. This attitude generates an attachment towards every negative feeling, and this is the reason why such feelings are so difficult to eradicate. This is the horror of the situation: when we fall into a condition of deep pessimism, we often color everything around us. We also have the tendency to drag others toward this condition, and we enclose ourselves into further suffering when they resist our attempts.
The positive, for us, as ordinary beings, is not an effective reality, but only the absence of the negative. Once all the parts of our personality have acquired in the course of the time, an identification with the negative expressions, to eradicate them is very difficult, quite impossible. In such a case, if a person tries to do this, she’ll feel herself as shattered, as though she destroys, annihilates herself, because this condition of suffering is part of her, and she doesn’t recognize anything else with which to feel herself. This situation is more than visible in the situations of deep depression, when the the egoic fragments identify themselves in a condition of neverending suffering without any hope. But it is pure illusion, never mind how much it appears concrete, it is not real. This condition is the result of a fragmented personality which countermanded the Essence/Being – the True Self – in a devastating and negative way. That’s all.
But don’t think that this situation is of value only for pathological conditions such as the above mentioned example. In an ordinary, non-pathological situation, things don’t change very much. In this case, the number of “I’s” which reflect themselves in negative emotions is accidental, familiar, and determined from life and also from thousands of other situations and occasional factors. What must one do to overcome this horrible condition (the prison, as called by Gurdjieff, the illusion, as called by Buddha)? There is an ancient saying, which states that whoever wishes to realize himself, has first to sacrifice himself. It’s not a statement to be interpreted as negative, based on pain and expiation: human beings (including me and you- all of us) are totally identfied with negative emotions, so leaving the state of illusory suffering means to sacrifice ourselves. This process is explained in the Gospels through the Passion (LAT. patire: to suffer) of Jesus: once he dies on the cross, he is resurrected, ascends to another state of being.
A man will resist with all his efforts such a change, because humans are so attached to the negative emotions that they don’t want to leave them: for the reason that they recognize themselves in them. They are those emotions. This resistance will happen even if one dedicates his whole life to overcome this state. It’s easier for a person to renounce a pleasure than to experience pleasure, and this is not an exaggeration. This could seem stange or incredible to be affirmed, but whoever has the courage to begin a process of inner research and observation will be able to notice that this is a fact.