will you keep pounding
on an open door
begging for someone
to open it?"
-- Rabi'a al-'Adawiyya
Back in the mid-1970's, I was listening to a radio talk show self-help teacher, who said something I've never forgotten, and have come to a much deeper understanding in later years. He said that we need to "own our own feelings."
What that meant then is that no one can make us feel anything. We make ourselves feel whatever we are feeling by what we are thinking. Of course our thinking is often infected with volumes of beliefs and other influences of all that is around us and all that we have experienced until now.
It's a simple edict. We are in charge of how we feel. Simple, and yet not so easy to really grab hold of. There's a lot of history in each of us and then there is also that mystical sense of normal response that we probably accepted somewhere along the journey to where we are this moment.
My somewhat deeper understanding of this platitude to own our own feelings is stated a bit differently: Don't give your power away. You have more control than you are imagining right now. You get to decide everything.
I wrote about this earlier in October quoting Alan Cohen who was a graduate student and had two friends who were the best of friends, and then they had a parting of the ways, and Alan was so very upset by this that he was distressed and unhappy about it. His teacher said, and I will paraphrase here, that you were happy when they were together and then you were unhappy when they were not. If they were to get back together, would you then be happy? Then he said not to give the power of your happiness to others because they are constantly changing. He said, instead, put your trust in God, who is unchanging, who is love.
Isn't this the norm--to be happy when things are going as you would like and to be unhappy when they are not? Whomever said that life is like a rollercoaster said it very well in the life of the normal person. Whatever that really is.
The political candidate wins the election and he or she is happy, and if they lost it, they are not happy. Your candidate won and you are happy, they lose and you are not. The neighbors do what you think is appropriate and you are happy, and then someone doesn't and you are not. The love of your life, or at least this portion of your life says yes, and you are happy, and she says no and you are not. This is all quite normal, or at least that is the way we see it all around us. And they are all knocking on the open door begging for someone to open it. Please make me happy. Please tell me what I want most to hear. I need your help. You complete me. Blah, blah, blah.
Happy feels good. Not happy not so good. But to give our power away means we are subject to the whims of others. Since no one, not the most beautiful or buff lover, the candidate, the neighbor, can make you feel anything because only you can choose your thoughts and thereby reap the feelings that respond to them, taking back your power to make yourself feel the way you want to feel is probably the most empowering thing you can do for a glorious life.
We choose our own happiness or lack of happiness by our thoughts. We feel those thoughts in how they resonate or don't resonate within. When we pay attention to that inner alignment with that which is unchanging by how we are feeling, our guidance will lead us to more of what we want and ignoring the things that we do not want. This is owning our own feelings. This is owning our own power over ourselves.
And, This Place Is Pure Joy.
Spread Some Joy Today--by taking your power back.