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The human experience: Emotions

BY DEBBIE OGUNJOBI
THE greatest challenge to human experience is the instability of our emotions. Things are not always what they seem to the average human; either male or female. Our emotions give everything a certain twist, so that black is not always black and white is not always white.

Lesser beings don’t have the problem or is it challenge of emotional turbulence and most of us seek enlightenment and fulfilment all through the course of our existence. The course of human life begins with the innocence of birth and childhood before the tidal wave of emotions sweep us into the teenage years.

Adolescence marks the beginning of inner conflict and turmoil, the quest begins for fulfilment and I believe somewhere in those formative years we begin to feel the hole deep in the core of us that we are missing something.

It doesn’t help that the world we inhabit has great expectations of us and we begin to expect great things of ourselves; the pressure mounts continuously through our entire existence till we all but lose touch with the other most important parts of ourselves.

Somewhere between the dawn of adulthood and the dusk of adolescence, a disconnection begins between the body, the spirit and the soul. We become fixated with the ephemeral and lose touch with eternal, our spirit is sidelined and our soul becomes hollow, unsatisfied till eventually our body decays.

“Would you choose to be a happy cow or a tortured human?” That was a rather unusual question that was posed by Eckhart Tolle at a seminar he held a while back. The entire audience was struck dumb, no one could answer. As much as everyone agreed that animals were less conflicted in their emotions, no one actually wanted to stop being a human being to become a lesser being (and actually to some animals are in no way lesser)..

Sense of importance

The question to most human beings will be answered in the obvious, we all like being humans, we feel a sense of importance by the nature of our species, and we all universally agree that we are a lot more than animals. What makes us a more heightened civilisation is a double edged sword, it cuts indiscriminately and is responsible for the topsy turvy rollercoaster of emotions that we enjoy and endure in the course of our lives.

Emotions are the feelings that are elicited in response to physical, spiritual and emotional stimuli. It all boils down to our unending quest for a lift, an emotional lift. We all have times when we are happy; we have bursts of elation, periods of abject despair and in between feelings of discontent and a need for more.

While I will be the first to admit that I would pay a handsome sum for the formulae to happiness what we all learn with age is that an overall sense of contentment is a preferred state to the highs and lows that come with happiness and sadness.

The question above is not really about rejecting our humanity; it is more that if we had a choice would we choose the quiet acceptance that animals seem to have naturally to the unending swings between sadness and happiness? Would we give up our quest for more affection, more acceptance, more food, more material possessions for a life that is more sedate, less excitement and anxiety ridden and just exist in harmony with all there is and all there isn’t?

At this point in my own personal journey I have come to the painful acceptance that the vicious and sometimes disappointing quest for fulfilment is not to be found in a bigger bank balance, other human beings, fame or popularity!!

Those things can give momentary pleasure but those feelings are unsustainable and hardly ever stable. The only constant in every situation is a human being on a quest, which quest can take years, multiple religions and cover great distance and accomplishments but it only ends when that person returns to the initial trajectory and begins to process the hunger from its source.

The beginning of life starts with all innocence and no conflict, a baby just accepts and adapts without struggle, an adult on the other hand struggles and refuses to adapt till he is left broken, and bruised.

When that adult reaches his twilight years he returns to the state he was as a baby, he accepts and adapts without struggle and his quest ends. He becomes metaphorically a “cow”; he accepts all there is and all there isn’t; it’s called wisdom of the ages!! Can you imagine that we spend our whole life searching for what we had from the very beginning?

From a metaphysical point of view we disconnect from the soul and the spirit to exist on a plane of the physical that is empty and unfulfilling. When the bible says the kingdom of heaven is the preserve of children, and that we cannot make it there till we are born again, it is not a doctrine for a particular religion; it is a call to reconnect to the soul and the spirit for all of humanity.

To get off the rollercoaster of emotions and yield to God, accepting reality and not live by a quest for fulfilment that can only end from where it started.


Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.