Ah, don’t humans love the idea of control? The suggestion that by personal effort we can win at life? The claiming of mastery over certain actions, feelings and thoughts (but not others) as a way to make us safe in the world? The recruiting of others to our faith, so that we feel secure? The need to proclaim a “meant to be”, a silver lining, or the possession of a secret?
It’s all distancing us from life. Distancing us from engaging, Distancing us from showing up fully as who we are. Distancing us from actually feeling all of it.
Sounds too harsh? Let’s take one example:
Are you telling people you can make them feel better? Really?
When you tell someone you can make them feel better, here is what is being implied:
* How they feel right now is incorrect.
* They could manage their feelings, but they aren’t doing it right.
* You have information they are missing.
* They need you.
You might even be going further and telling people how to respond emotionally in this current pandemic, or indeed any situation? The only ones who can ever get away with yelling “DON’T PANIC” are TH2G2 and Lance Corporal Jones. As a way of settling people, it ranks alongside “Calm down, dear”, “don’t shout at me”, and pouring oil on the fire.
Of course, if someone trusts you, or the information you provide, they might stop trying to feel better. And what happens when we step off that hamster wheel of chasing a better feeling? What IS becomes apparent. Happiness (joy, peace or even a sadness without need). If you claim to be the cause of that happiness, or you allow another to pin that happiness on you – you are setting the both of you up to fail.
What reason would you have for trying to manage the feelings of others? Eventually, because it looks like a way of making yourself feel better. And why would you do that, other than the belief that you are currently separated from happiness?
Actually, happiness, in all its appearances, is not a better feeling. It’s something more substantial. A constant from which all feelings arise, and back into which all feelings dissolve. Unchanging, undamaged, unfailing. Reflect on the nature of joy. The apparent object of joy might change, but the sense of joy? That is perfectly untouched by time and circumstances.
Any search for a better feeling is really a cry for happiness. It’s not wrong to want happiness, to yearn to know our own essence. So when someone comes to you and they want to feel better, why not sit with them in the feeling? Offer eternal love and support. And, with them, begin to explore the nature of feeling and the nature of the one that feels.
No control possible, or required.