THE WAY OF PEACE
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From a previous post:
One may find one’s mind focused on an idea, person or situation, and one’s feelings toward that focus untoward. The practical needs of the moment may mean one can’t just “get your mind off it,” but one can possibly choose more desirable feelings.
One possible option sometimes is “flipping.” If I find I’ve just cursed someone, I can begin thinking and feeling the exact opposite, thinking, “God bless him,” and sending the person love, light and prayers. Thus usually entails a lot of chagrin for the sin I committed to start with.
Other times, the change — sublimation — may take more time and effort.
Feelings one may find objectionable — may not necessarily have to be so. It is hard for me to discuss or name some of the feelings involved, since for most of my life I never voluntarily let myself feel them, and I have only lately become willing to manage these limbs of my soul.
Feeling mean, being mean; being or wanting to be “hard;” “getting your game face on;” being aggressive: these are some of the feelings in question. To me, determination feels a lot like anger. But these feelings have their God-given uses, when one faces hard physical exertion or has to overcome obstacles. One like me, who wants to rise out of poverty, faces a ton of hard work and many obstacles to overcome. So I’m coming to accept, even welcome such feelings — and when they come, set my mind on situations where they may be useful. One example is to see myself climbing the ladder, up out from the pit of poverty, to the level ground of the social mainstream. It’s hard, and it’s OK to feel hard.
A very common situation: untoward sexual lusts. If one is in a presumptively exclusive relationship, lusts directed towards another need not be denied, repressed or sublimated, but instead merely redirected towards one’s partner. For single women and men, attraction to an inappropriate person can be redirected towards one or more appropriate persons — even if the object of one’s fantasy can only be purely imaginary.
It took me years to accept that these do, in fact, occur, and that they are what they are.
Unpleasant feelings may come out of nowhere, not in response to any event, and hang on for minutes or hours, unable to be sublimated.
Just as the physical body produces various wastes, including gaseous farts; it stands to reason that the soul also produces spiritual (emotional) wastes, including farts of its own.
One handles a soul fart the same as a bodily fart: just let it go, though the “smell” may inescapably abide for a while.
In the midst of a soul fart, it’s essential to know that this has no rational basis and is not in response to any event. One needs to step back from one’s feelings — put in the clutch, so to speak — and determine not to take anything too seriously, anything anyone says, anything that may happen. Hold off on any major decisions until after the gas passes, when one will have better judgment.
The most troublesome soul fart for me has been what I call “the Itch:” the desire for turmoil, the desire to find (or create) trouble, to be angry, even to possibly hurt others, and so on. I am coming more and more to accept it as a soul fart, and to stop beating myself up just because it happens. The chapter “About organized religion” will deal at length with a man who has an especially bad case of it; the possible karmic bases; and what he must do to be free.
Physical pain can make you irritable.
Saturday, December 8
The arthritis in my knees has been getting worse and worse in recent weeks.Today on the walk to the shelter, crossing Baltimore Street, I stepped up on the curb and felt something snap in my right knee, to the left of and below the kneecap. For the next fifty yards or so, there was pain every time I put weight on it.
Then that pain went away awhile.
If I weren’t such a fundamentally happy person, it would hurt a lot more than it does.
Happiness is an analgesic.
Shower time came. There was no room to sit on the bench; several people were there, and this new guy was occupying half the bench. I took things in stride and did what I could. I had to stand on one foot to take off my shoes. When I stood on my right foot, there was sudden acute pain from the place I’d hurt — and blind rage. If anyone had come near me, I would have physically attacked.
Luckily, this only happened once.
The approach I mean to use to manage this chronic pain:
(2) At my church, we offer the laying on of hands during worship every Sunday. I will seek this every week, so long as the pain continues.
(3) Use certain prayer techniques, with which I’ve already had some success as applied to toothaches and major depressive disorder.
I sometimes perceive an aura of pain radiating from either knee 3-6 inches in all directions. This is my personal energy, and I have every right to do with it whatever I please.
Every sentient being, every free-willed creature, has the ability, authority and privilege to change light into darkness and darkness into light. And I do this with the pain.
As I said in “A short route to agony,”
One must love the wounded or disagreeable member into wholeness.
I imagine the pain as being a physical material, that I can scoop up with my hands and form into a ball, like putty or modeling clay. I hold it in my hands and will it to change into comfort and joy, a healing salve. Then I use my fingers to spread the healing salve straight back onto the places the pain came from.
This is not the same as blocking the pain. I must accept the pain before I can transform it. But as soon as it appears, it is subject to manipulation.