I discovered a Zen story that I would like to share. It conveys a powerful message.
One day the Master announced that a young monk had reached an advanced state of enlightenment. The news caused some stir. Some of the monks went to see the young monk. “We heard you are enlightened.” “Is that true?”, they asked. “It is,” he replied. “And how do you feel?” “As miserable as ever,” said the young monk.
Sometimes we long to reach a state where we no longer have to feel our shifting emotions. We would love to find that state of eternal happiness and peace. I have finally come to realize that, as human beings, emotions are part of our physical structure and as long as we are lucky enough to keep living, we will cycle through these feelings.
Maybe we were meant to feel fear and sadness at times, to appreciate happiness and joy? Does up exist without down or light without darkness? What I do know is that my emotions are fluid. Sometimes I can feel on top of the world and at other times I can feel overwhelmed, sad, and afraid.
Sometimes I can find the loving spirit in all of nature and feel the beauty, and at other times I cannot. I know that we hold the capacity for all emotions and sometimes they can be created by our own thoughts. What was I thinking just before I became so anxious? Can I alter the way I view this situation?
Sometimes emotions, for example, sadness from a great loss, must be grieved and lived through in order to get to the other side. Other emotions, however, may come from our perceptions, the lens from which we view things. Let us try to view our situations through the lens of our hearts. Bring love and compassion to whatever is happening, and be gentle with ourselves and others. And, always remember the fluidity of emotions and hang in there for the ride back up. Our lives were not meant to be easy, but “it sure beats the alternative”.