In my continued exploration of habitual anxiety – specifically, mine – I have also noticed a far more disturbing habit at work within me.
I have become addicted TO emotion itself.
I am also starting to suspect I am not alone in this.
Everything in our culture, in society itself, is set up to foster a continual seeking out of emotion – its highs, its lows, its sheer adrenaline rush of unpredictability – from television to movies, books to casual conversation, relationships and more, we seem to rely on emotion for meaning, motivation, direction, and relaxation the way cars rely on gas or other fuels.
This does not feel okay to me.
As I have begun to work on this emotional dependency within myself, I look at the example of the great beings for guidance – for instance, the Dalai Lama. In the post, “Less Emotion” earlier this month, I shared how the Dalai Lama believes that emotion gets us into all kinds of avoidable trouble. He shares very candidly about both how and why he practices the art of less emotion, and he exhorts those he meets to, if they must seek out emotion, to at least seek out emotions that are more uplifting, such as peacefulness, kindness, a welcoming nature, acceptance, joy, and humor.
I really think he is on to something.
Furthermore, I am beginning to realize that my characterizations of people close to me say a lot about which range of emotions they tend to spend more time and energy experiencing. If I say someone is “negative”, “angry”, “always happy”, “loving”, or another description, this says a lot about where they are spending their emotional time and energy – and when I turn this contemplation towards myself, I can find a lot to ponder in where I invest myself emotionally as well.
Perhaps even more fascinatingly, I have begun to perceive that when I am feeling “bored”, if I can remind myself to dig a bit deeper into what I am really feeling (ie, like “fat”, I am realizing …