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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Our Joys

Assilah, Morocco
Poetry can often be inspiring, and today this crossed my desk:

Our joys as winged dreams do fly; why then should sorrow last? Since grief but aggravates thy loss, grieve not for what is past.

Thomas Percy, English poet 1729-1811

Grieve not for what is past ... our joys as winged dreams do fly ... doesn't it make sense that we behave the same way with our grief as we do with our joy? As the poet - Thomas Percy - says, are joys tend to leave us very quickly. And yet we dwell on our sorrows.

This is in fact, an unusually interesting statement about the human condition. We have a much greater tendency to stay with those aspects of our lives that are not bright and clear, that do not have sunshine and warmth, and tend to bring on the clouds swollen with rain. Why do we do this? Is it just a wired into us? Wired into our hearts? Wired into our brains?

I don't think so. This may very well be due to what part Eckhart Tolle calls the pain body, and what Chris Griscom calls the emotional body. I've written about this in the past, so I'll just briefly reiterate the basic points:
  • the pain body is seductive
  • the emotional body has an emotionally sticky quality that we find hard to pull away from
  • both pain body and emotional body are familiar to us because they represent pain, difficulties, and hardships that we have been subject to in the past
  • this very familiarity based on the amount of time we have spent revisiting those difficult moments, is what causes us to field the seductive pull
  • once we give in to the seductive pull into the pain or the negative emotions via our memory needs, we tend to wallow in the pain, much as pigs wallow in mud
  • why?
  • Because we prefer the familiarity
  • if we spent as much time revisiting our joyful moments as we do our painful ones, we might find - ironically - that we experience greater familiarity with our joy than with our pain - and wouldn't that be a wonderful state of mind to be in...

Have you ever considered why the sum total of your life very possibly seems to have an uneven tipping of the scale in favor of the negative? Could it not be simply because of where you spend much of your mental time? And don't you agree that where you spend much of your mental time is a matter of choice? And if it is a matter of choice, why not spend more time with your memories of the joyful moments, as opposed to memories of the painful ones? It really is that easy.

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