It seems to me that many people are troubled in life by one dominant, and often overwhelming, emotion, and that this is very often either fear or anger. Of course endless other emotions come and go, and bustle us about, but these two seem often to take centre stage, a difficult ‘old friend’. In my case it has been fear.
I realised recently that all the fears I’ve had over the years tend to disappear after a while. Or they come and go, but they always go. Which made me see that if something could cause me to be fearful one day, and the next week not, then it can’t really be frightening.
I’m talking about the things that haunt us for a while, making us miserable. Later we realise we aren’t frightened by them at all. Or that this particular fear has been replaced by a new one, that may last for a while too – maybe even years. But later that too gets replaced perhaps by another.
So I saw that all my fears are sort of empty of any real substance, and most importantly, impermanent. They go. Good news! How wonderful to remember this when a new one arises. I can smile to it, smiling to an old friend, smiling to its ephemeral, impermanent nature, knowing it’s just something that has arisen, and can blow away again on the wind! Leaving me in peace again, free, much sooner every time.
I think the same is true for all other strong emotions – anger, jealousy, shame, guilt – all impermanent, like mist that evaporates in the sun! The sun is our awareness that they are just emotions, and that with a smile and a nod to these ‘old friends’ they move on.