When the storms of life throw us off balance, our future health, happiness and self realization may depend upon our recovery from their effects. If we allow our emotional reactions to stressful situations to change the way we think and feel about life, then we may be destroying our dreams based on a situational state that would otherwise soon pass. I revisit this physiological response often, because if we can master the understanding and practical application of this knowledge, it will change our lives in miraculous ways, and help us attain the goals and dreams we were created to fulfill. It will also catalyze our spiritual development. We will be better able to access and pursue those things deriving from our true nature, or spirit, which is who we really are. Pursuing anything else is investing in the distractions of material world illusion.
Thoughts and Feelings About Something May Change, But The Truth About It Does Not
When we know something to be true, consistently think, feel, and act based on this established knowledge; have a strong negative reaction to something; and then everything suddenly seems different; it is not. The effects of such reactions can be especially strong for those with unresolved issues or trauma histories, because the strong emotions can trigger the issues or trauma memories, making it seem like something of that magnitude is happening all over again (e.g. abandonment, loss, control, abuse). In the moment, when we are experiencing the emotional reaction (stress response), in the absence of a current and legitimate threat, what we are perceiving is not happening. But, since negative emotions carry three times the charge, and since our brain has shifted into a state allowing only perceptions of being under threat, and that we need to fight against it or run away from it; it may be difficult, if not impossible, in the moment to see the truth of what is really happening.
One way to prevent this is to do our best to keep ourselves from experiencing such negative emotional reactions. This can be accomplished through meditation, exercise, journaling, specific yoga practices, and healing work. But when life takes us by surprise, and when we react in this way, the healthiest thing we can do is to recover quickly. In other words, immediately step back, look at what happened, put the truth back into place in our minds, and take responsibility for anything we may have said or done while under the influence of the stress response. If we notice it starting, before it fully takes us over, then we can step back and prevent it from developing any further. We can do this by breathing deeply, focusing on the truth of what we know, reading through journal entries, emails, texts, or messages that contain evidence of the truth; and by telling those we may be communicating with that we are being affected by stress or other negative emotions. This may mean that we need to postpone decision making, important communications, etc.; until we again return fully to a perspective of truth and clarity.
If two people who love each other deeply are going through a stressful time, if both want nothing more than to please the other and bring joy and fulfillment to each others’ lives, and if one or both trigger into a stress response; the result could be anything from rudeness or distancing to ending the relationship; when none of these responses would be based on the truth of what was happening. The greater the vulnerability, and the deeper the love, the bigger the reaction will likely be (size of reaction is proportional to importance of person or relationship in life). Whenever possible, we need to communicate what is happening, express our needs, choose the timing of things carefully in order to prevent unnecessary disruption, and take responsibility for anything we may have said or done that could have hurt the one we love. The sooner we can recognize what is happening, the better able we will be to either prevent any damages from occurring, or quickly repair them if harm was done.
Shattering Illusion Vs. Strengthening Its Case
When we have these reactions, our mind quickly begins assimilating data to support our position. These data are usually not rational, relevant, or true. If they represent a particular position we claim to be taking, this position is rarely true, or what we really believe. Such positions are created by our defenses, to justify the reaction that we had. This is, in truth, the only thing they represent. If we make decisions while in such a state, or if we continue investing in believing that such defensively-based beliefs are true; then we could strengthen our defenses, reinforce these untrue beliefs, and even make life-changing decisions based completely on temporary emotional states, defensive distortions, and untrue things. This is the reason so many people are depressed, anxious, or stressed; and/or physically ill, lacking energy, or spiritually unaware. This is why so many people just keep spinning through the same pointless, unfulfilling cycles of life. When we can understand and overcome this process, even if we resolve it after the fact; it will completely change the direction and effectiveness of our lives. It will free us up to grow, develop, and realize our dreams. The storms will pass, if we let them.
Photo Credit: Vegar Samestad Hansen