bird poops on plum branch

buster


Buster Benson

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an alternative to supressing emotions
bird poops on plum branch
buster
I love this quote, which is a refreshing alternative to the more common (in both Eastern and Western thought) strategy of managing or even eliminating emotions.

“Our emotions must be in the right amount, proportional to the event that called them forth; they must be expressed at the right time, in a way that is appropriate to the emotional trigger and the circumstances in which it occurred; and they must be expressed in the right way, in a way that does no harm.”

- Aristotle
I like it because it is about expression rather than repression.  The more I learn about emotion, the more I think that it has been dealt with in the same way that we've dealt with other physical quirks... with a blunt hammer.  When expressing one of the "destructive emotions" as the Dalai Lama calls them, we are advised to chop it off at the stalk, never let it flower again.

I think this strategy is blunt-edged because it adds emotion on top of emotion.  It creates an emotion-manager in our selves, one that gets triggered immediately after an initial emotional trigger.  The first emotion might be fear, or vulnerability.  The emotional manager steps in, tells us to step back, and grafts in a secondary emotion: maybe calmness, or compassion.  I think the body then reacts to this mixed bag and creates a few seeds of stress, or nervousness, as it handles the mixed emotions and waits for one of them to overtake the other.

Slow weights, and a few other things in my life, have all been conspiring to unite ideas, especially the idea of going towards the first emotion, the natural one.  Go towards it, experience it fully, and express them in the amount that they deserve.  Don't magnify, don't reduce, don't mix with another synthetic or forced emotion.  And then, rather than coming out of the situation with a victor (because there had to be a battle) there's just a silent exhale of emotion without restraint.  Like the end of an argument when someone says "well why didn't you just say that in the beginning", this is how you just say it in the beginning.

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