Unification News for January 1995
When Your Heart Chills Out, Part 2
We have been examining the problem of the gradual numbing of our feelings, such that we find our passion for people and the providence turning cold. In part one, we discussed how feelings are meant to be expressed, and that we have many emotions we view as undesirable- anger, fear, hatred, guilt- that we do not want to even recognize, let alone express. When these forbidden feelings are stifled they spoil and become destructive to us or others in often unseen ways.
One tactic we often use to cope with this is to act as if we do not have fallen nature. We suppress our feelings so skillfully we do not know they are there. By attempting to foster the growth of our original natures we hope to starve our unacceptable feelings out of existence. Let us explore the consequences of such tactics.
Pretense demands a price
Though the policy of "fake it til you make it"- act as if you are now what you hope to be- has merit, if it becomes standard operating procedure we run the risk of permanent pretense. Behind our facades, we benignly smile while fireworks are going off inside. Such make- believe may keep peace and help us function for a time but at what price?
Instead of being motivated by God's truth and love, we find ourselves living out of reaction to negative emotions. Our prayer lives suffer because there is more left unsaid than honestly shared with God, and low spirit world is attracted to the confused tangle of feelings kept below our awareness. Our bodies react to being emotional dumping grounds and develop aches and ailments that are increasingly troublesome. The habits and rationales we developed to conceal the unreality become more and more unwieldy.
People around us are deprived of authentic and intimate relationships with us and we feel lonely. Worse, we end up being downright hurtful to other people, especially those we love. This is because the forbidden emotions often leak out in subtle ways: the rough way we treat our children even as we try to be tender, the sabotaging of our friends' happiness by being unable to receive their gift gracefully, the "guilt trip" delivered in the midst of an inspirational talk. We often react to new experiences out of built-up past feelings instead of responding to the present reality.
How many of us have experienced the shortcomings of the policy of "accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative"? The classic example is the miraculous "cure" of destructive sentiments toward the opposite sex during our lives as celibates, only to have old monsters return-sometimes with cronies we never knew before!-when we enter into sexual intimacy with our spouses.
All emotion is blocked
Anger, guilt, shame, hatred-these may persist despite our efforts to ignore or suppress them. To the extent that these emotions are policed and held at bay, many desirable feelings are kept in. The "feelings filter" cannot discriminate between good emotions and bad, because all are inherently neutral and become good or evil according to how they are directed. (We recall Divine Principle's explanation that fallen nature is wrongly directed original nature; self-centered rather than God-centered.) As examples, consider anger and guilt. Anger is a God- given impulse to protect ourselves and loved ones from being violated. Guilt is a mechanism to protect our conscience. However, if either one of these helpful emotions are used in a self-centered way, they can tyrannize us.
If we are ashamed of our anger toward someone and refuse to let it out, we may find our affection is likewise inhibited. If our fear of a task is not admitted, so our ambition and enthusiasm may not be able to surface. If our guilt over misdeeds is kept in hiding, so our joy over achievements may also be kept in reserve.
In this we find the reason for the chilling out of the heart. We have so many forbidden feelings that we dare not feel anything for fear the bad ones will run amok to embarrass us and damage other people and our performance.
What to do? The answer lies at the very heart of one of the radical insights of Christianity and Unificationism: conquer evil by loving the enemy centered on God. This truth applies not only to our relationships with others but in dealing with the "enemy" inside ourselves as well. It is a principle that works, and it will be elaborated upon in the third part of this series.
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