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Dustin LindenSmith

father | musician | writer

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On panic and desire

From Issue #4148 of the Nonduality Highlights come these two interesting excerpts edited by Mark Otter:
Nothing matters so much that we should throw ourselves into a state of panic about it. No happening is so important that we should let ourselves be exiled from inner peace and mental calm for its sake.

— Paul Brunton
Weak desires can be removed by introspection and meditation, but strong, deep-rooted ones must be fulfilled and their fruits, sweet or bitter, tasted.

Nisargadatta Maharaj, from I Am That - Talks with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
These two quotations reflect two sides of the same coin, I think. Many of my deepest-rootest desires are anchored in coping mechanisms I've developed in order to avoid feeling panic, depression, or other negative emotions.

The way I read these quotations is that we should deeply feel all of our emotions as they naturally occur and bubble up from within us, and in so doing we can avoid creating the sort of inner conflict that can lead directly to maladaptive or addictive behaviours.

If something bad or troublesome is happening in our life, then we should feel upset or angry about it—it's only natural! Then once the initial anger has been experienced, we can move on to do something constructive about the situation. But if instead of experiencing that natural anger we turn to some activity to dull that emotion (such as food, drugs, alcohol, excessive sex, the internet, etc.), then we doom ourselves to an endless feedback loop of unhealthy, mindless behaviours which do not provide any constructive solace to the original situation. What may have started as a necessary coping mechanism soon develops into an unhealthy addiction, and we end up worse off than we were before.

(x-posted here to nonduality)