Saturday, August 23, 2008

have joy banish pain

I recently met a wonderful person who was suffering from immense physical pain. He had a few toes amputated due to progressive diabetes. He was also suffering from heart trouble and was in pretty bleak spirit. His family was with him, and they too were going through a trying time due to his illness.

I went to meet him at the hospital and found him extremely warm and approachable and at the same time a bit cynical of the purpose of my visit. I had never met him before, he is the father of a friend and I thought it would be nice of me to visit him and try and share some “Happiness” with him.

During the course of the conversation, I found out that he had been carrying a lot of emotional pain. He had unfinished family business and never forgave himself and one of his relatives for having cheated him out of his proper share of land and property. He was carrying a lot of bitterness and anger towards this particular relative. He blamed himself for having let his children down by not having ensured a secure future for them. He felt betrayed and cheated and wanted revenge.

Interestingly, according to Louise Hay- (author, motivational speaker, and healer) Diabetes is emotionally related to –longing for what might have been, a deep sorrow related to need for control leading to bitterness and anger. Heart ailments relate to issues with love and security.

When I heard about his ailments and I heard about his emotional issues I could immediately relate the two. Sure enough, his anger, his bitterness and his need to control and take revenge had to manifest physically and it surely did.

According to Paul Eckmen- researcher of emotions, anger is experienced when we feel someone is interfering with what we want. We experience an innate need to control the situation, we feel like attacking the source of our interference and sometimes we are successful in our attack and at others we are not. When we are not successful with the attack and are unable to achieve the desired result we tend to retain our anger and the mere mention of the object of our anger tends to lead to an increase in heart rate and an increase in the blood flow in our extremities, taking it away from the vital organs. This is due to the fight or flight response. Unmitigated anger over a long period will most definitely lead to physical ailments.

Uncle, was paying a huge price for carrying this anger. He was suffering both emotionally and physically. Only if he could put it aside, he would really start to heal. Often our anger and pain, becomes so much a part of our lives that we forget to live without it. Fortunately anger is a learned emotion; therefore it surely can be unlearned. When holding on to anger starts to threaten one’s own survival, it surely must be let go.

I know from experience the physical effects of guilt and anger. I was extremely angry and at the same time guilty of a certain episode in my life. At that time I used to suffer excruciating headaches and could hardly sleep. I looked older than my age and was constantly tired. I almost believed myself to be a manic depressive and was constantly looking out for signs that made me believe that I was suffering from Bi polar disorder. I just could not put the pain or the guilt aside. Eventually however, I did manage to overcome the emotional issues and before I knew it, I was sleeping like a baby and headaches were history. I took the whole drawer full of sleeping aids and headache pills (which I had collected like candy) and threw it in the bin. Of course it did not happen overnight; it was a slow process of acknowledging and accepting the situation. The giving up of the need to control the outcome by indulging in the right practices-namely yoga, meditation, reading spiritual literature and listening to uplifting music. I did everything I needed to do to get me out of this losing proposition. Wonderful friends who gave the right guidance were a god send. It took almost two years to give up the pills completely, but it happened and I can’t even remember what headaches and insomnia feels like. ( Am not complaining!!!!!!!!)

Is any pain worth holding on to the anger, bitterness and unforgiveness? Very often the object of our anger has moved on and is leading a happy fulfilling life, whereas we choose to suffer and wallow in self pity and self flagellation. Our body suffers and starts to retaliate, our friendships and our families suffer. Our work suffers and we are left with nothing but our anger and our hatred towards the world at large. Nothing seems to please us anymore. We forget joy and we forget happiness. Life becomes a burden and we can’t wait for it all to end.

Again, is it really worth it? We all have a purpose and a destiny and I sincerely doubt if it entails carrying pain, anger and bitterness. I recently watched the movie – Bucket List starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. In one of the scenes Morgan Freeman tells Jack Nicholson that it is an old Egyptian belief that when a person dies and his soul reaches the gates of heaven, the Gods ask two questions that determine if the soul will enter heaven or not. The two questions are “have you had joy in your life? Has your life brought joy to someone’s life?” It is as simple as that.

Have joy and bring joy. An angry, bitter person will never be able to enjoy life and his life will most certainly not bring joy. Happiness and joy are contagious as are pain and misery? What would you rather choose?

I don’t really know much about heaven and hell but why make our life on earth hell when we have the capability right within ourselves to make it into heaven. Why not choose happiness and attain heaven on earth?


Phil McNally said...

Good message.

Buddist say 'being angry with someone is a bit like holding a hot coal to throw at someone and its you who suffers'

Psychologists have come up with useful strategies. One is proven to be helpful and is recommended in the excellent book 'the how of happiness'. Read about the technique here;

I have also found suggested in Dr John Gray’s books ‘What you feel you can heal’ and ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’. Dr John Gray’s great ‘Love letter’ goes through the five main emotional levels;
1. Anger, blame and resentment
2. Hurt, sadness and disappointment
3. Fear and insecurity
4. Guilt, regret and “I’m sorry”
5. Love, forgiveness, understanding and intention

Forgiveness cures many of life’s problems.
Forgiveness cures many physical problems, even cancer.
Forgiveness cures anger. Forgiveness cures cancer.

Here is a simple way to remember his advice when you don’t have this book or John’s book to refer to and you want to write a quick ‘feelings letter’ to yourself or someone else;
1. Anger
2. Sadness
3. Fear
4. Sorry
5. Love

You may find it easy to remember as; A.S. F.S. Love

Writing the letter is the most important step. However i have also used it in my head and it worked well. My anger was gone.

Wishing you happiness,


Happiness coach said...

Thank you Phil, your comments are insightful.