On Suppressed Feelings
One of my readers believes that Hinduism promotes 'masking of emotions and suppression of feelings'. She graciously asked for my opinion.
Below lies my answer.
As far as I have understood Hinduism; one is NOT told to mask emotions or suppress feelings, one is told to introspect. One of the methods of introspecting, is to be aware of ones thoughts as one sits in silence. Deepak Chopra states in 'How to know God': 'Since the journey to the soul happens only in awareness, if you block out awareness you impede your progress; if you pay attention, you build up momentum.'
Once one has has been aware and recognised the thoughts that one is prone to have, one introspects on the utility of those thoughts. The Geeta tells us to do our best and leave the rest. One then does what one can do under the circumstances and after that refuse to waste time on the repetitious unnecessary thoughts. In the case of feelings and emotions, one studies the situation. One is made to realise that 'Life is a dream' 'Let go and Let God' i.e.. Surrender to His will (only after one has exhausted all that one need do under the circumstances)
If you have studied Bhakti or read the life stories of Bhaktas, you will notice that they never mask their emotions. But they love and emote and are sincere.
The Sahaj path or The natural Path that the Sufis follow in fact proclaims not to suppress any emotion, to the extent that onlookers may even consider them 'out of their mind' which I would interpret as being 'beyond their mind'
Let me share with you some thoughts of Swami Narayani from 'Within and Beyond'. They teach us to introspect. Once we have learned that, we are not asked to suppress our feelings, one sees the futility of over-reacting. That becomes our nature and our truth.' 'The more we can look into our feelings and recognise the glamour and illusions under which we live, the more quickly we will move forward. All emotions are tied up in desires. For or against, it is still desire. We must get down on looking at ourselves-watching the mind and learning to overcome building sandcastles in the sands of time. They crumble so quickly. We are no longer children. Let us grow into the Divine Splendour of the Almighty Power and rise above the baubles.'
My dear reader further stated that maybe the idea of Karma implied a certain acceptance of events in one's life. This sense of destiny may carry with it that Indian's should not get too emotional and should accept the negative events in their lives..
There are two schools of thought on the above theory. One is that you have no control over your destiny and the other is that you do have a free will to a certain extent. I am of the latter opinion. I do not believe that God makes us suffer to atone for our past mistakes. I believe that our difficulties provide us with a learning and are a stepping stone to another plane of being or thought. I do tend to agree with her here that the majority of Hindus have not understood correctly the Theory of karma and hence think that it is 'spiritual' not to get too emotional or to accept the negative aspects of their lives without putting much effort to improve their condition. The above is sad but I have learned to accept that everyone has their own pace in Spiritual growth.
I also believe that such deep thoughts are so much better thrashed out in person.
However, I hope that I have been of some help.
Religion does give boundaries. Society does give boundaries. However, Hinduism is not religion and is as ancient as mankind. Hinduism includes all schools of thought, maintains that all "roads" lead to God.
God is love. Love ever expands. Where there is expansion there can be no masking, rather unmasking our true individuality. Where there is expansion, how can there be suppression? Rather growth of happiness and bliss. What masks and suppresses is our ego. What needs to emerge is our true self.
There are two schools of thought on the above theory. One is that you have no
control over your destiny and the other is that you do have a free will to a
certain extent. I am of the latter opinion. I do not believe that God makes us
suffer to atone for our past mistakes. I believe that our difficulties provide
us with a learning and are a stepping stone to another plane of being or
Auntie, it is my understanding that Karma is a result of our free will choices both on this plane and the higher planes of existence. We chose our difficulties like you rightly said as a learning opportunity for spiritual growth just as we chose to make the right or wrong decisions on this earth plane while we are unaware of our choices before coming on earth. I think the reason that Indians rely so much on Karma and then become fatalistic is because we tend to put the entire onus on God whether they be good times or hard times. They drag him in the middle of their problems by saying why did you do this to me. It is easier for them to think that he is responsible for their difficulties or happiness rather than acknowledge and take responsibility themselves. And then because it becomes God's decision we must accept it stoically and not be emotional for not to do that would be disrespectful to him.
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