When I first started the spiritual path I thought that once I reached a certain point there would be no pain. The best example of my thinking was an experience I had with a priest in a social setting. We shared a mutual friend and all went to dinner where the priest was talking about a young nephew in his charge that was making bad decisions causing the priest much sadness and pain. I was shocked that priests, people who in theory are exceptionally spiritual, still experience negative human emotions. Just goes to show how much I had to learn.
For some reason this week has been increasingly difficult for me. I’ve been having feelings about the pregnancy we lost about a month ago and two other disappointing things. The challenge seems to be that my analytic mind tells me I should be past these things, especially since I’ve had large chunks of time where I don’t think about them and feel fine. In the times I feel good I start to believe that I’m past the difficult feelings, which makes their return all the more surprising.
The answer is simple. I just need to accept the fact that I still have uncomfortable emotions around some issues and must allow myself to feel them fully. That is, I need to be fully present with the feelings. I need to stop forming opinions, or judgments, about whether or not I should still be having feelings around these matters. It is what it is and that is all. What I’ve been doing this week is adding suffering on top of pain because of my desire to think the pain shouldn’t be with me.
The progress I’ve made is that if I was feeling this way around the time I started this blog I would have wondered what I was doing wrong. My practice has taught me that no matter how far one progresses on the spiritual path the human emotions are still part of the experience and always will be. In fact, the negative emotions are where we learn our greatest lessons and discover new aspects of ourselves. That is why it is inaccurate for me to call the emotions of sadness, pain, fear, etc. negative. All emotions give us gifts and are simply part of the human journey.