Sunday, May 11, 2014

Are Your Feelings My Problem?

The answer to the question Are Your Feelings My Problem? begs deeper analysis than a simple "yes" or "no." For those who vote "yes," the affirmative boils down to two possibilities:

-- You are a bodhisattva, one who incarnates in order to relieve the suffering of others. Whether a Mother Teresa, a animal rescue worker, a neo-natal nurse, or an angel in human disguise with a near infinite resume of job descriptions, the urge to compassion-in-action seems legitimate. Without empathetic humans, many lives would end in hopelessness.


-- You are co-dependent. Like a wolf in sheep's clothing, the co-dependent person claims to be on the look-out for a significant other, while in fact they feed off of his or her problems in order to avoid dealing with their own fears and lack of boundaries. In this case, the co-dependent becomes infected by the other, or as Leonard Cohen penned, "I caught the darkness drinking from your cup."

In the spirit of a democratic discussion, let's now look at those would would say, "No, your feelings are not my problem." And why would someone take this politically incorrect stance?

-- You are a metaphysician and assert that there is no "me" or "you," but that we are simply consciousness floating about in the unified field. In that scenario, there is no reality to either the feelings or the person who claims to have the pesky emotions. If one insists their problems are real, the philosoper-king might respond that we live in samsara a.k.a. the place where shit happens - so get a guru, find a therapist, take a hike, or sign up for a seminar.


-- You are a self-centered asshole with an agenda that includes me, myself and I. The feelings of another are viewed through a telescope of distance; one alien looking at another alien with no language to connect the two in any meaningful dialogue. This profile creates all types, ranging from harmless narcissists to mass murderers.

In the world according to me, the answer is "yes" and "no." Compassion is the operative term that describes the way of relating to the feelings of others. While absorbing the emotions of others will not help our cause (freedom from suffering), having compassion for others is the fail-safe way to connect, empathize, yet not internalize emotional baggage. Indeed, compassion is the "yes" and "no" answer to every situation one might encounter while in this bag of flesh called a human being - the master key that opens all doors.

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