The small child desperately wants to cry, but does not, because she knows that one peep out of her will make everything ten times worse. The young woman has had a terrible disappointment, and could cry, but will not give her enemies the satisfaction. Not crying is a good lesson to learn, but there are two ways to learn it.
One is, to see the impulse to cry as a problem to be controlled, even an enemy to be resisted. But the enemy I punish is myself. Suppressing feeling is a valuable skill, but only in grave necessity, when the feeling cannot be indulged at all, and not for a moment longer than necessary- as if you have to hold your breath, but then can sigh with relief, and breathe again. I came to loathe and fear my feelings.
Then I must use so much energy to suppress the feeling. It is like a toddler, who will not be denied. You ignore it, it thinks you can’t hear, it shouts louder. I spent my time battling myself. And it is there, anyway, affecting my behaviour- I manage to block it from my own consciousness, but possibly not from anyone else’s.
It seemed to me that when I cry I was communicating with myself. I read somewhere consciousness was like a mahout on a large elephant which was the unconscious processes beneath. The elephant needs to let the mahout know, and it can. That overwhelming pressure to cry- it is Sadness. I take a moment to feel it. A sharp exhalation, it is painful.
It is there. It is me.
It is my feeling, my reaction to my circumstances. It fits; it is that reaction which fits me, my desires, my character, my ability. It is good, right, beautiful. It is not my enemy to be crushed, but my wise counsellor to move me. I accept it, and do not need to cry. It is an advantage not to, sometimes, even though crying can be a sweet release, a movement from despair to acceptance, feeling the feeling intensely then washing it away.
Observe a 4-year-old child going through her daily life. You will not find the slightest bit of irony in her behavior… She likes what she likes and declares it without dissimulation. She is not particularly conscious of the scrutiny of others. She does not hide behind indirect language. The most pure nonironic models in life, however, are to be found in nature: animals and plants are exempt from irony, which exists only where the human dwells.
I am self-conscious, a consummate hypocrite. I grow out of it. Now, I am very sad. It is time to meditate. I am wary of it, being alone with myself, without barriers to protect my idea of myself from my real self. To prepare, I intone
I accept- All of me. All of me.
I kneel, and find- frustration. Ah. Feelings are not predictable, they can have more surprising combinations than that, they just are.