Glad Being Sad
Archie Modequillo (The Freeman) - April 25, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — One night a thunderstorm lunged fiercely. The thunder so loud, the lightning so bright. The wind blew so hard, the windows rattled.

It was scary, but you would not want to miss the spectacle.

Isn’t it ironic? Why are we drawn to something that scares us? It’s hard to explain, but it is so.

Oh, the mischievous art of human emotions. We tend to want more of what we abhor, think more of what we want to forget. It’s a complex that we want to turn away from, and yet unwittingly walk backwards towards.

As the tempest continued that night I got up to witness it, to be fully around in its wrath. I pulled a chair outside, to a tiny space where an overhang shielded me from the pouring rain. I sat there for a long while, my mind hopping from one thought to another.

The different forces at play in nature and the different emotions we experience are hard to comprehend. Some people are happy, others sad, angry, or in fear. Some are brimming with hope, while others wallow in emotional doldrums.

Most interestingly, some people are sad – and yet only too happy to feel that way. They are drawn to the drama of it, of feeling oppressed, lost and ill-fated, states that invite others’ sympathy. Or perhaps the reason is something else altogether.

Emotions tend to arise spontaneously in response to life events. Something happens, and we have a certain emotional reaction to it. For the most part the response is automatic and involuntary; it seems to spring up by itself – but does it, really?

We feel sad for others in distress. We share another’s pain. It’s a curious thing, because, when we probe the feeling deeper, at the back of such sadness is a kind of rejoicing… over our good luck of not being the one in the poor guy’s place.

A person who’s in love or in a state of passion would surely relish the romantic emotions. But other people dislike their emotions awakened. Some want to disconnect from their emotions fearing that these can make them lose control of themselves.

Intense emotions, when arisen, can sometimes seem like the storm that rumbles around when I am alone at night. It can be frighteningly… attractive! The mystery boggles my mind, but I enjoy being engulfed by it.

Glory can emerge from the confusion, from the chaos. Amid a storm – in the world and in oneself – there is often a calm center that can be reached. There often surfaces a realization of sorts: We are not our feelings; we feel any way we choose.

Emotions are impermanent; no emotion lasts forever. Even a dearest one who’s at the center of our lives is at times pushed to the sidelines when other emotions reign. At other times we are pleasantly surprised by a refreshed view of old familiar things prompted by a surge of a certain emotion.

Emotions arise within our consciousness, but they are not our consciousness. In experiencing a storm of emotions, we need not become the storm. We are free to stop, breathe, and rise above the torrents.

As I sat amidst the lightning, thunder, wind, and rain, I felt a compulsion to cry. Not that I was in distress or suffering, but I felt it was nice to go with natural outburst of the weather.  I did, and it felt good.

It was very good to feel that this physical person was not the whole me… that there’s more of me waiting to be discovered. I felt hope, a kind of certainty that there’s more to come. That a calm core could be reached, even as the storm continued to whirl.

For what is the value of light without darkness? What is quiet without noise? In a similar sense, joy is a subtle background sensation to sorrow.

Sadness is ultimately a pleasurable and soothing sensation. We are sad to lose someone or a good chance. We need to go through the feeling so that, in the end, we may be cleansed of any guilt or remorse or attachment.

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