Wednesday, 8 September 2010

day 29: emotions

unfortunately my cold took hold last night, and i've spent most of the day in bed. the headache has been my constant companion. still, i made it to the mosque tonight, and managed to last through the prayers. tonight may be the last night of ramadan, because if the moon is sighted tomorrow evening, the new month begins after sunset. the chances of seeing the moon are reasonably good - it will be out for an hour after sunset, and will be over 17 hours old. if the moon isn't sighted, we fast for another day and eid will be on saturday.

today's topic is the ability to feel emotions, i guess another one related to the power of the brain or the mind. although we tend to say that emotions come from the heart, i don't know why. it is after all just an organ that pumps blood around our body, but maybe because it is the centre of our being and this seems to be where our emotions come from.

i'm thankful for being able to feel joy, love, sadness, anger, passion, worry - that whole
range of emotional responses that enrich the human experience. i can't imagine life without the love i feel for my children, my family, my friends, my community, my country & my planet.

the theme for islam awareness week this year was "cultivating positive emotions", which is a commendable thing. research shows that those who have a positive outlook have a longer life expectancy, and better health during that longer life.

however, i think that negative emotions have benefits as well. so much of activism, for example, is a result of anger with the status quo. if we didn't feel that anger combined with sadness & outrage, we would be much less motivated to act. these emotions act as a fuel, and so are just as important as the positive ones.

our negative emotions help us to appreciate the positive ones. how would we appreciate the feelign of joy if we had never felt sadness? or the feeling of calm if we had never known worry? having said that, emotions can be scary especially when they are out of control. excessive anger can lead to violence. excess in other emotions can hinder our ability to function properly. the thing is to find a balance between the positive and the negative, hopefully tilted a little more towards the positive side for that longer & healthier life!

if i had to pick the most important emotion, it would have to be hope. life without hope is pretty meaningless, and unless we have hope of better things in the future, it's very hard to carry on. hope inspires us to strive for better things.

this is another topic that it's hard to think of causes to support - i think the sources of our positive & negative emotions lie in so many of the topics i've already covered. for those who are currently suffering unduly from negative emotions, whatever the cause, or who are having to deal with the negative emotions of others, my thoughts & prayers are with you.

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