Sexual Feelings, Sadness, and Joy
What wisdom do we find in the emotions of joy, sadness, and sexual feelings? This is what we are going to discover in this third and final blog of this series on understanding emotions.
The term `sexual feelings` can be understood in different ways. It could refer to the emotion of lust, a desire to enjoy the pleasure of sex life. Although a very natural feeling, it can become a great obstacle on our spiritual path because it reinforces our bodily conception of life. Obviously, sex can mean much more than just lusty desire, it also possesses the power of creation. After all, the natural consequence of sex is the birth of a child. In other words, there are two things, namely sexual lust, which leads to the desire to have a physical relationship and there is sexual creativity, which leads to the birth of new, creative ideas and inputs in life.
What’s the practical lesson of this in the context of Krishna Consciousness? It is said, that those who desire to practice celibacy, whether in the brahmacari ashrama or the grhasta ashrama, should be creative. Whether it is through music, writing, painting, cooking or dressing and decorating the deities, all these activities are favorable for a celibate lifestyle. Why? Because this is a way to express the powerful sexual energy in the form of creativity. If this is not done, the same energy might try to express itself in a different and grosser way. The sexual force can never be suppressed, but it can be transformed.
What about joy and sadness? When we are sad, it is an indication that we need to say goodbye to something. Sadness is the energy of loss. Something that was meaningful to us has left. This could be a person, an idea, an opportunity, etc. We might accept the feeling and feel the pain of loss, but then we need to learn how to let go. Also in spiritual life, it is very important to learn how to let go of things. There is an interesting story in this connection: The great King Janaka Maharaj once asked a sage who had visited his kingdom „How can I ever become free from the influence of maya, the external energy of the Lord ?“ Without saying anything the sadhu walked to a nearby pillar and hugged the pillar tightly crying: „Oh leave me, please leave me!“ The King and the ministers who witnessed this unusual scene became worried. What happened to the sadhu, did he become crazy? The sadhu then turned to the king and asked him „Do you understand? Did you get your answer?“ „No!“ said the king. Then the sadhu explained: „It is not that the pillar is holding me, rather I am embracing the pillar. Similarly, it is not that maya has captured you and is not letting you go, you are holding tightly to maya!“ In other words, we are holding onto maya out of ignorance and bodily attachments. So whenever we feel sadness in our heart, we can ask ourselves, what do I need to let go of, to what do I need to say goodbye?
At other times we are just feeling very blissful and our heart is filled with joy. When we experience joy, it is an indication for us to celebrate, to be grateful, to appreciate. In fact, because a devotee of the Lord always remembers Krishna, glorifies Him and is full of gratitude and appreciation, he or she is constantly very joyful. More on the joy of devotion and gratitude in another blog…
Let’s summarize this idea of the `Wisdom of Feelings`: Emotions should be understood (they are simply sensations occurring in the body) and expressed. We can be aware of them, can describe them, move our bodies accordingly or express them with sound. We can then try to analyze what this emotion that I just experienced wants to tell me. The five basic emotions and their wisdom, according to Conscious Leadership, are: Anger - something needs to be changed, Fear - wake up, something needs to be understood, Sexual feeling - something wants to be manifested, Sadness - something needs to be let go and Joy - time to be grateful and to appreciate.
Instead of neglecting or suppressing our feelings, we should accept them, give them space to be expressed and understand their messages for us. I found this to be a very interesting topic, after all, Krishna Consciousness is all about feelings, ultimately about the loving feelings for Krishna. However, before we can feel such elevated emotions, it might be good to learn how to deal and express the very basic human feelings!