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Chapter III





Emotions can be purveyors of beautiful experiences in life as much as they can be a source of endless pain. They come from our perceptions of our sensory world where we interpret ourselves and the world as being in harmony or in conflict.

Dr.Masaru Emoto, renowned Naturopathic doctor and pious Buddhist from Japan, married his religious convictions with his scientific skepticism by showing that water exposed to negative thoughts formed ugly and deformed crystals, while water exposed to positive thoughts formed symmetric and sublime crystals (The Hidden Messages of Water, Beyond Words Publishing, Hillsboro, Oregon, 2006).

Since 80%-50% of our bodies are made of water (depending on our age), it only follows, that negativity generating emotions and positivity generating emotions modify not just our cognitive and sentimental essences but also the very physiology of our bodies. We can only extrapolate how our states of being affect our interactions with others, if not our very actions in the world.

Perception is the key to interpreting our environment. John Milton, (British author of Paradise Lost and Paradise Found), states this as follows: “The mind is its own place and in itself can make a heaven of hell or a hell of heaven.”

Dr. Constantin Dulcan, a famous neurologist from Romania described this connection between the kind of thoughts we entertain and how it affects us, by stating:

Let us be aware of our THOUGHTS,

for they will become our EMOTIONS.

Let us be aware of our EMOTIONS,

for they will become our WORDS.

Let us be aware of our WORDS,

for they will become our ACTIONS.

Let us be aware of our ACTIONS,

for they will become our HABITS.

Let us be aware of our HABITS,

for they will become our PERSONALITY.

Let us be aware of our PERSONALITY,

for it will become our DESTINY.

(Dr. Constantin Dulcan, Reteta Fericirii, Gandul, Bucharest, Romania, 2016).

One example of perceiving our worlds, as Dan Puric, an internationally acclaimed Romanian actor, dancer and commentator discussed, is our paradigm on our connection to the society in which we live (Puric, Dan, Omul  Frumos, Editura Libris, Bucharest, Romania, 2009).

He postulates that if a person sees herself as part of a population, her interest is very minimal in regards to society. Her approach to the rest of the people is very individualistic, a ‘winner takes it all,’ ‘me, myself and I’ attitude. However, if the same person sees herself as being part of a people, then her sense of identity is fused with the society in which she lives (in terms of preset, past and future values of that culture). A sense of quasi automatic empathy is generated and the person thinks, feels and acts in terms of ‘we.’ A sense of community brings an implicit and explicit responsibility and expectation that one’s actions benefited both her interests AND the interests of her ‘people.’

We can surmise that man versus population will think, feel and act only for his benefit, regardless of the cost to others, whereas man and his people, will permeate his existence, in some cases leading to his supreme sacrifice for his community. People, ideologies, politics and religions, have thus acquired supporters who will transcend individuals, places, things and time, in order to experience that addictive feeling of ‘belonging’ so dear to human beings, since the beginning of time. They would thus become true believers (Eric HofferThe True Believer, Barnes & Noble, New York, 1951).

In order for people to feel that they have fully meaningful lives, they seek and try to find validation on four dimensions: intra-personal; inter-personal; intra-group; inter-group.

The intra-personal dimension is introversive in nature and covers areas of our identity which we find within; essentially, our thoughts (beliefs, perceptions), feelings and physiology.

The inter-personal dimension is extroversive and it involves our one-on-one communication with other individuals.

The intra-group communication is extroversive and it involves our functioning within our communities.

The inter-group communication, also extroversive, deals with our functioning in new or otherwise unfamiliar groups.

An American expression often equaled to defeatism states: “it is what it is.” While the journalists will be quick to list this as a circular argument logical fallacy, the truth of the matter is that even if this statement is taken at face value, it is not true. In fact, what’s more realistic is to state: it is how we PERCEIVE it to be. Therefore, particularly in a circumstance where we cannot change a fact, we can change the perception of it from negative into a positive one and therefore, we can think, feel, talk and act differently in regard to that situation.

Let’s take a pen and poke our finger with it.  Let’s call that a sensation. How we think, feel and act about it depends entirely on whether we perceive that sensation as ticklish, painful, annoying, amusing, or pleasant. Even in an extreme case such as having one’s body being whipped with vengeance, the sensations from it usually perceived as being painful are sometimes perceived by some people as a pleasurable experience. A flourishing industry of dominatrix people, getting paid a good penny by such individuals to hurt them, stands testimony to this fact.

We can visualize a fact/sensation as the content in a bottle and the perception, as the bottle itself (context, container). The saying cautioning us: “not to judge a book by its cover,” is telling on how manipulation of the context by the advertisement industries can induce us to buy inferior products (content), often at an inflated price, based on their glorious, external presentation (context/ container). Similarly, we can try to ‘manipulate’ the context/perception of our paradigms, related to this or that situation, which we may be facing mandatorily, by reframing how we look at them, that is to say, from a negative into a positive perspective. Our context/perception is in our control, provided that we are reasonably sane in mind and calm.

In today’s Western societies we are often encouraged, if not tempted to seek and find instant gratification for our desires. In counseling terms, this is called the P.I.G. (the Problem of Instant Gratification). This is a problem because instant gratification can and does address the symptoms of our desires but hardly ever the core or the cause of them.

Let’s take the example of a head-ache. If I want instant relief, I go to a doctor who gives me medication. I take the pill which numbs my head-ache. Problem solved. But is it solved? Not really. For as soon as the effects of the medications go away, the head-ache reappears. This means that I have to take another pill to numb the symptom (the head-ache). The headache is there and I simply manage it by taking pills in perpetuity.

However, if I want to come to a resolution rather than management of the head-ache, I seek the cause of the head-ache and I try to eliminate it. Without a cause for the head-ache, there is no head-ache. For example, if I eat salty foods which give me high blood-pressure, which in turn constrict the blood vessels in the head and which give me head-aches, I go on a low-salt diet. Following the diet, the blood pressure normalizes, the blood vessels don’t get constricted anymore, which means that there is no more head-ache. By eliminating the cause of the head-ache there is no more head-ache.

Whether this approach is taken to address physiological problems or in regards to psychological problems, it is just as successful and permanent in its results. It should be said that a resolution approach takes usually longer than the management approach in showing results. Sometimes, both techniques are being used in addressing a problem but very often, today’s society and individuals opt for the immediate gratification/relief approach only, with its hopelessly temporary and insufficient effects and results.

With this distinction in mind, we can reframe our approach to our problems from management to resolution, in a wide array of areas, from stress and pain management, to their respective resolutions, which lead to long-term if not permanent beneficial effects.


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