Insurance against the dark side

Faith in humanity restored is insignificant if faith in humanity did not get lost in the first place. These 4 words that we often see being posted in social media is a hint that humanity has a tendency to gravitate to the dark side.

Fear is the path of the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.

Yoda

I love this quote. But I believe fear isn’t the only path to the dark side.

for wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)

If left unchecked, more often than not, the trajectory of humans in response to extreme emotions is a place of hurt and suffering to others and/or self. I have no evidence for this, but this seems to rhyme with the opening paragraph.

If this is so, then humanity needs an insurance. Some would say religion is an insurance, it attempts to cultivate goodness in us, but to me religion is an assurance, an assurance that a divine being considers me worthy of consideration. When I think about the heavens, the moons and all the stars, I wonder what God ever saw in me.

So if religion isn’t an insurance then what is? Emotional Awareness.

If humanity has a natural tendency to gravitate towards the dark side, then every decision point offers a chance to steer away from it.

gohawaypapa

In order to introduce decision points, we need to cultivate emotional awareness. Otherwise, in the face of emotional outbursts, we don’t stop to consider options and only do what is “natural”.

I recently read a blog that invites us to do a “feeling check in” activity. It continued to provide a link to a site that provides us with a whole range of words that describe emotions (Sometimes “angry” just doesn’t fit when we’re only feeling “annoyed”).

So emotional awareness comes in 2 stages: Language and Response

Language: We need to cultivate our vocabulary of emotions so that we can better identify and express how we feel. If we can find the right description of how we are feeling, it offers a better chance for others to understand us, which then plays a critical role in helping us manage our responses.

Response: Growing up, we were rarely taught about what we can do when we feel angry. And this is evident in my role as an educator. I often find myself speaking to teenagers (13-17 years old) having to explain to them what they can do if they feel angry. There are many options, walking away, counting, breathing, do something else, etc… But not every teenager could tell me that. So during peace time, we would need to explore our options in preparation for the inevitable outbursts.


Perhaps this is over simplifying things, but I believe it is a good start. We don’t have the luxury of time to sit down and plan our responses when we are emotional charged. The preparations we made during peace time introduces a much needed decision point.

Cover image by Reiterlied from Flickr

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