People can be moody. Sometimes we’re energetic and optimistic, and sometimes we’re sluggish and blue. We have our own internal weather, seemingly as capricious as clouds.
But here is where we can take a cue from the atmospheric weather. We have no delusions that we have become the weather. As long as we’re rational, we know that the weather will change. It may affect us, but we don’t get confused and think we've become the rain or the snow.
With inside weather, meaning our own emotions, we start believing they define us. We’re "seized" by a mood, or we're "overcome" by fear or joy. We usually say, I am sad instead of I feel sad. We tend to identify with feelings; we often don’t try to separate from them.
There are many reasons why we take our inner weather so seriously and many justifications for letting it kidnap our identity. Mostly, the power and passion of emotions are hard to resist. The sheer force of a strong feeling is cathartic and can easily be mistaken for salvation or some other ultimate fate.
In short, we forget that our emotional life is the same as weather. It may shape us and color our days, but it remains merely atmospheric and can’t touch the core, unchanging reality of the Self.
It’s that self which journal writing, when done pen-to-page on a daily basis, slowly, gently, lovingly unearths.
The process of writing in a journal is like digging up buried treasure, loosening the packed earth around the forgotten You as you were born so that your core Self can at last begin to emerge.
One distinguishing characteristic of the core self is that it is far less subject to moods. From the self’s viewpoint, moods are properly perceived as weather: temporal, external, and beside-the-point.
This is not at all to say that the core self has no heart! To the contrary, a generous heart may well be the Self’s strongest trait. Just because we are freed from the tyranny of emotions in no way means that we no longer feel them. We feel them as much as ever!
But, as journaling teaches us, we’re no longer slaves to our emotions.
Here are some practices to get started on your journal to emotional freedom.