Just now I was telling a good friend that I watch tv dramas because they give me a space to cry – something I used to do at the drop of a pin, but these days I find it difficult to. My traditional chinese medicine doctor taught me that the suppression of emotions causes the liver problems, and there has been more research in science that supports the theory that stress causes illnesses. Not allowing our own bodies to release our emotions is also a form of stress.
I used to react dramatically when people would suggest that I could be repressing my emotions, I’ll be like, “Who, me?”. I have never been afraid to emote, but I have realised the older I grow, the more I have been holding in unconsciously. It is not a conscious defensive reaction to not show emotions for me, it is an unconscious protective mechanism. It is as if my body knew that if I grew too aware of them too soon, I would break.
I am always sad, I told the same friend. Even when I am in joy, I am still sad. I attribute my capacity for joy to my everlasting sadness:
”You see this goblet?” asks Achaan Chaa, the Thai meditation master. “For me this glass is already broken. I enjoy it; I drink out of it. It holds my water admirably, sometimes even reflecting the sun in beautiful patterns. If I should tap it, it has a lovely ring to it. But when I put this glass on the shelf and the wind knocks it over or my elbow brushes it off the table and it falls to the ground and shatters, I say, ‘Of course.’ When I understand that the glass is already broken, every moment with it is precious.”
Why am I always sad? I don’t know. I could attribute it to genes, to some chemical imbalance. Though if I’m asked now, it is probably an over-awareness of truth, of impermanence, of the futility of it all. But therein lies the paradox, a paradox I have been trying to cultivate in myself to sit with. It is precisely the impermanence that makes life precious. I feel like the ADD kid in class who can’t wait for class to end, without trying to even find some way I could derive something out of it. Not meaning, not value – as I go further into my own journey I have been hesitant to place any human-defined positive labels – but rather, the experience.
Is life worth living solely because of life? The detached observer in me tells me I don’t have the whole picture yet. As long as I am still alive, I am ignorant of the whole picture, and I cannot let what I feel now rob me of the finality I will one day face, that at the very least, I owe it to myself and those who love me, to at least sit it out for myself to truly answer my own question.
For now, I can only keep telling myself, I need to embrace the humility that I don’t know enough to determine for myself, whether my life has been worthwhile to me or not.