In the story of the domination of Man vs Wild (that is the actual Homo Sapien and not the dude on Discovery), we tend to overlook the role of emotions and attribute the domination to intellect. We do not realize that emotions are an equally important player in the game of survival of the fittest. Nature has created the aspect of intellect and emotion such that Intellect is the Energy that gives Direction while Emotion is the Energy that gives Motion. The intellect can be likened to the steering wheel of the car and one can sit in the driver’s seat the whole day turning the wheel this way and that way but unless the engine of emotions revs up to generate the required Horse Power, they will not go anywhere.
When you spot a pair of tiger eyes locking onto yours, it is only bone chilling fear that will get you to run faster than Usain Bolt. At that point if you stop to calculate the optimum speed you should run at so that you can beat the tiger and not get tired, good luck to you! Similarly, only the memory of the exquisite pleasure you experienced when eating a sweet, ripe mango will motivate you to risk going deep in the forests to find more mangoes. If you sit there rationalising that no amount of sweetness is worth fighting off monkey claws, you will starve to death. Of course, it is the intellect that discovered fire to scare off the tigers and it is the intellect only that came up with the idea of planting a mango seed in the backyard.
I do not wish to downplay the role of intellect in our lives but I feel that today we live our lives in such a way that we overplay the role of the intellect and we underplay the role of the emotions. And we end up with safe yet juice-less, dry lives. On the one hand we are constantly strengthening our borders so that we are far away from anything that is dangerous and wild and on the other hand we are continuously chasing more and more mangoes, without pausing to enjoy their sweetness. Our intellect logically proves to us that the safer we are, with as many resources as we can have, the better we will be. If safe and dry lives were to be the ultimate goal of our evolution, we would have Heaven on Earth, at least on those parts where they have electricity, education and transportation. Isn’t it? And yet the homes, hearths and offices of most urban folks are the furthest from heaven. Why?
Because of one faulty assumption – we have assumed that as a side effect of the story of domination of man over wild, we have conquered nature as well. That as we glide about in our shiny vehicles on smooth roads of tar perfectly constructed in our jungle of concrete, we have absolutely no connection with a faraway land of our origins called as nature which is a jungle of massive trees where unruly animals move about on rocky, uneven trails. When we think like this, we forget that what moves about in our shiny vehicles, what sits in our ergonomic chairs, what sleeps in our polyurethane beds; what gives life to our concrete jungles is nature itself! That no matter where we go and how we live, we cannot escape our most important essence which is nature.
In a line from the song “Sadda haq” from the hindi movie “Rockstar” the protagonist says, “O eco-friendly, nature ke rakshak, mein bhi hoon nature!” He is referring to society in general, to all the NGO’s and social workers who are so passionate about preserving the wild nature, he tells them that please note – I, too am nature (and hence worthy of nurturing and preserving). In the angst, typical of a rockstar, he means to say “Oh people! Do not suck my soul so dry as to make my life meaningless.”
Emotion is the language of nature and the juice maker of our lives. Psychology tells us that in addition to the fight or flight response of survival, modern man has evolved to offer one more response to a stressful situation. It is called the “Playing Dead” response. For a majority of us, playing dead is the standard response to most situations – saying “mujhe koi farak nahi padta” when internally you are boiling with rage, shivering with fear or turning green with jealously. We pretend to be dead, to our self and to the rest of the world. Some of us have made such a habit of this response that we do not even realize that deep within we are actually hurting. Our intellect has always guided us to make safe choices so we unconsciously choose to be safe from the pain of rejection and failure. We convince ourselves that this particular person or relationship or career choice or decision or cause is of no importance to our life. We tell ourselves and the world that “I don’t care!”
And this is the biggest betrayal of our selves, of our true nature. Because we do care, we are simply afraid to acknowledge to our self that we do care; because even though our houses are safe from wild animals, it is still dangerous outside. There are people/ relationships/ career choices/ decisions/ causes that are so precious to you that any rejection, disappointment or failure in those areas would threaten your survival. And therefore we betray our emotions – our gift from nature. And we pay a huge price for this betrayal because it sucks the juice out of our life. It neutralizes all the waves of joy and sorrow from the ocean of our life and our life becomes a vast expanse of water which looks peaceful and well managed from the top but does not support any marine life underneath.
ps: This is definitely not the end of my viewpoint on this particular topic but it is actually the end of the number of words I can subject you to in a day :). In other words, this has gotten too long already and I will continue at another time. Meanwhile, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section.
Author: Shibani Thakur, Founder, Y2L Meditation & Relaxation Studio & Co-Founder, Travel Light
Travel Light is a self awareness program that uses a combination of pragmatic learning, mind therapy and meditation practices to enable identification of limiting patterns from the past and help you break those patterns for good.
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