On Mood

Across murky waters

Maggie in a recent comment gave me the idea to write about mood and I am quite happy to reflect on the subject. I am not an expert, but I know a little bit about the impact of stress on body and mind, as well as the relation between spirituality and medicine, and mood is central to this evolving field.  As usual, I will not keep within the boundaries of my current understanding or knowledge, but rather use what I know as a starting point to enquire deeper into the subject.

Mood per definition is a prolonged emotional state. It is not an emotion, but it is rooted in it. Mood is the subtle feeling in the background and it is like wallpaper or carpeting. They can make a room pleasant or cold, make you feel warm and welcome or wanting to leave.  Mood is the air that surrounds us. It is an energy emanating from us, affecting and influencing others and this is how we create our world.

If you think about primary emotions, like fear, anger or sadness – they are strong, sharp and direct, moreover it is impossible to ignore them, because they are related to survival. Fear is always in relation to something, anger is a dynamic energy that wants us to act to change a situation, and sadness may be behind all of it, pointing to the cause – the loss, the fall from grace or the original sin of separation.

So ego – or the conditioned mind – may use our ability to generate emotions for it’s own purpose and co-opt an emotional experience,  in order to dampen, avoid or overlay the strong and unsettling feelings that go along with a primary emotion. There may be many reasons for it. For example, a small child may not have the means necessary to run away from a – real or perceived – danger, or stand up to an adult.  We all go through such experiences in our childhood, that are the triggers of our habit to resist, avoid or struggle.

We all have to remember that parents – or caretakers – are the world for a small child. It is easier to accept that the fault is with us, than to even to consider the possibility that the caretakers are weak and overwhelmed by the demands of living themselves. So the particular reaction to an event that goes along with strong emotions, like fear, anger or sadness, may be an attempt to correct that situation by the means of a child – like trying to be particularly good or helpful, or adopting different strategies how to get out of a situation of overwhelming emotional pain.

Manipulation of truth is what that really  is. Sometimes you see families which have gone through difficult times being particularly closely knit – and as admirable as this may seem on the surface, one of the reasons is simply to keep the illusion upright, because it is perceived too painful to acknowledge how much we influence the life of those around us for the purpose of maintaining the illusion.  I am thinking here about my own family, as I am coming from a background of severely traumatised people and I have seen first hand, how close everyone grew together, despite the pain and ongoing trouble it created.  Like a conspiracy of silence, in a quiet understanding, that no-one would dare to break the bond, as it would cause everyone enormous pain and upset. This is why it is so important to not only reflect on one’s own wounds, but also reflect and enquire about what am I doing to hurt others, in my own attempt to keep safe.

But let us go back to the origins of mood.  I think I have laid out how we build the construct of our illusions, based on an original trauma, and then we add on to it, one layer after the other. Life makes you go through the same situation over and over again, until you finally see it and correct the original mistake, by admitting that you are powerless, vulnerable, overwhelmed and take that opportunity to transcend following that  deeply felt sense of coming to terms with what is true.

Our conditioning – or learned reactions to a given situation – are the basis for our decision and we have to see, that most of these decisions are only for the purpose of keeping me – the ego – safe. This does not mean I am advocating careless or irresponsible decisions, of course. But we need to understand what it is, that is driving us to take a decision. So let us say, you are looking for a job and you have the opportunity to do what you are called to do, but it does not pay very well.  On the other hand, you have the prospect of taking a job that you know will bore you to tears, but the money is good.

So what would you do ?

The inner voice may nudge you in one direction, but reason – the voice of the conditioned mind, or ego – may pull you to go for what it considers the safe option. The difference is – to go after your inner calling may cause some anxiety at times, but it is based on being truthful to yourself.  You can feel that deep inside of you. The other decision is based on fear and resistance, negating your own instincts. You can feel that too – and make no mistake, it hurts.

There is energy and a tension going with either. In the first instance, we are open and in acceptance and we may feel motivated, excited, alive – or, in other words, feel our energy flowing freely. The other choice, staying with what reason or my environment dictates me to do, is based on resistance and there will always be that sense of the inner conflict in the background.  I may feel bored, frustrated or defeated, my energy and motivation may be low and I may feel a nervous tension as an expression of my inner resistance.

That is the difference between a mood based on the  “yes” of acceptance, as opposed to a mood based on the  “no” of resistance.

This is just an attempt to reflect on something that is very complex, but this is how it works. Brain chemistry is certainly associated with mood states, but they are just the messengers, they are not the cause. This is how our body communicates with us – mood is the sum of our current state, our attitude towards life and truth. We can be tired, but in high spirit – we can be awake and still feel low. It is an indicator if we meet life in openness, or resistance.

Working with these principles, I am weaning off people from their antidepressants. But it takes courage and stamina to see the truth as it is.

If you are ready to see it all, your mood changes.

About Michaela

I am a wanderer and a wonderer, like you are. I love our journey and to walk in the company of friends – to learn, experience, share, laugh, cry and above all I simply love this marvelous, magical, mysterious life. I have no plan (cannot believe I am saying this) and my only intention is to be truthful to myself and others.
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3 Responses to On Mood

  1. Maggie says:

    Thanks Michaela, this is very good. I just had time to skim the info I am looking forward to coming back later and savouring it.

  2. fatima says:

    Good reflection.

    ‘That is the difference between a mood based on the “yes” of acceptance, as opposed to a mood based on the “no” of resistance.’

    Being a person who admittedly made decisions based on “the lesser of two evils” principle. Even though I knew it/was it I found that a ‘puzzling’ activity.

    Tapering day by day. Allowing the mood to be what it is. “Show me the Reality.” and “Just let is be.” a prayer, a mantra.

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