You have feelings. I have feelings. All people have feelings. I think that all people know what feelings are. People can feel happy, fearful, apathetic, depressed, hurt, love, rejection and many other types of feelings. Feelings may be very superficial or short lived, or may be life long and deep rooted in the personality. Feelings are important when we have to intermingle with other people. With feelings, we express certain states of mind by which we communicate what we feel with other people. Other people will then react to our feelings, and develop feelings of their own. Feelings can sometimes be compatible and rewarding, such as mutual feelings of love and respect, feelings of empathy and compassion, feelings of mutual joy in sharing certain common experiences. Feelings can also be aggravating, or cause suffering. A depressed feeling in one may induce the same in another person, so that both would feel depressed. Anger can be contagious, as can hate and pride. These take their toll on individuals and interpersonal relationships. Yet, feelings are very important if we are to express ourselves as human beings.

Our human experience tells us that some feelings are beneficial or welcomed, whereas others are not beneficial, but are positively detrimental, and are not welcome. We like to develop the positive feelings of love, happiness, satisfaction etc. We do not like to develop feelings of hurt, rejection, loneliness and depression. We like to be with people who will help to create positive feelings in us, and avoid people who will arouse negative feelings. It is for this reason that some people become very popular, because they make other people feel happy. Other people become unpopular because they make other people sad, depressed or angry. The basic nature of all of us is such, that we do need the positive feelings, and we want to avoid the negative feelings. Why then are there so many negative feelings engendered either by ourselves, or by other people with whom we come in contact. Why do some people create negative feelings for others? Sometimes this is done unknowingly and sometimes knowingly.

In order to create good feelings in others, it is important for us to have good feelings in our own selves. We cannot have hate or disgust in our hearts, and expect to cheer up other people. We cannot have malice or disrespect and say bad things about people, and expect to make them happy. Sometimes we say things that we do not really intend to say, and we end up hurting other people. We then have to apologize, and explain that we did not really mean what we said. This is truly not a good situation in which to be. How can we avoid such occurrences?

There is a saying that if you cannot say something good about someone, then don’t say it.” Similarly, if you cannot feel something good towards others, then don’t feel it. That means to keep your mind and heart clean of all negative feelings towards other people. It is important to avoid passing judgments on other people, and, at all cost, to avoid gossiping. Never belittle anyone, or say unkind things about them. Recently, I listened to a self-improvement lecture on the television. The speaker said: “Always have respect for those who are absent.” This really means that we can never say anything bad about anybody who is not really with us. And when they are with us, we do not want to say anything bad about them anyway. One of the best ways to avoid hurting the feelings of the people is to realize that we are not ourselves perfect. When an imperfect person tries to judge, or say things about another person, what is said may also be imperfect. If we realize our own imperfection, in the human sense, then we must accept that other people may also have imperfections. We are all really in the same boat. This is why it is taught that we must not judge other people. The golden rule also states that we should not do onto others what we would not have them do onto us. Stated positively, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Realize that God dwells in the hearts of all people. To say something that hurts the feelings of others is to make that divine part of you stained with negative attributes. At the same time, you are pouring negative feelings into another being who has divinity within him. If you truly understand this, which is a basic spiritual teaching, then you will cease hurting the feelings of other people. The rewards will be great for you, and for others, in terms of having purity in the heart manifesting as purity in thought, word and deed. Once this purity is experienced, a great burden of all the negativities, hostilities, rejections, depressions etc., will be removed. Your life will become sublime. Contemplate what Satguru Kabir said, “I went searching for evil people, but I could not find any. When I searched my own heart, I found that no one was as evil as me.”

Dr. Jagessar Das

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