They also teach us something, that is why it is important to accept and love them it is not possible to avoid them, but we can understand them better to grow from them.
Not having moods is equivalent to putting our humanity in parentheses. In fact, it is impossible. We can repress them, hide them, reject them, but we will be rejecting our humanity, depriving ourselves of something that, surely, is the most valuable thing that it gives us interiority and nuance.
If we stay too far away from them, what makes us sensitive humans will disappear. Our lives will be empty, their inner sources will dry up, we will become “dead souls”, the title of the novel by Russian writer Nikolai Gogol.
Moods give density to our existence. Furthermore, all moods – positive and negative have an adaptive function.
- Positive moods facilitate the broadening of our gaze on the world, they bring us openness, relaxation, rapprochement, confidence and creativity. When we are happy, we feel safe, we enjoy ourselves, we are willing to look and admire what surrounds us.
- Negative moods, on the other hand, move us to be vigilant, to withdraw, to be prudent and persevering, to focus on what seems dangerous or problematic.
If we look around us with concern and fear, we will not do so with an open mind and ready to embrace beauty or novelty, but with a withdrawn spirit and focused on a single objective: to know whether or not there is a danger. The rest do not interest us. We watch the world in its details, instead of contemplating it in its beauty.
MOODS AND CREATIVITY: DO YOU HAVE TO SUFFER TO CREATE?
Several studies have shown that being depressed can increase creativity; but with an important condition: not to be in the present otherwise, there is no creativity at all. Generally, positive moods seem more conducive to creativity in everyday life.
This was demonstrated by a fun study in which a group of volunteers played a simple game of helping a mouse out of a maze. The volunteers were divided into two groups. The motivation of the first was to get the mouse out of the labyrinth to save it from an owl that wanted to devour it. The second group had to help the mouse to reach a piece of cheese.
In a subsequent test, volunteers in the owl group were less creative – almost 50% less – than those in the cheese group.
Experiencing a slightly negative state of mind (running away and being careful), even in such a minor way, altered the later ability to create original things. While the induction of slightly positive moods (helping the mouse to enjoy its cheese) favored creativity.
Regardless of whether they make us more or less creative, it is important to accept and absolutely love all of our moods.
Buddhism teaches us that there are two kinds of emotions: those that increase peace of mind and those that decrease it. Similarly, a state of mind is a problem when, instead of adding, it detracts from our balance and wealth.
In reality, it is all a matter of positivity or negativity: there are unhealthy joys, pleasures and toxic joys, which are impoverished in the long run; the pleasure of revenge, that of domination or that of Schadenfreude, that pleasure of seeing others fail, a mixture of joy and guilt; and perhaps also those states of mind linked to pride, so easily contaminated by the instinct of domination and superiority.
On the contrary, there are healthy sufferings that open our eyes to certain realities, such as those that have to do with compassion – feeling concerned and united with the suffering of others. Sufferings that could be the antechamber of a form of liberation from all sufferings.
Buddhism speaks of renunciation or a spirit of emergency “To feel deeply to what extent we are vulnerable to suffering ” explains the Dalai Lama, “and once this absolute vulnerability is verified we can glimpse the possibility that our spirit is freed from it ”. This state of disenchantment is what will allow, according to Buddhist thinkers, to be aware of the futility of putting our values in the world of material illusions, “in deceptive attachment to things.”
The very understandable ideal of permanent positive moods is thus neither realistic nor desirable: the shadow is necessary to give depth to the light. Shadows beautify the day, which is why evening or morning lights are often more beautiful and more subtle than those at high noon. Is the night also beautiful? Yes, but only because we know that it will soon dawn.
THE IMPORTANCE OF GRAYS
Although we usually make the distinction between negatives and positives, moods are more subtle and often mixed, pleasant elements are mixed with painful tones. Victor Hugo used to say “Melancholy is the happiness of being sad”.
In nostalgia , this mixture is clearly decipherable: the melancholic regret we feel for something from the past participates at the same time in the sweetness – the pleasant memories – and the pain – because it is already something in the past. Remembering, smiling and yet suffering with the memory. Nostalgia is pleasant enough that we feel the desire to surrender to it, to visit it frequently. In it, the pinch of sadness plays the same role as the salt on a plate.
The disappointment is also a mixed state of mind. It is based on the memory of a trust granted, pleasant in principle because trusting is good for us, it means that we have reliable links, although it is a Memory contaminated by what has caused the disappointment –the lack or the betrayal. This is how it appears, after the bitterness, the shudder: disappointment is not only an emotional suffering but also a questioning of our vision of the world. We were confident, but it is no longer possible. Now that we know more about moods in general, why should we be interested in our own? Well, because the soul is defined as “what animates sentient beings”, that is, living. It allows us to go beyond our intelligence, or at least in another direction. In fact, moods increase our intelligence of life they are the result of the “reception” of the world, at a level of detail.
Thus, small events do not provoke strong emotions, but induce moods. Just think about what happens to us when we see a child cry or a couple arguing. These are scenes that can cause us melancholy, without having an impact on our day or our existence. They have not had a tangible reach, but within us they continue to float. Who can know where they will lead us?