Rights to what you feel


Is feeling anyhow justifiable? - Thoughts based on a Zen story

I have just started to skim the book which I mentioned in my previous post 'Summer Haul' (the  title's English translation is Diamond and Lotus - Zen koans and haikus), and bumped into a little tale that was quite thought-generating for me:

One day Chuang Tzu and a friend were walking by a river.
- 'Look at the fish swimming about,' said Chuang Tzu, - 'They are really enjoying themselves.'
- 'You are not a fish,' replied the friend, - 'So you can't truly know that they are enjoying themselves.'
- 'You are not me,' said Chuang Tzu. - 'So how do you know that I do not know that the fish are enjoying themselves?'


The story can be analysed in many ways. If we assume that Czuang Tzu's friend is as enlightened as Chuang Tzu himself (who was a Chinese philosopher around the 4th century BC), or at least quite open-minded, we can ask the following question: why they were not just watching the fish swimming around and enjoying the sight? And anyway... Chuang Tzu is not his friend either, so why did he feel that his friend's argument is questionable?... It's true that Chuang Tzu has avoided being judgemental, his only statement was 'you are not me' which is surely right, and his question 'how do you know that I do not know?' was simply a question... but he did challenge his friend's opinion...

Without getting complicated and just thinking about the possible message of the story, let's relate the meaning of it into our everyday life. Nowadays, it's quite a common phenomenon that some individuals judge others even without knowing their circumstances in depths. I have heard/read many times that somebody has been stigmatised as a 'person who has a perfect life', so as a result, s/he has no right to be sad, feel awful or simply have a bad day according to others. However you can't never know exactly, since you are not her/him.

Just think about famous people. They have money, they are often admired, their works and efforts are acknowledged, they can do everything they desire... except drinking a beer at the corner without being recognised, or going to the market for vegetables without their bodyguards. How many times have we heard these people have ruined their life with drogs and alcohols, and committed suicide? A lot of times. Your position, fame or circumstances can't never define your level of happiness.

Going further, if you've found yourself in a non-working relationship or a complicated affair whenever, or were offended by a friend who made you 'disappointed' very much, and were told that your feelings are wrong, and you have no right to feel bad... you should not identify with this statement. Your mood, emotions, and feelings can't be invalid or improper, actually they can't be any, they just exist. You, as a human, have been figured out by the Universe to be exceedingly susceptible so, unfortunately, you do have a right to feel anyhow. 

The expectations, about how you should act, are just not to be stucked, not to camp on your grief, but do everything for leaving the situation behind that caused your 'wrong', 'invalid' feelings, and enjoy this journey.

Thank you for reading this little thought of mine, your opinion, comments and joining me on Facebook are very welcome.

xx Rose

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