NOT expressing negative emotions

One riskfree aspect of selfdiscovery

Jean Vaysse

There is, however, one area in which a man who wishes to observe himself runs no risk. He can engage in a struggle with emotional habits that will show him a whole side of his habitual emotional functioning - this struggle is the attempt not to express unpleasant emotions. He who observes himself very soon notices that he is unable to observe anything impartially; this is particularly true for what he sees in himself, but also for what he sees outside himself. About every single thing, he has a personal 'feeling': 'I don't care,' 'I like it,' or 'I dislike it.' But whereas he can easily refrain from expressing his agreement or indifference, it is almost impossible for him not to express his disaproval in one way or another. This easily becomes a habit and is often even taken as a sign of sincerity. The negative impression received in such a case is expressed in some form of violence, contentiousness or depression - anger, jealousy, fault-finding, suspicion, worry, fear, self-pity, and so on. In all these forms some expression of personal negativity replaces the simple expression which flows from just noting the facts as they are. These forms bear witness to my inability to keep my personal grievances to myself and to a tendency to let them gush out over my surroundings so as not 'to feel alone' - to make others share them and to try to get rid of them in that way. This is both a sign of my own weakness, my incapacity to accept myself and things as they are, and an enormous and useless waste of energy which I impose also on those near me in a chain reaction which spreads and multiplies the negativity. Now this is one of the few emotional processes which can be cut short without risk of harmful consequences. Brought to bear on the expression of negative emotions (for it is their outer expression which needs to be restrained and not the emotions themselves), this struggle in no way upsets the inner equilibrium. It only involves the saving of a considerable amount of energy which would have been totally lost if spent externally but which, being saved in this way, can be used for other purposes. At the same time, it allows the observer to discover in himself an entirely new aspect of the emotional process with which he lives.

From: An approach to the teaching left by Gurdjieff, Toward Awakening, Jean Vaysse, p. 44, 45