H.G. Matsyavatar Das

Monday, 30 March 2009

Sentiment and Resentment

By Matsya Avatara Dasa

Re-sentment means, literally, to feel once again in a certain way. In such cases one remains trapped into psychic bubbles created in the past, making thus sense only in the past and having nothing more to do with the present. To feel resentment means, therefore, to go back to past events with our feelings. This is really a big mistake; if we act like this we will have no chance of success, as the only way to get some benefit from every experience is to become emotionally detached from anything that happened and to take care of the effects in our present time. The solution to our problems is to be looked for in the present; the past doesn't exist, apart from its effects today; the future is not yet manifested, so we can worry about that only in case it will turn into present. People usually live as prisoners of the past and at the same time they are projected in the future. Our ego likes to keep the past alive because in the past it keeps its false identity alive, but it also likes to run towards the future hoping to find some pleasure in order to survive (that's what the ego thinks). Generally people look at the present with the eyes of the past, or just as a means to conquer a future goal. Those who live in the present with the awareness that the only reality is their “here and now” are very few. Realized souls, instead, live in the present and visit the past and the future only to face necessary, practical aspects of their present life.

In the XVI century astronomy went through an amazing turning point known as Copernican Revolution (the solar system was conceived as theocentric and heliocentric); the comprehension that the present is the only reality could now represent another astonishing turning point. To remain prisoners of the past or to project ourselves in the future are both two ways of evasion, but those who act rightly today have no reasons to be worried about tomorrow. Due to a powerful psychic law, people who do good today, will probably do the same in the future, and those who do evil at present, will do so also in the future, unless they put into action their potential evolutional drive.

When they say that someone is like this and someone else is like that, it has to be understood that one becomes of the nature of his own actions. Who does good becomes good, who does evil becomes evil; one becomes virtuous by a virtuous action and bad by a bad action” (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, IV.4.5).

Resentment is never good; not even when we feel it for real iniquities we have undergone. It prevents us to live well and sometimes looking for unfairnesses turns into a real dependence, for we become addicted to resentment and if there are no objective injustices we end up imagining some. This is the feature of an insane mind. A wise person sees an injustice (towards him/herself) and reduces it to zero by tolerating the offender's behaviour thanks to his/her mature understanding: those who commit an injustice do it pushed by strong conditionings and are therefore already damaged enough, so they don't need a further punishment.

When someone gets the habit to play the victim, it is rather simple for him to find the “evidence” of the injustice, or to convince himself that he was wronged, even when what happend was just an innocent, trivial circumstance. If resentment becomes usual, it inevitably takes to self-pity, one of the worst feelings one can feed: those who let themselves go to this kind of feeling spend all their energies trying to justify their lacks and defects, often blaming others for that. In this way they lose the chance to invest such energies to think positive, look for the solution and practically apply it to solve the problem.

There are people who feel good only when they think themselves wronged and we can suppose that this perverse mechanism is the root of the so called masochism. Resentment and self-pity, of course, go hand in hand with a negative image of ourselves: a victim created to feel unhappy. But resentment is not provoked by others, by events or circumstances; it is generated by our emotional answer to the situations. We have the power to choose the best answer, especially if we understand that resentment and self-pity always lead to defeat and unhappiness. Someone stuck in the feeling of resentment can't be confident, autonomous, able to guide his life and to become responsible for his own destiny. On the contrary, his life will be guided by others who will tell him what to do and the way he has to feel. And when he will meet a person who makes him happy, the moment it all will be over he will feel resentment.

If you think you deserve eternal gratitude, esteem or some kind of award, the time you don't get it you will be resentful. But resentment is just the way to failure: nobody owes you anything, you are the protagonist of your life, you only are responsible for your happiness and success. 

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