Looking forward to Valentine’s day?
Anxious about it?
Scornful or dismissive of the whole concept?
Welcome to planet earth – Fantasyville for short.
From the moment we hear a fairy tale, of walking off into the sunset to live ‘happily ever after’, the virtual (in your head) world of the fantasies is born.
I say that fantasies make the world go around because I believe that this is one of the greatest causes of emotional pain in the human race.
Our cats Frank, Amy and Guinevere – as above – love tuna.
From 6:30 pm every evening they exhibit a very strong tendency to wander around in the vicinity of our fridge because they know that before they go to bed, tuna is their very, very special treat.
The cry of “tuna” will draw them instantaneously into the house from far afield.
Yet these very special cats do not seem to have fantasies about how much tuna they will get or how fresh it will be or when they will get it. When they are waiting at the fridge for their treat there is a minor degree of excitement/mania contained in the expectation of the tuna to come, but compared to human beings their degree of emotional modulation is overwhelming!
If due to my neglectful shopping skills we run out of tuna, there seems to be very little expression of disappointment or deflation at the fact that they will not be getting tuna on that particular evening.
Contrast this with human beings.
If you fit into the category of people that is excited about Valentine’s Day, if you are looking forward intensely to that special dinner, that romantic evening, those wonderful gifts, or that special longed for invitation from someone you admire, then you are very different from the cats.
Excitement is mania.
It is living in the future.
It is creating a virtual reality which is potentially setting you up for the opposite of the mania, which is depression.
But don’t think that this is only about Valentine’s Day.
It is everywhere!
First world culture is deeply addicted to excitement. If something special is coming up in my life most people say to me, “Are you excited?” and if I say “no” they get disappointed.
They want me to be manic!
Isn’t this fascinating, they are wanting me to be off-balance and experiencing something which I believe usually leads to deflation and if it happens often enough, to depression.
Mania is a pro-depressant.
It creates depression.
Forget about the clinical diagnosis, we are bipolar society and are addicted to our fantasies about the future.
The Bucket List
One of the most common modern forms is the bucket list.
This is all about excitement and deflation.
We experience pleasure when one of the items on the list is finished and then potentially pain because it is over. We also experience pain and deflation if it doesn’t live up to expectations.
I’m saying that the bucket list is just something else that you can get either high or low or probably both, about.
If you’re scornful and dismissive about Valentine’s Day and really ignore it, then check out the other ways in which you have fantasies and how these ultimately increase your bipolar nature.
People have fantasies about their kids future, money, special birthdays and anniversaries, how their work should be trouble free, how life should be trouble free, about marriage, about politics, peace on earth, how people should be kinder to each other, about being thinner and stronger and better looking, about success and fame and fortune, about how their partner should be more loving, considerate, attentive…the list is endless.
Yes, indeed, people fantasize about everything under the sun and pain is the consequence, because a fantasy is not reality and reality usually wins.
Mania – deflation – mania – deflation, that is the battle-cry.
You might be thinking that you don’t do this.
Well, some people shut down their emotions and live in a neutral zone, blocking out not only fantasies, but joy and love and happiness too. Antidepressants tend to do this – never high, never low and never really connected, never really alive.
My antidote to the marriage fantasy is:
“There isn’t a single problem in life which getting married won’t make worse.”
One of the reasons for this is that the reality of marriage never, ever matches the fantasy and so there’s an immediate deflation when one does get married and this deflation very often comes out as resentment and negativity in the relationship which creates a new set of difficulties for the couple.
Closing Down Your Heart to Yourself
One of the major reasons why we have fantasies, is that society has taught us to close down our hearts to who we are.
We are not enough as we are.
If we are not enough, then this moment is not enough.
So we create fantasies of having more, to feel better.
The human being as a wanting machine is birthed.
The heart that has closed down on itself so the mind says what’s next, what’s next, what’s next…looking for love and ‘okay-ness’ on the outside.
Just check in this moment, are you feeling empty, driven, stressed, are you looking for approval and love in the next thing you are going to do, from the next person you are going to meet, to fill the void inside?
If so then that is your fantasy.
And it never works…for long, does it? It’s the next thing and the next thing and the next thing to fulfil you but it can’t because your heart has been shut down.
You have been turned against yourself.
What a crime.
A Consumer Society
We live in a Consumer Society.
We consume endlessly because we are empty inside. We are, as the song says, looking for love in all the wrong places.
It’s on the inside, not the outside.
The Tibetans have a beautiful concept called the Hungry Ghost.
The Hungry Ghost is typified by this hugely fat man with a tiny head and just a tiny slit of a mouth. He can never get enough food in to satisfy his enormous body, so he is eternally hungry. The story is symbolic of our emotional hunger.
We are all hungry ghosts, endlessly searching, longing, living in fantasy for the next exciting experience in the hope that it will fill us full, forever.
In Love & Power,