Things that are in our power

APRIL 15 03 – So much depends on mood. Whether I think a piece of writing is good or rubbish, whether I am happy or sad, hopeful or looking at the future bleakly. Little depends on external circumstance. Question is then, what does mood depend upon?

True enough, an external circumstance can trigger a bad mood, or a jubilant mood. But it is equally true that nothing external has to change for a depressive mood to change into a happy mood. It is just a matter of time.

It is like the weather. We accept the weather without a second thought. Oh, it's overcast this morning. Oh wonderful, it's sunny today. We don't think of the weather as an emotional reward or punishment, although a snowscape or a beautiful sunny day can be received with gratitude and joy, and a week of rain and gloom can depress us. Although I like rain. Still, the weather is just the weather.

So why can't our moods just be our moods, without need of explanation? You want an explanation, think of the cycles of the moon as a more direct influence than karma, and calm down about being on the receiving end of the universe's vendetta.

Another thing, happiness requires no explanation, but a depressed mood likes to get to the bottom of itself, usually making it worse.

We may think it is external circumstance that has given rise to a bad mood, but on examination isn't it more our thoughts? Some may say: 'I am not happy because I do not have a lover, I long for a lover but cannot find her. I sometimes think I will never find her.' But then, what about when they are happy, and not dwelling on this? Doesn't this show that it was their thoughts alone that made them unhappy?

So they find a lover. 'Now I am happy!' they say. As if this justified being unhappy before, as if the cause of their unhappiness really was not having a lover. On the contrary, it shows how pointless it was to dwell on not finding a lover when one awaited them after all. Or is this too simple?

External circumstance, or thoughts about external circumstance? Which really decides the tenor of our moods? Seeing a happy couple can make you dwell on the absence of a lover, seeing a good film can make you revel in the power of the imagination.

And yet, there appears to be a cycle of moods. How controllable is this cycle? Obstructions occur in outer reality but we can pause, take stock, rest, get on with things that need doing that are in our power, leaving for another time things temporarily out of our power. Clearly when faced with an obstruction there is a wide latitude of response, and how we respond will determine our mood. But that is in our power, not out of it. So we have control of it.

Of course, if we are not sufficiently aware then we do not have this power, since we give it away to mood, fretting, banging our head against a brick wall, bemoaning our situation. Boring. Very boring. Do better if this is you, it is in your power.

What is in our power is a moment away, always. Anything can cease at any moment. Stuck in a cycle of fear? If you cannot put it down at the moment then just know it will be gone soon enough. This will put the fear in suspension, a position from which it can only subside. Otherwise, it will escalate out of control. This requires only mastery of the moment. Should you time and time again fail, what does it matter, there is always right now to succeed.