We Can’t All Be Mr. Spock …

Meditation offers a wide variety of benefits that the average person doesn’t know about or understand.  In fact, I’ve used meditation in a variety of ways, including but not limited to blocking out pain, maintaining composure and helping with sleep.  There’s nothing mystical or mysterious about it; meditation simply allows one to control certain aspects of their outward emotions and reactions.  Despite the fact that it can take years to achieve that level of skill, it’s quite possible.

For example, I’ve dealt with a significant number of situations in my field of work that would easily elicit fear or extreme levels of stress in a person. But some outward reactions would not only be inappropriate in those situations, they could potentially cost me my life.  This is why maintaining one’s composure and controlling one’s emotions can play an important role in everyday life.

As a friend of mine so eloquently asked, “Am I cold or emotionally disciplined?”

Let’s examine that question in depth, shall we?  For the most part, someone who is referred to as “cold” is someone who is potentially shut down, repressed and/or out of touch with their inner feelings.

According to a post by Psychology Today, this is what’s referred to as an avoidant attachment pattern.  And some of the actual symptoms of a person with this pattern include being aloof, standoffish, impersonal, disengaged and uninvolved.  There are many more, and the article can be read here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/evolution-the-self/201105/cold-people-what-makes-them-way-part-1

There are causes and reasons behind this sort of behavior, but we won’t delve too deeply into those aspects, as they aren’t the point of this post.  Let’s examine the practice of being emotionally disciplined…

Listen, every person is different.  And because of this, we all deal with specific situations in different ways. Let’s take death as an example. When we lose a loved one, there is an expectation as to how we will react to it.  But the reality is that some people deal with it and “bounce back” far easier than others.

Self-discipline and training can allow one to develop this ability and react with a level of control that often seems “cold” or “stand-offish” to others.  So, when some people seem like they don’t care, they may simply be coping in their own way.

I use the example of death because it is such a common one.  It’s something that EVERYBODY will have to deal with, at some given point and time in his or her lives.  But realistically, as long as one IS coping, the mechanism through which they do so really doesn’t matter (unless they turn to alcoholism or drugs, of course).

I can easily attest to the fact that in my youth, I was often accused of being cold or emotionless, which is often a stark contrast to the temper I occasionally carry today.  Even when the death of my brother occurred, I dealt with it with a stoic front, barely ever letting my emotions show.  It caused enough of a concern that my parents thought I should be speaking to someone about it.  But the reality is that my coping mechanisms simply didn’t involve bawling my eyes out as some are inclined to do.  And even at such a young age, my personal self-discipline was already developing.

The point is, even if the person you’re speaking to may seem detached or impersonal, if someone is dealing with a traumatic event or grief in a quiet and reserved way, or if someone has injured themselves but isn’t clutching the limb and crying bloody murder, it may simply be that their mental discipline is developed enough to allow them to control their emotions and outward reactions. And these are all things that can be developed through meditation.  Although not physically a muscle, there is the potential to develop it and strengthen it as you would with muscle tissue.  It’s simply done in a different way.  As I’ve often said, when one isn’t exercising the body, one should be exercising the mind.

There should be no judgement against those who have their own level of emotional discipline. It doesn’t mean they’re cold, it may simply mean they have their own way of coping. A personal shout out, to the friend who gave me the idea for this post.  It was a great question and great topic for discussion. ☯

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Shawn

I am a practitioner of the martial arts and student of the Buddhist faith. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since I was 4 years old and have been fighting the uphill battle it includes ever since. I enjoy fitness and health and looking for new ways to improve both, as well as examining the many questions of life. Although I have no formal medical training, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge regarding health, Diabetes, martial arts as well as Buddhism and philosophy. My goal is to share this information with the world, and perhaps provide some sarcastic humour along the way. Welcome!

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