Negative Feelings are Useful

from Awareness by Anthony DeMello . . . 

Pleasant experiences make life delightful. Painful experiences lead to growth. Suffering points up an area in you where you have not yet grown, where you need to grow and be transformed and change. If you knew how to use that suffering, oh, how you would grow.

Let’s limit ourselves, for the time being, to psychological suffering, to all those negative emotions we have. I’ve told you what you could do with those emotions. The disappointment you experience when things don’t turn out as you wanted them to, watch that! Look at the disappointment, that depression you experience when you are criticized. Negative feelings, every negative feeling is useful for awareness, for understanding. They give you the opportunity to feel it, to watch it from the outside.

In the beginning, the depression will still be there, but you will have cut your connection with it. Gradually you will understand the depression. As you understand it, it will occur less frequently, and will disappear altogether. Maybe, but by that time it won’t matter too much.

Before enlightenment I used to be depressed. After enlightenment I continue to be depressed.

But gradually, or rapidly, or suddenly, you get the state of wakefulness. This is the state where you drop desires. But remember what I meant by desire and cravings. I meant: “Unless I get what I desire, I refuse to be happy.” I mean cases where happiness depends on the fulfillment of desire.