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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Matters of the Mind: Can the agitated mind be a boon?

Agitation, when fully accepted and acknowledged can be sublimed into creating, exploring, learning and innovating.

Written by Dr Shwetambara Sabharwal | New Delhi |
Updated: July 3, 2021 2:48:49 pm
agitationWhat we do with this stimulation, this energy charge, the throbbing behind our bones and the agitation in our minds, is what gives us extraordinary results. (Source: pixabay)

Being human, having a mind and living in communities almost naturally ensures frequent agitation. Sometimes, we feel like we are at war with ourselves, we might get emotionally charged over situations that might never occur, experience trauma over what happened, feel a hollowness in the belly or an ache in the chest. It is all part of being human.

What we do with this stimulation, this energy charge, the throbbing behind our bones and the agitation in our minds, is what gives us extraordinary results.

The usual response to agitation is rejection, internalising failure that we are weak in feeling so, anger that we were wronged and grief that we have to go through it. This standard negative perception of internal agitation takes us into unwanted journeys. While it is true that mental agitation is not a comfortable state to be in, the absence of peace of mind is disturbing and we prefer homeostasis to emotional cobra rolls, it is also important for us to start with a different view of this imbalance.

The thought that agitation is bad quickly forces us in the direction of denying it or overcoming it. This superficial cover-up pushes the agitation deeper into our cores, putting it away only for the moment. Hiding or fearing agitation also prevents self-awareness. However, these are not the only errors we make here.

Agitation, when fully accepted and acknowledged can be sublimed into creating, exploring, learning and innovating. We assume that a challenging or disturbing feeling must be expelled in a negative way. We fear that if we allow it to linger we may hurt ourselves or others. This is when we should pause, orient ourselves and awaken to so many other possibilities to express this energy.

Agitation can be the birthplace of a masterpiece. It may be a mural, a book, a symphony or cracking a mathematical code and for some, it may be a moment of truth giving rise to a glimmering realisation. This does not need always be a eureka moment followed by elation, the sublimation may in fact be accompanied by pain and tears.

Allowing our perturbed being to stay in the unsettling moment for a while, recognising the turmoil as energy and staying clear of contempt can not only help pave the way for developing resilience but also using this disquiet in a constructive direction. This is not easy and certainly not a prescription for dealing with pain or trauma, but it is an invitation to question and rebuild our perceptions of difficulties.

Creating out of our unique crisis and casting out of chaos requires a lot of energy, bursts of which we experience several times a day. Allowing for awareness, acceptance and absorption can make the disturbance worthwhile, viewing obstruction as an opportunity to change the direction of our journey, not away from our true self and our reality but right into it, enduring and overcoming with the very same energy that we thought was trouble.

Agitation is uncomfortable, what we do with it can become an asset.

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