How important is it to “feel good”?
I’m taking a class online which clearly has as one of its important purposes teaching us how to cultivate a positive, calm, serene, happy feeling as we go through life. I’m all for that. But from time to time I wonder whether it’s the main thing I need to be about. I especially start to wonder when I learn that part of the trick is being “unattached” to “the problem or the outcome.” I can go along with that for a long way, and then I come to a point where I question whether nonattachment is ultimately ethical.
I have a quote by George Eliot that I’ve had on my bulletin board collection – you know what I’m talking about, I know you do – for years:
“Surely it is not true blessedness to be free from sorrow while there is sorrow and sin in the world. Sorrow is then part of love, and love does not seek to cast it off.”
I don’t really know anything about Eliot, so I don’t know where it’s from. I don’t remember where I first read it. I just know it continues to ring true, and it keeps me attached, however loosely, to the idea that sometimes “attached,” with all its discontents, is exactly what I need to be.