I have had two interesting weeks of soul searching and learning from the school of life. As an undergraduate in far away Kano years ago, I once boasted to one of my lecturers that I am a student of the mind. I was eager to understand the workings and the complexities of the mind, so I could tap its powers and have the ‘mind-over-matter’ experiences. But the good ol’ christian lady fired back with some degree of concern, ” Why not a student of the Spirit?” and that got me thinking. It made me begin to see life beyond the fringes of what the mind can reckon with alone. I realised that spiritual understanding can actually help in enlightening the mind…and with time, I have come to see that a spiritually- vibrant life is the key to a balanced emotional life.
Last week, I had bouts of migraine headache that crippled my mind and I could only work for 2 full days. At some point I had to reckon that there is a limit to which one can push the mind and the body. I had books to read, public health journals to review and articles to write. My mind became so fussy and discombobulated that I couldn’t read a line without my head throbbing and the right eye threatening to pop out of the socket. I dreaded anything called bright lights and my eyes looked dazed and bloodshot, and the pain killer pills did little to assuage the agony and ache I had to endure.
At the wee hours of the morning while everywhere was quiet, I stepped out of my room and reclined on a chair at the balcony to seep in the salubrious air of the morning. I heard the chirpings of crickets and the chorus of other insects and creeping animals. My mind wondered aimlessly and ruminated about a lot of things. i wondered why we have emotions and all…and i thought about Jesus and his emotional life, and was dazed that he had a very balanced emotional life that complimented his spirituality. I realised that a sound and emotionally healthy life is as important as life itself.
I came to a point that I realised how emotionally drained I was…which was beyond physical weariness. I needed to REST and indeed forced myself to rest without feeling guilty that I allowed time to tick past me without making any efforts to redeem it. No book to read; no journal to write; no writing project to engage my mind. Passing thro a day without giving in to the urge to write or read was hard to bear. But I had to accept the reality that life is not to be activity-filled but to be lived and enjoyed. It is okay to pause and savour life and drink deeply from the wellsprings that life offers.
The emotional wilderness I passed through made me reflect on the emotional and relationship life of Jesus Christ, and I was amazed at what I found out. He lived and enjoyed life to the full. He attended parties, dinners and hung out with the bad guys to the chagrin of the religious cabal. He lived an ‘open-book’ lifestyle that made him express emotions freely without a care. Though seen as a maverick and superstar, he had nothing to hide. He was a squatter yet didn’t play funny when a disciple asked for his house address; Jesus Christ was a floater. He borrowed boats without feeling ashamed. He borrowed a donkey since he had no chariot or cart to ride to Jerusalem.
He publicly wept when his friend Lazarus died. Others may have felt he would act like a superstar, and do a show at the graveside. But all he did was cry…and the women and stoic men watched in amazement….but he still raised Lazarus from the dead. He didn’t hide his fears when it became obvious his death on the cross was imminent. He cried at the Garden of Gethsemane.. .and on the Cross of Calvary, he cried like a disconsolate child, “Father, why have you forsaken me, your only son?”…
As I reflected and meditated on the emotional life of Jesus, I felt a release and came to be at home with who I am…and I felt so free to be me. I had earlier told a respected friend how emotionally drained and weak i felt, but she quipped that she has always seen me as a ‘Tower of Strength’. Maybe I had unwittingly presented myself to the significant others as one that is kinda ‘superhuman’ in some sense who can’t feel drained and emotionally week. One who’s mentally focussed to not go thro’ any bouts of uncertainties. ..the list goes. But I am as human and frail as any other and a part of humanity with all the emotional cramps and malaise that we so often hide from the next person.
I have begun a journey…to explore the emotional and relationship life of Jesus Christ….and I plan to share my thoughts in subsequent write-ups. Keep a date with me and ensure that you give attention to your emotional wellbeing.