Saturday, August 15, 2009


sadness in Dutch is zieleleed, bedroefdheid
sadness in Italian is tristezza
sadness in Norwegian is sorg
sadness in Spanish is tristezasadness in Swedish is sorg, vemod
sadness in French is tristesse

Why is it that sadness, of all emotions, seems to be able to outlast so many other feelings?

I'm at the gym; I work out and stay pretty well focused and little gets in the way save the burn in the set of muscles I'm straining. An hour later I feel good, drained, ready to face whatever is in the offing and wham! the sadness comes back, almost bigger for not having been felt for 60 minutes. How does that work? I ask a friend, do you get this too? Friend says yes, she does, and sometimes she feels doing anything to get rid of sadness makes it even worse. The sadness appears to feed on the very efforts made to rid one's self of it.

According to Islam, "Sufis use the word huzn (sadness) as the opposite of rejoicing and joy, and to express the pain one suffers while fulfilling his or her duties and realizing his or her ideals. Every perfected believer will continue to suffer this pain according to the degree of belief, and weave the tissue of life with the 'threads' of sadness on the 'loom' of time. " That doesn't help me much. Weaving threads of sadness is not my life's ambition.

If you're a Buddhist practicing the principles of Shambhala, "you should feel sadness and joy, simultaneously with everything you do. Whether you have a good time or a bad time, you should feel sad and delighted at once. That is how to be a real decent human being, and it is also connected with the Buddhist principle of longing, or devotion. Longing is the hunger for sacredness. When you begin to feel you’re too much in the secular world, you long for the sacred world. Therefore you feel sad, and you open yourself up that way. When you feel so sad and tender, that also brings ideas for how to uplift the rest of the world."

And closer to home, we are told by the Western medical/psychiatric community that "living is to be regarded as a duality of the positive and the negative. This duality works in a balance. One cannot be without the other. Each one serves a purpose for the other. Most people connote sadness and sorrow with the negative. They may be in a sense. However, when one anticipates that the negative goes with the positive, then they may have an even perspective."

So it seems many authorities agree that sadness is--and should--a part of life, its existence called upon by the yin and yang of all things. I dunno. That, in and of itself, is kind of sad to me...

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