Mood balloons

Photography: Amy Elyse Stringer, London

Photography: Amy Elyse Stringer, London

A floating ascent, a drifting, a lifting and a releasing of the emotional ethers; something of this occurs within us perpetually. The inflation and deflation of mood balloons is a necessary concomitant to sensory contacts. Such balloons may be breathed into life by a trace of some abstracted thought, by a triggered memory, by a bodily sensation of pleasure or pain, by a taste, a scent, a sound. Or they can be inspired by the cyclical rhythms of our bodies, by lunar phases, or by a poignant anniversary perhaps. Many are the ways for a ballooning of our moods.

And yet we identify some as ‘being moody’, or others perhaps as ‘coolly self-possessed’. This is to misunderstand the ubiquitous nature of moods and mental states generally, both of which engage ceaselessly in the conditioned and conditioning interplay of human sentience. The confusion comes about in the conflation of the tonal qualities of psychical states with our habituated responses to them. Another way of expressing this is in terms of the degree to which we indulge our mental tonalities; the extent to which the self-entity inhabits our mood balloons.

All of that which is under discussion here applies to the healthy individual; and it must be accepted that clinical states of depression, anxiety or morbidity are issues of a different order, and which may well need addressing with the aid of medication, talking therapies, or both. Still, there are many instances of normatively healthy people who seek to deny free expression to their moods and mental states, instead choosing to view them as somehow indulgent displays of solipsistic self-concern. Here, we see a defensive response to any inflation of mood.

Elsewhere, it’s often erroneously thought that the psychologically mature, or those spiritually advanced, exhibit an equanimous repose in the face of emotively charged situations. Whilst it is so that, at a certain point in our development, we may gravitate towards a philosophising disposal of the effects of genuine adversity and elation, this is something of an intermediate stage of our maturation. It is the region within which awareness of our internal response mechanisms is sharply honed and perspicacious, and yet balanced too much in favour of this objectivity.

Once equilibrium is gained between our understanding and whatever situation we are faced with, then the biasing towards objectivity recedes and we ‘become the situation’, so to speak. Rather than maintaining an aloof and dryly intellectualised witnessing, which is false, we observe with an exquisite intimacy. Here then, for example, tears may flow freely in the presence of others’ suffering. The mood balloon inflates rapidly and is met with no resistance from the intellect as emotions are hoisted aloft, so allowing complete engagement with life, ourselves and others.

What does not recur in this more balanced scenario is any self-induced perpetuation of moods or states of mind. And it is by just those means that the ballooning of moods becomes challenging, causing distress, anxiety and so forth. The self-entity interjects with the idea ‘now I am this; and so it is that I suffer’. So there’s a becoming here that, whilst not in fact actual, grants an immersive quality to such unpleasant states. In identifying with emotions in selfhood, our awareness is hijacked and engulfed in a draining, cyclical vortex of perpetuation and indulgence.

What then, is the wiser response to any perfectly natural occurrence of mood balloons? One answer consists in a passively non-resistant mode of observation; this means not exerting a controlling influence which merely sustains our sense of selfhood and so with it any mood balloon. It’s not easy to passively allow deeply negative feelings to exist, as the urge is to obliterate them by means either of conflict or distraction; and whilst this may have some limited efficacy, it’s no long-term curative, at best serving only as a partial expedient – a head-in-the-sand approach.

So much of our angst is perpetuated in the identification of selfhood with emotions; as if believing, quite literally, that ‘I am in a mood’. No mood contains any ‘self of me’, nor can it ever. Yet understanding this intellectually alone no more than partially ameliorates negative feelings. Dwelling in contentedness amidst our mood balloons requires insight into our illusory self-construct and disentangling conditioned responses from arisen feelings. From here, concerns are allayed as to their inflation; we see them as natural colourings of our airspace, and all is well. Pop!

76 thoughts on “Mood balloons

  1. “Once equilibrium is gained between our understanding and whatever situation we are faced with, then the biasing towards objectivity recedes and we ‘become the situation’, so to speak.” This seems to be the crux of it, doesn’t it? Equilibrium! Feeling everything as fully as possible within context. Miss it one time snoozing. . . and it will surely present itself again. And again. . . since our feelings are there for a reason, which our ‘objective’ thoughts can only guess at. What other possible way is there to gain self understanding, and ultimately balance, even if precarious or embarrassing, but to engage unabashed – well, short of violence, but then balance would hardly be the objective now would it?

    Thank you Hariod. xxoo

    • Hello Jana!

      I am so pleased you picked up on the particular sentence that you have, as I was very unsure that its content would be clear. One could expend a paragraph or three providing an alternative to the phrase ‘become the situation’, though my faith in readers such as yourself, and Michael just below who identifies those same words, is now proven not to have been misplaced. Though of course, I am both honoured and flattered to have readers of your sensibility and perspicacity, and so the matter was never in doubt as regards the two of you.

      And yes, gaining that quite delicate equilibrium between ‘being the situation’ and ‘seeing the situation’ is what allows us to experience emotions and mental states of all colours fully, yet without any indulgent accretions – the sessile barnacles of self-concern that adhere fixedly to the surface of the mood balloon. There’s an equanimity in the balance too, though not any sterile or coldly intellectual distancing, it allows unquestioningly the discomfiture rather than entering into conflict with it, or seeking escape from it.

      And yes again Jana, the feelings are there for a reason; or let’s say they are there due to a cause; and I have explored the matter more fully in a piece hyperlinked in the above article. [ ] You speak of engaging unabashed in emotions, and I readily admit that for a natural introvert such as myself, this presented a challenge during my early adult years – at least in social situations. You are a very fine poetess, and I can hardly envisage such limitations coexisting alongside what I imagine to be your innate and constant creative leanings, of which I remain in great admiration. As you once asked in a poem: “How many times will I shed raw and return?” I’m slowly catching up with you.

      Thank you so much for considering my words and for adding your own powerful insights Jana.

      Hariod. ❤

  2. Hello Hariod,

    I loved this line, “Once equilibrium is gained between our understanding and whatever situation we are faced with, then the biasing towards objectivity recedes and we ‘become the situation’, so to speak.” ‘Becoming the situation’ is a remarkable curative, though I have at (many) times felt as though the situation was behind a cellophane wrapping. In observing my own response to moods lately, I see how difficult it can be at times to resist the urge of the phantasmic self to assign interpretations, portents, and meanings to our moods that are simply not justified. It is like a sports commentator probing the connotations of every little ebb and flow of momentum, and I think that in our world we have become habituated to this type of thing – to this vigilant seeking out in our awareness of those first leading indicators of difficulty.

    It is as if the mind is biased to say, “Look! You see? The world IS as it seems. . .”

    I had the experience recently of encountering a particularly dark mood, and the idea arose during a period of meditation to slice the words and thoughts away from the pure feeling, so that it could be all that I was present with. It was like putting up a pane of acoustic glass between the world of thought and the world of feeling – like hitting the mute button on the television remote, or putting in ear plugs while driving down the highway. While this may sound like a sort of disconnection within myself, I found that unplugging the runaway cycle of words and thoughts, and going into the purity of the mood was quite helpful. Not to take the mood on as ‘me’ as it were, but to just explore the full nature of the experience, without interpretation.

    I once attended a lecture by a former Zen monk who suggested that every mood or feeling would turn to contentment or joy if we would but follow it to its conclusion, by simply being with it or observing it. I wonder if that is your experience, too?

    Thank you for the helpful post, Hariod. It hit the spot!


    • Hello Michael,

      How interesting that you, a poet, should identify the very same section of the article as Jana, a poetess. And all the while I had been in doubt as to whether any meaning would be conveyed by the words you both identify as most meaningful! [See: my opening paragraph in replying to Jana]

      You describe well the received sense of resistance to moods when you speak of this ‘cellophane wrapping’ effect that we conjure up in futile bids to distance the ghost of ‘me’ from whatever is. What a strange party it is that we are all invited too in our emotional worlds, with lots of balloons and sticky cellophane tangling us up with the gifts of experience. Can we not just eat cake and sing?

      How true it is, as you so adroitly say, that we assign all colourations of meaning to our inflated mood balloons. This, one surmises, is a by-product of the brain simply getting on with attempting to create order, to search out patterns and so forth. And yet its task is hampered by attention adhering to such a limited field of possibilities. It thinks along lines that can only suggest that something is ‘wrong’, in the sense that it can be put ‘right’ once ‘the self of me’ gets involved. I watched something similar unfold within me last week as I drove to the dentist to have a molar extracted. The dentist had previously advised me that because the offending tooth had undergone root canal treatment many years ago, then it was very likely to disintegrate during an attempted extraction and that I would then need to go to hospital for surgical removal. So, on the drive to the dentist an anxious mood balloon inflated and the brain chimed in with all sorts of projections about how I would cope with the masked men and their industrial angle grinders as they sawed my jaw apart under glaring lights in a scene befitting only of Sam Peckinpah’s direction. I exaggerate for dramatic effect, but it remains the case that whatever projective scenario my brain came up with unquestioningly would have been different from the actual experience. In the event, my dentist removed the tooth herself and without great difficulty – a good lesson for my stupid brain!

      In your comment, you go on to describe your own process of dealing with a challenging mood balloon – a mighty zeppelin by the sounds of it – and how skilfully you navigated its course. As you again so adroitly say, we must allow ourselves to engage fully with the felt nature of the experience, and absenting overlays of interpretation, in order to deal more effectively with our supposed occupancy of the burning ‘Hindenburg’. What I attempt to express in the article is certainly in accord with the words of the Zen monk you mention Michael. I wrote above of ‘a passively non-resistant mode of observation; this means not exerting a controlling influence which merely sustains our sense of selfhood and so with it any mood balloon.’ This would appear to be entirely in accord with the monk’s advice to follow the mood to its natural conclusion in being mindfully present with it during the course of its life. As it dies, what arises within is a certain beckoning, something I call ‘the sway of contentedness’; it’s an invitation that is always there once egoical self-concern and the narrowly isolative and coalescing mind absent. An open door then presents to a sanctuary that exists within each of us, and which is more than the provision of emotional solace; it is home.

      Once again dear friend, thank you for your time and interest, your ever-supportive words and your precious insights.


  3. I have so enjoyed this post, Hariod, and the wonderful conversation that has been evolving with Michael and Jana. It is fascinating that the paragraph that you feared was problematic is the one they both emphasized as especially insightful – and I would agree. At the risk of reiterating the same ideas with different words, I would add my favorite Zen image of the emotions being simply clouds wafting past the moon, or as you put it, past the inner sanctuary which is our true home. As Marcus Aurelius says, “There is a fountain of joy within you (mudita?), and is ever ready to pour forth.”

    Another aspect of this train of thought: it seems we usually have stories we tell ourselves about every emotional balloon. I’m sad because my wife is away, or I’m afraid because I’m going to the dentist (good ending to that story, by the way). It does seem possible, and perhaps desirable, to detach the emotion from the story, and to feel the feeling just as it is, innocently – and as Rumi says, “as a messenger” inviting us into life.

    As always, it is a blessing to fly in your balloon.

    • Thank you so much John, for your kind consideration of my words and for your generous response to them. As someone very much at the other end of the spectrum of scholarly learning to yourself, it is greatly encouraging that my words conjure any interest within you at all, and I am certainly humbled that they appear so to do.

      What a beautiful and apposite quote you have provided from Marcus Aurelius. You invite the question as to whether the meaning therein may, or may not, correlate to the Buddhist conception of Mudita as a so-called ‘divine abiding’ – a virtuous and unselfish sympathetic joy. As Edward Conze stated, Mudita is a prerequisite of loving kindness, and the two virtues together engage in a fully appreciative apprehending of others’ circumstances. Without the benefit of any context for Aurelius’ words, I wonder though John, whether something more innate to the individual subject is pointed to. Mudita of its own, I think it’s correct to say, arises dependently in relationship to others; one has a sympathetic and joyful appreciation of the other’s circumstance. I may be on the wrong track here, and am more than willing to bow to your undoubtedly superior knowledge on the matter, though Aurelius’ quote suggests just what you yourself pointed to in referring to our ‘inner sanctuary’, and which also reflects my own stated position. Certainly if this is so, then your choice of quote is perfectly apposite in connection with what I refer to as ‘the sway of contentedness’. It is the ready invitation within each of us to a ‘pouring forth’ of awareness into a perfectly sweet repose.

      And oh yes John, those stories we weave around our feelings and mood balloons, how they do add to the false complexity of our simple authenticity! We inhabit the narrative, habituating ourselves to an isolative dwelling therein, projecting how each chapter will unfold and rewriting our already fictionalised previous editions just as suits our needs. I wonder, what would the non-fiction version of my life look like, and exactly how might it be read? Aha! It is here, right now, reading itself to me in every moment and burning each word to ashes in the immediacy of its own expression.

      Thank you John, for your wonderful erudition, sensitivity and friendship.


        • Goodness, Hariod, it is a bit disconcerting to watch myself hold forth here. But I do love this course, and the feedback from students over the years has been deeply humbling and gratifying. Then, too, in the 20 years I taught it, I never stopped learning. I like the bird singing in the background.

          As to my being more of a scholar: in all my years in academia, I never felt like a traditional ‘scholar’. After the first few years in the profession, I just could not, nor did I want to, maintain an objective distance between myself, my texts, and my students. I am afraid the musical/poetic side of my soul used my mind as a prism through which to cast a spectrum of color on the world. Not often, but more than once, I actually shed tears during a lecture at the beauty of a visionary idea. So I think you and I are both alike in that we don’t try to trumpet our repertoire of reflections and study, but to nurture and massage and share our meagre and slowly growing understanding with sincerity.

          I agree, one always walks on thin ice in the attempt to compare Western (Marcus Aurelius) thinkers with Eastern traditions. The context to which you refer is not only textual, but cultural and philosophical. Still, it seems to me that the mountain of wisdom is one, and although we climb various cultural paths, a few amazing individuals, Heraclitus and Lao Tzu for example, meet at the top and say “Why hello, brother/sister. I know you.”

          Then, too, your point about the dependent co-arising of the Immeasurables resonates with Aristotle’s observation that the four cardinal virtues exist together in complementarity or not at all. You add the important element of human inter-being. Right now, I am working on a brief essay of images of the Bramaviharas in Japan, but I’m finding it difficult to tread the razor’s edge between over-simplification and hopeless complexity.

          I send an affectionate greeting.

          • Should I have posted you playing ‘The Girl From Ipanema’ instead John? Seriously though, I took the liberty of popping that video up here because I know for certain that we readers are curious about each other and doing so may have saved a few from having to search you out for themselves. In any case, I like to promote fine blogs whenever their author’s visit here, and yours is most certainly up there amongst the very finest of them John. Having said this, if you want me to withdraw the video, or any reference, then naturally you only have to say so. And by the way, the course sounds absolutely fascinating, I would love to have attended it myself.

            With Metta.


            • Thank you, Hariod. I thought after I posted that response that I wanted to say “disconcerting, but also flattering.” I am so grateful for your support and encouragement.

  4. Hariod, I love how you weave together the threads so meticulously and then add a surprising finishing touch! “Dwelling in contentedness amidst our mood balloons requires insight into our illusory self-construct and disentangling conditioned responses from arisen feelings. From here, concerns are allayed as to their inflation; we see them as natural colourings of our airspace, and all is well. Pop!”

    Yes, indeed! 🙂

    Val. x

    • Thank you very much Val for your kind and generous words of appreciation, and for taking a little of your time to consider my thoughts. I am neither a gifted nor trained writer, yet I feel a tremendous obligation of care when setting out my ideas here and elsewhere, given the subject matter and given also that people are being so kind as to consider what it is that I have to say. The blogosphere is rather a crowded place, and to be noticed and reflected upon at all I consider something of a privilege to be constantly mindful of.

      According to a WordPress specialist website, there were at the end of last year over 152 million blogs on the internet. And of course, more are added to the blogosphere daily. Actually, a new one is created somewhere in the world every half a second. Given 3,600 seconds in one hour, and 24 hours in a day, then if we multiply 24 hours in a day with 3,600 seconds in one hour, we arrive at 86,400 seconds in a day. Since a new blog is created and set up every half a second, we must multiply the 86,400 seconds in a day by 2. This means that 172,800 blogs are added to the internet every day. The running total of blogs therefore is currently in excess 200 million.

      It’s really quite incredible that one gets noticed at all isn’t it? So thank you so much for doing so Val; I don’t take your presence, your kindness and your generosity at all lightly or for granted.

      Hariod. ❤

      • Thank you for your kind words Hariod, and all of this information. I had no idea there were so many blogs out there! It makes me even more appreciative of the connections I have made. Interconnectedness or mutual attraction of similar energies perhaps? 🙂

      • Lovely post Hariod; and yes I agree, with so many blogs one has to wonder how they are noticed much less appreciated. I love your blog though. Your writing is always a treasure. Fondly, Eve.

        • Thank you so much for your kind and supportive words Eve; they help me greatly as I fumble to claim my voice amongst the many. I send you my very best wishes as ever dear friend.

          Hariod. ❤

            • I am sure the creative inspiration will return as life unfolds in ways that can’t be foreseen Eve. You may have a change of style, being more anecdotal or finding inspiration from new territories. In the meantime, you have your blogging family who want contact with you; so I hope you continue to post your wonderful photography and illuminating videos, and do so until the words return, as they will. All things must pass; you know this. H ❤

  5. Beautiful, Hariod!!

    It’s funny, I was just taking note, last night, of my sleep in relation to the cycles of the moon. This is something you had pointed out to me early on in our correspondence and something which I had neither noticed nor thought to notice. Much in the same way, your insights resonate with me here on your pages – though what you create here is structurally a page but much more, emotionally. So very artful and moving. And I hope, from now on, to realize when I’m telling myself that I’m trapped in the grips of ‘a mood’, that all can be punctured.

    Thank you!

    Lauren. ❤

    • As always Lauren, my great thanks go out to you for your warm-spirited and unselfconsciously honest contribution. If you have been moved by the subject under discussion, as you say you have, then not only do you qualify as a fully paid-up member of the human race – there are those who misguidedly claim to be beyond emotionality – but one who shows great sensibility and self-awareness. As we both know, mood balloons may seize us and hoist us aloft at any time; it’s such a formidable challenge to dwell in any sense comfortably in the process when the colouration of those balloons is dark and the flavour foreboding.

      Some things in the world we may have a little control over, we can supply the fix, change things around, shift the terrain. But negative mood balloons may often come unbidden and without an obvious cause, and this is a great source of humbling as we are subjected to them; no wonder that tears may flow once in a while. I hope I have not made too light of the matter here in this piece, which is a companion article to another which explores the matter more deeply. [ ] In any case, for my effort to have chimed with you as it appears to have done, is most rewarding and a great encouragement to me.

      Thank you so much Lauren, for being Lauren.

      Hariod. ❤

      • Thank you, Hariod, so much for your support and caring words. Yes, I do try to talk about the ways in which I’m hoisted aloft, as you so poetically expressed it, and it is neither comfortable to be carried nor to talk about being carried. However, it is a true gift when one mentions it, as you have done in your response to me and above in your post. My deepest gratitude.

        I made a note to reach back out to you to tell you that days later after reading ‘Mood Balloons’, your piece impacted me on another level:

        I started to visualize your words and the energy and timing of what your wrote. All of a sudden I started to picture the words in each paragraph flowing together rhythmically in a way that mirrored the strength with which a balloon inflates, and then the sudden way in which it deflates, its contents spilling out into the atmosphere.

        I’m not sure that’s what you intended, but for me, the fluidity of your words on the page came to mirror the presence and characteristics of actual balloons – in the way that each paragraph formed it’s own balloon. Quite magical. And if that wasn’t the intent that’s okay too. The mark of true art (or one of the marks) is that it moves its audience in a new way, as clearly you’ve done here this time, and with all I’ve read on your pages.

        Speaking of which, I can’t wait to read the other link you’ve sent.

        Thank you, Hariod. ❤


        • I’ll add no more dear Lauren, save to say that for my words to connect deeply is wonderfully gratifying, and makes the whole endeavour worthwhile; it is true communication. H ❤

  6. Dear Hariod,

    Some great ideas here, both in your fine post and throughout the ensuing conversation. I probably can’t add too much to all that has been said here.

    Moods are like a stream, ebbing and flowing from feelings that are smooth as glass, to those that are more like a bumpy storminess. Passion can be both joyful, ecstatic or upset like fiery anger.

    I do believe though that feelings possess me more than that I am possessing or “having” them. Feelings are perhaps the psychological interface between ourselves and the world. But what angers some, would make others laugh, so it is interesting to me to ask myself, what do the feelings want, especially in the midst of suffering an unpleasant feeling. Over time though, what is unpleasant changes. I’m fairly comfortable with sadness the older I get. It seems to belong in reponse to a loss of a loved one, or in contemplating the suffering of others.

    Perhaps mood fluctuations or our relationship to them become problematic when we don’t honor them by asking what they want. I think that was true for me earlier in my life. At one time there were many unlived aspects to my life snowballing into a constant painful presence. When I became more able to respond to life in a way that honored what calls to me, the ebb of moods shifted from a flat, dull throbbing pain to more frequent shifts in mood that seem to fit with the day to day, moment to moment experience of life.

    Thanks for sparking a great conversation and sharing your wisdom here.


    • Dear Debra,

      You have hit on another analogy, and one that may be more apposite for many; that’s to say, the use of watery metaphors and how they fit with the ‘pouring forth’ of emotions. For some of us, the use of such devices may provide a helpful dis-identification – not a false detachment – and I very much like your suggestion.

      And your idea too, that feelings act as an interface between our being and the world, strikes a chord within me. Metaphorically again, they are the ‘feelers’ that are sent out into the world, to test the waters, so to speak, before returning to the intellect so it can report on the situation.

      When you say ‘what do the feelings want?’, I think that for my own purposes I rephrase this and ask ‘from what do these feelings derive?’ Sometimes, the conditioning of them is so remote that it can’t be identified; though often, once can come back to their genesis and unpack them. One may have to go deeply into stillness to do this of course.

      Our failure to become intimate with moods and mental states generally, leads to what you so eloquently describe as ‘unlived aspects to life’, wherein ideas of control and avoidance may predominate of course, and when the self-entity is in the driving seat – or thinks that it is. As you so rightly suggest, in time this tends to be supplanted with a more responsive approach that attends to subtler callings, and integrates experience more seamlessly.

      As always Debra, it’s such an honour to have you visit here and consider my words. You are one of the deep thinkers if I may say so; you have the intellect to dive into waters where dullards such as myself tend to find themselves out of their depth (to return to your liquid metaphors), though the swim is always invigorating!

      Hariod. ❤

      • My dear Hariod!

        Thank you for this wonderful exchange. You are anything but a dullard! I must object to that. Your precision with words and ideas astounds and inspires me.

        I believe I got the water analogy from Jung, and also Alan Watts. I loved his analogy of living, as to navigating a sailboat.

        Thanks again for your kind words. I am happy to have these exchanges.


        Yes, I would also ask about the origin of feelings, that too, is helpful.

    • Thank you for letting me know Liz. I hope the article is of some interest to your subscribers and that they appreciate the way I’ve hung the mini exhibition of your exquisite work in my strange little gallery!

      Hariod. ❤

  7. Thank you Hariod for a wonderfully insightful post; a timely reminder for me to at least rest in the gap. And of course, thank you for including my paintings; again, I am truly honoured. I have reblogged on my blog, I hope that is okay.

    With fond best wishes, Liz.

    • Many thanks to you for reading my thoughts here Liz; to have the approval of a seasoned meditator such as yourself is greatly encouraging as I continue on in my efforts to express myself. Your re-blogging of the article is, reciprocally, a true honour for me, and for which I am very grateful.

      With Metta.

      Hariod. ❤

  8. This is very nice as well Hariod. I have a question for you from reading your book this evening. Do you think that it is possible that from a place of openness and presence, we can intuitively sense that something is amiss with the attachment to ego? In other words, to have an awareness that is not filled with judgement, but is a compassionate and accepting knowing that we too have been led, in a limited way, and deceived by the delusion and grasping of the false self.

    In presence, is it that there is a more clear seeing, or is all accepted as one? Or, is it more that through presence our sense of individual selfhood is influenced in a way that contributes to a seeing that the self is a tool, and through a more authentic seeing it can move beyond the limitations of the grasping ego-oriented self? In our use of language, and form-oriented perceptions, is some sort of subjective self inevitable, albeit possibly as a more deeply conscious form?

  9. Congratulations, dear Hariod, on another perceptive and exquisite piece. As with all your posts I feel I do not have the intelligence to understand and comprehend them. It is, for me, like reading a foreign language, I so little understand. As a Bipolar, I am always in the throes of one mood or another. I am learning that these moods are part of ego and no more substantive than passing clouds in the sky, if one can detach enough from ego to view them as such.

    With ❤ and total respect, Ellen.

    P.S. I’m writing from a sickbed so currently have little energy.

    • I’m so sorry to hear that you’re currently under the weather Ellen; and so it is that I feel doubly touched that you would turn your attentions to my writings on a subject which, in any case, I could have little ability to inform one such as yourself on. I’m struggling a little myself with a virus currently, and so I have to confess, pretty much everything is ‘like reading a foreign language’ for me too at the moment!

      I appreciate your analogy to ‘passing clouds’ Ellen, as I do also Debra’s watery metaphors, and conclude that it’s of no import as to what imaginative correlations we make, so long as they work for us individually. It’s the identification with those clouds – ‘I am this, this is mine’ – that tends to bring about the overlay of mental anguish, and which together with the self-identification, feeds into, intensifies and perpetuates the feelings.

      Surround yourself with all things comforting Ellen; and I daresay Mooji will bring some comforts of his own to you.

      Hariod. ❤

  10. Dearest Hariod,

    So sorry to hear that you, too, are sick. These viruses tend to stick around. Mooji is a great comfort to me! I hope you have some equivalent practice for comforting yourself.

    Do take care, feel better, much love, Ellen.

  11. Hey, there, Hariod! I was about to ask you if you’d stopped blogging, but then I realized you’d gotten caught in the purge when WordPress updated its software a while back. A lot of us lost, or had corrupted, our ‘Follow’ lists. I’m re-following, and I can see I have some catching up to do.

    Question: If you inhale a mood balloon, does your voice go all high-pitched and make you crack up? 😀

    • Hey there W.S.! What a timely interjection. My friend Jana (see above commenter J.H. White), has today just posted on her site about this WordPress problem you mention:

      [ ]

      Can you possibly send me a link for additional info, or say further whatever you know about it? If this is a pain, please don’t worry, but if you have some information to hand, that would be helpful.

      As to your question, I’ll have to run a few experiments with all manner of offerings in the balloon to see just what effects may be induced.

      • I almost posted a very similar post!

        I don’t know why it happens, so I can’t address that. It doesn’t happen to everyone, so whatever it is, it’s subtle. It’s never happened to me in 2+ years until a month ago or so. I’ve heard other bloggers mention it, and apparently it can wipe out the entire list or just some members. Weird!

        It’s possible to export and save your ‘Follow’ list as an XML file. You can then, supposedly, import it back in. I’ve never tried the import, so I don’t know if it appends your existing list or replaces it. And you’d need to remember to re-export every time you changed your ‘Follow’ list, otherwise the XML copy would be out of date. This is all done from the ‘Blogs I Follow’ part of your Reader after clicking [Edit].

  12. A wonderful post Hariod.

    I was drawn to the sentence where you wrote: “So much of our angst is perpetuated in the identification of selfhood with emotions; as if believing, quite literally, that ‘I am in a mood’. No mood contains any ‘self of me’, nor can it ever.”

    Understanding our mood is not ourselves, and yet also perhaps that the many moods we do hold help us to identify our real selves. For do we not have to go through our many bubbles and ‘pop’ various traits as we explore and peel off the layers of our many selves?

    I know that ‘feeling’ is a part of manifesting. We can think as much as we like, yet when we put our intention and feeling into thought through our emotional body, our intent helps bring it into our sphere of experience. Wayne Dyer wrote much on this subject in his book ‘Wishes Fulfilled’.

    I also loved the artwork you used to enhance your article Hariod. Thank you for this excellent posting of your thoughts.

    Sue. xox

    • Thank you so much dear Sue, for considering my words and for adding some valued and very much respected thoughts of your own. I have written more extensively elsewhere on this vast subject, though the purpose of this short piece was to stress that moods and mental states are constantly in play within us to some degree or other. They are not, in some judgemental sense, ‘unwelcome guests’, even though their expression can at times be deeply challenging. They are inextricably bound-up within human sentience, and to seek to deny as much is futile.

      In referring to them I noted ‘. . . the ubiquitous nature of moods and mental states generally, both of which engage ceaselessly in the conditioned and conditioning interplay of human sentience.’ So I of course agree entirely with your observations as regards their exploration (your 2nd. paragraph), and I think echo your views when noting that a good approach consists in ‘. . . a passively non-resistant mode of observation; this means not exerting a controlling influence which merely sustains our sense of selfhood and so with it any mood balloon.’

      Thank you also for your very kind words on Liz Doyle’s abstract paintings. Liz is a deeply committed artist of great integrity, sensibility and skill, and I know she will be heartened by your kind and considerate observations.

      My warmest best wishes to you dear Sue.

      Hariod. ❤

  13. Hi Hariod,

    I am completely bowled over by the intellectual discussion about moods here; the details have drowned me yet still I have been struggling to read and digest, floundering in the sea of words!

    I have never given such a profound attention to moods; for me they have been just a part of my life and they have been flowing smoothly, depressing at times but uplifting too. The ‘angst’ has never seeped in, as in the way you have elucidated.

    Thanks for sharing such fascinating thoughts. And by the way, I didn’t get any notification from your site about new posts though I am following it. Anyway, it has been a blessing because I got to read this stimulating discussion.

    • Hi Balroop,

      How lovely that you should visit; and may I thank you sincerely for reading my article and for adding some reflections of your own to the discussion. I think your modesty as regards your ability to digest the content here is more politeness than a case of being warranted; and so please feel no hesitation in proving me right and contributing further any thoughts you may have on future articles – you are a very welcome and honoured guest here Balroop.

      It is interesting that you raise this point about email notifications from WordPress, as I have just been engaged with others on this very subject. By default, WordPress have email notifications switched off (see: your ‘Reader’ to amend settings) for new subscriptions, such as yours to my blog here. They only submit new posts to appear in the ‘Reader’, which, if you are like most WordPress users, is the least utilised means of discovering content.

      Thank you so much Balroop, for being so considerate as to seek me out, for reflecting upon my thoughts and for contributing to the discussion here.

      With much gratitude and respect.


  14. Reading your post brought up many thoughts and memories Hariod; among them:

    1) You mention healing depression and anxiety through medication and talk therapy. While medication may sometimes be necessary and talk therapy can be helpful, I believe more active therapies go deeper and are more likely to solve the problems. To me, an active form (as opposed to only talking) of group therapy is the most effective. In the work I do, in addition to talking, we use psychodrama, gestalt, bioenergetic processes, regression work, self care and personal contracts, accountability work and many other modalities to release emotions and change self defeating attitudes and behaviours. Going deeply into the emotions and expressing them in a way that does not hurt oneself, others, or the environment, is like putting a siphon down a volcano. And to do that with support, being witnessed in the pain can be incredibly healing. I believe, and experience, that by releasing the old pain people are able to get to the point where they are able to be with their emotions in the ways you describe here.

    2) I laughed when I read your statement “Elsewhere, it’s often erroneously thought that the psychologically mature, or those spiritually advanced, exhibit an equanimous repose in the face of emotively charged situations.” It reminded me of a time many years ago when a woman who had read my book walked up to me and asked me what it was like for me now that I was beyond anger. I was startled and asked her what I had said in the book that had led her to believe that I was beyond anger. That was certainly not an accurate statement!

    3) I like your metaphor of “Dwelling in contentedness amidst our mood balloons.” I see my progress in that endeavour, but it is definitely a life long journey; at least for me.

    • I am very grateful to you Karuna, for offering your professional insights here. In a necessarily short article such as this, it is not possible to cover all the bases as I am sure you appreciate well; though it is certainly most appropriate that you address this deficiency to some extent here in the comments; so I thank you for taking the time to do so.

      How true it is that these various myths abound regarding psychological and spiritual maturity. I am on personal terms with a number of former Buddhist nuns and monks, and one or two above that station too; and there is no question that given a free rein, the human nervous system runs the full gamut of emotions regardless of one’s standing.

      It is a pleasure, an honour and a privilege to have you visit here and consider my offerings as you have Karuna.

      With Metta.

      Hariod. ❤

      • I smiled at your first statement because I also had the thought that it was impossible for me to cover all the bases in my comment!

        I have experienced seeing emotions running the full gamut regardless of one’s standing, both in spiritual communities and in worldly life. I will never forget my first faculty meeting after I started teaching at the University of Washington. One of the tenured professors (and a past professor of mine) threw a major two year-old temper tantrum. I was so shocked! All of us are human and we make it abundantly obvious every now and then.

        I really appreciate your post. It gave me much to ponder!

        • The tale about your former professor is quite amusing Karuna ; I would have loved to have witnessed that! And sometimes of course, our dear teenage offspring, whilst resolutely asserting that they are okay, have their little temper tantrums and mood balloons:

          Hariod. ❤

          • [Regarding the angry professor mentioned above] It was even more shocking to me because she had recently been my thesis adviser!

            Your reply reminds me of something else I have never forgotten:

            I was at a meeting between a hospital’s clinical nurse specialists (about 6 of us) and our Assistant Director of Nursing. She was quite upset about something. One of the clinical specialists asked if she was angry, and she stood up, leaned over the table, and pointing her finger in the face of the person who had asked said, “NO I am NOT angry!” – in a very angry voice.

            I suppose, or at least hope, that the video was a joke. If not, that kid needs serious help!

  15. I’m late to the party; are there still balloons, cake and singing? I am going to work through the comments as an additional tutorial as a reward to me for grading my latest stack of essays. Such a helpful collection of words. Ms. H – I feel them, capturing a seeming pattern in a process. I am seeing the merge, after the distancing, and experiencing the pockets that arise, in bodysensationfeelingbubbles, all on their own accord, surprising me in the vastness and variety, and soreness they can reveal. And may I say, the art points here too, in a wordless way, especially my octopus arm, so wonderfully captured! Love, love. Your babbling, nonlinear friend!

    • Aha, here comes Octopussy, straight from The Sea of Academe and squirting her beautiful inky words in all directions! So pop a popper molluscan girl, grab yourself eight slices of cake and shake that cephalopod rump baby!

      A thousand thanks for stopping by for a babble my dear nonlinear friend.

      Exponentially yours.

      Hariod. ❤

      • Oh, so hilarious; and trippy to see my name at the beginning. I love my many, many lives. As my encouraging photographer says, ‘getting better’. 🙂 What a fun mess you stir up!

  16. I very much enjoy spending time here Hariod; it is phenomenally peaceful and makes me feel happy too.

    And this: “Can we not just eat cake and sing?” – from a poets perspective alone it would make a marvellous title. *shines a beaming smile to you*

    – Sonmi with vegan gateaux all over her face upon the Cloud.

    • Sonmi, I think that is quite the most uplifting and encouraging comment I have yet to receive here in my very short presence in the blogosphere – I began in April this year. I am so grateful to you for this, as I never quite know how my words will impact upon others, if they will impact at all, and even indeed, whether there will be any readers whatsoever quite frankly. Coming from a very fine poetess too, makes the whole doubly gratifying.

      I recognise that line “Can we not just eat cake and sing?” It must be buried in the comments here somewhere I suppose, which gives me further reason to extend my thanks to you Sonmi, for showing genuine interest in my little corner of the world; or perhaps I should say, my little billowing cloud. You are very rapidly becoming one of my very favourite readers Sonmi; we will have to see if I can repay you in some small way.

      Hariod. ❤

      • Aw shucks; no, you need not repay me in any form Hariod, we’re swapping happiness already. I’m honoured that you enjoy my writing and you certainly get my sense of humour too. Laughter has been a saving grace (non religious) for me for many years now and it has become so much a part of me that I am often my best audience *laughs*. I can be a little risqué at times, but tis all in the best possible taste. Probably. *winks*

        – Sonmi beaming on the Cloud ❤

          • Hmm, well ok, but this is as far as I’m willing to go on a first joke:

            ‘A man walks into the doctors and says “Doctor I’ve got a strange growth in an embarrassing place. Can you have a look?”

            The Doctor asks the man to show him, and the man lowers his trousers and underwear and bends over to show a small green leaf sticking out of his arse.

            The man says “Can you help me Doctor?”

            The doctor replies “I have some bad news sir, this is only the tip of the iceberg.”

            Feel free not to post this publicly Hariod. *laughs for some time*. It is possible that I find this particularly amusing as I grow iceberg lettuces here on the Cloud.

            – Sonmi falling about on the Cloud.

            • Excellent Sonmi. I will try to respond in similar style:

              A man walks into the doctors and says “Doctor I’ve got this steering wheel lodged in my groin.”
              The doctor says “How on earth did this happen?”
              The man replies “I don’t know, but it’s driving me nuts”

              • Hahahahaha. Good choice. I may do a post on jokes and see what the rowdy rabble come up with. Inspiration does bloom here you see? 😉

                I must abed now for the sandman is tugging at my droopy eyelids. Good night Hariod. ❤

                – Sonmi pulling the covers up on the Cloud.

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