Music has the power to stop time. When I listen to songs, I'm transported back to the moment of their birth, which is sometimes even before the moment of my birth. Old songs, rock or soul or blues, still connect with me because the human emotions in them, whether jealousy or rage or hope, are recognizably similar to the emotions that I'm feeling now. But I'm feeling all of them, all the time, and so the songs act like a chemical process that isolates certain feelings at certain times: maybe one song helps illuminate the jubilation and one helps illuminate the sorrow and one helps illuminate the resignation. Music has the power to stop time. But music also keeps time.
Books can also provoke emotions. And emotions sometimes are even more troublesome than ideas. Emotions have led people to do all sorts of things they later regret-like, oh, throwing a book at someone else.
DENIAL OF EMOTIONS Our culture does not handle emotions well. We like folks to be happy and fine. We learn rituals of acting happy and fine at an early age. I can remember many times telling people "I'm fine" when I felt like the world was caving in on me. I often think of Senator Muskie who cried on the campaign trail when running for president. From that moment on he was history. We don't want a president who has emotions. We would rather have one that can act! Emotions are certainly not acceptable in the workplace. True expression of any emotions that are not "positive" are met with disdain.
Q. But it seems to me there are circumstances that simply induce one to have negative emotions! A. This is one of the worst illusions we have. We think that negative emotions are produced by circumstances, whereas all negative emotions are in us, inside us. This is a very important point. We always think our negative emotions are produced by the fault of other people or by the fault of circumstances. We always think that. Our negative emotions are in ourselves and are produced by ourselves. There is absolutely not a single unavoidable reason why somebody else's action or some circumstance should produce a negative emotion in me. It is only my weakness. No negative emotion can be produced by external causes if we do not want it. We have negative emotions because we permit them, justify them, explain them by external causes, and in this way we do not struggle with them.
It is easier to be angry. It is easier to hate. It is easier to knock someone down. Those are surface level emotions. It is much harder to be tolerant, to seek wisdom and understand, to stop and evaluate your response even can be pretty challenging. Hate is born of ignorance. We are so distracted that living with any depth is such an oversight as a society. We must learn to love and to stop and think. All of which spending time in meditation with the word of God gives us. But who has time for that?