We are asked not to become identified with passing moods, which are to be treated like clothes. Whether we are wearing bright clothes or dark clothes we have still to do what is before us, unaffected by the clothes we happen to be wearing at the time. In the same way, we must become independent of moods; although moods of depression or elation may come over us from time to time the important thing is to be entirely independent of them.
We can help ourselves to do so by realising their artificial character, using the same example of clothes. The American sage Emerson is supposed to have remarked that for most people there are a few joys to rival the consciousness of being really well dressed. But if today we look at a photograph of this somewhat aristocratic New Englander in his best clothes we shall find it slightly comical. And the same would be true of his wife. Our own elations and depressions have usually equally unreal foundations.
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© 1999 Trevor Leggett