Immediate Expression of Feelings in the West Compared to India – 6 Jun 09

Western culture

Yesterday was Darshan and I was saying, as so often in this meditation, that it is so hard for people here to express their emotions and feelings. And today in the morning Ramona and I were talking about the Darshan. Ramona said ‘It is difficult to feel the reaction of people to what you are saying. You cannot easily tell if they like what you are saying or not. Do they appreciate it or not?’

I said that this is the same thing what I am always talking about. People cannot express what they are feeling. Many times they do not even really know what they think of it, if they like it or not. They are looking at their neighbours and see what their reaction is. That makes it more easy for them to follow the same reaction. It is again the same topic: you are not sure about your own feelings and cannot express them.

Then I gave Ramona one example. I have been in some musical program or concert and I saw that although it was a very nice program, nobody applauded. I wanted to clap my hands but then I was informed that I should not applaud now, but in the end, that is the system. But for me clapping my hands is a natural reaction and sign of appreciation. If I like something it just comes automatically. But here you cannot clap in between, it is not allowed. And in the end everybody was applauding. This means that you have to hold yourself back, you are not allowed to express it.

In India I have seen that people express their appreciation right away. If they like something they will not wait for another hour to say it or to clap. You will hear or see it right away. For me it seems more free whereas here things go with the system. You need to learn when the right time for appreciation is. You cannot let it flow.

And in this way Ramona said that when I am talking or she is translating, you cannot see in people if they like it or not because they keep their face fully flat. I told her that in India you will know immediately. You can see their reaction and their emotions in their eyes and faces. And from that I was getting more inspiration to continue my lecture and talk. This is what I always encourage people to do in Darshan or in chakra dance parties like today: Express your feelings.

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  1. Durage

    It is a funny thing, when we are taught not to express ourselves you would think that things become clear when someone starts expressing themselves the other people who were taught not to express often don’t know how to interpret. they think there is an alterior motive behind the expression. it is very hard to take things at face value when you are taught not to express and it is easy to become offended.

  2. Saundra

    You know I can understand why Westerners are hard to read. I personally am hard to read because I am often reacting to many things at once so I mask them all until I can be alone and sort through them. I wonder if other Westerners are like this too?

  3. Greg

    I think for the most part Westerners are blank because all reactions are supposed to be filtered.

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