Chapter 8 – Feelings
Exploring our feelings is, in my opinion, the most fascinating adventure we can imagine. Talk about cheap hobby! Wherever we are, we have “ourselves” with us and we will not be bored for one second! I often talk about emotional competence, and by that I mean being able to handle my feelings; feel them, take responsibility for them and not project them on to the surroundings. Although it may be difficult to distinguish between thoughts and feelings – they do give rise to each other – it is essential that we do it here.
Feelings are felt
Thoughts we think, feelings we feel. Feelings are energy that we experience in the body. In our culture, we are very good at intellectualizing our emotions. If you ask someone ”how did it feel?” You will often get the answer: “well, I thought …” We are used to being in the intellect, and respond with an opinion. So we need to increase our awareness of where and how we experience feelings in our body. The most important thing with feelings is to feel them, not necessarily to express them verbally or by action, but to release the feeling within, to explore the energy, dare to stay in it (this is how I feel) and based on that, find a suitable approach.
Feelings contain information
All feelings serve a purpose and are positive in that they provide information; they want to tell us something. We can learn to see them as our friends, who are here to guide us. Instead of fighting them, we can invite our feelings and ask to have a closer look. What is it I need to see?
Although all feelings are ”good”, certain states of mind are more sought after than others. We all want to be cheerful and happy, to feel warmth and love, preferably all the time. In order to stay in this desired state of being, we need to understand and manage the emotions that pull us out of ”the good state”. In particular, we should pay attention to when we become emotional (over-emotional), here we can be sure to have unprocessed pain within.
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Everything we do aims at a feeling
If we scrutinize our motives and aspirations in life, we can see that everything we do is done to produce a feeling. The things that I love to do evoke a sensation in my body. Without it, there is no experience. I strive for material possessions in order to gain a sweet sensation in the body. Money and success provide satisfaction in the body. When we become aware of this, we can learn to bring about the desired feelings directly, without connecting them to an object. This creates freedom and independence. (Then of course, we can buy the things we want, but without depending on them. We know what it is about and are free to choose.)
Practice evoking a feeling that you would like to experience more often – such as joy. You can think of an occasion when you were really happy, or maybe you are happy right now. Relax and feel the quality of joy without relating it to something special. Just sense how joy feels for you. Connect the feeling of joy with your breathing, so that you breathe the joy into your body. Practice this for some time and you will be able to evoke this feeling whenever you want.
We have become used to being happy as the result of something emanating from the outside world. But even if I just think of the same thing and really sense it, the joyful feeling arises and I am the one creating the feeling in both cases.
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