This is the 2nd segment of a 3-part series. Its topic? Discovering the gifts our emotions have to give us, including letting us know what needs to be healed within us so that we can be healthy. And this particular segment is about discovering our emotions as an internal guidance system that is part of an amazingly intelligent design of being human. In the first part of this series, we looked at the effect emotions can have on our health. Now we’ll look at how emotions are a part of our internal guidance and how integral they are to our authenticity and our power as human beings.
Our emotions are powerful tools that few of us recognize as such, but more and more of us are discovering the power they wield with our productivity everyday. The leaders, philosophers, and facilitators of self-development today have already, and are continuing to recognize that our greatest sense of the flow of life, our recognition of being in sync with that flow of life, and our ability to simply be and let go of all else that gets in the way of that being in sync begins with our emotions.
We can use them as a guide to be true to who we are and to be in sync with who we are becoming as we expand in our consciousness and in our lives.
Now, we may rationalize with logic and deduce with reason. We may think and figure things out. We do all of this as a part of our human design. This is how we’ve learned to be in this physical world with the advent of logic and science, their study and their students. This is how our brains have developed and evolved over time, as we desire to be more, and field more in our lives.
But in another arena, seemingly unrelated but really completely relevant, our emotions are a solid foundation upon which we can build a fluid relationship with this world and the people around us. Our emotions allow us to build trust and faith in an uncertain future that is always coming toward us. We can use both our brains – the science of our physical-ness – and our emotions – the intuitive side of our being-ness – for our greatest good, given the two are not mutually exclusive of the other. We don’t have to be limited to an “either/or” assessment of what we’ve been given with this phenomenal machine called a brain and the fluidity of our emotions as we experience them.
A side note here… In America (and some other nations), we have a society that defines being emotional as “weak.” But wait… We also have a Western world that defines being passionate as “strong.” Both words “emotional” and “passionate,” if you look them up in the dictionary, are defined using the word “emotion.” Yet, these two words and the valuations and meanings placed upon them are at opposing ends of the spectrum.
I believe in taking the meaning that empowers you. After all, meanings change from era to era depending on what’s happening in our society – just check out a dictionary from the 1800’s and see how the meanings of words vary from then to now. We add the meaning. It wasn’t there when we began as a species, when there was just dirt in millions of formations on the Earth’s surface. I don’t think cavemen and women would know what the hell half the things we talk about mean. And to be frank, there are still all over this world, conflicting definitions, conflicting ideas, conflicting opinions, conflicting ideals, conflicting values and, even, conflicting logics. That is what it is to be human. That is our human condition.
So what would it be to simply regard our emotions as emotions and nothing more? What would it be to drop all the meanings we’ve added and just deal with the very thing and not all the extras we’ve placed on top? Most of us call emotions “feelings.” (And the 70’s song begins to play… “Feelings, nothing more than feelings…”)
And emotions are, for most of us, feelings as they cause body sensations that either appeal to us and make us feel good, or make us feel bad and we want to resist. But to be crystal clear, emotions are not body sensations. They cause body sensations. They are also not moods or attitudes. Emotions can cause moods and attitudes, but so too can thoughts, logic and reasoning (which is just 3 ways to say “thought”). Emotions follow – are caused by – thoughts, but they are not thoughts.
So here’s the skinny… We can use emotions and their feelings, the body sensations they cause in us, as a kind of barometer for our lives. Look, thoughts cause emotions. Emotions cause us to take action, even if the action is as small as winking our eye. And actions produce results, or outcomes, in our visible world. So if we’re feeling frustrated/angry/resentful/betrayedat/by something in our lives – for whatever reason – wouldn’t it follow that checking in at the “emotion-al” checkpoint would behoove what actions we take out in the world? I mean, we can either be constantly taking actions commensurate with resisting how bad we feel, or think we will feel in a future that may never happen, or… we could be taking action from a place of feeling good which would allow for more expansive opportunities of thinking and action – inspired action, at that.
I mean think about it… When we are in negative emotions, we have a tendency to lose our way. We get lost in the bad feeling and forget in what direction we were headed before we were “taken over.” We often find ourselves giving up, if we can’t pull ourselves out of it (we call it a funk sometimes), for all the bad feelings we’re having. Thoughts like “it’s not working out,” or “it’s not worth it” begin to follow. Once we’re in a momentum or a full swing of bad feelings, more and more bad feelings come to pass and we find ourselves lost in a morass. (We also call it Clinical Depression when our physical body begins to mirror our bad feelings changing our brain chemistry and altering our ability to function on a day-by-day basis.)
Now… when we’re in good feelings, life sings. We have all sorts of good feelings, and we are clear-minded, sure-footed, and light-hearted. When we’re in a momentum of good feelings, opportunities for more and more good feelings abound. We find ourselves laughing easily with others, delighting in the small things and small gestures in life, and generally being easy about the uncertainty of our future even as it comes toward us at the same pace it always has. Good feelings lead to thoughts and more thoughts directing us toward what we want. We find that life happens easily, and we feel that we are on a path to more and more good things.
Our nature as human beings is joy. Our nature is bliss. We often look to babies for empirical evidence of this, as it is most natural for babies to laugh, smile, coo or be loving – which we perceive, rightfully so, as an expression of joy. And no matter what the outside world seems to have on tilt, all continues to run smoothly inside of the perfect design of the macrocosmic world of this planet and the microcosmic worlds of our bodies. The Earth doesn’t crash into the sun. The planets continue in their rotation in the distances that they’ve had before. Our heart doesn’t pump/flow our blood in the opposite direction, and we don’t begin inhaling carbon dioxide and exhaling oxygen.
Consider then that our positive emotions are at one end of the barometer letting us know that we are being true to who we are. When we are being true to who we are, the Universe adds more of this confidence and this willingness to our experience. The Universe is an adding machine. Its very nature is abundance. It only gives more and more and more and more and more. However, it is important to remember that it is also neutral. So as it does with one, it will do with the other, meaning negativity. It will add more and more negative emotion and experience to your life if that is where you are focusing your attention.
Within our Emotional Guidance System, as positive emotions let us know that we are being “true” to ourselves, so does negative emotion let us know that there is a divide that’s been created through thought; that we are no longer in true self-identification, we are now opposing ourselves. It’s kind of like “there’s been a breech in the system” … Star Trek comes to mind. And when there’s been a breech in the system, we begin to feel more and more bad feelings as a way our intuition – or our being-ness – has of telling us, “Come back. Come back to you.”
As with a baby, if it is sad, frustrated, pained, or angry, it’s never that way for long as the baby ultimately returns again and again, without fail, to its natural state of joy. So too can we. And then there can be new meaning brought to the phrase, “be supple, flexible and childlike.” There is always, always, always a way to come back to your innate joy, to your innate self, to your innate well-being (all of those being synonymous). Using your positive and negative emotions to register where you are and what is needed to bring you back to yourself. Is this productive? Absolutely it is. Is it easy for everyone? No, maybe not at first. Can it be done? Absolutely. Always. Does it take practice? Like a mamma-jamma. (Pronounced maamma-jaamma.)
Practice is what makes this process of using our emotions as a guidance system a failsafe way of navigating our Joy… and our Depression. Look. Life gets real. We have a vast range of emotions. Some of us will use every last one of them before we’re done with this life, or at least, feel like we have. And some of us like to stay in a more moderate range, and keep to a minimum that’s comfortable. We’ve got choice in the matter, even when we feel like that’s a big fat lie. And more specifically, one choice is not better or worse. It’s just a choice – yours, mine, theirs, hers.
We can find our way to being in our joy on a more constant basis. We can find our way to ease rather than the harshness we’ve known in the past. It may take some effort. It may take a lot of effort. It may take reaching out for help that makes us feel embarrassed or humiliated. It may take… a mountain to be moved. And even in this journey, there is our emotional guidance system to tell us if we’re being true to what we’re really capable of, or… lapsing into a harsh judgment of ourselves and what we think we’re not capable of.
Practice in utilizing our emotional guidance system brings a depth of knowing that understanding can’t even tap. So begin to explore your emotions. Begin with a practice of simply noticing them. Simply noticing and observing yourself will create an awareness of yourself as you’ve never experienced before. As you observe how your emotions swell and ebb, you can begin to notice that they never last for long. Observation allows you to remain neutral. Remaining neutral allows your emotions to have their life, but not have you.
Yes, emotions can seem like they run you, but they don’t. You run them. (Beyoncé just sang, “Who runs the world?”) When your emotions seem to last forever, it is because you are suppressing, avoiding, ignoring, trying to get rid of, or just plain resisting them. Observing them from a neutral standpoint allows you to begin to see that they will run a course and dissipate. Once you begin to see this, you can begin to evolve your practice and practice allowing your emotions to have their moment, and not you. Don’t think it’s a practice you’ll undertake like an online educational course and someday it’ll be done and you’ll graduate, or get a certificate. This is for a lifetime, baby.
And it’s well worth it. ‘Cause your bliss and its sustenance are worth it all, baby.
You are worth it, and you are worth the conscious rewards you will reap as you begin to see the folly of our human condition, and begin to transcend the ardor of it.
You are worth it, and the wonder with which you will begin to see all of what we do when we think we are being run by emotions, because you will know that the emotion is not the one in charge.
You are worth it, as you begin to enjoy life at a depth that now astounds you.
All of this as you allow your emotions to be your guide. As you allow your heart to be your guide. As you allow your highest self to be your guide. As you allow your best self to continually unfold with effortlessness and ease.
Wow! You are really cool.