I’m still struggling a bit with properly rationalizing emotions; Could be because it sounds a bit like an oxymoron:) While I don’t know if I’ll be able to settle this for myself in a short blog, I feel compelled to give it a shot and see what comes out.
In my first draft, I opened by stating that feelings are energy. The more I wrote though, the more I realized that wasn’t it. Now I think energy is a byproduct of focus, but let me circle back to this thought at the end …
Currently, I find it most helpful to think of feelings primarily as information on how well a particular thought or action is aligned with my authentic self. Let’s call them “authentic ME” feelings … at least as a place holder in honor of this blog:) For example, I always get in a state of flow when I write this blog. It feels like time stops and I’m fully in the moment … feeling most alive as everything else fades into the background. This is because the process of making a new entry is at a perfect intersection of my three core values: love, wisdom, and creativity. What comes out, at least in my mind, is pure magic. The kind of stardust the purely logical side of me considers alien … alien all the way up until it’s finished … then my brain says “I knew you could do this buddy!”
Well, you might say that is nice and dandy, but then what about feelings such as lust? Just to make it clear, a feeling of lust that, for example, leads you to a pornography habit? Well, as it turns out I have a perfect example for you…
When I went off to college, I suddenly found myself going from a super slow dial-up modem on a family shared computer to a fast, LAN based, desktop that belonged to me alone (cue in the sinister laugh of Dr. Frankenstein!). This was awesome in many respects, but it also became a start point of my borderline porn addiction.
Even as late as my early thirties, I remember wondering why do I keep watching this garbage? I mean it felt great during, but the after started to become more and more unbearable. At the time, I came to a conclusion that it was a way of self numbing because porn gave me a reliable pause from my daily problems and it became an intimacy short circuit for a feeling that I just didn’t seem to be able to produce organically.
Ever since I became clear on my values and found a way to fill up my emotional tank with authentic ME feelings, I have made huge strides in eliminating the “self numbing.” For example, I’m not even tempted by porn. In fact, I find it repulsive. Having said that, it is a journey … as these days I find myself checking my Facebook feed as a delay tactic for taking action:)
The third category is “survival” feelings. These are all about my ego. They come up when I perceive to be insulted, don’t get proper recognition, and yes when I unintentionally come across a seductive post on the internet.
Survival feelings are of great service to us. Because of them, we experienced terrific scientific achievement and without them, the procrastination process would likely come to a screeching halt. However, they are nothing more than signals. I think we all agree, at least intellectually, that building our lives around mindlessly reacting to survival signals distracts us from reaching our deepest heart’s desires. After all, that takes risk.
So to circle back to the concept of energy, I feel my best when my actions honor my values, which in turn create seamless authentic ME feelings. As such, when the inevitable Self Numbing or Survival feelings come up, the actions that brought them about tend to get drowned out and eventually forgotten by my ever-strengthening habit of being connected with my true self.
In other words, to reference my self-appointed mentor Socrates in the allegory of the cave … once you see the light, you will never look at the shadows the same way again!
So what do you think? How true is that for you?