10-2-22 Emotions


Emotions guide our lives in many ways. Whether we’re inclined to hide and avoid or ponder and express them, most of us don’t realize the extent to which they are driving our thoughts and behaviors. Exploring our emotions is a worthy endeavor for anyone hoping to know and develop themselves, build healthy relationships, and pursue what they want in life.

When we live in harmony with our emotions, we become more in touch with who we are. We gain insight into the real core emotions that are causing our reactions, and we can be the one at the wheel, choosing our actions. Feeling is an adaptive mechanism that gives us critical information. By focusing on emotion with compassion and curiosity, we can discover who we really are.

“Primary emotions are our first heart-felt emotional reaction. They’re often followed by a more defended secondary emotion. Sometimes, we are only consciously aware of the secondary emotion: the anger that covers up feeling hurt, the embarrassment overpowering our sadness, or the anxiety masking a deeper fear

If we imagine a moment of feeling tense, frustrated or stuck in a bad feeling, driven to react without a sense of relief, we were probably caught in a secondary emotion. However, if we were able to access the deeper, more vulnerable feeling, perhaps a want or a need, or a core feeling of sadness or shame, we were then experiencing a primary emotion. Initially, we may have noticed the feeling building, but with mindfulness, we feel the emotion easing like a wave. When we allow ourselves to feel a primary emotion, we often experience relief. Instead, we feel more in touch with ourselves, softened yet more alive.” —Psychology Today 

When we operate primarily on the basis of our habitual patterns, we run into problems. At the first flash of emotion, we move so quickly into our habitual ways that we completely miss that first moment. It’s so authentic—it can tell us so much. But we never even give ourselves the opportunity to see it or feel it. We lose touch with the fresh, creative energy at the core of our being and skip straight to our usual way of expressing our anger or jealousy. Many of us feel anxiety about a number of situations. Instead of letting that anxiety balloon into an emotion that’s a runaway train, we can use awareness to ask the questions, “What is being felt here? Why am I anxious and what is a healthy way of working with it?” 

I used to think that my addiction was helping me to feel alive and deal with my problems, when all it was doing was masking any problems that I needed to look at. Our addictions of all kinds are emotionally charged and are fixations of the mind. They are conceptual, rigid and fear-based. We can be emotionally attached to avoidance, aggression, being a victim, or being needy. Then we will feel confused and unsettled. Those feelings of dissatisfaction are informing us that we are not feeling our life force; we are engaging our manipulations and fear. 

Compassion is foundational when we work with ourselves. Compassion for our own feelings and emotions, Compassion for others. Not mindless engagement in spinning self-righteous tales, or tales that set us up as morally superior or victimized. “Idiot compassion” is a term that speaks to having so much compassionate feeling toward a situation that we let our sadness or sense of injustice overwhelm us. At this point, we are of no use to ourselves or anyone else. We need to hold our compassion, our emotions, in our hearts. That is where we can connect in a healthy and useful manner. If we spin our emotions around in our heads, we suffocate life and our capacity to be connected and engaged in any useful manner. I know in my primary addiction I felt very sorry for myself; I can do the same thing in my recovery if my emotions are not tended to properly.

How many times a day do we get resentments, small and large, because of “THEM?” Emotions seem juicy and empowering, but they often only close us up and distance us from the world. The more we feel disconnected, the more we rationalize what is wrong with them, and embrace our sickness. We can start spinning a story, telling others all about it, or just talk to ourselves (our favorite audience). We are stoking the fire of being a victim and rolling around in either “poor Me,” or “HEY! look at Them!” The Universe, the Truth, does not recognize nor support “I want,” or “I don’t want.”

“We can return to a state of simplicity and relaxation through the practice of mindfulness. We can begin by pausing and bringing Awareness to our thoughts and emotional reactions. We can take one small step at a time towards waking up in the present moment. Emotions, felt but not acted out, can teach you generosity, patience, and courage. It’s only when you don’t allow yourself to feel your emotions or when you distort their energy that you can get into trouble with them.

Nobody can make us think about something…You decide what you will entertain in your mind. Simply because someone or some circumstance plants a negative, discouraging thought in your brain doesn’t mean you have to ‘water’ it, nurture it, coddle it, and help it to grow. If you surrender control of your mind to circumstances, mood swings, stress, and/or the opinions and critiques of others, you will lose your identity and become (more or less) a chameleon in life. Don’t let other people or circumstances dictate who you are.” —Joel Osteen

We need to make the shift from letting anxiety and emotions overwhelm us, to asking “What am I feeling?” A good step is an awareness of what is occurring…though it still involves I, an ego. As all suffering or dissatisfaction comes from attachment, mainly to a self, it is a useful strategy to ask oneself a check-in question: Simply, “What feeling is present?”

It can be difficult, but is a more awakened state, to dissociate the feelings from the thoughts of ‘I’ or ‘mine’ with no ego-reference, nor any thoughts of being the owner of the feeling. Instead of “I have pleasant feelings” or “I have pain,” an awareness of the feeling tone without the ego-reference allows the attention—a pure awareness that is not based on self—to be focused on the bare feeling alone. In other words, this feeling, this emotion is occurring.

Our mind is the source of both happiness and suffering. Emotions are temporary states of mind. Don’t let them destroy you. Rather than being your thoughts and emotions, be the awareness behind them. Only you can bring serenity and peace into your heart.

How do you fill your bucket? One drop at a time
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step
The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for
May you be well. May you be happy. May you find peace.

Heart Of Recovery web site  — fcheartofrecovery.com