How easily we fool ourselves into treating memory as reality.
The emotional upsets we experience are rarely caused by the world ‘out there’. They come from the inside out, not the other way around. Understanding that we have the power to feel and think—-independent of others—-is key to happiness in times of stress and pain. Yes, there is suffering, and painful thoughts and emotions are real. The cause of emotional pain, however, is not out there in the world. The cause of emotions is simple: individual choice of thoughts.
The flip of this is also easy to see when we slow down.
Most emotional suffering grows from forms of thinking “I am limited by something in the world.” The obvious truth of our power to choose our thoughts and feelings can be lost easily in the emergence of emotional pain. Experiences like fear, separation, and disapproval morph easily into thoughts, which grow into more of what we believe.
Read on if you are interested in less emotional pain and more contributing to growth in you and others.
Rediscovering the Thought-Feeling Bond
Contrary to cultural beliefs here in the U.S., thought and feeling travel together. Thoughts carry feelings, feelings carry thoughts. They are simultaneous, though we can and often do treat them as if they are separate things. Feelings emerge with and as thinking. They are not separate. The person with whom we’re upset has not caused the upset.
If you’d like to experience your emotions differently, try this exercise with your thoughts and feelings now.
Bring your awareness to your breath and notice it moves in and out, on its own. There is a life force pushing breath into and out of us. We can notice this any time we slow down. Using awareness of this amazing, mysterious process we become calm and peaceful. This is a natural, normal human response to non-judgment. While thoughtless, we remain peaceful. We can see from this that the thoughtless state (like sleeping) is peaceful. That’s why we all love to sleep.
The instant we create a thought-feeling, we literally transform our experience into an object that includes any possible emotion, word or image. How you feel about what you are reading is coming from where? Take a breath and watch.
Our relationships with our partner and children, coworkers and friends grow from our thought-feelings. They are experienced as we allow them to happen. We, humans, have about sixty thousand feeling-thought experiences every day. After we understand that thoughts and emotions are born, live, and die in pairs, we are back in the moment of watching and choosing them in harmony with what we truly value.
Here’s where your experience resumes being your choice.
Pick an emotion you’d like to feel……perhaps peace, kindness, compassion or one of your own choosing. Now breathe this word into, through and out of your body.
Notice your body’s response. Your mind will feel satisfaction and understanding at being involved in choosing, and this power never goes away.
A version of this post was previously published on TheFatherConnection.com and is republished here with permission from the author.
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