Understanding Strong Emotions

I received an inquiry from someone whose child had died many years ago.  Her feelings then were intense and overwhelming.  Recently she has been learning the Principles and wonders how she could have used the Principles to "manage" her thinking and feelings in order to "cope" better.  This is how I answer her:

I recognize how strong our emotions can be around loss, especially loss of a child.  All of us have had very strong emotions at times that seem to completely take us over.  The point of learning the Principles, as far as I can see, is not to learn how to manage and control our thinking and feelings.  And believe me, I tried very hard to do that for years when I first learned them.

When we have feelings and emotions there is no need for our egos to get in there and judge them as good or bad or right or wrong.  If we understand that every feeling is created from Universal Mind then we don't have to see it as our job to fix, control, or manage our feelings.  If we understand the nature of a feeling we know that it is being created perfectly from the Principles.  We realize that our feeling is simply a temporary experience created from our own thinking and is not caused from anything outside of us.  We can then realize that our feeling is not a permanent reality.

My favorite metaphor to illustrate this is the weather.  We don't delude ourselves into thinking we can control or stop the rain or wind.  We can understand it and factor it in so that we accommodate it in our lives.  And it is not as if ultimately the rain is bad and the sun is good.  The Principles are the creative force behind our human operating system.  They create our experiences and they are working perfectly.  We can trust the intelligence behind this system.

We have all kinds of feelings and emotions.  Understanding that they are always born from within by the creative energy behind life allows us to simply experience them as a little child does.  Children often experience strong emotions without complicating them with analysis and efforts to manage them.  Understanding allows feelings to go through us in a way that allows us to be resilient.  All of the feelings and emotions that you have been having are normal and natural.  These thoughts come into us before we have any say over them.  Understanding allows us to have these without resistance, struggle, guilt, or judgment.  Understanding leads us to thinking less about ourselves and our experiences.  Understanding leads us to greater resilience, and we become more comfortable and accepting of all of our emotions.

My heart goes out to everyone who goes through the loss of a loved one, and I hope that this is helpful.

An end to depression and the start of joy

‘We are all only ever one thought away from happiness’ Syd Banks

Have you ever wondered where low feelings come from; why some people are plagued by feelings of depression and unhappiness?  What is interesting is the fact that all people create feelings in the same way, and we can all have low moods and depressed feelings, which means we can all have good feelings too.

Even people with diagnosed mental health problems have moments of clarity during any given day – this gives us a clue to the true nature of mental health.  The question we could ask is: where is the mental health problem when the person experiences these moments of clarity?  The clue we are given here is that each and every one of us has a default setting of psychological or mental health and well-being and when our thinking slows down, we return back to healthier and more comfortable feelings – so if our core is one of mental health and good feelings, where do we go wrong?

We are thinking our whole lives and some parts of our thinking we are more conscious or aware of than others.  Those parts of our thinking that we are less aware of are sometimes called unconscious or even sub-conscious thinking, but it is still only thought.  Thought that we are either aware of or not aware of – the root of thought is always the mind.

The secret lies in understanding the relationship, the perfect match or marriage between the power of Thought and our feelings and emotions.  There is a very simple pathway that flows naturally together; feeling and thought arise in the same moment of consciousness, it may appear to be otherwise, but this is simply unconscious thought that makes it look as if feelings come unbidden and without thought.  We simply cannot experience feelings and emotions that arise independent of our thinking.  Another reason for this assumption that feelings are separate and come first could be that we are not always certain of what we have been thinking, but if asked we can often say how we feel, and we invariably act upon our emotions, and as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: ‘The ancestor of every action is a thought’.

What is fascinating is that all feelings are neutral until we decide which ones we don’t like, and then label these as negative.  We still have to have a thought to have any judgement about the value of a feeling in relation to our personal experience.  When we start to see the relationship between thought and feeling, we begin to recognise that when our thinking is relaxed and has slowed down we enjoy life more, take our communication and relationships with others more lightly, become naturally more optimistic and are left with more compassionate and peaceful feelings.

Conversely if we start feeling low, unhappy and experiencing more negative emotions, this is a warning sign that our thinking is out of kilter, and that we are taking things and people more personally and more seriously. This may sometimes look like it is made manifest via the circumstances of our lives, but we can only be victims to our personal thinking about our circumstances, not the circumstances as they in themselves are neutral too.

Suffering comes from over-focusing on the very things we wish were not part of our lives and joy in our lives comes from a quiet mind and not thinking too much about the circumstances and issues that we believe are the cause of our suffering. To feel good all we need do is relax back into those more natural feeling without any effort at all, and to feel bad, requires much effort on our part to keep this illusory state alive in our minds.

Thus the primary state of being more relaxed and having less on our minds is the natural state for human beings and requires no effort whatsoever and leads naturally to feelings of joy, and the alternative state of less comfortable feelings, which requires much effort on our part is an incredibly effective illusion created via the power of Thought.

Stillness: the Natural State

The world is continually searching for stillness, for quiet; to feel good and happy and contented. The paradox in all this searching is that the stillness and good feelings that we strive toward is the most natural state in the world.

Let’s look at it like this: we all experience moments of stillness that simply come upon us, these moments arise spontaneously and invariably seem random; moments such as having the leisure to observe somebody undertaking an activity or task that requires deep concentration. We watch and pick up on the good feeling of neutrality.

Another example would be when we are involved in a hobby or task ourselves where we are fully absorbed. Because our thinking is focused on only one thing to the exclusion of all others, we can think of nothing else, time seems to stop and there is an endless peaceful flow to our feeling state.
Nature is another good example where we can simply relax into a good feeling state simply by observing a beautiful sunset, or a rainbow or some beautiful scenery that captures us in what Wordsworth called ‘spots of time.’

What is fascinating about all of these examples is the fact that none of them require any effort on our part at all! There is a big clue here to how and why stillness is our natural state. It is one of the greatest paradoxes of the life that to achieve the state of stillness we think we need to make effort, practice something, and do something – all of which is the antitheses to the state of stillness itself. In other words all we really need to do is to relax.

Some may say that to relax is ‘easier said than done’, and therein lies another clue: we ‘think’ we need to do something. However, ‘to relax’ is not an act or an accomplishment of something, but more a returning effortlessly into the emotional state of neutrality and natural good feelings. And by neutrality I mean seeing the world and others through the eyes of love and compassion rather than from the perspective of personal judgement.

When we start to see this from within, from our personal experience, one of the greatest mysteries of life is uncovered – that all the stillness we desire lies within of each and every one of us. It requires no effort to achieve, simply a recognition on our part that it is our personal thinking that fills up the space in which we usually enjoy stillness of our lives. Thus, if we wish to enjoy more peace, stillness, love and understanding in our lives we need only let go back into it, because the natural state is one of joy.