Your Emotional Guidance System
The emotions are our primal experience of reality and ourselves in it. It is the core self feeling, and arises from the “I” awareness in relation to the other. We sense and feel, we perceive and experience, beyond the physical pleasure and pain, we also experience pleasure and pain in response to our interactions with other creatures, and people. People do things to us that cause us pleasure or pain. The wind gently caressing your skin is a pleasurable sensation whereas burning your finger in the fire is painful, we enjoy or we suffer the feeling but it doesn’t tell us anything about ourselves. Another range of feelings are more personal and we call them emotions. These happen when we interact with others for example directly physically like when someone might give you a gentle massage and it feels good, and you feel good in your body, in your muscles etc, and the good feeling, results in a pleasant emotion connected to this person and the energy they shared with you, and gives you an elevated sense of your self as worthy of positive attention and affection. Another person may punch you in the face and the feeling is of course very painful, and results in a variety of emotions, fear, anger, sadness, shock, and a range of defensive or aggressive responses, but essentially: “What the hell, what did i do to deserve that?!?”.
There is another range of emotions that have nothing to do with physical pleasure or pain, but rather has to do with people’s actions, behaviors, attitudes and the way they communicate and express themselves. Things that people do, or don’t do, and say, or don’t say. It is many things but these interactions with people also occasion emotional responses from us. We are either pleased by them or hurt by them. We either please them, or hurt them. Those who live on the surface of life, without any personal meditative depth are fully conditioned and have their personality shaped almost entirely by these interactions, good or bad. They carry very little of the purity of childhood into the later years and when it comes time to individuate they lack the self knowledge and courage to be themselves, and when it comes time to think for themselves they find that their minds are echoing out the thoughts of the authority figures of their past, the dictators of their personal history. They want to please and they place their self esteem in the eyes and opinions of every one out there. When someone hurts them in whatever way they take it as a direct indication of their self worth, and if this happens too often they will eventually feel worthless. When care givers give them lots of attention and affection they will be more confident and reassured of their inherent value, and that they matter and what they say is important, and how they feel is important and worthy of being expressed.
You have the right to experience the emotions you are experiencing. That is a primal and natural response to reality and no one can take that away from you. Each of these emotions are there to serve you and some are pleasurable while some are painful, often called positive and negative, but +ve or -ve depends on the way we deal with it: explode, express, suppress or repress. Some emotions feel good in the experience of having them and some feel bad. The ones that feel good we would obviously like to feel more of, and the one’s that feel bad we would not want to spend too much time feeling, we would not want to be stuck in the experience of those emotions.
So how is it that so many do actually get stuck in those unpleasant negative emotions?
There is a range of emotions and a spectrum of emotional tones but the dividing line is not between what we feel to be pleasant or unpleasant, but rather between what serves us and what does not serve us, that is how we can label or distinguish positive from negative emotional patterns, and strategies of dealign with these emotions. Primal emotions emerge quickly through the bodily mechanism and its instinctive hard wiring and produce more natural typical physiological responses. Fear and anger are directly necessary for the survival of the individual, and sexuality is directly necessary for the survival of the species, but other shades of emotion are not so directly necessary for survival as such but more important for another reason, something akin to an organic social faculty, or what can be called a biological moral instinct… what is right and wrong based on how it made me feel, pleasure or pain, good or bad.
In a properly functioning guidance system that is balanced and has an accurate sense of proportions and boundaries the emotions can be felt and used to respond wisely to people and life. But when the guidance system has been distorted by trauma, or abuse of some kind, then it feels either too much or too little, and the individual easily experiences confusion and escalating or run away emotional routines that hijack the intelligence and the inevitable retreat into unconscious reactive patterns… withdrawal from real relationship into a private secluded domain in which to suppress and repress.
Certain emotions that don’t really feel good at all are often labelled as negative and avoided but thats only because very very few people are actually conscious and balanced enough to express them properly, and temporarily suppress them when not appropriate. Most people either explode or repress! None of the emotions are inherently negative. Anger, may not feel good, but it is necessary so that you can stand up for yourself and make sure certain people don’t walk all over you or take you for granted, or keep hurting you over and over again. But how you deal with the powerful energy of anger, how you channel it is what makes all the difference. On the other hand Guilt also will not feel good, in fact it is designed to not feel good, but it is also designed to convey an awareness to you, that something you did or didn’t do, has affected someone else adversely, you hurt someone, you made someone sad or angry, and it doesn’t feel good to you. Guilt will motivate you to apologize, make amends, repair the damage and reconcile, and so it is not at all negative. It is the counterpoint of anger in a sense. You would not want to get rid of, or numb out any of your emotions.But on the other hand you would not want to keep feeling those unpleasant emotions over and over, or even worse… all the time. Chronic anger or guilt, sounds like hell to me!
How do we strike a balance between not feeling and feeling too much?”
You could say the problem is that everyone’s guidance system is messed up by observing grown ups with dysfunctional emotional guidance systems interacting (more like colliding) with each other, and so these children never learn to express their emotions in a mature constructive and effective way. As kids we all observe the older people, adults, either suppressing or repressing emotions or expressing them in non constructive often destructive ways, explosions that result in implosions and further ‘negative’ emotions. In fact they go on trading negative energy, a vicious cycle that degenerates into hatred, and can only end in separation. This is what is happening in many relationships: dating, marriages, families (parents and children, brothers and sisters, etc) and friends. People are either insensitive or overly sensitive, very few know how to balance their inner and outer worlds. Many are unaware that there is such a thing as an inner world, and they bring nothing of the light of consciousness and love.
So the real root of the problem is that there are far too many people amongst us who are willing and able to inflict hurt, pain, and suffering upon others. Some of them are at a very primitive stage, that is to say that they have only recently embarked upon the human phase of existence and so they have not developed many of the social faculties or regulatory compensatory mechanisms that help them to function harmoniously with other people and therefor minimize conflict. At the lowest end of the spectrum psychopaths can do the worst most horrendous thing to another person, or many other people, and not feel any remorse, or shame.There are many psychopaths amongst us, many of them do horrible things, get caught and put behind bars, but many do not (many end up masquerading as CEO’s politicians and leaders of organizations including religious organizations). These people cause alot of damage and suffering wherever they are and they feel little or no remorse. A little higher up are those people who have an external sense of the consequences of their behavior. Through participation in a society they learn to be ashamed of certain bad behaviors and not to do those. Through acceptance of certain religious codes and systems they learn to avoid certain behaviors, and to feel the shame but more especially the fear of the future externalized consequences of indulging in those bad and negative behaviors… the fiery chasms of hell and all its terrible tortures.
The leap into higher consciousness involves exercising one’s own moral imagination and ethical faculty, truly thinking and choosing and doing what is right and good, not because of shame or fear, but because of an understanding of universal principles and also in due course this thinking morality becomes more of a feeling sense, that is to say a person who makes a mistake and does something wrong learns from the very experience itself as well as the pangs of conscience, the haunting guilt, so much so, that this person will vow never to do that thing again and will do whatever is required to make good, to repair the damage, because they cannot live with themselves otherwise. It is a feeling sense for the other person, that becomes equally strong and motivating as one’s own feeling sense. Empathy or feeling what another feels, is extended to its full expression, another person is truly equal to you.
There are many Empathic Intuitives around us, some of them are confused and unable to use their guidance system because they have been interacting with too many of the more primitive members of our species for far too long but there are also some, very few who have worked their way through, fixed up their guidance system, balanced and re-proportioned, they are caring, uplifting, wise, gentle people, who never hurt anyone’s feelings, whether intentionally or unintentionally. They have a depth of perception, awareness and understanding that helps them to know how to be, and they are graceful, and inspiring. Some such people go on to become true healers, saints, gurus, prophets and messengers.
These great ones who have illumined the earth with divine light, can only help us and be a source of courage because they truly deeply care about us, care for all people and all life. They truly deeply feel what we feel, have felt it themselves but transcended it in their own lives, but they can feel it in you, or me or anyone and they are moved to help, to share, to teach, to guide, to show the way to balance, and freedom! You have been created individual in order that you will safe guard your own interests, or rather, let us say that you will respect yourself and learn how to protect yourself – your individuality is your great gift not your great curse as many in the upper echelons of modern spiritual circles often condemn it. You must love yourself before you can truly love your brothers and sisters… you must achieve some degree of balance and you must care before you can really help others be motivated enough to endure the challenges of helping people… you must be your blissful self before you can truly live out an example to other people. No one can really describe what it is like to have control over one’s emotions, to care yet be detached, to live in bliss but still be capable of feeling the full range of unpleasant and negative emotional states. You could say it is like the electrician who’s only tool of detection is to touch the live wire. As shocking as it may sound he will touch it because he must, but he will not dwell there any longer than is necessary, to get the job done properly.
The human phase of the evolutionary process on this four billion year old planet is now some one hundred million years old… it has yet a long long loooooong way to go. Every one is making progress but depending on your starting point in any given lifetime even under the best of conditions there is only so far many can and will go. But there is a certain station we arrive at eventually from which it is possible to get to ‘infinity and beyond’… which is right here and now, in the “now-here”. Those who have arrived at this station are consciously taking responsibility for Balance and have had glimpses of the Bliss that it conceals, and they are moving towards it, they are recognizing negative patterns of behavior, emotion, thought, and spirit, and they are choosing more and more frequently the things that serve them and others. If you are reading this, then you are such a person and you are well on your way to being free!