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Feelings and Emotions

"Trust your feelings." "Just go with what you feel." "You don't express your feelings enough." We've been trained by our cultures and societies to think this way, that how we feel is an indication of truth or wisdom, or in some way indicates how we are doing or what we should do. But is that really so? Have we questioned this? It is very important to recognize this misunderstanding and to see the confusion and suffering it causes. 

People have been trusting their feelings since the beginning of history and look what a mess it has gotten us into both on a personal level and on the level of world separation. Hitler certainly trusted his feelings, a little too much obviously. Okay, that is an extreme example, but what about you? Have your feelings always been trustworthy? Has going with your feelings always brought a desired and beneficial result? I venture to say no, certainly not in my case anyway.

Feelings are fleeting appearances triggered by stimuli either within this body mind organism or coming from outside of this body mind. They are naturally arising events, but in no way are they an indication of intelligent action nor do they indicate anything about us. 

I am not saying that emotions are bad or should be denied. Nor am I saying that they should be gotten rid of. They are a perfectly natural and normal human appearance. 

But, living at the whim of your emotional and feeling life is clearly bondage. When emotions are pleasant we think we are doing well. When they are unpleasant we think that something is wrong with us. This is the seesaw ride that keeps us in confusion and suffering. Even inherent in pleasant emotional states is the deep knowledge that they will end, and this causes clinging and attachment, not wanting them to end and fearing that they will. But they will end. The nature of all appearances, without exception, is that they appear and disappear. No appearance is eternal.

Why not be free of emotions? I'm not saying to not have emotions. Free of emotions means knowing who you are, your essential aware nature, that is before, during and after the appearance of emotions, and enjoying that, knowing that you are fine, no matter what your emotional state is. It means not being tossed around like a twig in the ocean just because the fickle waves of mind are active. When you know yourself as the vast ocean what does it matter what a few waves are up to?

So, how can we come to know this freedom in our own experience? Simple. Just let whatever is appearing appear without caring one way or another, and simultaneously notice your essential aware nature, that you are aware. Just don't care what is going on in your mind. In that moment you will begin to recognize what freedom is. 

Freedom is your essential nature and it is not dependent at all on circumstances — physical, emotional or mental. 

Try this for some time. When an emotion is arising, good or bad, just stop focusing on it for a few seconds and recognize that you are aware. Don't expect the emotion to change. Just notice your essential aware nature, that you are here, present, aware and that regardless of what you think or feel, all is well. Just notice, that's all. Soon you will begin to trust in that more than you trust in how you feel. You will begin to realize experientially what freedom is. It is who you are already. You come to know yourself differently than you had before. 

You are already free, you just think that the ups and downs of your emotional life indicate that you are not. Find out if that is true. Check it out. 


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