Posted 28 June 2015 by Sal
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 this true? Have we questioned this? It is very important to recognize this misunderstanding and to see the confusion and suffering it causes.
Throughout history, people have been trusting their feelings and look what a mess it has gotten us into, both on a personal and global level. 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.” It certainly has not been my experience.
Feelings are fleeting appearances triggered by external or internal stimuli to this body-mind organism. They are naturally arising events, but in no way, do they indicate anything factual about us, nor do they indicate what “intelligent action” we should take.
I am not saying that emotions are bad or should be denied. Also, I am not saying they should be eliminated. They are perfectly natural and normal appearances.
However, living at the whim of your emotions and feelings is clearly bondage. When emotions are pleasant, you think you are doing well. When they are unpleasant, you think something is wrong with you. This is the seesaw ride that keeps you in confusion and suffering. Inherent even in pleasant emotional states is a deep knowledge that they will end. This causes clinging and attachment because you don't want them to end and fear 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. I am saying, know who you are, know your essential, aware nature, that is before, during and after all emotional appearances. Knowing is untouched no matter what your emotional state may be. It is not tossed around like a twig in the ocean just because the fickle waves of the mind are active. When you know yourself as the vast ocean, does it matter what a few waves are up to?
So, how can you come to know this freedom? Simple. Notice your essential, aware nature and notice that everything is appearing and disappearing, simultaneously. Just notice, that's all. Everything is flowing by like waves in the ocean. Don't expect the emotion to change. However, at that moment, you will recognize what freedom is. Soon you will begin to trust in that more than you trust in how you feel. You will begin to recognize what freedom is. It is who you are already. You will come to know yourself differently than you had before.
Freedom is your essential nature and it is not dependent at all on circumstances—physical, emotional or mental. You are already free, you’ve just been taught that the ups and downs of your emotional life indicate that you are not. Find out if that is true. Check it out.