Life, purpose, what it all means … I certainly would like to figure it all out, or at least get a grip on how things work. Wouldn’t you? The ‘Knowledge-Wisdom‘ post was clean, made sense, and gave cognitive clues on the navigation process of the evolving human. It occurred to me that emotions and feelings are also tools, which help us move towards deeper understanding, broader viewpoints and a vertical movement toward spiritual wakefulness.
I wish this viewpoint on emotions and feelings could be presented in the same format as ‘Knowledge–Wisdom.’ After some serious introspection, it became clear that a table won’t work; emotions and feelings are not clearly delineated. They are more of a foggy landscape than a linear table, yet there is an outline in that haze that is making sense to me. Emotions and feelings mingle together and complement each other when they are understood to be two different frequencies of a similar energetic. Each has specific networks designed to help us receive and activate our inner guidance with accuracy. Viewed separately, then conjoined, they become components of understanding and utilization, assets and tools for transformation.
That being said, here’s the way I understand the differences, when viewed separately:
Emotions are reactions emanating from our mental and/or instinctual self as well as from the world around us. They love history and arrange themselves energetically according to our past. Emotions are energy frequencies that get our attention differently than feelings. Emotions work on instinct and gut responses. Think of emotion as Energy-in-motion. Emotions do not so much bring us information as they impel us into action or reaction. We often define these actions/reactions with words: angry, happy, frightened, flattered, etc. We can develop a deeper understanding of our emotions by appreciating and experiencing them AND identifying the energy that activated the action/reaction response.
Feelings are information emanating from the heart. (Think of the heart as it is used here as the sacred center of wisdom.) Feelings get our attention as high frequency energy and intuition. They are not language as such, but more like bundles of electromagnetic waves (think radio/TV waves) using our spiritual antennae to decode and then broadcast them on the screen of our awareness. I see the heart as the center of spiritual intelligence, using feelings as one of its forms of communication. When we get feeling information, the heart is telling us something the spirit would like us to be aware of. When a feeling does capture our attention, most of us translate this information into language IF it is recognized as a feeling. Feelings coming from our High Self lead us toward our integrity, our inner spiritual resources and the inspiration for change. Feelings work on trust. And we develop our ability to decipher feelings through expanding our trust. If we mistake feelings for emotions, we act or react without decoding the message being offered by our spirit.
This is as close as I can get to a simple definition of these often misunderstood and closely related terms. So how does that help to make our transformational navigation any smoother or easier? Let’s look at a situation:
We meet someone for the first time. We ‘hit it off.’ There is a ‘chemistry’ that expresses itself as: so much to talk about, so many things in common. This person is strong in areas where we feel less confident and vice versa. Time spent together is stimulating and satisfying; eventually we commit to each other (could be love commitment/business commitment/friendship).
Time passes and what we saw as strength now feels like suppression; what was chemistry now is lack of air to breathe. We find ourselves wondering how did this happen?
As we think back to the first few meetings, we remember how we ‘felt.’ We felt (emoted may be more accurate) excitement, impelled into conversation and explorations, alive in the possibilities for a growing relationship/ partnership. But there were also other feelings, like something isn’t quite ‘right,’ something about this person isn’t comfortable. We remember a number of nagging moments, when we would actually choose not to ‘be our selves’ with this person. In retrospect, we begin to see that from the beginning, we were getting information, but that information was being lost in the energy of emotion.
This situation is about a relationship, but it could easily be applied to any interaction or undertaking, such as buying a new house, taking a trip, choosing a landscaper, even choosing where to park. The point is, we are constantly being offered information (in the form of feelings) and often miss the guidance by going directly to action or emotion. Of course there are times when action is all that’s needed – jumping out the way of an oncoming vehicle, for example. However, choosing a new vehicle will offer both emotional data and feeling data.
How do emotions and feelings fit in the tool box of the evolving human? They are symbiotic partners for change. The feelings we get as information often need the impelling power of emotion to bring the feelings into actuality. ‘I feel there must be more to life than what my five senses are telling me’ is a statement of feeling/information. Our inner reaction to that statement (emotion) is what impels us on a journey of discovery. Without that emotional impetus, evolution would be slow or nonexistent.
Of course this is a simplistic example of the way these elements work in our lives, but as you practice discerning the feeling/information and identifying the emotion, both will become instantaneous responses which allow clearer choices, deeper integrity of action, and insight into patterns of and for growth.