Welcome to the archived web site of
Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. Psychologist (1950-2013)
California License No. PSY 10092
 
Specializing in Presence-Centered Therapy
balancing mind and heart, body and spirit

Now in memoriam - This website is no longer being updated
While Dr. Friedman is no longer with us, there are still many helpful resources on his site. Articles and resource links have been relocated to the top. His family hopes you might find them helpful. But since this site is no longer being updated, some links may no longer work.

 


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From His Book | Meditations For Life | The Flow of Money, Business and Innovation | Transpersonal/Mind-Body | Approaches, Worldview and Will-isms

Skills For Life: The Core Playing Field | Free the Ego, and You Are Free | Feeling, Thought, Communication & Action

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Tools/Skills for Life: Feeling, Thought, Communication and Action

Feeling Sense Makes Sense In the Heart, Not the Head

What Are Feelings NOT Here For? What ARE Feelings Here For?

© 2011 by Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.

The heart has reasons that reason knows not thereof.
—Blaise Pascal
 

What Are Feelings, Moods, Emotions and Sentiments?

Feelings are the language of the soul.
—Author Unknown

Feelings are only found in one place-our bodies. If you are not "on-line" with your body, then you are probably "off-line," not "in touch," and not connected with your body and your feelings. If you cannot locate a sensation in your body, then it's likely that what you are encountering is not a feeling. Rather, if it isn't an intuition or inspiration, then it is most likely a thought or belief. When anyone says, "I just don't feel you like me," or "I feel like I'm just not important to you," both are actually thoughts mislabeled as feelings since neither can be found as feedback from your body, although feelings quickly follow thoughts and beliefs. Similarly, when one says, "I feel you want to leave," or "I feel you're somewhere else," these examples are sensing or intuition, not feelings.

Feelings, moods, emotions, sentiments and thoughts are not the same, even if these are commonly interchanged and confused. Feelings are bodily sensations, subjective experiences, and the subsequent physical awareness in response to life conditions, circumstances or situations inside you or outside you. A feeling is a flare or burst of energy that comes solely from our bodies - not irrational or arational, but non-rational or super-rational. I have not experienced a rational feeling yet! A feeling makes feeling sense, is usually present without reasoning, and are not specifically about anything. A tightness in the chest, an aching pain in the stomach and a soothing warmth on the skin all illustrate feelings we have all experienced at one time or another.

Moods can be considered to be feeling states that seem to last considerably longer than a momentary feeling and help usher us into emotions through the influence of our thinking mind. Further, moods have a lower threshold for becoming or arousing emotions, and the person may seek an opportunity to indulge the emotion pertinent to the mood. The mood system helps us assess the adequacy of present resources and generate emotions that are able of influence our actions toward goals. It alerts us of the prospects for future feelings of pleasure and pain. Thus, mood can be a major determiner of our perceived well-being. This longer lasting feeling state seems to derive from the ego-mind, with our active engagement, feeding and giving energy, time and importance to thoughts.

Moods have less noticeable causes, do not have a specific object of attention and are not intentional. For example, a person experiencing a mood of general irritability is not focused on any particular object, can get angry easier and even desires to. Usually the person doesn't consciously know exactly what the irritability is about or concerns. Apprehensiveness, euphoria, sour grumpiness and a blue disposition are all mood states.

Emotions, while closely related to feelings, are responses to events seen as important to the person and involve some change in what is called 'action readiness,' that is, in being able to approach, avoid, shift attention, have excitation, lose interest or simply stop. Emotions occur when our thinking, conditioned mind uses thoughts and ideas to influence a feeling in order to get something, such as an ego desire or agenda. Emotions last for a shorter time than moods and are experienced as strong, intense feelings with both physical and thought components, such as euphoria, fear, hate, boredom and conditional appreciation. At least some emotions are states involving loss of motivation (for example, despair) or activation of motivation (as, for example, excitement).

Thus, in the research literature emotions or emotional states are considered to be about something, that is, they specifically signal something about a person, object or event and involve a particular relationship to that object. Psychologist Nico Frijda holds that emotions result "from inferred consequences or causes." So frustration may signal anger over differing expectations with a boss or spouse, loneliness can signal an inner aching and unmet desire for greater companionship, while depression can signal feeling powerless in seeing no practical means to meet your goals. 1

Revealingly, the ego and conscious states are also typically about something. In the context of philosophy, "aboutness" signals intentionality, broadly including perceptions, beliefs, desires and emotions like fear and hope, depression and elation. Spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle defines emotion as "the body's reaction to what the mind is doing." 2 Sage Adyashanti further refines this idea: "The body and its emotions are a direct result of our thinking, beliefs and assumptions." It is through making up false identities, becoming attached to thoughts, noticing a gap between these and empirical reality, then making this wrong and feeding energy in reaction to this that the ego turns an innocent feeling into the drama of an an emotional reaction.

Sentiments, different than emotions, have been thought of as a refined or tender feeling, like kindness, compassion, gentleness and tenderness. Webster's first definition is "a complex combination of feelings and opinions as a basis for action or judgment; general emotionalized attitude [the sentiment of romantic love]." A sentiment can be perceived as an ennobling feeling that has a strong action tendency. Sentiments can broadly encompass courage and yielding, boldness and restraint, thriftiness and generosity, moderation and perfection, and the persistent diligence to bring each of these into action.

A sentiment's wanting and beckoning us into action is not to say there is a willful, needy, pushing or impulsiveness inherent to sentiments. Rather a sentiment simply draws, summons, calls, invites and welcomes a direction coming directly out of an inner clarity of pure perception. By the conscious act to make a feeling sacred by opening our heart, sentiments are created as a partial fulfillment of our Source's feeling endowment. A sentiment is a virtuous feeling empowered by an opening of the individual's heart.


George Demont Otis     Santa Venetia Valley

An Evolutionary View of Feelings and Emotions—They Prepares Us To Act

A feeling actually is a burst of energy, a bodily sensation and experience we can attune to within our bodies. Psychological researchers call them "action tendencies" because a feeling quite often is the stimulus and harbinger of corresponding actions. In other words, feelings prepare us to act. Going back as far as Charles Darwin's book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animal published in 1872, feelings and emotions are thought to send us messages or signals to sensitize us about our inner and outer environments, and regularly prompt actions. They serve the purpose of survival, awareness and motivation to spur on necessary actions.

Some psychological researchers advance the idea that in any emotional experience there are a set of key components that make an emotional package. An emotional package generally includes subjective feelings, action tendencies, conscious appraisals, expressions, patterned physiological processes, and instrumental behaviors, although no single feature is necessary to qualify. Emotion researchers are in agreement that emotional expressions serve social functions by informing other people about one's motives and intentions, motivating numerous actions by the perceiver, and provide stability in interactions.

Other researchers conclude that uplifting, positive emotional states signal safety in the environment, while difficult, negative emotional states signal aspects of the environment that must be attended to and corrected. Further, positive emotional states may offer opportunities to consider and plan for future consequences, while negative emotional states help people orient their attention for responding to close, immediate and sometimes dangerous or life-threatening events. Frijda, one of the foremost experts on emotions, summarizes how emotions contribute spice to life through enjoyable activities, cementing social ties and deepening commitment in relationships:

"Emotions motivate us to seek or avoid occasions that may give rise to them. Emotions also present variety, enhance activation, and produce a sense of being alive. They form the major reason for watching crime movies and sports, listening to music, or going out dancing. Emotions, or at least many emotions, also provide a sense of caring for others and their fate, and of being in touch with one's environment." 3

Psychology professor Barbara L. Fredrickson has offered an evolutionary perspective of emotions. Distressing or negative emotions, such as anger, fear, anxiety, sadness and grief, act to narrow the person's present thought-action possibilities to specifically act to meet the ancestral function of ensuring survival. Uplifting or positive emotions, such as joy, contentment, pride, love and gratitude, act to broaden a person's present thought-action possibilities to build their long-term personal resources that enhance the same instinctive need of promoting survival. She states: "...I hypothesize that positive emotions, when tapped effectively, can optimize health, subjective well-being, and psychological resilience." 4

Just how deeply we feel is highly individual, ranging from lightly feeling ones to profoundly feeling people. How sensitive and fine tuned we are to feeling experiences is a function of multiple factors, including our heredity, environmental conditioning, guidance in working with feelings, and personal sensitivity across a spectrum of deep feeling artists to fairly non-feeling stoics. Feelings are as real as anything in this universe, whether they can be strictly measured or not, tangible or intangible, observed or hidden.


George Demont Otis     California<

Misuse of Feelings—What Feelings Are NOT Here For

Consider how much more often you suffer from your anger and grief
than from those very things for which you are angry and grieved.
—Marcus Antonius

The overwhelming majority of feelings and emotions arise through thoughts and misinterpretations, our ego's rejection of experience, sensations and perceptions. Our ego is continually saying, "No." What follows—what a feeling is not here for—all come directly from our minds, our ego-minds. Sage Adyashanti accurately portrays this:

It's actually fairly rare that a human being has a true emotion-an emotion that's not born of a thought. (…) But, of course, most human beings' feelings have nothing to do with the truth. Nothing at all.
This is the tragedy of most human beings' lives. They're having very real experiences based on 95 percent unreal interpretations of what's happening. 5

A feeling is not here for doubt or denial, avoidance or to marginalize, reject, tune out, ignore or minimize. In reverse, a feeling is equally not here for feeding, fueling, maximizing and working up. A feeling is not here to shove into your soma or body in a process called "somatizing" that produces psychosomatic or psychogenic physical symptoms, syndromes and disorders. Feelings are not here to help create physical dis-stress and dis-ease or drama, trouble and misery.

One form of literally "bottling up" our feelings is to take drugs in order to distract, smokescreen and cover them up. A feeling is not here for any of this. Neither are feelings here for medicating or anesthetizing. A feeling is not here to surgically cut and remove the painful offending tissue or organ out of your body. While there certainly are exceptions, author-psychologist Jon Kabat-Zinn poignantly notes, "You can't repair everything in the body as if it were a car."

A feeling is not here to be directly controlled, coerced, manhandled, forced or aggressed upon. In point of fact, none of us have any direct control over feelings arising, or anyone else's feelings arising for that matter. Cultural anthropologist David K. Reynolds makes a convincing case that if feelings are uncontrollable, then we are neither responsible nor accountable for our feelings, although we are for actions, words, attitudes and most thoughts. 6 Psychological researchers Ekman and Davidson support this view in drawing the following implication from papers on control of emotions: "...we should be held responsible for what we do after the first moment or two, but not for the initial motor response, nor for the physiological and subjective changes that occur internally." 7 So when authority figures demand emotional control by saying, "Control yourself!" the reference can only be to behavior, how you express and show a feeling through actions.

A feeling is not here to lie about, misrepresent, push down, repress, squelch or suppress in the name of what is socially acceptable. The emotion of depression is usually thought of as more socially acceptable than anger, so people may squelch and suppress anger in deference to depression. Similarly, the emotion of anxiety may be more socially acceptable than depression, so people may push and press down the depression in lieu of anxiety. Stress is more socially desirable than is anxiety, so people may again shove down the anxiety in order to simply feel stressed! Somatizing of stress is more socially desirable than is the stress, so we squelch and suppress the stress and experience physical difficulties!! Going numb, feeling apathetic, tuning out, being dissociated, distracted, ambivalent and confused may also result at this stage. What is more socially acceptable than being a victim of refusing to feel?!

A feeling is not here for your or anyone's opinions, agreement, ratings, approval, evaluation or assessment, including by well-meaning if misguided loved ones, co-workers, neighbors, social group members and professionals. A feeling is not for picking and choosing, like cherry picking the comfortable, socially desirable ones and throwing away the uncomfortable, socially undesirable ones. A feeling is not here to be compared with another's feeling, and have the person with the most socially desirable feeling come out on top or win something. This is just plain silly and utter nonsense.

Nor are feelings here for being misused by taking a social poll, vote or referendum of the feelings, like gauging the social status of your feelings within any group. A feeling is not here for moral pigeon-holing, that is, you or anyone making moral judgments about a feeling, including good and bad, wonderful or terrible, positive or negative, or right or wrong. Neither is a feeling here for an evaluation, like being scored on an Olympian event on a 1 to 10 scale. Thus, given the brain's and mind's negative predisposition, a feeling also is not here for the evaluation of "sucks"-leave this to be applied to vacuum cleaners, saliva ejectors, plungers, straws, octopi, and gravity.

A feeling is not here to be stuck and frozen in, dissociated or confused about, at least not for any extended period of time. A feeling is no more to be thought about than a thought is to be felt. A feeling is not here to be endlessly thought about, obsessed and ruminated over, or "figure out," all with the intention to have them make rational sense-they won't. A feeling can only make feeling, physiological sense. A feeling is not here for anyone's dumping, venting, acting out or displacing onto another and grinding that unlucky soul numerous new orifices. They're not here to transfer blame, fault and responsibility for the feeling onto another to handle and fix. Believe it or not, a feeling is not even here to own, since this would imply taking responsibility for that which we have no direct control of feelings.

A feeling is not a litmus paper test for Truth since a feeling can become a mood and an emotion through the influence of thoughts through our conditioned ego-mind. A feeling can be a signpost for further exploration once the thoughts underneath the feelings are revealed for just what they are. The assumption that outer conditions necessarily mold your inner state is untrue. Of course, now knowing what something isn't here for can help you know what not to aim for or expect. However, it gives little help in knowing what it is here for. Specifically, clearly and operationally, what are feeling here for?


George Demont Otis     Valley Creek

Feelings Serve Us In Innumerable Ways—What Feelings ARE Here For

We are a great big sense organ of the Self, the Divine.
-Adyashanti

A remarkably simple, even childlike, question is at the heart of healthy feeling processing: what are feelings here for? An endearing, simple story can help introduce the many valid, true answers to the question, "What are feelings here for?"

Kindergarteners Know

A kind Kindergarten teacher had seven children sit in a semi-circle on an oval woven rug. She clearly printed the word "f e e l i n g s" on a nearby white board, held up a colored marker and said, "Which of you boys and girls can take this marker and underline the part of this word that tells us what "feelings" are here for?" The children thought a moment and several hands rose. The teacher called on Sheila. As she stood up the teacher handed her the marker. Sheila went to the white board and underlined f e e l , handed the marker back and returned to her seat. The teacher said, "Yes, Sheila, that's correct. Feelings are to feel!" Out of the mouths of babes…

At root, feelings are simply feelings, to be exactly as feelings are and nothing more. One might see feelings as the primary building blocks in the human experience of Awareness being aware of itself, Consciousness being conscious of itself. Feelings—sensibilities—are not logical or rational in terms of analytic understanding, yet are sensible in terms of feeling sensibility. A feeling makes feeling sense when observed, acknowledged, felt and understood on their own terms and appropriately expressed through healthy feeling processing. Feeling sense makes sense in the heart, not the head.

Feelings are here in service to Life, not the least of which is our heightened awareness, acknowledgment and being spurred on to take actions for our self-preservation and survival. Feelings are bodily energy packages for survival, listening, expression, connection, belonging, functionality, effectiveness, well being, and at times prompting actions. Feelings play a crucial function in coordination and organization of subjective experience, physiology and behavior to sift through and filter information to powerfully aid our survival and enhance quality of life.

Feelings are here to feel, be with, listen to, move and express through our Being as many times as necessary, repeatedly release and fully receive the numerous messages inside this process. Amazingly, often the sheer act of being with and feeling whatever you feel is remarkably therapeutic and healing! This doesn't mean you always "go with your feelings," that is, do whatever your mind interprets your feelings to be demanding, for this can lead you to ruin and untold misery! Instead, a feeling is an action tendency for us to listen and honor, weigh what actions are necessary and what outcomes will most likely ensue from each, and then to wisely exercise our apparent choice. Finally a feeling is to notice what direction, movement and action is wanted from us.

Feelings are here to provide essential non-rational or super-rational feedback, data and information. They send vital messages to alert us to possible harm and to quickly take steps to ameliorate going through such discomfort and pain, misery and suffering. The messages feelings bring alert us for preventing harm in any form as well as for our continued growth, health, relationships, and all levels of well being. Feeling messages alert us to new world conditions for us to respond to and to ones that no longer require our continued attention. Uplifting emotional states signal safety, bonded loyalty and deepening trust, while heavier, unsettling and dampening emotional states signal inner and outer environmental elements that demand our attention and corrective action.

Feelings are here for our complete attention in creatively understanding their feeling meanings. Feelings are there to be accurately decoded and translated into feeling messages that can then be fully heard, accepted, acknowledged and appreciated. Feelings are here for our undivided attention, deep and profound acceptance, inner attunement and even embracing, if you are willing. They provide non-rational and super-rational feedback about how a situation can be appraised to aid decision-making and re-order life priorities.

Feelings are here for contributing variety, diversity and spice to life in enjoyable activities, helping forge social ties, going onto deeper levels in our commitments and relationships, and experiencing a vital sense of being alive. Feeling expressions serve social functions by informing other people about our intentions and motivations, provide a sense of caring for others and what will become of them, and staying in touch with our environment. They can motivate actions by the perceiver and provide predictable stability in social interactions.

Feelings are tools for understanding people in social interactions, windows into our psyches that reveal self-reflective desires, motives, values and dreams. We create, play and orchestrate our feelings in deeper service of Life that is often outside of conscious awareness. Our feeling lives are often influenced by our conditioned ego-mind that is happy to quickly turn feelings into moods and emotions. For example, our thoughts regarding others scrutinizing us may prompt the action tendency to hide our innermost passions and protect our transparency from the probing eyes of others as well as withdraw, pout and brood, both accolades and criticisms.

Feelings are here for our "okayness," that is, to non-reactively say, "Okay" as a statement of accent and agreement of their very presence, high authenticity and validity-value and vital contribution to the quality of our lives, the possibilities for vibrant growth and a thriving life. Feelings are here to be sincerely and meaningfully acknowledged for the depth and breath of wisdom and great value they naturally convey. Feelings are here for creative expression through you, like an artist envisioning, shaping and refining her masterpiece in a chosen artistic medium, and further reaping the wealth of growth from these experiences. So long as it is not defeating, destructive or harmful to ourselves or anyone else, feelings are here for us to allow, permit and let them run their natural course, in their natural rhythm, in your unique expression of feelings to their natural conclusion, and thereafter to have them naturally dissipate, dissolve and disappear.

Feelings, along with moods, emotions and sentiments, are for our maturation, our working with this feeling feedback in such a way as to claim the many kernels of feeling truth and wisdom therein as well as recognize, surrender and tame our conditioned mind and its endless stream of thoughts. We intuit the messages feelings naturally bring as we process and direct their flow through our body and consciousness. This is much like being a tuning fork and letting the feeling energy vibrate, pulse and move through us. Feelings bring the opportunity to allow them to be complete, free us to be in the present and evolve into our wholeness and true nature. Like hope was at the bottom of Pandora's box after all the ills of the world were released, so feeling evolvement and adaptive development are underneath processing feelings completely through us.

Feelings, like our bodies and dream life, are available for our listening to their messages and actively noticing what direction and form these energies want to move. Panic over seeing a shark mobilizes our bodies for immediate action. Pain alerts us to something being amiss and prompts taking swift, necessary actions. Exaltation signals us to attend to what supremely contributes to the quality of our life. Grief and loss demand our facing change, making adaptations to reinvent our lives. Nervousness says look whether we're prepared, what we expect, and what is out of balance in our lives, most likely misdirected influence by our thinking mind. The full spectrum of feelings is ever inviting our fuller investigation, awareness, expression and elaboration.

Feelings are here as our powerful allies, friends and supports for our facing specific stimuli, expanding our level of awareness, and taking necessary actions. Sensations, feelings and bodily movements when naturally expressed are for our completing their cycle of activation and deactivation, and then returning to a normal steady state (homeostasis) and, more currently, the process of achieving stability through physiological or behavioral change (allostasis), once again. Ultimately, your body, sensations, feelings and intuition hold the trump cards in the hand of our lives, and will win out, one way or another. Will we cooperate with them and grow or fight them and defeat ourselves?

Feelings are undoubtedly present for our deep and profound acceptance in this moment just as they are. Being completely with your feelings with your whole body and letting whatever experience arises arise, whatever happens happen, is healing. Your feelings are a priori ("before the fact") authentic and valid, whether or not the perceptions, thoughts and beliefs one has of the situation are true to life and accurate. Being direct feedback from your body, feelings are simply somatic reports on what is occurring both within oneself and the immediate environment. Whatever you feel is undoubtedly what you feel. Once your thinking is witnessed along with noticing your doing in action and see each for what each is, then feelings are also true to life and accurate as a direct function of underlying perceptions, thoughts and beliefs matching reality and "what is."

Ultimately, feelings are our inner guidance system placed inside us by Our Beloved, Our Source, in ever affording us crucial feedback, support and empowerment in Awareness moving through us in full inhabiting and being ourselves. Equally true, feelings simultaneously can help us steer way clear of the ditches on both sides of our life path, where we do not belong. Typically, more comfortable, pleasurable and socially desirable feelings come forward when we resonate and belong as we are in this present moment, exactly where we are, and with whom we are. Generally more uncomfortable, painful and socially undesirable feelings come to the forefront when we resist or refuse to be as we are and end up heading toward the ditch, going into the ditch, or going deeper into the ditch. Any feeling you can be with, feel, embrace and naturally flow and move through, gleaning the kernels of emotional truth inside healthy emotional processing, is a portal or conduit into the Now and your True Self.

As we can remain of good will and good faith, and refrain from jumping to negative judgments about our feelings, then we can begin to appreciate that the feeling feedback isn't here for our anger, condemnation, shaming or punishment, only to decode, acknowledge, appreciate, make timely correction, have work and offer some feeling satisfaction. When feelings are welcomed and even embraced, they reveal their messages in a simple and literal way, no different than any feedback, whether in the form of physical symptoms, verbal or written communications or repeated behavior patterns. Feelings help us process through and live through the smoother stretches and the bumpier ones so that we honestly learn, personally evolve, and more fully contribute to Life itself.


George Demont Otis     Silvery Vail

Let Feelings Move All The Way Through Your Body

Emotional reaction is a warning that you are not in Truth…
—Swami Prajnanpad

I want to unfold. I don't want to stay folded anywhere,
because where I am folded, there I am untrue.
—Rainer Maria Rilke

It is nothing less than an honest transformational moment when you consciously refuse to "act out," "act in" or go into some defensive pattern such as denial, avoidance or passive-aggressive ploy, and instead be present and engage with the empirical reality. By refusing any conditioned, repetitious and reactive way of acting out, such as raging, addictive behavior and passive depression, in addition to refuse acting in, such as somatizing emotional states, you honor your feeling life. This movement gets played out on the stage of life by allowing any urge, impulse or feeling to be experienced as a deeper whole body "felt sense," as author Eugine T. Genglin describes this 8, and open inner room to have it vibrate, percolate and move all the way though your body and being.

Transpersonal psychologist and author John Welwood calls being present with experience just as it is, "unconditional presence." This equally works for obsessions or repetitive thinking as well as compulsions or driven behaviors. There is no emotional reactivity when standing inside of a feeling or the Truth. Benjamin Disraeli observed, "Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so you apologize for truth."

Each lived present moment offers the opportunity to initially "take the hit" within us of challenging situations and the feeling backwash, and be still and present in observing it as we continue to breath long, slow and deep breathes, being patient and giving ourselves self-support and self-compassion as this energetic feedback flows all the way through us. Whether the inner movement lasts a few minutes, fifteen minutes or a half-an-hour, something shifts within our consciousness that frees us from the ego's impulsivity, urges and agendas. This is where authentic psychological growth originates.


George Demont Otis     A Marin Farm
 

Expressing Feelings Is Ego Bleeding

If ego is the tendency to hold on to ourselves and control our experience, then feeling our emotions directly and letting their energy flow freely threatens ego's whole control structure." (...)
Emotions, we could say, are the blood shed by ego-they start to flow whenever we are touched, whenever the defensive shell around the heart is pierced. Trying to control them is an attempt to keep this shell from cracking. Letting ego bleed, on the other hand, opens the heart.
—John Welwood, Toward a Psychology of Awakening

Whenever you can awaken and realize being "in your head" utterly immersed in concepts, beliefs and stories, it is in this propitious moment that you are on the brink or cusp of seeing all the universe, inside and out. The risk that has scared the bejesus out of humankind's collective and individual egos throughout all time is to somehow honestly feel and express the turbulent, out of control energies none too gently flowing through us and organically build an authentic container, tolerance and capacity to feel everything and anything, downing and uplifting, without being engulfed, flooded, overwhelmed and quickly get frozen, stuck, tuned out or dissociated and checked out.

This is akin to white water rafting a level five and six un-navigable river, being a passenger on a fierce and frightening killer roller coaster or somehow finding shelter and riding out a level five hurricane by finding its eye and calm center. This is the royal road to breaking open your compassionate heart within which lies the golden pearl of great value, the perfume of peace, the love of Loves, the Truth of our Being and the True Self. Let the circumstances, life conditions and situations you face moment by moment break your heart wide open with humanity for this is precisely their gift, what they are here for.

Besides feeling and expressing feelings, refusing to jump into the past or future and continuing to live in real time in the present moment also bleeds the ego. Releasing all emotional reactivity as you abide in serenity, peace, joy and equanimity bleeds the ego. Pain and particularly misery, anguish, sorrow and suffering magnificently bleeds the ego. Being really present in the face of all insulting, obnoxious, offensive, belittling, mocking behavior massively bleeds the ego. Being up close in observing bias, discrimination, paternalism, chauvinism, racism, ageism, fascism and all "ism's" surely bleeds the ego.

Being a passionately dispassionate and compassionate presence in witnessing all inhumanity, indignity, abuse, abused reactions, violations, violence and injustice ruptures major arteries for the ego. Being connected in authentic relationships bleeds the ego. All that is humbling bleeds the ego. When all separateness, roles and identities are shed, this surely bleeds the ego. When the ego's claim of authorship and authority in life is seen through as false, the ego's house of cards collapses, dissolves and disappears since it was illusory and imaginary in the first place. When brief experiences of egolessness occur, the ego bleeds profusely.

Anything that most threatens the ego's continued existence, illusions, domination and control bleeds the imaginary ego-mind, helping it get out of the way, and at some point bow to the Self, possibly be in support of Truth and the Real Self, or by grace dissolve and disappear. When the ego is fully bled, like the allopathic "cure of bleeding," that occurred for some 2300 years upon Aristotle's misdirected advice to get out of our bodies the poisonous bile of uncomfortable feelings, moods and emotions that he thought resided inside of the blood, all that can result and remain is the ego succumbing and bowing down to the Self, and a simultaneous recovery of our original True Nature, a hole in One for humanity, Truth, Awareness, Consciousness, the Universe and Divinity.

References

1. Sources on moods: Paul Ekman, "Moods, Emotions, and Traits." in Paul Ekman & Richard J. Davidson (Eds.) The Nature of Emotion. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994, pages 56-58; Nico H. Frijda, "Emotions Require Cognitions, Even if Simple Ones." Same source, 1994, pages 197-202; Gerald C. Clore, "Why Emotions are Felt." Same source, pages 103-111; William N. Morris, "The Mood System," in Daniel Kahneman, Ed Diener, & Norbert Schwarz (Eds.), Well-Being: The Foundations of Hedonic Psychology. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1999), pages 169-189.

Sources on feelings and emotions: Nico H. Frijda, The Emotions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986; Gerald C. Clore, "Why Emotions are Felt." In Paul Ekman & Richard J. Davidson (Eds.) The Nature of Emotion. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994, pages 103-111; Nico H. Frijda, "Emotions Require Cognitions, Even if Simple Ones," Same source, 1994, pages 197-202; Nico H. Frijda, "The Laws of Emotion," American Psychologist, 43 (5), May, 1988, pages 349-358; "Emotions are Functional, Most of the Time," in Paul Ekman & Richard J. Davidson (Eds.) The Nature of Emotion. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994, pages 112-122; Nico H. Frijda, "Emotions and Hedonic Experience," in Daniel Kahneman, Ed Diener, & Norbert Schwarz (Eds.), Well-Being: The Foundations of Hedonic Psychology. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1999, pages 190-210; G. Ryle, The Concept of Mind. London: Hutchinson, 1949; Nico H. Frijda, "Emotions Require Cognitions, Even if Simple Ones," in Paul Ekman & Richard J. Davidson (Eds.) The Nature of Emotion. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994, pages 197-202; K. Oatley, & J. M. Jenkins, Understanding Emotions. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Blackwell, 1996.

2. Eckhart Tolle reference: "Eckhart Tolle" interview in John W. Parker, Dialogues with Emerging Spiritual Teachers. Fort Collins, Colorado: Sagewood Press, 2000, pages 97-125, quote: page 111.

3. Nico H. Frijda, "Emotions and Hedonic Experience," in Daniel Kahneman, Ed Diener, & Norbert Schwarz (Eds.), Well-Being: The Foundations of Hedonic Psychology. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1999, pages 190-210, quote: page 197

4. Barbara L. Fredrickson, "Cultivating Positive Emotions to Optimize Health and Well-being," Prevention and Treatment, 3, article 1, March 7, 2000. Available on the internet at http://journals.apa.org/prevention/ volume3/pre0030001a.html, reference: page 2.

5. Adyashanti, "Love Returning for Itself," in The Sacred Mirror: Nondual Wisdom and Psychotherapy, John J. Prendergast, Peter Fenner & Sheila Krystal (Eds.). St. Paul, Minnesota: Paragon House, pages 57-88, quote: 68.

6. David K. Reynolds, Constructive Living. Honolulu, Hawaii: University of Hawaii Press, 1984, pages 9-10; Playing Ball on Running Water. New York: Quill/William Morrow and Co. Inc., 1984, page 19; Even in Summer the Ice Doesn't Melt. New York: Quill/William Morrow and Co., Inc., 1986, pages 11-12; Water Bears No Scars. Quill/William Morrow and Co., Inc, 1987, page 24.

7. Paul Ekman & Richard J. Davidson, "Afterword: Can We Control Our Emotions," in Paul Ekman & Richard J. Davidson (Eds.) The Nature of Emotion. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994, pages 280-281; quote: page 281. Two researchers: Robert W. Levenson, "Emotional Control: Variation and Consequences," in Paul Ekman & Richard J. Davidson (Eds.) The Nature of Emotion. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994, pages 273-279. 1994; Joseph E. LeDoux, "The Degree of Emotional Control Depends on the Kind of Response System Involved," in Paul Ekman & Richard J. Davidson (Eds.) The Nature of Emotion. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994, pages 270-272.

8. Eugine T.Gendlin, Focusing (Second Edition). New York: Bantam Books, 1981.

 


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