We are emotional beings who think after the fact. We are physically wired to feel first, and only subsequent to our emotional response, can we respond either actively or passively, consciously or unconsciously, with awareness or without.
Our emotions provide us with contextualized experience and meaning, and are therefore more important than the details, facts or behaviors of any particular experience itself. When we get caught up in the particulars, we lose track of the lesson and the meaning of the experience. If we actively block the feelings associated with experience, which is the very intent of experience in the first place, we don’t learn and we lose the meaning associated with the lesson. If this becomes habitual, we wall ourselves off and begin to actively block learning in general. We become static and assume a self-defensive protective posture.
The essence of human intellect and sentience is to actively seek growth through meaning as we are endowed with a curious impulse to reach, to risk, to imaginatively create and to know. The act of blocking our own learning associated with experience, does nothing to remove the urge we humans have to create. Energy directed away from our need to experientially express, learn and grow, like a damn holding back an ever growing wall of water, eventually breaks through bringing with it all the unexpressed emotions we have put there.
This pent up discordant energy will be expressed, and as is dependent upon each individuals predilections. Any number of socially acceptable (considered healthy or neutral by the norm) or not socially acceptable (considered unhealthy by the norm) will be chronically employed to relieve the individual of the inner anxiety or need they feel they must gratify. As this is unconsciously driven, the behavior expressed as a venting mechanism, will not bring the individual any closer to the lessons associated with the freed energy.
There are those crushing moments in life when we feel acutely depleted due to some severely painful life event. These experiences can cause our damn to collapse releasing the full range of walled off emotions simultaneously. This can be very confusing, especially for the more unaware invulnerable individual. These moments, though severely taxing, are hidden gifts to us as they provide us with opportunities for growth that we would not have otherwise consciously chosen for ourselves.
Our, externally based false-self is often fractured as our world view gets flipped upside down. If we can leverage these types of events to fuel our journey inside and re-evaluate our assumptions and beliefs, we can begin to awaken and actively begin to replace our suppressed and repressed emotions thereby learning the lessons that we have stored behind the fractured damn for all those years. This is the true meaning behind the idea of courage, not the popularized external version of battling in the physical world.
Baruch Spinoza, in the 17th century developed many ideas that would eventually frame the study of human behavior, or Psychology and Psychiatry. He believed when our emotions are passive, or unknown, we are under their control with no power of choice or focused intention. Only by making our emotions active, known, can we ever possibly hope to choose anything in life. He believed that the only way we could expose a passive emotion was with a more powerful emotion.
This thinking buttresses my argument here and has been shown over an over in multiple scientific disciplines to be so. Pain, and the challenges in life allow us to harness their energy to reveal what was once unknown to us. Though we supplant our need for love and meaning with infinite numbers of imposters to quell our internal angst, they only lead us further away from ourselves and peace. It’s only courageously braving the unknown that provides us peace and meaning.
Instead of embracing our wonderful human emotional endowments, today it is considered wise and healthy, to be a productive hard working member of society and to focus on externally based success. If it were otherwise, we wouldn’t have the myriad of social problems and increasing isolation of individuals and a weakening of the fabric of society.
We are too busy to feed our most important human needs, we don’t know ourselves and we actively seek to block future discordant feelings and the lessons and growth that want to free us.
Because this phenomenon is so pervasive in our culture, it is considered poor form to display our emotions to others and to act out of emotion is the definition of irrationality. This fallacy is based on the wrongly held belief that emotions are irrational and things to be repressed.
Emotions, though they are very reason we live and consciously experience life as well as being our motivation for everything that we do!, get a bad rap because we culturally reinforce the idea of repressing them which leads to damns breaking and the display of confusing histrionic irrationality. We collectively cause the problem that creates all of our other social problems!
Judging vs. Discerning
If we choose to judge, our own or another’s response to any particular experience, we have externalized the event, we have projected it outside of ourselves and obscured any true meaning that we could have gleaned from the experience. We deny our natural human endowments and our feelings and, in this way, we create a hierarchy of human expression.
(Judgement: to assign behavior a relative worth and to attach that assessment to the relative worth of the self and/or another individual. Based on an external ideology or belief system)
Good/Bad, Right/Wrong, Black/White. These distinctions are only human contrivances designed to protect oneself from the perceived unpleasant feelings associated with bad behavior and to direct others behavior towards what is considered pleasant, based upon the beliefs of the person(s) who created the distinctions.
Conversely, if we choose to view our experiences with the deliberate intention of gleaning context and meaning, we discern rather than judge the experience, learning more about ourselves and others in the process, we grow.
To determine whether an individual is judging, or fooling themselves into acting as if they are discerning (mediated by false-self) or truly displaying discernment, their ability to accurately predict and empathetically describe human interaction, including their insights into their own behavior is indicative of an intuitive awareness and discernment.
Aware or Unaware
Though we think we are motivated, and that we can actively choose our response to any given experience by employing reason, logic and our dizzying intellect, we are in fact driven by Impulses within the confines of our human condition and limitations.
We either assume a self-protective posture or we display our natural curious, open and intuitive one. The only choice we have is to align ourselves, rightly or wrongly, with our emotional responses.
Like the symptoms that we feel of a physical dis-ease, our emotional feelings guide us towards them so that we may bring ourselves to know what they mean and intuitively align ourselves with them.
The degree to which we actively and accurately tease out meaning from the emotions we feel, in response to events and experiences, is indicative of our level of awareness.
Whether we admit it or not, everything we do in this life is either a conscious or unconscious attempt to feel positive emotions! Though there are some things we feel we must do, that are perceived as unpleasant, we do them to achieve a greater positive emotion in the future.
The more we project our positive emotions into the future, the more we necessarily project outside of ourself in all areas of our life. We would toil now for a positive emotion that we imagine we will be worthy of after we pay the predetermined price.
We will do almost anything to achieve the feelings we want, either rationally or irrationally.
The meanings of what is rational and irrational is not set by what society deems, but what truly provides us with what we need internally.
Externalize: We deferentially submit to the demands, pressures and fears of our external environment in lieu of our internal one.
Internalize: We give deference to our internal world of emotions, and actively seek to align our feelings with the intuitive, empathetic and discerning powers of our right mind.