by Tricia Reed
First understand that feelings come from inside.
Feelings: no one puts them there but you. No one makes us mad; being mad or annoyed, frustrated or disappointed is our reaction to a person or situation. Ten other people in the same situation will have a different reaction to the same experience. Their reactions/feelings are all true for them. But know that you put the feeling there. They belong to you. You own them. This is a good thing. Then only you decide what feelings you want to hold inside. This is freedom.
From Holly Riley: “How does a person know the different between a feeling and a thought?”*
A thought happens in mental space. It typically comes from conditioning and indoctrination; an already established perspective. A thought is usually a repeat of the past and is usually connected to other thoughts. A thought that you are attached to can seem like a feeling. But it’s actually very mental.
Now let’s talk about feeling. Feeling is guttural. Feeling has a sensation in the body. Feeling can happen without a single word or thought. Pure feeling is when we become the sensation without any mental language.
I saw Lake Tahoe for the first time from the top of the Mount Rose summit. The view is so beautiful it took my breath away. This is another way of saying that for a moment there was no thought, just the feeling of awe. That is a feeling that we might want to have, choose to have, decide to cultivate.
Let’s get back to the difference between feeling and thought: Thinking is a pointed, mindful, mental process. Both thinking and feeling have their places, but for the purpose of enjoying life, we have to wake up our ability to feel. For instance, focus on adding numbers: 2+2=, 4+4=, 8+8=, 16+16=, 32+32=, 64+64=, 128+128=…. Notice the attention of thinking. It’s pointed; in a clear direction; there’s no feeling involved.
Now feel your breath moving in your body with no words. Feel your bottom touching the chair. Listen for the vibration, for the hum of the present moment by moving your awareness outward. Feel a cloud floating by in the sky. Imagine being the cloud. Now map out in your head the directions to the nearest Department of Motor Vehicles office from where you are.
Which place has more access to intuition? Which is more open, more closed? Which feels more in touch with Spirit? Become familiar with the difference between thinking and feeling. Become aware of the inner energetic movement.
Examples of Feelings
As you read each example, see if you can notice a feeling response in your body: Pressure, excitement, pain, warmth, fear, regret, satisfaction, physical sensations (sounds, smells), guilt, gratitude, anxiety. Did you notice the feelings? Did you notice that some seemed heavier or lighter, some constricting or opening and some you liked and some you would prefer not to feel?
Feelings are happening all the time in us. We can be aware of them without thought and really feel them.
How does it feel being with others you like and respect? We have words for this: warmth, companionship, uplifting. Find your own word, right now; feel what this means, without the word, without the thoughts and without thinking about it.
Notice your breath … in and out…. Become quiet inside and feel what it feels like being here now.
Everything has a feeling.
The returning of birdsong in the spring, we love to hear this. How does it feel? How does seeing the trees and flowers blossoming feel, seeing the green appearing on the ground again? Can you feel it?
Notice your breath; be still and feel. When we go outside, we hear the birdsong for a moment, but then we don’t pay attention to listening anymore. Their song is still there but we don’t really hear it, just like with feelings. They are always there, sometimes subtle, sometimes loud. If we pay attention, we can actually feel something for a while and then we are back in our heads. If we slow ourselves down just for fun, as an experiment, we can find the feelings.
An exaggerated example is sticky jelly. I get some sticky jelly on my fingers; what does it feel like? I feel “ewww”; a feeling which leads me to the sink. Then I run some water over my fingers. At first the water is cold, but then it is warm. Feeling warm water on my hands, I appreciate it for being so available for cleaning and drinking. I watch the water bubble in my hands, playful. Now my hands are wet; what does wet feel like? Now I dry them, feel them comfortable, clean and dry again. Feelings are constantly going on.
Try this with me. Find the feeling of something sweet. I pick chocolate – chocolate cookie, ice cream, a thick candy bar. You pick your own. Now picture eating that, tasting that. Breathe in the feeling of eating chocolate. Now imagine taking a big bite of a jalapeno pepper. Go ahead, chew it for a while. Breathe in the taste of jalapeno. Now imagine sucking a lemon. Could you feel the nuances of the different feelings?
Do you have a favorite time of day or something that you look forward to doing? One of mine is going out to the corral at dawn. What’s yours? Find it. What does it feel like? You have a feeling about it that feels good, it is what you do it for, to have that good feeling.
Also music, colors, rooms in our homes; each one brings a feeling reaction. It’s like in the Helen Keller movie. Annie is walking little Helen around the yard, touching each thing – the ground, a tree, the water pump. She is telling her “Yes, everything has a word,” as she spells into her hand. I want to walk you through your day, by your heart, and say “Yes, everything has a feeling. Feel it!”
Everything we do is to get a feeling, of accomplishment, of satisfaction, of comfort, of success, of gratitude…. And then do we stop and actually feel the feeling, in our bodies, quiet, still, if only for a moment?
Think of something you want right now. It can be big or small, but choose something that is clear – a morning doughnut, a visit with a dear friend, having a healthy body, maybe still a bite of chocolate. Do you have a picture/thought about it? Now have the feeling of having what you want. Just feel the feeling of it, no words, no thoughts. Try noticing your breathing if you need help getting quiet and feel it. We do everything to have a feeling.
Guess what? You can give yourself that feeling whenever you want. Breathe it in. It feels like cheating, but is it?
Now feel this: feeling breathing, feeling smiling, feeling trees, feeling hugging … without words. Feeling is what you are hungry to do, where the joy is. Give yourself time to do this.
When you are totally in feeling you are very present, and when you are in feeling you are more open to being connected to the subtle energy field, open to receive messages for yourself and others.
One of the reasons we are constantly in our heads, talking, figuring, analyzing, is because we think we need to do this to be safe, to make things work out the way we want. Here is another way … TRUST. What does trust FEEL like?