We are all familiar with “that feeling” – that sinking feeling, that lifting feeling, that hard feeling, that sweet feeling. We use our feelings often as the barometer of our lives, as a clue to how we’re doing on a daily basis. When we talk about our feelings, we often link them to physical sensations in our bodies – it’s that pit in your stomach, the lump in your throat, or those butterflies in your tummy. We attach vocabulary to our feelings, and thus label them as nervousness, anger, sadness, or joy, in order to relate our feelings to other people. Feelings are a universal human experience. They can make our day or bring us to our knees.
But what are feelings, really? And must they have such a strong impact on how we experience of our lives?
For those of you I’ve met, you know I’m a digger. I want to know why we experience feelings, where they come from, what they mean, and how to balance them with the intention of creating greater health. Feelings are ever-present, and quite literally affect our physiology. So what are they?
When we get down to the cellular level and beyond, feelings are simply a manifestation of energy moving in the body. Feelings are cellular messengers, molecules, and particles that are moving around. They’re pent-up, unexpressed energy.
The thing is, this pent-up energy is a signal. It’s the warning-light on the dashboard of our selves that something’s going on at a deeper level. Feelings are the warning-lights of our thoughts. They’re a manifestation of energy moving around in our body, signaling to us that we’re having some thoughts.
And get this: thoughts are the stories that we tell ourselves about what is going on in our version of reality.
Because there is reality – the real facts of a situation, or what is actually happening. And then there are our thoughts about reality – those stories we tell ourselves about the facts. For example, your spouse is late coming home from work one night, and hasn’t called. How many of us have experienced the thought that perhaps there was a car accident on the freeway and our loved one is stuck in traffic or, worse, involved in a collision? Those thoughts are not necessarily our reality – we think there may be an accident, but for all we know our loved one simply stopped for gas on the way home. But we attached a story to the reality, a thought that evoked feelings.
So when we get down to it: feelings are nothing more than a warning-light for our thoughts, which are just the stories we tell ourselves about what is going on in our lives.
Read that again.
Our thoughts and feelings are simply things that happen to us. Thoughts are our conscious mind’s attempt to make sense of what is going on in our reality. And as a result of those thoughts, energy moves around in our bodies and we have feelings, which we label – as worry, in the above example.
So are we our feelings? Do our feelings define us? They don’t have to.
We certainly can become our feelings if we continue to label them, making them into concrete entities and attaching them to ourselves like badges of experience. We can become sadness, anger, or worry. But we don’t have to.
The other way to deal with feelings is to simply recognize feelings for what they truly are: energy moving around in our bodies. Molecules and atoms doing a dance, letting us know that thoughts are happening to us – we’re hearing a story about what is going on in our reality. We definitely don’t have to label those feelings, or judge ourselves for having them.
We can breathe. And know that deep down, beneath those thoughts and feelings, in our purest form, we are love.
Thoughts and feelings come and go. Beneath all of them and with full certainty: you are love.
It’s a choice to make every day – to be your feelings, to be your stories. Or to be what you truly are. Take a deep breath and recognize that movement of energy. Say hello. Hear the thought that’s creating that energy movement; know that it’s a story you’re telling yourself. Allow it to be. And let it pass.
Because in the end, you are so much more than your thoughts and feelings. You are love! How great is that?