A few weeks ago, I was speaking with a friend who thinks the whole thoughts-feelings-actions thing is too cerebral, and she said, “emotions are intelligent and show us deep truths!”
And I thought, totally! They show us our thoughts which show us our most deeply held beliefs -some of which we may not be conscious of. Deep truths.
Emotions and thoughts: They aren’t mutually exclusive.
But I ALSO added that I believe they tell us truths about how we are living in alignment with our truth or not.
There are four foundations of mindfulness. Today I want to talk about the second foundation of mindfulness, which is that of feelings/emotions. More specifically, how being mindful of our emotions can help us gain wisdom into our truth.
First, it’s important to remember that emotions aren’t bad in and of themselves. It’s what we DO when we feel them that often cause the suffering. Not the emotion itself.
Practicing mindfulness of emotions helps us to learn about ourselves and our mind and not get hooked by the emotions themselves.
So, the first benefit of mindfulness of emotions is… being less reactive.
Researcher Benjamin Libet discovered that the part of the brain responsible for movement activates a quarter-second before we become aware of our intention to move. There is then another quarter-second before the movement begins. Tara Bennett-Goleman called this, “the magic quarter-second.”
Within that ¼ second of time lies the chance to do things differently instead of just doing what our default mode would have us do.
We also have a stream of physical sensations and sense experiences AND a stream of feelings. We often don’t notice the feelings until they are strong and overwhelming us, but emotions are wanting to tell us what’s going on internally all the time.
So first, emotions will often tell you what your thoughts are.
Emotions can also tell us when we are out of alignment with our truth.
How often have I seen a client’s panic attacks stop when they leave a toxic work environment? How many clients have I seen whose depression lifts when they release a heavy burden, or finally start to build the life they were meant to live?
So, what are your emotions telling you?
Emotions also occupy a lot of our energy and mind space. We have this capacity to feel, and it’s really rich.
Mindfulness – loving awareness – invites us to begin to attend to and learn how to live in a more conscious relation to feelings. This is where we awaken, right?
Emotions are where the juicy things happen.
But they’re not the end of the story. That’s the beautiful thing. No feeling is final. They’re leading us to some greater understanding.
Mindfulness, it’s like this. Anger, grief, longing, joy, bliss… It’s all like this.
Bow to each of them, rebel.
One more thing I want to say about emotions:
You’ve heard me say so many times that freedom comes when we are willing to feel anything.
So, what are you unwilling to feel? That unwillingness is what’s blocking us, holding us back.
Because in most moments when we’re unconscious and operating in default mode, it’s because, in some way, we’re pushing away something that’s just part of the nature of being.
Alright rebel: this week I want you to notice your myriad emotions throughout the day… and at least once a day – if not throughout the day – ask yourself, “What is this emotion trying to tell me about my truth and my life right now?” Start to appreciate the wisdom your emotions have, and what you can learn when, instead of trying to push them away or escape them, you pay attention to them and inquire about how they can help you live your truth.
Topics in this week’s podcast:
// The benefits if being mindful of emotions
// The magic quarter-second
// 2 things your emotions can tell you
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