Perhaps I did not make my question clear. I'm not asking for an interpretation of feelings, I'm asking what emotions actually are. When someone feels, "anger," where do they feel it and what does it feel like.
Anger like all negative emotions are expressions of our personality as opposed to positive emotions which are expressions of our essence.
When we say “ I am angry” We no longer exist because we become anger. However when we are conscious enough to say “Anger is within me,” we have not become anger but rather experience it as a learned reaction influencing our personality.
What does jealousy feel like and how does one distinguish it from a feeling they call love, or anxiety.
Negative emotions like jealousy feed our self esteem – our imagined self importance. However when love is a positive emotion it serves the benefit of the beloved. Conscious love is experienced in the solar plexus region while jealousy as an acquired characteristic is experienced in the head
So what I'm asking is, when you have a feeling, how do you know that feeling is what you say it is, and not just a feeling that accompanies what you are thinking? I'd also like to know exactly what you mean by an emotion, that is, exactly what it feels like and how you can tell the difference of one emotion from another. Describe how they feel different.
The first thing I must make clear is that feelings and emotions are not the same. Feelings refers to essence and emotions refer to personality. For the benefit of anyone following this thread I’d like to include n excerpt from Jacob Needleman’s wonderful book “Lost Christianity” Jacob Needleman asks Metropolitan Anthony a question about feelings. A person can get a glimpse of the depth of Christianity from this excerpt.
Metropolitan Anthony," I began, "five years ago when I visited you I attended services which you yourself conducted and I remarked to you how struck I was by the absence of emotion in your voice. Today, in the same way where it was not you but the choir, I was struck by the same thing, the almost complete lack of emotion in the voices of the singers."
Yes he said, "this is quite true, it has taken years for that, but they are finally beginning to understand...."
"What do you mean?" I asked. I knew what he meant but I wanted to hear him speak about this - this most unexpected aspect of the Christianity I never knew, and perhaps very few modern people ever knew. I put the question further: "The average person hearing this service - and of course the average Westerner having to stand up for several hours it took - might not be able to distinguish it from the mechanical routine that has become so predominant in the performance of the Christian liturgy in the West. He might come wanting to be lifted, inspired, moved to joy or sadness - and this the churches in the West are trying to produce because many leaders of the Church are turning away from the mechanical, the routine.."
He gently waved aside what I was saying and I stopped in mid sentence. "There was a pause, then he said: "No. Emotion must be destroyed."
He stopped, reflected, and started again, speaking in his husky Russian accent: "We have to get rid of emotions....in order to reach.....feeling."
Again he paused, looking at me, weighing the effect his words were having. I said nothing. but inside I was alive with expectancy. I waited.
Very tentatively, I nodded my head.
He continued: "You ask about the liturgy in the West and in the East. it is precisely the same issue. the sermons, the Holy Days - you don't why one comes after the other. or why this one now and the other one later. Even if you read everything about it you still wouldn't know, believe me.
"And yet . . . there is a profound logic in them, in the sequence of the Holy Days. And this sequence leads people somewhere - without their knowing it intellectually. Actually, it is impossible for anyone to understand the sequence of rituals and Holy Days intellectually. it is not meant for that. It is meant for something else, something higher.
For this you have to be in a state of prayer, otherwise it passes you by-"
"What is prayer?" I asked.
He did not seem to mind my interrupting with this question. Quite the contrary. "In a state of prayer one is vulnerable." He emphasized the last word and then waited until he was sure I had not taken it in an ordinary way.
"In prayer one is vulnerable, not enthusiastic. and then these rituals have such force. they hit you like a locomotive. You must be not enthusiastic, nor rejecting - but only open. This is the whole idea of asceticism: to become open."
We rarely experience feelings since we are rarely in touch with what we essentially are. We re governed by our personalities which are governed by acquired negative emotions. That is why IMO you overestimate the power of thought and underestimate the power of our negative emotions to govern our lives.
Metropolitan Anthony was describing something essential for Christianity because it lessens the power of negative emotion. Yet in normal secular society negative emotions are glorified and without them advertising and the whole of modern entertainment would soon disappear.
The reason I ask is because I have counseled people who believed their emotions were controlling what they thought and did.
They were right. When we become negative emotions we become reacting things. What we call I doesn’t exist for us. Thoughts can suggest options but when we become things, there is no choice.