I think feelings have received less attention than they deserve from us in spirituality. We tend to focus more on our thoughts – our self-commands, conclusions, decisions, beliefs, etc. Our feelings often go unnoticed.
Getting in touch with our feelings is not taught in school or in most homes. Just as sexuality, communication, and parenting are not.
If I ask many people how they’re feeling, they may say, “I feel like….” But that isn’t actually a feeling. It’s a thought.
Or they may say: “I feel that….” That’s really not a feeling either. We mistake our thoughts for feelings quite commonly.
If I ask a person how they feel, often they cannot come up with a precise word for it. They may not know where to look to find out how they feel. (I’m equally out of touch, by the way.)
I may think of my feelings as the great army that supports me. But extreme emotion can also unhinge me and send me off in directions I wouldn’t ordinarily pursue.
I used to use strong emotion – primarily anger – to temporarily fuse back together again when I was dissociated (as the Humpty Dumpty Man). (1)
The answer is just to observe my feelings, to “be with” them, rather than indulging the extreme ones.
And that’s what I intend to do for the next while. Just observe the feelings that arise without acting on them. Feel into the being I am when strong feelings do and don’t blow across the inner landscape.
Just as the word “I” can refer to any of our bodies – physical body, ego, mind, Self, One – so the word “feelings” is used to refer to a wide range of phenomena.
Usually we use it to refer to our ordinary emotional states such as happiness, anger, jealousy, arrogance.
But it’s also often used to refer to the divine states.
What’s the difference? Well, the difference I’m most aware of is that our ordinary emotional states give way to the circumstances whereas the divine state of love transforms them. (2) It doesn’t yield to them. As long as we’re in it, it sweeps them away.
I won’t be referring here to the feeling of love but to the divine state of love (or perhaps “Love”).
It took me six weeks of a three-month encounter group to realize that I was out of touch with my feelings. And when I did, I ran down the trail, shouting at the top of my lungs, in awe and wonder, “I’m out of touch with my feelings!!!!”
Being in touch with my feelings – recognizing them, flowing with them – is a very desirable state. (3) It’s a doorway into the divine states. When we’re in touch with them, it’s easy to feel love and bliss arise; when we’re not in touch with them, we seldom notice the wisps of love and bliss that are there just waiting to expand upon our recognition of them.
(1) See “Putting Humpty Together Again – Part 1/3,”
(2) This is so in two ways. In the first place, the inner tsunami of love strips away all impurity from us as if it were the wind scattering leaves.
In the second place, after the tsunami of love left me in an Ocean of Love, the divine state prevented negative feelings from coming anywhere near me, like a protective or insulating barrier.
(3) The experiential domain is more refined than the intellectual domain. Immediate experience is more of a motivator than thoughts. Being in touch with our feelings places us in the latter domain. Either it leads to or is co-existent with conscious awareness.