More comment than question: I find it interesting that even if the question has no relationship to my life I still always learn something important in every one of your answers. There’s always at least one or two sentences where I think, ‘wow I never thought of seeing it that way.’ I just wanted to say thanks.
Thank you so much! What writer wouldn’t like a compliment like that? And if you don’t mind, I would like to use your comment-not-question as a jumping off point for a discussion about something important. Something you referred to when you noted that every blog —regardless of the relevance of the question— seems to be helpful to you. I hear that all the time. And it speaks to how much the same we all are.
Psychological understanding is based on the fact that each psyche will be logical. What’s different are its available routes of thought, which are dictated by experience. And included in that will be how bold or timid someone might be, how informed about relevant information, how well they might think through an idea, and what they might value.
Despite the differences in our inputs, we will all process information in the same way everyone else will. We will feel whatever we think and we will mistake our beliefs for universal truths just like everyone else will, when we’re in a state of ego. Despite our differences, we are all the same in how we actually create our identity and opinions. This is the central ‘truth’ we all share.
The range of human feeling that we refer to as ’emotions’ are fabricated from language. Fear is primal —it keeps us alive. It is a feeling. Anger is fear turned aggressive and this is used to attack for defensive purposes and possibly for acquiring food. Love is what breeds compassion and care, which leads to survival, which leads to continuing this adventure which is, deep down, the point. But we share all of our feelings with most of the rest of the world, animals included.
In comparison, ’emotions’ are distinctly human and they emerge from the complexities of language. The very thing that we proudly display as what separates us from animals, is the same thing that makes the animals healthier than us.
Worrying that there might be a bear near where you’re hunting is one thing. But being afraid that your boss will yell at you because you were late because your daughter threw up on you just before you left for work —well that’s something entirely different.
One instance is about literally not existing and the other is about clashing in an imaginary psychological space. And yet language causes us to use the same neuro-chemicals for both. One can kill us, the other is just something we just imagine, and yet we walk around treating them equally simply because our biology hasn’t caught up to our ability to invent things like words, abstract concepts and languages.
We have to stop seeing ourselves and others as the individual thought patterns we were trained to be by experience. Yes, those unintentional, external ideas do set our initial course. But as soon as we are actively conscious we can choose our direction. We can shape our own personalities.
To surrender that idea as though it is impossible, is to be like the guy who throws his frozen computer out the window, as though the hardware is the problem rather than the software. We can always introduce patches to the software.
We are better off to look at ourselves and others as ‘processors of information’ with filters made of ‘belief systems.’ And because we ourselves are looking through a similar distorting lens, we find are left completely unable to find a fixed place to judge anyone from. Once we realize the judgment is folly, we can relax into simply being. There’s nothing wrong anymore. There is no way to judge. Things just are. It’s stunningly healthy.
I’d like to close by thanking you again for sending in the generous compliment. But I also appreciate that it fed nicely into something I’ve been looking for a question on, because I think it’s an important principle worthy of everyone’s consideration: emotions confuse and misguide life, being guided by feeling leads to an authentic life. It’s worth being able to tell the difference.
Thanks again for the kind words. Have yourself a wonderful day, week, month and year.
peace and love, s
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.