Play today's Going Deeper session below:

Yesterday we highlighted an inconsistency in the way most of us navigate the world.

The two opposing theories:

  1. Feelings are coming from situations and other people.
  2. Feelings are coming from my attitude (way of thinking) about situations and other people.

It is illogically for our experience to work in both these ways.

Defining Thought

Thought isn't man-made. It is not something we can turn on or shut off, just like we can't choose whether or not to be around germs.

Thought and Feeling are always two sides of the same coin, they are inseparable.

Now of course, we can believe that our thoughts and feelings are separate, artificially. We can believe anything we want and humans have, but there are consequences and implications for believing untruths in our lives. Just like the faulty cause of germs led to the death of countless women during childbirth. When a logic, a truth was discovered, what the real cause of illness and infection was — germs — the childbirth mortality rate plummeted.

Based on our current misunderstandings, it is no wonder so many of us struggle and suffer when it comes to love and relationships. But by just waking up to the logic, the truth of where our feelings come from, time and time again, is profoundly helpful.

For instance, when we suddenly don't feel as close to a partner or loved one. When we get into an argument with him or her. When we believe our feelings, our sense of worthiness and love in particular, are coming from someone else, we often get frightened or at the very least stressed, insecure, and worried. We tend to jump to conclusions, feel pressured to take action, to do something to “fix the problem,” because we believe our current feeling state is an indication of the quality of and future of the relationship or our own self-worth.

…but what if that isn't what is going on?

What if all of us, are just having a dynamic human experience and that any feeling is a 100% reflection of state-of-mind in the moment. It has 0% to do with anything other than thought-in-the moment?

We are all in living in a moment-to-moment perceptual experience, so isn't it then completely natural and normal for each partner to experience low moods (ie. irritability, sadness, anger, etc.)?

Now, just because how we feel is always an inside job…manufactured 100% of the time internally, it doesn't mean that we don't take action or say anything if someone hits us, belittles us, or treats us poorly. I am not saying people shouldn't be responsible for their actions, set appropriate boundaries, or do whatever common sense tells them to do…like leave an abusive relationship.

On the contrary, when we acknowledge the logic of how our feeling system works, it actually makes us more responsive, present, and attentive to what is going on. It naturally brings about a broader perspective in which we can deal with whatever we are faced with a clearer mind, safely, and act in ways that are appropriate to that particular situation.

This is because when we misattribute where our feelings are coming from, that they sometimes come from partner or our circumstances and sometimes they come from our attitude, we spend a lot of time in irrelevant, egotistical, unhelpful thinking. We add so much busyness and heaviness to our lives, not realizing we are looking at the wrong source of feeling. It's like when medical professionals tried to stop the bad smells out there, instead of washing their hands before performing a surgery. The second action is much more to the point and more effective at dealing with the issue at hand.

If we believe our sense of love and security is out there, then we have to rush to go fix that thing, things, or person which we believe is the cause of our feeling state. It becomes a rat race onto its own where there is always something to think about, work on, fix. (Remember the hedonistic treadmill from week 1) and we tend to live in fear and worry of losing love.

When folks follow this model for love, it only makes sense then why people are overthinking, can't shut off their minds, get calm, or can't experience a quiet, present mind. How could they?! This model is unpredictable and scary because it looks like the content of what they are thinking about is causing their feelings and thus important to deal with….and even worse, it looks like love is actually something that can be gained and lost.

Conversely, when we see the truth of where our feelings are actually coming from…when we see that thought is not up to us to control…there is no need to control thought, it is enough and even more powerful to see the nature of thought.

The power of thought isn't created from our conscious minds, it always changes on its own accord, said another way thought isn't man-made, rather a natural law of being a man or woman, it frees up a tremendous amount of mental and energetic bandwidth. It naturally declutters the mind and wakes a person up to the present moment, so he or she can be responsive. It doesn't mean he or she won't be uncomfortable, but there is a grace that brings to bubble up to the surface for people — where as a result of understanding experience more grace in their emotional lows and gratitude in their emotional highs.

Each one of us is truly energy in motion, dynamic. My moods, your moods, your loved ones mood actually are not personal. Energy is a natural phenomena, experiencing a wide variety of moods and emotions is a truth of being human none of us have control over. The Dalai Lama still admits he gets angry for goodness sake!

Blaming ourselves or our partners for feeling bad, sad, angry, negative, insecure, unloved or cranky…trying to control our thinking, our perception, or our “good” or “bad” energy goes against what is…how the natural laws of being human actually work // our natural human system actually works.

*Note: Sometimes the “right” thing to do, may be to express how you feel in that moment. Yet I would encourage you to not look to this as the primary and only means of resolving conflict. It's my experience that very little listening and problem solving actually occurs when two people are in a low mood and verbal vomiting all over each other. The bottom line: You may still want to express yourself at some point, but waiting until both of you are in a better mood, will likely better support the outcome you are looking for: a sense of feeling heard, a deepening of connection with the other person, and a sense of resolution.