Emotions as an Early Warning System
I am aware that positive emotions show up when I am sensing approval, “Gary, good job,” or in some other way being accepted or praised. And then just as quickly negative emotions show up when I sense disapproval, guilt, judgment, “poor job,” or am simply ignored for what I do. I now get that these positive and negative emotions are signals that my little separated ego is being approved or threatened.
So by watching my emotions I notice the path of my little separated ego through life. This awareness pleases me. Instead of being consumed by my emotions, I can use my emotions as a signal that I am in my dualistic ego state. The little separated ego aspect of me bounces around, sometime in a positive disposition, and just as quickly being drawn into guilt or some other negative disposition. I can sense the instability of such a state. This watching of my emotions can be my pattern early warning system! If I catch myself in time, perhaps I can move my consciousness to my compassionate objective observer self and watch the little drama of my personality in life. From here I can smile as I gently hold and accept that reacting little separated ego part of me.
I do not remember what Pathwork Lecture it is, but in one of them the Guide distinguishes between emotions and feelings. Of course the distinction is arbitrary, but nonetheless useful. The Guide defines emotions as those surface reactions of the little separated ego to the vicissitudes of life. This is often governed by threats or reinforcements of one’s idealized self image.
Feelings are deeper and come from either my Lower Self aspects (fear, pride, self-will, etc.) or my Higher Self aspects (creativity, love, serenity, peace, etc.). Feelings of Love, for example, are a spontaneous response of the Divine Self to Life, my connection to Life, Others, and God. Feelings are where my authentic tears of joy or sadness come from. My sense of Wonder at the Cosmos. My Joy, my deep Peace, all inner qualities of my Divine Self. These are way beyond my emotions. And they are more stable, more authentically me.
I have always found this distinction between emotions and feelings useful, and want to use this distinction to warn me when I am little separated ego space AND to go with when I am being stirred by my Compassionate Heart. When feelings arise from my Lower Self, can I pause and recognize the damage being done by my distortions? Well sometimes. Not with judgment, but with acceptance, healing, and, perhaps eventually, transformation.