I was having an interesting conversation with my youngest sister yesterday, via whatsapp, a jolly useful thing for us deaf folk. She said “people don’t want to hear things that don’t fit their version of the truth”, which is probably the most profound thing she’s ever said to me, and of course she’s absolutely right.

I’ve been reading an abridged version of “A course in Miracles” called “Accept this gift” by Vaughan/Walsh.  There’s 2 main messages in the book:-

1) Forgiveness equals freedom from the past, and freedom from the ego ( by the ego I mean the last vestiges of the “big lizard”, our primal fight or flee selves )

2) By not being judgemental we heal ourselves and everyone around us.

Being judgemental is probably one of mankind’s most wicked traits: we easily judge people we don’t know, not knowing anything about them. And if we understood how that worked, we’d realise that all we are doing is using the person we judge as a mirror, which reflects our spiritual sickness and character faults. Of course there’s numerous emotional reasons why we judge. Sometimes it’s because we’re angry, which is really just a way of making someone feel guilty about a certain situation in which we feel we’ve been deprived of something. Anger is fear based and usually an unconscious cry for help. If we can let go of anger as quickly as possible our thoughts clear and we begin to heal.

But of course we’re conditioned by society/media/religion and our peers, and expected to react in certain ways with certain emotions. And our ego reinforces those feelings as much as it can, because it wants to be righteous and in control. 

Having studied numerous Eastern religions and philosophies over the past 18 years, the most common thread I’ve found is that the world is as we perceive it, through our personal conciousness, and that that isn’t necessarily the real world, or reality. Buddha called it Maya or illusion. Buddha talks about the wheel of Samsara, the endless cycle of birth, life, old age and death. Whether most people could get their head round that concept is doubtful, but there are clues about the real world given to us all the time, were we able to perceive them.

For instance, most of what we call ‘nature’ is in fact ‘supernature”: animals communicate with each other and their environment with wordless ease, in a perpetual flow of life and death. Compared to them humans are dimwits: which animal do you know of that destroys it’s own habitat and kills it’s own because of greed? Despite evolution and highly advanced technology, we are still unable to live together in an orderly manner. We are racist, xenophobic, homophobic, and our governments delight in promoting divisions in our society and waging war whenever the industrial/military machine desires. Sometimes it seems like the only thing human beings have in common is death. Perhaps then we will all be united. Will we ever give peace a chance?

I believe that there’s really only 2 emotions: fear and love, every other emotion is just a connotation of either, tho love goes beyond an emotion or state of mind. I think a state of love, or at least of harmlessness anyway, is our true default setting. It just depends on how emotionally damaged our egos are as to whether we can be aware of it.

“Love is beyond what can be taught”.

There have been many instances in my life where I’ve believed I should be displaying a specific emotion about some scenario, but simply couldn’t muster the feeling. My ego’s emotional response wants to kick in, but reason gets the better of it. That tells me that particular emotion simply doesn’t exist, at least not in my heart.

My eldest sister died recently. We hadn’t been close for a year or more. We were almost complete opposites: she watched tv almost continually ( even when I visited! ) she rarely left the house and up until last Christmas, hadn’t set foot outside her front door for over 2 years. Other than animals we had little in common and always seemed to annoy one another on the rare occasions I visited. I thought the way she chose to live these past ten years or more was very sad, but I didn’t feel any sense of loss or great grief when she died. I told her two youngest daughters how I felt: they were mortified and accused me of being hard hearted. I simply couldn’t fake any feelings about my sister’s death. I wish no harm to any living thing, and that obviously includes my sister. But I refuse to behave in a false manner about her passing. Not only that I believe she chose to die. I think many people do at the end of their lives: they become tired or they’re sick, and perhaps they see letting go of life as a good option. They desire ultimate peace, and maybe that’s the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel?

I think the media is especially good at manipulating people’s fake emotions, for manufacturing consent on just about every thing. The superficiality of our current society and culture dictates that we are obsessed with trivia rather than anything really worthwhile. Hence the cult of celebrity, reality TV ( surely an oxymoron? ) Love Beach and the like. As Noam Chomsky once said ‘television is chewing gum for the eyes’, perfect for a deluded and brainwashed society. Meanwhile Mr Murdoch reaps the benefits of a pre-programmed populace who devour rhetoric and has it’s consumer choices made for it. No more nasty thinking or individuality, just the modern opium for the masses. Internet anyone?

And I think that’s why the majority of people in our modern world are so easy to influence: the facile ego emotions are fey and shallow and need little enticement. They might appear to be superficially happy, but the high instance of mental health issues in this day and age would seem to contradict that most thoroughly.

“Don’t fake it baby, lay the real thing on me!”.

And of course before the media began its good work religion influenced mankind in many different ways too, and continues to do so. But if we’re really honest, it’s never in a universally altruistic way, just more manipulation for their own gain and usually divisive.

People become what they think they are, and follow external influences, and not necessarily their heart, or what is good for their fellow man. We live very much in the “me” age, the “fuck you jack, I’m alright” mentality which has bled down from the ruling classes since the age of Thatcherism. And this is why are planet is on the verge of meltdown: the “every man for himself” attitude that our politicians and big business expound influences and pollutes our culture and society generally.

But wait, as my dear friend Jung would say: “if you don’t go within, you’ll go without!”. If we really think about our emotions, we realise they come from within us, just like all our thoughts and perceptions, not from the outside world. We think a situation is so, and quite easily our anger/lust/fear makes it real. As the Lovely Roshi once said to me “have you ever seen a thought?” to which I’d reply no, “then why do they bother you so?”. Then he’d ask me where my thoughts were, and of course I’d say in my head. “No”, he’d say, “they’re in conciousness”.

I don’t believe I am the body I inhabit and I don’t believe all this man made madness and monstrosity. We are spiritual beings and we no longer need to kill to survive.

Rumi, the great Sufi poet once said “beyond our ideas of right and wrong, there is a field. I’ll meet you there”……

3 Responses to “Emotions”

  1. Interesting article, and I broadly agree with what you say.

    The question of where our thoughts are is an interesting one. To say they’re in our consciousness is meaningless without defining what “consciousness” means – and there are a number of schools of thought on that topic. I am certain that consciousness is a product of chemical reactions happening in our brains. Thoughts are the same – and whether they’re “in” our consciousness or not is meaningless. There is, however, no doubt that thoughts happen in our brains – and, therefore, in our heads.

    A lot of people believe that their “consciousness” is separate from their body – and therefore can continue to exist after they die. This, however, is complete nonsense and such beliefs are entirely a product of ego and fear – propped up by religious mumbo jumbo. I don’t have any problem knowing that *I* am my body – no more no less – and when I die, the chemical reactions in my brain which produces the feeling of being conscious will stop and *I* will cease to exist.

    Of course, most of us have been brought up with either religious or pseudo religious beliefs in life after death and other similar hoaxes, and therefore find it hard to cope with their mortality unless they believe they’re essentiall immortal. The old IWW song sums up one aspect of that hoax.

    There is no purpose to life beyond just living and when you die it’s over completely forever. I don’t have a problem with that, but most people seem to – driven by ego and fear, I guess.

    (I know this is not really related to what you’re writing about, but wtf, your article got me thinking about it and I thought I’d inflict it on you and your readers! 🙂

    Now where’s that fucking field?

  2. I’m glad my piece got your brain stimulated.

    Of course thoughts are in your head: the Roshi was throwing me a Zen shape, which I’m sure you figured but literally thoughts have to be in your head as they originate in the brain.

    I used to be a firm believer in life after death, but as I get older I find it less credible, especially as virtually all of my family and several close friends are now dead and I’ve heard from any of them since. And I’m not really certain how much I’d like a deceased family member to tap me on the shoulder and say hello!

    As to the question of conciousness, well that’s a different ball game for me. I certainly believe in different types of conciousness: for instance, when we sleep where does our conciousness go? It’s certainly not totally dormant, so what happens? And what about other mammals: do they have similar conciousness to us? US studies on Dolphins and other animals with similar evolved brains show that they do, as do a multitude of other animals, including certain species of birds.

    One final thought ( pun intended! ) re religious claptrap: one could say that your fixed ideas about the death and the afterlife are a product/reaction to your Catholic upbringing 🙂

  3. You could be forgiven for thinking there’s some connection between my beliefs about “spiritual” stuff and being brought up a catholic, but you’d be wrong. I’m not sure I ever really had a reaction to it as such – it just bored me intensely and I never thought much about in later years. But if I did have a reaction to it, that passed decades ago.

    My thoughts on this sort of matter come from realising it’s all a total load of nonsense, made up for a variety of reasons – social control being a primary one, and the power an money which come from setting yourself up as god’s representative on earth. The main reason I know (yes, *know*) there’s no god is because it’s so obviously the product of human imagination. The christians claim god made man in its image, but it’s blindingly obvious that humans made god in their image.

    Much the same goes for beliefs in all the other “spiritual” mumbo jumbo. It’s obvious why the belief in a “soul” and an afterlife etc appeal to scared ego-driven people – which strongly implies that it’s just fantasy.

    I have no idea to what extent other animals are conscious, maybe you could post references to those US studies?

    As for zen shapes… I know nothing about zen, except that it’s some sort of religion and therefore of no interest to me 😉

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