Feelings & Emotions – Practical Spirituality

It's about experience.

What we are trying to convey here, in this writing — as much as possible, within the limits of language and the author’s understanding — is what we can know from direct experience: especially, and in particular, direct subjective experience. The raw deal. In other words, not from hearsay or from concepts or models or theories, but known in the living, in both the present and through time as memories on this “journey”. This is the most practical and real “approach”*.

 

So what are feelings and emotions from the “perspective” of direct experience – not looking at someone else, or our own behavior or memory or concepts, but within our our own self?

That is to say, what we are concerned with, interested in here, is not of a person, or from the perspective or point of view of a person: there is no such entity in reality, except as a concept. Nor are we interested in psychology per se.

Emotions

What are emotions?

The word “emotion” gives us a clue: they are like motions, a movement and “energy”, so to speak.

Where are emotions?

Emotions are experienced as sensations in what is perceived to be the body, and as inner talking, sound (thoughts) in what we call the mind.

Again, this is as experienced from awareness, from consciousness, not looking at our behavior on the outside or someone else’s behavior, or conceptualized “objectively” or psychologically (by talking about the brain or getting into psychological “causes” or stories of a supposed person or a supposed past or future). Look in the laboratory of your own experience.

Feelings

What are feelings?

In order to distinguish feelings from emotions as a word or concept for communication and clarity, what we can call feelings those deeper experiences of sensations that point back to what we really are, this aware presence, this consciousness (whatever you want to call it). And this consciousness, this reality, has attributes. We know this through feelings. These attributes of are Beauty, Truth, and Love.

We experience (the attribute of) Beauty via the perceiving the senses, of sight, hearing, smell, touch taste...

We experience (the attribute of) Love (or "goodness") via the emotions in the body sense, such as warmth in the solar plexus, a sense of connection and light...

We experience (the attribute of)  Truth via thinking, such as being struck with the light of understanding of an idea...

The Fire of Listening

Letting Go of – Not Holding – Emotions Without Catharsis:

What do you "do" with emotions and feelings? You fully feel, in their wholeness, from the wholeness, and don't own them.

No resistance.

Truly, there is no one to hold on, except what is imagined...

There’s no catharsis in the following sense: it’s not coming out of a "me" and going somewhere, or coming from a center. There’s no onion with layers. It’s just like a tossing on the fire and the emotions and feelings – ones you didn't know were there – are burned up, turned from a kind of hidden energy into light. It’s very powerful. Showing (once again) that there’s no person at the center… thank God!

And it’s not a purification, because nothing is impure. Everything is exactly as it should be so to speak; is changing, or not.

Just let the garbage truck do its job – don’t get attached to the garbage, the garbage truck or the trashcan!

There’s no drama. Everything is at it is …
Unless you want there to be Drama, which can be fun.

It's like tantra magic.

More on "no catharsis" in the Whole Experience of Feelings

There’s no looking at the images and thoughts that come up: I don’t know if you can even distinguish between any of them. They’re all just feeling-thought-image... mentation phenomena.

Like the Ocotillo sticks, dried and hyper flammable, burn up in the fire. No point in analyzing anything. No getting into details or what it means, or creating stories around it... Unless you want to, and enjoy that kind of thing, and chatting...

Of and for no body …

If seeming others get too close to the fire, they start getting afraid, like there’s something real at stake.

 

Don't be afraid of feelings (or emotions!).

(They are) just appearances...

 

 

NOTES

*A non-approach approach: it is not actually an approach, since it is direct – an expression as well as a set of tools or pointers, put together from experience, and along the way, with the help of what has been seen with the help of mediation, investigation, study, teachers, teachings, friends, insights, revelations, message of what is known as “spiritual psychology”, non-duality, Advaita, Zen, Kashmir Shaivism, etc.).

REFERENCES & INSPIRATION

Emotions Have No Owner, by Éric Baret

Emotions Have No Owner

Let the Moon Be Free, by Éric Baret

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Eric Platt

3 Comments

  1. Ric West on December 7, 2023 at 4:01 pm

    GREAT PERSPECTIVE! I ALWAYS enjoy contemplating your articles. This one is no exception. I really appreciated its overall essence. I’m not sure why, but in many ways, it keeps reminding me of the topic of KNOWLEDGE itself. That is, specifically how Atmananada Krishna Menon uses that term. He states, ONLY KNOWLEDGE CAN KNOW KNOWLEDGE. Of course, with the word KNOWLEDGE he’s suggesting Truth, Reality, Absolute, etc. I do find his dissection of this KNOWING to be somewhat helpful. That is, to get a ‘sense’ for the distinction between 1)THE KNOWER, 2) THE KNOWING, & the 3) THE KNOWN.

    The KNOWING (middle knowing) is the product of conceptual thought/mind (a projection derived from thought, senses & perceptions, etc). It’s a ‘middle knowing’ that isn’t real. It’s a KNOWING within the realm of imaginative only. It’s an interpretation, objective, & dualistic. In this sense, it is NEVER a DIRECT KNOWING. What the Mind assumes to be KNOWLEDGE (Truth), simply is NOT… it’s ALWAYS subject to illusion, ignorance or Maya. This mental KNOWING creates a distance between the KNOWN (Objective World) and the KNOWER (Reality, Consciousness, Awareness, Self)… a distance or separation that is NOT real. In the absence of MIND, the ‘KNOWER’ (Consciousness/Awareness) and the ‘KNOWN’ (Objective World) are identical… this is what he refers to as real KNOWLEDGE.
    It’s a KNOWING within the realm of imaginative

    • Eric Platt on December 8, 2023 at 8:47 am

      Ric – Thanks for the comment.

      What you are describing is more the Jnana yoga emphasis I would say – the knowing – useful in establishment of detachment, discrimination; useful in seeing “pure consciousness”, having that experience, such as it is: one is conditioned by society to identify with (and try and work with or on) “objects” of consciousness, such as the bodymind or the personality, rather than what they appear in.

      Having had a glimpse of pure consciousness, and the insights, the higher knowledge he points to, then one can see consciousness in thoughts, sensations and perceptions: that they are made of That, as is the world. This is what Atmananda is clear and powerful for. Francis Lucille calls it “Indian idealism” (private discussion with him)! I’m not sure I entirely agree with that… 🙂

      The practical and experiential emphasis in this article, would be more like a “tantra” yoga I would say – a weaving together and an independence of expression – if I had to put a name on it. Give that it was reading Eric Baret that gave the experience it’s final push, who was “shaped and maintained by the nondual tradition of Kashmir Shaivism” (back cover of the book Let the Moon Be Free) which is considered a “tantra”, I seem supported in that way of looking at it.

      But I don’t know much. :))

      • Eric Platt on December 9, 2023 at 7:04 pm

        “The beautiful thing about skillful means is when you don’t need to use them [anymore]. That’s the whole point.”

        – Paul Hedderman

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