Sensing our emotional reactions

Of late I’m becoming sensitive to my emotional reactions to my thoughts.  A moment ago I was feeling offended because of reading on the Toastmasters’ International website how a member moved from attending his first meeting to becoming a Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) in two years.   Two years!  This immediately aroused in me feelings of hostility and rationalization: why had it taken me four decades?   Why does it generally take most members at least a decade, often two?  I was incensed.  The reasons aren’t important here.  What is important is that I sensed for the first time the resentment and perhaps jealousy – as a feeling in my body.  And by experiencing that feeling and recognizing it for what it was, I became aware that I was the experiencer, not the feeling itself. 



Once we become aware of a feeling and do not identify with it – that is, by not losing ourselves in further thought and thereby evoking further unfelt feelings within  us – we are on our way to ‘lightening up.’   That is to say we are learning how to observe our emotional responses to our own thoughts and thereby purifying them.  



By purifying, I mean that we are not laying them down in our mind-bodies seeds which will grow unmonitored in our subconscious minds.  For when we think and get emotional about it, without recognizing what we are doing to ourselves, we are creating within our mind-bodies what Vipassana meditators know as sankaras.   Sankaras are the impurities which grow within and cause us so much trouble later on.  



The thought that is suppressed, or even worse, repressed, is the cause of so much trouble in our lives.  When a thought arises we should remember that the thought is not us.  It is a thought.  We can accept it or reject it.  By reject, I mean ignore, pay it no heed.  But if it has strong emotional aspects and we try to get rid of it, we could well make it worse.   It is said that what we resists persists.   Therefore it is better to either simply ignore, but if we cannot do this, then to examine the thought impartially – clinically…without judgment.  



We can examine our thoughts impartially if we always bear in mind that we are not our thoughts.   They are something which arise in our minds but are not the essential us.   We can use thought.  We can ignore it.  But we are well advised not to lose ourselves within thought by identifying with it and believing that it is our self.   The French Philosopher, Rene Descartes, was wrong when he said, “I think, therefore I am.”   He could just as easily have said, “I feel, therefore I am.”  Or any one of a number of things.   Probably he’s have been nearer the mark had he said, “I observe, therefore I am.”  Or “I am aware, therefore I am.”    For it is very possible – with practice – to stop one’s verbal thinking and yet one is still alive; one still is.   The “I am” is not reliant on thought to know that it is has existence.



But to get back to being able to sense the emotional content of a thought as it arises.   This is a wonderful step forward in my self-understanding.   For a long time it was theoretical – except in periods of meditation.   Generally, when some strong emotion was aroused in response to a thought – which might have been triggered either by me or someone else, or something else – I would react and thereby register it within me.  Now, at long last, perhaps that automatism is finally coming to an end.    If it is, then I’ve made a real, tangible advance towards living in continual and willed awareness whenever and wherever I wish it.  Being ‘in the now’ as and when desired will have become the norm rather than an ambition.

About Tom Ware

I'm into speaking to audiences. My particular forte is telling stories. Morevover, I've addressed over 750 audiences and in excess of 40,000 people during the past eighteen years - excluding those I've addressed in my Toastmasters clubs. Additionally, I've presented classes to adults on Metaphysics and Spirituality (non sectarian) and Popular Psychology between 2001 and 2008. I'm an avid writer, been at it for forty-five years. Speaking is a passion, of course, as mentioned above. I started in 1972 with Toastmasters. My speciality is Storytelling and some years ago people began to flatter me with the titles: Prince of Storytellers, and Master Storyteller. Also, Tusitala Tom (Tusitala means Storyteller in Polynesian) I am also into 'serious' meditation (Vipassana as taught by S N Goenka) Started that in 1986. Additionally, I'm an Automatic Writing practioner and have been able to 'channel' for over forty years. Bit about me. Born in London UK and migrated to Australia in 1951. Started my first job day after my fifteenth birthday in that year. I've been a postal worker, sailor, aviation air-ground man, overseas telegraph operator. I've worked for an electrical power-supply company, been a truck driver, a foundry labourer, laboratory assistant, a police radio operator, and office worker - even an Antarctic expeditioner. Worked and lived in a number of countries, but am now 'retired' and enjoying life - probably as never before. I've been married - yes to the same woman! - for fifty-three years and have three grown up children and four grandchildren.
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