Posts Tagged ‘emotion’

A heady experience

May 11, 2010

I have a tendency to live life from my head.

When I feel an emotion in my body, I listen to my brain tell me what emotion it is and what it means. I let my brain tell me what I should or should not do about the emotion or the situation that I am responding to.

I am not so different from about 99.9% of other humans. We all ascribe meaning to our lives, using what our brains know about us, our individual histories, and what we have been taught. It is a useful mechanism. Our brains are always working to take care of us in some way. They save us from certain death. We feel fear when threatened by people with guns or knives or a mother bear protecting her cubs. The primordial response to flee is programmed into us and our brains need only issue one command: get us out of here.

How we might flee, however, and surviving the flight requires every resource within us. So, we may not stop at that moment and consider what the threat means to us. Later . . . later when we talk about how we survived and live that moment over and over in our heads, there will be all sorts of meaning and judgments. We will have more feelings about the situation. Our heads will label each feeling and give them definition and meaning.

On a more subtle level, our brains assess, label, define, and give meaning to nearly every feeling. Our hearts, our souls, our spirits experience a sensation that we always believe we must interpret somehow. We cannot ignore the advice our brains give us. A lot of it is very useful. As my friend, Laurie, at Speaking from the Heart, says the key would be to connect our thoughts and our judgment with our bodies and with our souls and then do just do the best we can. She uses much prettier words than I do, but that is the simple message I have received from her wisdom.

Since I have been following that wisdom along with all of the other intents I set to bring my true presence to life, I have had the wondrous experience of not living in my head at all for small moments at a time. I have felt my presence just be in my body and felt only wonder at the feeling of being present without thought. Incredibly, my head does not fight back for attention. In that moment, thought is suspended and all is quiet. And there is a particular awareness that this way of being is absolutely perfect.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

The presence of fear

April 2, 2010

 The presence of fear is an indicator of something I need to pay attention to. It is my response to fear and defining it as “good” or “bad” that often determines my actions.  Shakespeare (Hamlet) comes to mind – “there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

Like all of our emotions, fear is necessary to our survival. Being afraid of people with loaded weapons, for example, is healthy because I will stay alive longer if I fear and avoid them. There are rational fears that I need to pay attention to because they indicate situations that might result in harm to me (such as reckless drivers, bottomless drops off of cliffs, the guy who has been married and divorced — worse: widowed — five times, and my cat when I have forgotten to feed her . . .

There are irrational fears . . . some people call them phobias. Fear of water, fear of open places, fear of closed places . . . there is a phobia for just about anything (check out

Then, there is the fear of living, of being truly alive. It is not on the phobia list. I checked. Some of us are afraid to be truly alive because we anticipate something bad might happen to us. You have to listen to the fear story you are telling yourself. All fear stories have a plot that exists somewhere in future time. The story will cause you to doubt yourself and think that you are less than you are.

Regardless of what scares me, I find two very important things give me comfort: first, I can always act and take care of myself in spite of my fear; second, I was born with everything I need to endure, resolve, cope, heal, be, defend, and continue. My certainty that I will continue to exist eternally sustains me. This is true for you, too.

Every moment beyond this one . . . and this one . . . and this one . . . (you get the idea) is unknown. There is only the eternal present. Because I have a past, a history, a body of knowledge of dealing with all the unknowns I have encountered, and I have successfully lived through those moments (as have you), I know that I have everything I need to deal with the unknown even if I don’t know how I might deal with it right now.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass