Any action is often better than no action, especially if you have been stuck in an unhappy situation for a long time. If it is a mistake, at least you learn something, in which case it’s no longer a mistake. If you remain stuck, you learn nothing – Eckhart Tolle
In my previous blog post Thinking About Thinking I mused about the observation of thought. Another positive way to live your life is to observe your emotions. Emotions and thought are inextricably linked like strands of DNA. First comes the thought, followed quickly by your body’s reaction to that thought. Using the example of arguing with a loved one, it is common for the thoughts to generate the emotion of anger. You are often unaware that your thoughts – or your ego – are dominating your mind, but you should be more aware of your emotions. Your emotions are capable of making a biochemical change in your physical body, hence the likelihood of increased awareness. If this is true then could we use our understanding of emotion to get more in tune with our way of thinking?
Knowing yourself is to be rooted into being, instead of lost in your mind – Eckhart Tolle
Each night before I go to sleep I have a little ritual I call My Thinking Journal. I will write a blog post about this process, but for now I would like to introduce you to one part of that process called the Emotional Evaluation. I ask my body how I am feeling. I close my eyes, create a stillness and awareness and search my body for signs of emotion. To help me further I have eight of my most common emotions written down in my journal and they are guilt, worry, anger, sadness, fear, gratitude, happiness and pride. I find by carrying out this exercise I can bring my emotions into awareness, and the repetition helps me become more aware when in the moment. Being aware of your emotions ‘in the moment’ is critical because if you are not careful they take over and you lose control. As your emotions are driven by your thoughts hopefully you can see how important it is to Think About Your Thinking.
Do you have a practice where you learn to feel your emotions? If so please share it with us.
Once again the inspiration for this piece comes from The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. When I wrote Thinking About Thinking I stated that people don’t pay much attention to the deeper meaning of their thoughts (Diane Stephenson also explores this belief in her excellent blog post Thoughts on Thoughts) and the same is true when it comes to emotions.
For Sleepwalkers emotion is just a part of life, and so they just accept the rise and fall of them like the sand on a beach accepts the rise and fall of the ocean. By learning some simple exercises, and through meditation, understanding the deeper meaning of your emotion can only be a good thing.
I have found the Emotional Evaluation exercise to be very fruitful and I also share my feelings with my girlfriend each day. If you have a partner that you can share this exercise with, then you will find even more benefit.
Photo courtesy of Mc Knoell (cc @ flickr.com)