When It Feels Like the Rug is Being Pulled From Under Your Feet
How do our thoughts affect our emotions? Or, do our emotions affect our thoughts? What comes first, the thought or the emotion? Understanding the answer to these questions can help us feel better and think more positively. This can also help us heal from the grief of losing a loved one. (more on this in my YouTube video). So, let’s take a look at our mind.
There are automatic, habitual responses that we have been conditioned to have. If a child sees a parent freak out about a bug crawling across the floor, the child may mirror that behavior. When the child grows up, they may see a bug and before a thought crosses their mind, they scream in horror. In this case, a fear of bugs has not been dealt with. A new, conscious response has not been created and so we fall back into our conditioning. This is why we can feel fear before a mental story has time to play out.
Other times, a mental narrative can drive our emotions and make us feel overwhelmed with our lives (hear how to overcome whatever challenges life throws at us, reenergize, and recenter ourselves in my podcast). As we think about a story that has happened to us or may happen to us, like wondering if we will get a promotion, our emotions can go up or down depending on what is happening within the mental story in each moment. In this case, our thoughts drive our emotions. But, even those thoughts are conditioned by our past.
The difference between these two scenarios is that one is caused by external circumstances and one is caused by internal circumstances. Our mental conditioning drives us in the first scenario because we are in a hypervigilant state where we react without thinking. In the second scenario, unconscious thinking drives our emotions.
In both cases, unconscious stories are driving our behaviors, thoughts and emotions. Whether we are modeling a parent’s behavior or we are imagining some nightmare scenario, both stem from unintentional, unmindful, unexamined conditioning. As soon as we start to look inward, we see the cause behind the effect. Once we see the cause, we gain the freedom to unlearn and relearn. Once we unlearn and relearn, we can begin to live a life of conscious choice rather than unconscious reaction.
Remember these words whenever life feels hard:
When we’re going through a difficult time, it becomes extremely hard to see any good that can come from our suffering. But, the nature of reality is that struggles help us reach our true potential. When we are lost in negative thinking, we disconnect from the bliss of existence and we get caught up in the conceptualization of existence. But we can experience the deep peace of no-thought so that we can find true and permanent happiness. Watch this video to learn more.
There can be no success without failure and there can be no achievement without defeat. These are the stepping stones and stumbling blocks on our path to greatness, love, peace and joy. Sometimes our greatest difficulty becomes our greatest gift.
In case you are going through grief, I have shared some insights into the nature of grief, why we feel it, what it is, what it does, and how a daily meditation practice can help us more quickly see the light at the end of the tunnel in my article, How to Cope with Grief and Loss Through Meditation.
PS: Should we force ourselves to meditate no matter what, or should we only do it when it feels natural? Is creating consistency at all cost the most important thing? Or do certain conditions need to be met in order to meditate effectively? More in this podcast.
How to Deal With the Ups and Downs of Life
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