8. A Taxonomy of Feelings

This is the eighth of nine articles that lay out guiding, foundational principles for this project:

In order to transition from discussing layers of identity to discussing Love, we will hereby briefly consider ways to discern the personal feelings of the individual.

Within a human being, the intellect, what we call the head, negotiates the measurements, quantities, tactics to survive and thrive.

We find varying types and applications of intelligence.

Strictly linear thought chains together causes and effects, even if the starting premise is faulty. Thus, unchecked linear thought can be used to justify anything. See: much of the suffering people inflict on themselves and each other. This is why an alignment with reason and first causes is crucial.

In the zones between the head and the heart we find a gradient, a soft overlap of the two, as opposed to rigid boundaries. Therefore, certain types of analytical thinking cross over into the intuitive.

Sometimes what we may call intuition is really just a logical deduction processed so quickly that we do not categorize it as “rational” in the normal way we understand that term.

And indeed, some things we experience as humans are more purely just feelings.

It will be helpful to quickly delineate among different experiences that are often lumped together under the general heading of “feelings.”

This is especially noteworthy since many people justify or dismiss things simply because they do not “feel” right. We live in a time when hurting people’s “feelings” has gained traction as grounds for political action.

Where do we draw the line between true intuition versus a biased feeling that may well just be a pre-determined prejudice, an outgrowth of past conditioning?

Not all non-physical and non-intellectual experiences/senses are the same.

No distinct and commonly agreed upon terms exist to clear up the confusion. For the sake of ease, I’ll define “emotions” here as the most personal and most biased.

Emotions function as messages, seismic readings that register in and through our bodies.

After the immediate throes of an emotion have calmed, we can discern the lessons of the message, either alone or with the assistance of wise counsel from others.

It is not really accurate to say that emotions lie; rather, we can say that they reveal ourselves to ourselves.

Sometimes, aspects of our nature have been corrupted or perverted; hence, emotions can reveal our lies, the lies that have been put in us, the lies we have agreed to.

We’ve all heard of or known an individual who keeps getting romantically excited about the same type of partner. A pattern emerges where these partners are routinely abusive.

In such a case, the emotions that attract an individual to the abusive partner–no matter how exciting, profound, and viscerally real–clearly do not serve individual’s best interest. Even so, the emotions are, in one sense, neutral.

The emotions spring up from an error, a pattern of conditioning, an unfortunate association or experience, perhaps even a psychic Achilles’ heel common to the individual’s personality type.

Though strong and seductive, the emotions are not the final word. Again, the emotions serve as messengers–either:

keep doing the same thing and continue to receive abuse

or

look at the root causes and make fundamental changes so that your drives begin to express in healthier ways.

Intuition–though often lumped together with emotions under the heading of “feelings”–is different.

Intuition feels rooted. Intuition is calmer than emotions. While both wild throes of emotion and the experience of intuition have physical components, wild emotion takes hold of you. You get pulled into a state, that state temporarily consumes you, and later on, you may have regrets.

Intuition, on the other hand, ultimately makes you feel more in control. More present. Yes, intuition can seem mysterious. Yes, your analytical side can kick in and introduce second thoughts, especially when you’re not used to using intuition (like a muscle, it must be developed).

Passing thoughts you may be considering, or passing emotions that may be gripping you, can feel like a balloon let loose in the wind, pushed and pulled this way and that.

Intuition, however, gives the sense that you are being guided–like a hot air balloon with someone in the basket, directing and steering the balloon. Perhaps this pilot of the hot air balloon can be thought of as your higher self.

And–going back to the earlier foundational article about layers of consciousness–your “higher self” can be thought of as that part of you that can interface directly with the Transcendent/Source/God level. The part of you undisturbed by various, fleeting thoughts and emotions.

Another image: you can always catch yourself, calm yourself, breathe, take whatever thought you are thinking or emotion you are feeling right now, and “take the elevator down” into your heart and body.

The thought or emotion you were just experiencing, no matter how mundane or how strange, will either melt away to reveal something else more essential to you, or blossom more fully if it indeed was hinting at something true and necessary for you to understand.

Thus, the experience of intuition is holistic. It is thinking with your body, and feeling with your brain, at the same time.

The Vagus nerve, which links the parasympathetic and sympatheic nervous systems (conscious and subconscious?) is the physical manifestation of this. (1, 2)

Considering the above provides the impetus to practice meditation and physical fitness.

Incorporating these practices into your life makes you strong and yet relaxed, open, and limber to support blood flow and proper nerve firings. You arrive at that crucial state of equilibrium that we often call health, but also goes beyond the word “health” and into that fuller state encompassed in the term well-being.

Tuning into intuition creates a sense of rightness with things. Intuition allows you to access more of your whole self, as human beings are more than a package of nerves responding to stimuli. Intuition produces a harmonizing effect, while fits of emotion often produce in you a scattering effect.

That’s not to say that positive ecstatic experiences and burst of joyous emotion do not have their place. We can understand these as the more excitable expressions of the truth we glean from our intuition–more visceral and immediate moments of the “yes” to life.

Positive emotions and enjoyment can indeed serve as transportive gateways hinting at the greater, unifying ecstasy of transcendence. The joy of children shows us what a purer link to the ultimate source of life can produce.

Likewise, the scattering, destructive episodes that are born from, or crystallized in, so-called “negative” emotions may serve as necessary breaking points– catalysts that propel someone to start listening to the deeper, real truths.

Life always whispers, asking you to join in affirming the holy “yes.”

Sometimes you have to be taken to the truth kicking and screaming. Your level of awareness determines how much kicking and screaming is necessary.

Love in its fullest sense is largely experienced through feelings, and yet is beyond them.

Which leads to the next and final article…

This concludes the eighth of nine foundational articles for this project. The next and final article in this series is Love.


Sources:

(1) The Vagus Nerve

(2) Nine Nervy Facts About the Vagus Nerve

Archived web pages are linked to as sources when available. These provide a permanent record of articles that have appeared on the Internet.