Thoughts and Emotions

“I think, therefore I am” should be replaced with “I am, even though I think too much”.

Thoughts and emotions are inexorably intertwined. We can create an emotional response with our thoughts, and when we experience an emotion, we find thoughts to justify it. The thing you can do to get back in the driver’s seat is to be aware of your thoughts, change them when you need to, and be picky about what you feed your brain. These steps will ease the emotions as well, and allow you to be more receptive to your intuition. If you throw a rock into a turbulent river there’s hardly a discernible effect, but throw a pebble into a still pond and you can’t miss it.

Awareness is always the first, and most important, step. Know thyself. If you spend your day reacting to your environment (people, information), then you are operating on auto-pilot, you aren’t really present. I’m not saying that being present and aware will negate all reactiveness, simply that the space between experiencing a reaction and acting on it is a choice point. There are lots of things in the world that make me feel angry or scared, but I get to choose how to respond, I have a still point after the feeling.

People tend to consider their thoughts to be somehow independent of them, and also more powerful. You are not a slave to your thoughts. The mind is a fabulous tool, but it works for you, not the other way around. You can interrupt a thought stream at any point, and redirect it to a calmer place. For example, when I was negotiating our union contract it was a contentious situation. Even on my peaceful drive home and on days off I would mentally argue my points. It got ridiculous. I decided that every time I found myself having this mental conflict, I would change the channel to peace signs and butterflies. I did this many times each day, and eventually my default thoughts were peaceful. Not always easy, but it can be done.

You are what you eat, even mentally. What you watch on television, the music you listen to, the books and articles you read all make a huge difference to the quality of your thoughts. There is no wrong or right here, just be aware that different input changes your thought process and emotional state. Watching the news in video form, with the voice inflections, body language, facial expressions, and dramatic music is a very different experience than reading the news in print. Try switching to the other form for a week, and see if you notice a difference. What entertainment do you seek? Do you love watching dramas, but then complain your life is too dramatic? Hmm. Watch what you feed your mind.

When you are aware of your own thoughts and emotions, you become aware of other input entering your field, your intuition. The “still, small voice” is easily drowned out in the chaos of our thoughts and emotions. Seek to become the observer, to rise above the din. Still think, still feel, but find the still point between feeling and reaction. In this stillness lies the key.

3 Responses to Thoughts and Emotions

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