This is part of the Freedomist self-improvement effort to support the radical empowerment of our readers in actualizing their own individual spiritual sovereignty. I am not a doctor or mental health professional, I am not diagnosing or treating any ailment. What I am doing is sharing from the inner abundance of my spirit man, from my heart, guided by my mind, from my own experiences and because sharing this has helped others, I am sharing with you.
Feelings are often either followed into our own ruin or feared and discarded as if they are always sus and should never be heeded. Although much of the conversation surrounding them is focused on the bad feelings that give us pain, even the good feelings can and should be suspected, as some believe, and never trusted.
So we have an entire society either wholly driven by emotions with nary a suspicion they might be misleading us in our constant struggle to avoid pain and seek pleasure OR people who absolutely do not trust any emotion and who think they are able to transcend emotions altogether and almost be robotic, logical thinkers. Neither approach is useful.
People who follow their emotions can be easily led down whatever track you send them on, as long as pain follows behind and pleasure is offered at the end of the line, even if it’s a lie, and it usually is. But people who ignore their emotions will lose opportunities or ignore dangers sensed by their subconscious but not yet verbalized in their consciousness.
The thing about emotions is they are neither our bosom pal who’s always right nor our devilish foe always trying to trip us up. They reflect many things, but when they reflect something our subconscious sees but our consciousness doesn’t, they can in fact be like a radar, alerting us before things become an unwelcome surprise or alerting us to an open door we didn’t see.
Developing the habit of interrogating your feelings is part art and part science. I can verbalize some of this, but is is sometimes difficult to use mere words to convey meaning to something that is more transcendent and, dare I say, is almost a sense and a feeling, but one you cultivate and trust. There is a feeling that I can describe as an eye-opening sensation, like a “wow,” silently screamed into the subconscious, something that has anchors lain deep into the sea of the mind.
While often when I share how to interrogate feelings, people focus on their painful emotions, the truth is that feelings of deep pain and utter euphoria are both either deceptive or massive clues from our subconscious. Now, some argue for a stasis of emotion, to avoid highs and lows, and in interrogating my own feelings over time my own emotional states are more stable, but I still have deep lows and dizzying highs, most of which I allow to pass through me and over me until they are gone and only my inner sanctum of consciousness remains, unperturbed.
The first thing you must understand is that feelings are not to be ignored or followed without question. The stronger the emotion, the more urgent the need to interrogate it. But to interrogate the feeling, you must sit in it for a spell, step away from all things for a time, take a break, and get into quiet, but mostly LET YOURSELF FEEL THE EMOTION. This is difficult for painful feelings, and if you feel rage or sadness, you need to stop immediately trying to suppress it and let yourself feel it.
All emotions pass. Keep that in your mind. Your mind is the master of your emotions, and if it isn’t now, this will help to make it so. The blissful, sensual, pleasurable feelings will pass just as surely as the most painful feelings will. Everything in this life is temporary. That’s another article, this sense of permanence that is actually never permanent but feels that way for a time. But your feelings will pass because they always have.
I use the term “interrogate your feelings” because it is initially almost a hostile interrogation. You want to know who sent them. You want to identify their source because often, the actual source isn’t the obvious thing you think it is.
When I have a strong feeling, especially when it is a distraction, I work out the source first. This is the part that’s hard to put into words, but the best I can say here is that I begin to guess different things through my imagination and I pay close attention to whether one of those things triggers or subdues the feeling.
Through this method, I have realized a looming deadline I forgot, but my subconscious had anxiety or excitement about it. I have discerned that someone might be lying to me because my subconscious saw a pattern of behavior that gave it anxiety, or I have discerned that someone I didn’t think was one my side was making me feel inexplicably content and I realized it was because they had demonstrated by their deeds that they were for me and I needed to show them appreciation. Shout out to friends like Joe and Tim, my twin brother Paul, my parents, my siblings (blood and adoptive!), Scott, Steve, Phil, and many more who have shown they are for me, and I am for them.
Once I sense the source, and it is a sense that cannot be rationalized, I begin to dig into why that source is activating this feeling. Again, I let myself keep feeling it, in fact I need to keep feeling it or I can’t move to the next step.
Now I imagine scenarios, things that happened or might happen, and as I do, again, the feeling will get stronger or weaker. The stronger it gets, the better, although in the case of painful feelings, if I imagine scenarios where someone or something is gone from the picture, or added thereto, I know I have begun to decipher not only a hidden message but possibly a secret solution.
We aren’t there, we are trying to identify the source and what about the source that is causing this.
It is super important here to say that many feelings will not sort themselves out. They do not have a subconscious genesis but come from other sources, sometimes just chemical reactions or health issues. Assuming you get to a place where nothing you imagine triggers the feeling more, you can basically treat the bad feeling as a headache or body pain; I often say of such things “it’s only pain, it will pass.” We will dig into how to “dismiss” these feelings when necessary, after we have allowed ourselves to feel them and after our interrogation yielded no concrete results.
Recently, I started a medication regiment for pain and began to have really dark thoughts, inwardly just wanting to disappear or something. These weren’t suicidal thoughts. They felt more like I had died and was just a living carcass, that I wouldn’t get up in the morning, and that would be fine because life was just pain. Now, I am a man of deep faith in Jesus Christ, and I do not embrace or endorse suicide and, this is just me and isn’t meant as a judgment of others, I believe if I ended myself its a ticket sraight to hell, which I’m not keen on going to.
So I researched and, sure enough, that was a side effect. I still interrogated the feeling and could find no cause. Despite some hard things in my life, there is nothing that is making me feel that way other than a drug.
So I told my doctor, and she gave me another med that is both good for the pain and that counteracts this side effect. I used it, and it worked, but as a long-term thing, its potential to wreak havoc on my liver wasn’t worth it. I knew the source now of these dark feelings, and I know how to dismiss feelings when I am done with them and have allowed them to run their course, which you must do.
Here is a word of caution: you can dismiss most all emotions, but if you haven’t let them run their course and sat in them, and then interrogating them they will keep returning and gain strength until they become debilitating.
Back to my dramatic example, these dark feelings. I weaned myself from the second medication, but still have it on hand if I need another course some time, and am even working to reduce the first, because I know what the source of the pain is and I have learned to live with pain, which is another subject altogether. More on how to dismiss the feeling will follow.
The deepest interrogation is meant to ensure you understand the source, why the source is causing you that feeling, and what you should do about it. If it is a happy feeling, and you know the source is, say, someone you fancy who may fancy you in return, and the cause is you want to pursue more, but when you imagine telling them you have anxiety, it is often a sign you need to do just that, knock on the door, and accept the happiness or rejection that will follow as the universe’s way of guiding your relationships.
In other cases, however, you may imagine reactions to your knowledge, i.e. the source of the feeling and the reason why, but if all your scenarios give you angst, you fall back on wisdom and logic and the idea your actions will either give you happiness or not but that imagining doing them produces an inner peace that shows you this must be your path. Alternatively, you may imagine responses and actions to this knowledge that actually give you “good vibes”, and then it become obvious this is what your heart is telling you.
Now, to be clear, your subconscious, your heart and soul, are not always right. Even if you find a solution that makes you happy when you imagine it, you must plumb line it according to your own values and beliefs and according to things like logic, reason, experience, and science. As you do this, often going through various scenarios in your mind, you may dismiss something that feels good but that you know is immoral.
Do not distrust yourself, but do not trust yourself. Many times, your heart and subconscious are right. Sometimes, they are wrong. Thus, if the actions/solutions you discern as bringing happiness and/or peace pass all your plumb line tests, you now have new wisdom and if you are careful to note patterns, use a journal, you begin to develop a personal and useful philosophy of life. If the solutions seem to bring bliss, but don’t make it past your plumb line, then keep at until peace and bliss match your plumb line.
This is a disciplined approach, and it can be rigorous. Even I am still learning and becoming more skilled at not only doing this well but also getting closer to the point where every distracting emotion and some that aren’t are nearly always interrogated or dismissed.
The key is to get to a quiet place as soon as you are able. Creating a quiet place in the midst of chaos is also a difficult and deep subject not covered here. Being a Freedomist subscriber will continue to give you access to this content when we move on to those discussions.
For now, we have explored the interrogation process. Get to a quiet place, let yourself feel the emotion, find the source by imagining different sources, find why this source is doing this, determine what your heart wants you to do, plumb line this, and, if necessary keep at it until your heart and your plumb line of truth align as one. Now you have obtained the thing that feeling was meant to communicate.
This won’t end the emotion now or in the future, most likely until you have followed through with the plumb lined things your heart wants you to do. But sometimes it’s not something you CAN do, and this emotion isn’t helping you any more. If it is bliss and euphoria, it can be just as distracting as a feeling that isn’t pleasant and even painful feelings.
So, now you’ve either wrenched the truth out of that feeling or determined it has no cause or solution you can find (this can change at later times because some things are very deep) and you are essentially done with it. You want to dismiss it.
Understand, as frustrating as it may be, that your ability to dismiss a feeling will take time to develop, like a muscle, but it is never perfectly and entirely possible to eliminate all feelings, especially negative ones. Sometimes, you accept that this is “just pain” and keep practicing your dismissal until it passes, and it will, even if it takes days or weeks. But if you do all this and it’s not helping, you may need medical intervention, and you should consult your favorite medical provider.
Let’s get into dismissal.
To dismiss a feeling, some people argue with it. Sure, speaking truth to a lie that is hurting you is not a bad idea, but it often doesn’t work on its own. When I feel so and so about myself and know God’s says different things, I speak what I know God says about me or that situation. I do this in faith, I do this to align my spirit and my heart and also my mind. But the feeling doesn’t necessarily go away.
Dismissal of feelings, especially ones you don’t want, isn’t all in your head. Usually, the only way to dismiss a feeling it to replace it. But this isn’t imagining a new subject and talking yourself into focusing on it. What you have to do is somehow move yourself.
I have a few tricks:
- Listen to music- make a happy music list and just hear the words, try to create word images in your mind and eventually your focus moves to this
- Imagine something happy and enact it in your imagination, relive something from the past or inagine something from the future until your focus shifts
- Create dialogs and conversations about random things if need be, imagine talking to someone about something you are good at and showing them how to do it
- Pet your dog or cat and play fetch or something, just keep at it until your focus shifts
- Go do something different, sometimes I get in the car and drive to somewhere new or go eat somewhere new, anything to engage my brain and senses
- If the thoughts keep coming back, just keep doing the dismissal. It will get better and become easier, and if you persist, that feeling cannot survive
Your feelings are not to be feared, sometimes they can be huge help, but following them without engaging them with logic and reason, morals and values, is a good way become the victim of a pied piper. Nonetheless, while perfect and total control can never be achieved by mere mortals, a high degree of control IS POSSIBLE.