Emotion and Belief

In my last post, I set the stage for this series on self-awareness and how this internally directed mindfulness really is the embodiment of “Be the change.”

I left you with the notion that every single horrible event in the world is presenting us as individuals with the opportunity to make a choice about how we will react.  Will we react out of love? Or will we react out of fear or some other emotion that is a variant of it?

When the majority of people on planet earth are reacting with fear or one of its most detrimental counterparts, hate and anger, we are projecting that energy out into the world on a massive scale. It perpetuates a self-imposed cycle.

Someone does something we perceive as “wrong” and then we get pissed off about it and react with a fear-based response, which pushes more fear energy out into the world and causes the original offender to become angry as well, and then the argument which started between two people snowballs into a full-on group brawl, and so the cycle continues, on and on and on.

So long as the opportunity presents itself and the majority of people choose fear over love… the cycle will continue, because it’s self-perpetuated. And those whose spiritual contracts are to participate in these events and be the instigators will continue doing their duty of giving us the choice, waiting for us to choose love.

The Chicken and the Egg: Which came first? The belief or the emotion?

Emotions and beliefs are closely tied together.  Emotions reinforce beliefs which create automatic emotional responses and every subsequent experience reinforces that emotional response until it solidifies itself as a morally-based opinion. People often have a hard time separating the three.

How can you tell the difference between an emotion, a belief and an opinion?

Emotions are what they are. You feel them. They can be complex and hard to interpret because sometimes we feel SO many emotions at once that may be conflicting and it becomes difficult to sort through them, but they are essentially energy and they are your body’s biological response to the environment around you. They give you feedback about your experiences.

It is your beliefs about emotions that can be distorted, based (once again) on your beliefs. An example might be, “I feel this way, and I know it’s wrong, why can’t I stop feeling this way?” The belief that an emotion is right or wrong is a distortion. Emotions aren’t right or wrong, they just are. So what is the belief that you hold which tells you that it’s wrong to feel that way?

Beliefs can also CAUSE emotional reactions. You have a strong emotional reaction because of a belief that you hold about something–usually yourself– is being challenged.

For example, some people get really worked up about cursing. They are having an emotional reaction because they hold an opinion that cursing is somehow wrong based on a belief that it is inappropriate and it makes them feel uncomfortable. If they didn’t hold that belief, it wouldn’t bother them at all.

So in that case, you have to look at why that makes them uncomfortable and where that belief came from. They formed that belief around that experience because of that uncomfortableness, so what are they associating the act of cursing with that’s making them uncomfortable?

It’s not really the cursing, it’s whatever that they are associating it with that’s the real cause. The cursing is a diversion from the real problem.

The whole thing is like a domino effect of cause, react, cause, react, cause, react. Imagine that each reaction either creates a new belief or reinforces an old one–those are the scaffolding of the belief structure.

It’s only when you start tearing that structure down and sifting through those causes and reactions that you are able to dismantle the belief structure and get to the root cause, which is almost always a (false) belief about the self. The original “distortion.”

In the example of cursing, maybe that person had an abusive parental figure who cursed at them a lot and also told them that they were a horrible person, unworthy, etc. Deep down, they associate the cursing with feelings of unworthiness, perhaps they secretly hold that belief about themselves, that the person who told them that was right. But that is a distortion.

Your REAL self, the person that you are born as, is perfect. All it knows is pure, unconditional love, because that’s where it came from.

That’s your soul. And when a person carries healthy beliefs about themselves, more of that light shines through and little things, like cursing, aren’t a big deal at all.

In my next (and last) post in this series, Be the Change: Practicing Self-Awareness, we’ll talk about how to ask yourself if your feelings are misplaced because of a (perhaps faulty) belief about the event/person/action that triggered them.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3



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