Feelings, nothing more than feelings – this opening lyric of the song Feelings, sang in the 70’s by Albert Morris seems to have its wisdom after all, at least in the mundane sense. Consider the move to see a movie – what is it for? It is about getting excited what we wish to experience – isn’t that feeling? And what happens if by chance you have a friend telling you that the movie you intend to watch sucks – to mean it doesn’t stirs up good feelings in him – would you consider twice to view it? Again, imagine what is it like if a movie is, exactly what reality is – no background sound or music to enhance or to exaggerate a scene or a situation? Sound effects, as we all know, brings up the adrenalin in our experience. I remembered watching a Hong Kong movie months ago about a story of a maid who works for a family that spans three generations and how she finally pass-on in an old folks home – the entire plot of the movie is rather straight forward with no frills or excitement, yet it is pretty profound as it showed the stark reality of a simple life of a maid, or for that matter, all of us. Somehow, upon being convinced how well-scripted the show is, at least for me, my friends went to experience it – and the feedback that came back was “what is so exciting about the movie?” :).
“There is no greater than love, without an object.
For then, you yourself, have become love, itself.”
To be accurate, all the myriads of feelings we experience in life are not really feelings per se but rather emotions. Feelings are merely three – pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. When we talk of emotions we are referring to thought+feeling. Thus, when I feel angry, I am to mean there is an idea where my anger is targeting and with it is the feeling of unpleasant. Similarly when I feel loved, I am to mean there is an idea whom I am loving, which may include myself, and the good feeling of pleasantness that comes together with it. There is no one occasion where our feelings arise without any idea, as “feeling” is actually a result arising from a contact of an idea. In other words, feeling is an effect – it is an effect of what is in our head, so to speak, that makes us feel. Consider this scene: I have to pay my electric bills again – is a kind of thought that has an idea of “I have to” – what would the emotion be like when you have the meaning that you are being seemingly “forced” to do it? Compare the change of vocabulary of the same scene where you felt appreciative for the ease of using the electricity effortless with just one push of a button without you needing to hunt or to create it through the tedious process? Just by switching on, you are able to charge your phone, heat up the food, turn on the lights, switching on the tv, and many more amazing experiences that probably you may have taken for granted until an inconvenience like a power failure strikes. Do you notice that your feeling “good” is simply about the idea that you have? Similarly, your feeling “bad” is also an idea that you are having? What say you if the truth is that all your feelings have nothing to do with what is outside you except your own mind? Any meaning that you give to a situation or an event is what you have to experience – that is where your feeling is. Each meaning has a specific multiple of ideas within it and whatever it is, the feeling deriving from it is the result of all those.
Thus, if you have mix feelings, you can be sure there are conflicting ideas arising from a situation. We can’t create feelings as they are effects of ideas. In other words, when we are not aware of what ideas that are churning out our feelings, we will ignorantly chase after pleasant feelings by trying to create it and resisting unpleasant feelings by moving away from it. Either of those actions will not bring us the result that we need as we missed the whole entire dynamics of how feelings arise. Thus, haven’t we got it all wrong when we chase after feelings? We have the idea that having more money is happiness. Having a perfect relationship is happiness. Having a good career is happiness. But is there such a thing as perfect or a good, all the time? Impossible, for everything changes, all the time, including our ideas – hence how can it be possible we can expect a perfect experience “happily ever after” as many fairy tales have shown to us? The idea of having more is defective as it doesn’t allow us to see what is true in the here and now.
What if there is no such a thing as forever happiness, or even forever unhappiness, except, of ideas that is churning out experiences of pleasant, unpleasant or neutral, within your mind at each moment? That will definitely shift the way you live your life as there is no longer needing to seek for feelings except the comfort of the Now where you are just required to realize what kind of ideas churning your happiness, and what kind of ideas leaving you unhappy. By then, your true happiness is no longer dependent on the outside; neither it is about being happy nor unhappy. Rather, the ability to acknowledge each and every idea and its effect of feeling as merely nature unfolding within the mind, without resistance or holding on, is the hallmark of Bliss – simply awakened to what is! And more than that, your awakening to the mind naturally brings about more right views and ideas and thus your perception of life shifts from fear-based to love – Love itself.