I’m on record as saying that thinking causes emotional suffering. Emotional responses are a natural part of this reality.
Most people believe emotions are an indication of how one “feels”. For instance, if a person has experienced a loss then sadness is the natural response.
This is inaccurate.
In fact external events do not — ever — cause emotional responses. The internal process of thinking is what causes emotions.
Emotions are the result of thoughts telling us that a situation is good, bad, sad, perfect, unbearable, etc. Before an emotion occurs the voice of thinking first issues a proclamation.
This is awful! This is unfair! This is so sad! This shouldn’t be happening!
And so on.
People who are absolutely identified with their thinking are very susceptible to emotional responses. People who have a separation from their thinking are much less susceptible to emotional responses.
To be absolutely identified with one’s thinking is to perceive thought as indistinguishable from self. In other words any thought that comes up is perceived as “me”, and the thought’s validity — the truth of it — is not questioned.
To have a separation from one’s thinking is to perceive thoughts as forms that come and go on their own, to observe thought in a detached way, and to not inherently ascribe authority or truth to one’s thinking.
To provide a possible visual analogy for this imagine that you are in an aquarium, watching a group of sea life moving about in a tank. The sea life are content and you have no concern for them, or attachments to them — you’re simply watching them. This is the approach one who has a separation from their thinking takes.
They observe their thinking — they let it be there, let it do and say what it will do and say, but do not attach themselves to it. There is a distance between them and their thoughts.
So when a thought comes up claiming that an external event is sad, or unfair, or frightening, or whatever the case might be, the person separate from their thinking isn’t especially likely to have an emotional response.
The person who identifies with their thinking absolutely, on the other hand, will have an almost immediate emotional response. For many of these people it is natural to emotionally respond to external events, and for them thinking plays little to no role in it.
The event is what caused the emotion.
Be subject to emotional responses if you choose, but don’t fool yourself about what causes the emotion — in every case.
It is thinking…