Emotions as Thought
Emotions are often vilified in our logic based society. During most of my youth I came from the perspective that the “correct” way of interfacing with emotions is to insure that they have as minimal influence on behavior as possible. As I’ve moved forward in my path, that view has substantially shifted in favor of honoring emotion and has changed my life.
One of the primary reasons that emotions are vilified is the association of emotion as an animal characteristic and thus lower instead of logical thought which people consider a more advanced and thus more valuable way to process reality. This is used to separate humans from other animals because they can’t execute algebra or dissect an argument for fallacious logic. The fact that more archaic brain types use emotion is a sign that it’s a strong foundation for driving behavior.
Emotion is a form of thinking that doesn’t use words and drives the majority of human action consciously or unconsciously. Learning to think in emotions is an excellent way to bring this decision making to a conscious level instead of being driven by unseen forces. With this goal in mind it’s possible to see that emotions aren’t the enemy, they can in fact be an ally in growth and creation.
Ignoring emotions is to remain ignorant to the fact that there are systems and networks which influence how we experience. We aren’t happy or sad for no reason. We feel how we feel because the emotional system for driving behavior is trying to interface with some pattern.
The first step in being able to think in emotions is to feel them. This may sound like the easiest task since most people are trying to escape feeling the emotions in the first place! That’s not quite accurate though. It’s very easy to feel an emotion momentarily, but then have judgements about that experience skew the experience, disconnecting it from what you’re trying to get in touch with. The languages that emotion uses to communicate often include imagery/symbols and sensations in the body.
Our emotions often come from associations of meaning of different factors as opposed to the factor itself being a direct stimulus to emotion. The imagery and feelings are communicating what these associations are. Many of these originate from previous strong experiences with parallel experience and habitual experiences which have shaped neural pathways. A challenge is to connect with these without judgement, as it’s easy for preconceived notions about what something means to shape how it’s interpreted.
Building a strong foundation of emotions allows you to interface with your language and logic from a more aware perspective. Understanding this driving and what it wants you to do is important. It helps you be able to make decisions with all of yourself, often the intuitive connection of emotions once you’ve cleaned associations is consciousness’ way of compiling more information than your language processing can handle. This is why many books on leadership, creating new products, etc talk about collecting information but then trusting your gut. The processing happens at a subconscious level which enables it to process far more than the limited slice of capability that conscious brain has access to.