A Feeling or a Thought -- Which?

The month of February resides in the midst of the year's coldest, most cheerless season. Yet in the center of this lunar period is a most phenomenal day of warmth, affection, and love. You guessed it!  It's the day of the heart: Valentine Day!

We send cards to our beloved friends as a touch of affection during an otherwise gloomy, over-cast sky. Are we truly successful, however, at shifting from our mind to our heart? For instance, is a Hallmark card sent by mail necessarily an expression of the heart? Maybe -- but maybe not! It may in fact be a way of avoiding an intimate contact with our deepest feelings.

Gary Zukav writes in Seat of the Soul:

  "It is not easy to express what is inside you, especially that which
   makes you feel vulnerable or painful or angry or upset. (Also)
   without an awareness of our feelings we cannot experience
   compassion (nor) reverence. (Moreover,) if we are not intimate
   with our emotions, we cannot perceive the dynamics that lie
   behind emotions,  the way that these dynamics work,  and the 
   ends that they serve."

Often, what is considered to be a feeling is actually a thought. Even if emotionally charged and dramatically presented, is it from the heart or about the heart?

While counseling a person in a crisis, I might ask, "How do you feel about this?" The response is often a conditioned reaction from the head. It is a rationalization of the mind -- not an expression of the heart. A feeling requires no defense or proof. It's energy flows through your body, not your head. It's a happening -- not its explanation.

When a repressed emotion explodes through the cracks and crannies, what does it tell us? That a fearful and controlling mind has tried to protect the heart by preventing its release.

How 'bout you? Do you understand this most subtle, yet significant difference between thoughts and feelings? Are you in touch with your feelings? Consider these five pairs of comments. One of the two is most likely from the heart and the other from the intellect. Can you recognize which is which?

  1.   You know I care so very, very much about you.
  I care about you.

  2.   I want to thank you for helping.
Thanks for helping.

  3.   You hurt me and mad me angry!
  I feel angry and hurt!

  4.   You make me feel so happy.
  I am happy being with you.

  5.   I think I love you.
  I love you.

From my heart to your heart, Happy Valentine Day!

Authored by Reverend Virgil Brewer at Unity Chapel
January 1, 2008

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