One might ask, Are not all emotions heart felt? Maybe? But I have a specific reason to be tapping the emotions in relation to the heart. We hardly stop to think of emotions and heart as being an integrated aspect of nature. Our spontaneous capacity for joy or sorrow, laughter or tears; or our wonder at the beauty or the horrors of life — these are the stuff that elevate our consciousness or dismantle our well-being. I am inclined to believe that the information supplied by the heart and the body is significantly different from the information supplied by the mind and the brain.
Emotions have a great deal in common with feelings. They both erupt from the body rather than erupt from the mind, and as such they are quicker on the draw. They avalanche us, they seemingly attack us from the outside. We hardly know from where they come and there is no organ in the body that operates like the brain does, so we are left with the notion of feeling and emotion happen to us.
We are, as a science, certain that emotions inform us, but unlike our thoughts, our feelings and emotions register as subjective experience rather than as objective data. If I were to hold up a picture of a table you would not have an passioned response. But let’s say that I were to hold up a picture of a forest on fire with several children seemingly trapped, you might have a visceral response. One is a simple objective fact the other is charged with emotion.
We intuitively know the distinction between an objective thought and an impassioned emotion. The most important function of a feeling is to inform the body of a condition that needs to be paid attention to…hunger, exhaustion, pain, these we recognize as sensations that encourage us to think about and to act in accordance with both the informed feeling and subsequently the informed thought.
Another major difference between a thought and a feeling is that the feeling rises to consciousness with no help from our mind. Emotions tend to be independent and they rise out of experience as a sensation. They are not formulated in language. They exist as a system of the body that is void of language oriented thoughts.
In Western tradition, the heart felt instincts from which emotions and feelings arise are not cultivated as a product of much value. We are trained to be rational. We have even excluded the study of the subjective from scientific evaluation. It is relegated to fringe disciplines most associated with self-help and new-age phenomena. This is changing as the neuro sciences are breaking new sound barriers in the mind/body matrix.
It makes more sense now than ever to be re-awakening the foundational knowledge that Freud brought to the western hemisphere of civilization. The neurology of his time over one hundred years ago reads like hieroglyphics. But Freud’s metaphors of neurology are today’s cutting edge science.
The heart of the matter has never been more important than it is right now. Not only is our entire neural history carried in our hearts and minds, but our ancestral knowledge garnered from our parentage and eons back from that is also carried in our hearts and minds.
The heart of the matter, as I see it, resides in the knowledge that as an organism we possess a divided mind. It is made up of instinct and ego, conscious and unconscious as well as thoughts and feelings, hormones and dendrites, mucus and sinew, with neuro-circutry connected in such a way that it operates more organically like a jungle than it does like a computer.
If the metaphor carries through, the rational thought runs like a computer, because it is what developed the computer. The heart of the matter runs more like a jungle where instinct acts to help us survive and grow at the microcosm and the macrocosm of it; but it does not use language to convey its information to us. It uses subjective sensation as the unit of communication. A bird call, if you will. Like in the jungle the bird call can be heard by all species, the proximity of the tiger is alerted by a bird call.
We need to locate within us the capacity to hear the bird call and to interpret it for its intended meaning. We have no intention of throwing away the lap-top, but if I am walking through a jungle, I would like to think that the call of the wild is as easily readable as the english characters in this computer screen.
The heart of the matter has information as crucial to our survival as is the stuff of the manifested mind….