Failing to regulate our emotions and feelings cause us suffering. Trying to control them is a form of misregulation too.
Most people mix-up emotions and feelings. They are two distinctive words representing different things.
According to the book “Open Awareness Open Mind”, Karma Yeshe Rabgye mentions —
“Emotions are mental states whereas feelings arise when our senses come into contact with something.”
According to him, there are three types of feelings — pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral. One of these is present during every moment of our experience.
They may be strong or weak, but they are always present.
Three Kinds of Feelings
Consider that you went out for a walk, and you saw a young girl playing and smiling beautifully. You will feel pleasant.
You continued walking, and you saw a person shouting at his wife and the wife seemed to be crying. You will feel unpleasant.
You move on and keep on walking. A group of people passed by you. You don’t know them, they don’t know you. There’s no kind of energy exchanged, and so you will have neutral feelings.
What Happens When You Are Not Mindful of Your Feelings?
Not keeping a check on your pleasant feelings leads you to have clinging desires.
If a girl made you feel pleasant when you spent some time with her, doesn’t mean you should desire that girl to be your wife.
Well, you could, but if you’re not being mindful, you might start barking up the wrong tree.
If you are not mindful of your unpleasant feelings, it may lead you to become hateful and resentful in nature.
If you mindlessly hold on to the image of a man beating his wife the way you saw it in your walk, and not understand the possibility of who and what could be wrong there, you might start getting resentful and hateful for all men, or you may feel hatred for the surroundings of the city.
Not keeping a check on your neutral feelings can lead you to apathy in your behavior.
If you don’t meditate regularly, you can start by using a journal. Ask yourself how you are feeling about a certain incident. What feeling does this particular incident evoke in you?
When you sit for meditation, start by relaxing your body and focusing on your breath. Afterward, focus on the thoughts that are coming to your mind one by one. Don’t judge them. Don’t even try to change them. Just acknowledge the kind of feelings these thoughts evoke in your mind.
This mindfulness exercise will help you stay aware of your feelings and get entangled in an unnecessary mess.
It’s a certain and effective way to avoid unnecessary suffering.