All of the world’s problems

In reference to my last post, I wanted to go back to the ideas that my brother presented to me when we were talking a couple of months back. Shortly after I shared with him the concept that we live the feelings of our thoughts, not the feelings of the world (in other words thought is what creates our feelings and reactions to the world, not the other way around), he replied by saying two things (and I’m paraphrasing quite a lot):

1) The problems in the world would be solved if people paid more attention to their feelings instead of their thinking, that every problem in the world was caused by the fact that people focused on their thinking, so focusing on our thinking is not the answer.

2) Fear is a primal response, which come from the reptilian brain (more specifically the amygdala), is an instinct and it occurs before thought.

As I write this, I am sure that there is a bigger and more elaborate description relating to the first point and I don’t want to presume I understand all of the nuances that are behind that comment (I also may very well be remembering it incorrectly). I will add that at a later point in the conversation, my brother made a point about the value in recognizing that we are all part of a oneness and that this is a feeling. My guess is that this is probably what he was pointing to when he said that people are focusing too much on their thinking and not enough on their feelings.

The reason I wanted to share this with you is because I completely agree with what my brother said, that all the problems in the world are caused by the fact that people are focusing on their thinking, and the subsequent emotions that are related to that thinking. People all over the world believe that their feelings are caused by their environment; they blame their circumstances for their low states of mind, they point outwards to the people that “caused” them to feel the way they feel, and as a result, they have a lot of added thinking about these external conditions. But don’t get me wrong, it’s perfectly understandable that we do this because when we believe our emotions are caused by something outside of ourselves, we naturally do what we can to address that, deal with it, fix it, protect ourselves from it, and we inevitably do this with a lot more thinking about the subject.

Let me give you a physical example, if a forest fire is slowly moving towards my home, it’s perfectly understandable for me to have a lot of thinking about how best to address that threat. I’ll try to come up with different kinds of solutions to either stop the fire, re-direct the fire towards a safer direction (safer for me), or to fire-proof my home so that the fire doesn’t harm my home if it ever reaches it. If we take this same logic and apply it to the emotions that we believe come from the outside, we can see how natural it is for us to want to protect ourselves from the external threats and causes.

The problems in the world, as my brother puts it, occur when the thoughts/feelings get so strong that people decide to do something about it, to protect themselves from the fire that is threatening their home. What they don’t realize is they are creating the fire themselves, from the inside out. We interpret the world and the environment around us with thought. Data is collected by our senses and it is our thought (conscious or unconscious) that interprets this data, which is what we perceive, feel, and react to. Our feelings are simply a reflection of the thoughts we are having. They work like a barometer, showing us the quality of our thoughts in that moment.

This thought-feeling system is part of our human condition. Thought comes to us and the gift of awareness that we have makes that thought seem real, through our emotions and our feelings. So, the illusion, and it’s an amazing illusion, is that the cause is coming from outside. So, going back to my brother’s point, most of the worlds problems are created because people are innocently believing that their emotions/feelings are caused by something outside. I say innocently because they are trapped in the illusion and don’t recognize that their perception of the world is created 100% of the time by thought, not by the form that is outside of themselves.

Just yesterday, I was speaking with some of my Tango students and they all agreed that if my girlfriend kissed someone, then it was clear that she must be the cause of my anger and feelings of betrayal, sadness, etc. But then I gave them this scenario:

She had known the man since they were kids and though they had never really been close friends, he had always had a secret crush on her. He bumps into her one day and as they start talking he shares with her that he has a very advanced form of cancer and only has a few months to live. He asks her if she would be willing to grant him a dying wish. He shares that he has admired her since they were kids but was always too shy to do anything about it and insecure believing she would never be interested in someone like him. It is only because of his current condition that he has summoned up the courage to ask her if she would be willing to give him a kiss, a meaningful kiss, so that he can have an idea of what it is like to kiss her.

Everyone in the group I was sharing this with said their reaction would be different. So, it isn’t the kiss itself that causes our reactions, it’s our interpretation (thought) about the kiss that causes us to feel what we feel.

If I recognize that it’s my thoughts that are creating my emotional reactions, I give them less meaning, which often results in the reaction not being as strong. So, it’s easier for my bad moods to pass and I have less busy thinking about many things because I no longer see them as an external threat (like the fire); there are less problems to solve.

There will always be external situations that are in fact threatening, but if you understand that your reaction to them is internally created, your experience of that “threat” is often very different. You will find yourself reacting form a better state of mind and we all know that we are more resourceful and insightful when we are working from that place.

Like I said, this system of our human condition that I’m describing is soooooo good that no matter how much understanding you have about this, there will always be times when we get caught in the illusion and believe people and situations are the cause of our emotions/feelings/reactions; until we recognize that they are not. We are all still human after all. :-)

I’ve decided to leave this here for now. I’ll share my thoughts with you regarding fear as a primal response in the next post.

Until the next time, may the four winds continue to help guide your way.

Lots of love,
Daniel