How Much Should I Feel?

by Mark Ivar Myhre on February 26, 2012

Maybe you’ve noticed what seems like an inconsistency. I’m always saying to open up your heart and feel all your feelings…

But then on the other hand, you know darn good and well there’s a lot of painful stuff locked up inside. And you don’t want to feel that pain – for good reason.

Not to mention the fact there may be pity, guilt, martyrhood, victimhood, panic, a raging anger that just won’t stop… all kinds of stuff may be in there.

Who wants to feel panic? You know how intense those imaginary fears seem to be. And who wants to get swept up in all that anger? It’s not very endearing to start screaming at your co-workers. They’ll talk about you behind your back.

And pity? Everybody knows when you’ve stepped into it. You don’t have to say a word. They can smell it on your shoes. They’re just not saying anything, out of politeness.

Why in the world would anybody want to feel all that stuff?

It seems so much smarter to just box it up and put it on the shelf. And yes, there may be some value in not eating your lunch, but rather placing it in a shoe box and setting in under the table. Although I’m yet to find that value…

I’ll admit, I see the allure. It seems like such an elegant and wise decision to containerize that ugliness. Especially since we’ve already been doing it for most of our lives anyway. There’s nothing new about managing your emotions. Every child does it. We’re taught and conditioned almost from the day we’re born to filter out our feelings.

Now I suppose, in certain desert environments – or maybe if you were living on the moon – then you could get away with putting your food in a box and leaving it in a corner of the living room. Maybe it could freeze-dry and not start smelling or causing any other problems. But you need to take a good hard look in the mirror and admit to yourself that you’re not living on the moon.

And even if you were, that’s not the optimum response.

Let’s start from the beginning. You have a heart. Your heart is the center of your consciousness. Your heart – among its many other functions and attributes – is a processor of feelings.

Your heart processes input. That’s what it does. Energy comes in, and your heart works its magic to transform that energy. And in the process, you become more. In the process, you are in the flow. What flow? The flow of energy that is your destination. The flow is the destination.

When you allow your heart to do its job, you are living your dream.

Your heart wants to heal your pain. And it can. It has the ability. That pain in your chest… that aching… it’s not coming from feeling too much painful emotion. It’s coming from a lack of feeling. It’s coming because you’ve blocked your true emotions from even getting into your heart.

It’s coming from a dearth of sensation, from a lack of emotion, from a blockage of feelings. That pain in your heart is not there because you’re feeling too much – it’s there because you’re feeling too little.

“But Mark, you don’t know! I’ve got all sorts of crazy stuff inside that I can’t possibly feel. It would be too… too something. Maybe too intense. Maybe too painful. Maybe I’m not sure. But I do know something bad will happen if I let those feelings in.”

And I’m saying, when you are truly letting in blocked intense feelings, the worst that will probably happen is that you might get a little light-headed and a little tingly in your body. You can handle that.

Here’s the thing:

When most people talk about feeling their feelings, what they usually end up doing is entertaining their thoughts. And certainly, entertaining has its place. There’s nothing wrong with throwing a party. As long as you’re responsible for it! Otherwise, your house is gonna get trashed. It happens every time.

Now, when I talk about feeling my feelings, what I mean is opening up my heart, and letting the feelings in. It’s just not possible to feel with your head. Trust me on that. I’ve tried. I mean, I’ve really tried. I’ve done the legwork on that one. It just doesn’t work.

An emotional experience is one that engages both your thoughts and your feelings. An emotion, remember, is nothing more than a package of thoughts and feelings that flows through you. The thoughts are processed by your mind and the feelings are processed by your heart. Not your physical heart, but an invisible, esoteric heart that science has yet to measure or observe.

There is no substitute for opening up your heart and letting the feelings flow in. Let your heart do its job. It knows what to do. Just as your mind knows how to think, so your heart knows how to feel.

I read a fascinating article the other day which said the stronger the neural connections in your brain, between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala, the more resilient you are to emotional stress. This resiliency is part of your emotional style.

There’s a connection between your esoteric heart and your mind. I believe they’re designed to work together. Most of us allow the thoughts into our heads, less of us allow the feelings into our hearts.

Which brings us back to the original question. What about those imaginary, man-made, fabricated emotions? The artificial stuff. Like imaginary fear and righteous anger and pity and guilt and martyrhood. What about that stuff?

Should I just go around feeling like a martyr? Or scared to death? Or consumed with guilt?

No. Cause that sucks. Literally. It sucks your energy and your vitality and your aliveness and your wisdom. Among other things…

But the martyr, the pity, the raging anger and the panic – those are mostly thoughts. Mental constructs. Now yes, they do need a smidgen of real feeling (and a whole lot of effort from you) to make them come alive. But mostly, there is no true feeling in them.

When you go back to the original equation –

Opening up your heart = the answer to all your emotional problems…

When you get back to that fundamental truth, and actually apply it, then magic happens in your life. If you will feel the guilt instead of only thinking it… if you will feel the anger instead of just blaming it on others… if you will feel the martyr without trying to make it so noble… then a funny thing happens.

You discover for yourself there’s very little realness to any of it. It holds very little substance. You got a hundred pounds of fluff, and an ounce or two of realness. Put it all in your heart. Let your heart separate the wheat from the chaff. That’s what I do. That’s how I know what’s real and what’s not.

So yes, feel everything. Just like you think everything. Do both. Your heart just happens to be a little smarter than your mind, that’s all. It can discern what’s real. It’s not fooled like your mind can be.

The problem is we’ve been taught that thoughts are good and feelings are bad. We’ve learned to block the feelings from entering our hearts. However…

The more willing you are to feel everything that comes up – truly feel it with your heart as you’re willing to think it with your mind – then the easier it becomes to feel whatever you want, almost whenever you want.

And you can take that to the bank. I did.


john b. February 27, 2012 at 7:52 am

Without acceptance there is no reconciliation. All judgments are self-imposed judgments upon one’s own self. Learn to forgive and let go of the need to control of this thing called judgment. And by knowing this truth, you shall be made free. Allowance for one’s own pent-up feelings is your opportunity for those fragmented essence of parental source (energy) to return (flow) to its mother load (destination). Surrender is the key to unlocking the door of the subconscious (heart) mind in allowing those lodged feelings of discomfort to enter into conscious awareness where by they can be embraced as difficult children in need of love. And since all resistance is self-imposed judgment, likewise, I believe all acceptance is self-imposed love. So I suggest love your self; all of it; the good, the bad, and the ugly. Love it all, because it’s all you. And you are worthy.

Robert February 28, 2012 at 1:11 pm

You”ve got one of the BEST websites online. I am a “student” of the human heart.I”m learning more and more how to use it, or, let it use me. I am convinced at this point in my life, that the HEART is the REAL SOURCE of our consciousness.

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