“What am I feeling now?”
The question might seem trite, or smell of touchy-feely self-help gurus, or even feel pointless. But there’s a lot of spirituality behind the question – a lot of happiness and peacefulness behind this simple little check-in.
When you ask yourself what you’re feeling, you’re in fact taking a step back and assessing your own mental, physical, and emotional climate. That tiny little change of perspective is enough to radically change the course of your life, if you’re honest in your answer.
It starts with wholeness. Emotional awareness quickly improves physical, mental, and emotional health.
Physically, when you know what you’re feeling, the cumulative depression-like effects of sleep deprivation or low-grade dehydration become obvious. You know when you’re full and when you’re eating because of emotional pain. You know when you’re suffering a dietary deficiency, when your body needs exercise, and when your body starts to submit to illness.
The mental and emotional health benefits of emotional awareness work along the same lines, but go even further: the simple act of seeing what you’re feeling changes it. If you catch yourself becoming angry, then you don’t become as angry – and you can start the process of embracing your emotions and releasing the emotional blocks lodged in your chest, that have kept you captive these many years. Emotional awareness is self-knowledge, and all self-knowledge can be painful at times – but it’s also always cathartic and freeing.
But beyond even wholeness, emotional awareness is a fundamental part of mindfulness. You become aware of the correspondence of seeming external events with internal ones, and you start seeing how feeling translates into thoughts and behaviors. Through emotional awareness, you begin to acquire the ability to intervene in consciousness and to escape the cycles of reactivity. The mind aware of its emotions is a sleeping mind moving toward wakefulness.
So tune in. Before you answer that irritating email, before you snap at your spouse, before you lumber in like an angry giant toward your misbehaving children. Breath, and look inwardly. Without knowing what your feeling, you can hardly know what to do. You never know whether you’re being pulled or pushed in a direction you want to go, without knowing the pusher. But once you see it, you’ll know whether or not it’s something worthy of your inner altar.
And only love is, dear hearts. Emotional awareness is a powerful tool for separating the falsehood of fear from the brilliant light of creation.