Feeling and the Zen Perspective

“Just because we feel a certain way doesn’t make that feeling a fact. It only means we feel that way. We must learn to press past our feelings.” – Joyce Meyer

That’s it isn’t it? I had this idea that my “feelings” were the actuality of who I am. If I was angry then that anger represented who I am. I would say, (loudly) I’M ANGRY!

But the reality is the anger wasn’t “ME” at all. I wasn’t angry, I was experiencing anger. I could have said “I’m experiencing anger.” That statement, as a thought or spoken out loud, places anger in it’s proper place. Formulated this way it’s actually a step away from anger. It’s acknowledging that anger is a momentary feeling, it’s not who I am.

This position works really well for things like sadness and depression. Those are two states, that if absorbed, can become who we are instead of a temporary state. I cannot tell you how many times I said, “I’m depressed” in life. As though “I” exist as depression. Now I’m aware of transience and that sadness, depression, happiness, and all the emotions are never who I am, they come and go like most things in life. Unless I devise a way to hang onto them they fade. (If we become the depression it will require more than just a change of view, that will require attention with a support field. It’s why I encourage seeing we are not our feelings early before they get embedded as identity.)

Feelings, like thoughts, are no who I am. They, in a very substantial way, are not actually real. They only point to a small section of life where I am temporarily engaged. If I could become something permanent concerning feelings then I would announce, I”M HAPPY, and that would become my permanent world. But it doesn’t work that way.

So I am that feeling or I am experiencing that feeling.

It’s amazing what that shift in view can accomplish.

Take care of you and all you love,

Bryan Wagner

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