After writing a blog on the transitory nature of thoughts and feelings and explaining how our feelings come from our thoughts, someone asked me, “What about grief?” From their question, it sounded to me like grief looked like something different than an internally generated experience. They were putting grief into a category of its own and seeing it as more than thought generated — meaning it looked like their feelings were caused by something outside of themselves, something other than thought.
We all have areas of our lives that look like they fall into a different category than an inside-out generated experience. Where it seems that our feelings are created by the circumstances we find ourselves in rather than being the result of our thoughts brought to life in our sensory system. I have been questioned about this related to various circumstances from extreme situations like rape and childhood abuse to more run of the mill concerns like financial challenges. However, no matter what the circumstance, my experience is that the human emotions are always created the same way — from the inside out.
Why this is so important for me to share, and why I am so adamant about the value of seeing this, is because of the inner freedom it gives me and the greater access I experience to the innate wisdom, well-being and intelligence behind life as a result of this.
I know people want to be heard, loved and feel validated. I am absolutely committed to being compassionate with people related to their suffering. And, I also stand in the integrity of what I see in terms of how to help people suffer less. I am not being uncompassionate when I don’t give the outside events in people’s lives the power to cause their suffering no matter how extreme the event. I care deeply when I affirm that our external circumstances do not dictate our internal experience.
This does not mean that seeing that our experience is created from the inside out will stop us from having emotions. I have spent much of the past week having unexpected crying spells. It looks like my emotions are caused by my daughter leaving for college. But I know they come from my thoughts in the moment because sometimes I feel sad, and other times I feel really happy. Nothing has changed on the outside. All that shifts are my thoughts. Seeing that my experience is internally generated and fluid has me be less scared of it so I suffer less no matter how intense my feelings are. I recognize they are normal and there is nothing wrong with me.
When I see how my mind works, I know there is nothing to do. I do not waste my time trying to manage my experience. I see I am not controlling the thoughts that are emerging in my consciousness, nor am I controlling whether or not I pay attention to them. Seeing this is peaceful. I recognize the intelligence that is life moving through me, and I understand I am experiencing the effect of it. The seeing of this is enough for me to have a lighter and more graceful relationship with the flow of my human experience.
The relief of there being nothing to do and nothing to fix is comforting to me. I know the circumstance of my daughter going to college is not causing my feelings. This is a circumstance that is hopefully not going to change. I am not a victim of it or destined to be sad indefinitely. And even with other grief in my life, losses of grandparents, a stepfather, a sister, a beloved pet, I see my resilience to bounce back.
That is innate in each one of us. We feel all of our difficult emotions and bounce back. That is the nature of how we are designed no matter what the challenging experiences and circumstances are in our life. We each are infinite potential and possibility at our source. We are pure resilience, but for our own thinking that makes up a different story. And even that doesn’t matter. The fact we are capable of creating any meaning and having any thought is simply proof of our innate creative potential. When we see that we naturally take our painful and limiting thoughts less seriously.
I hope it is reassuring to see there is nothing wrong and nothing to do no matter what your experience is. You are not a victim of your circumstances nor are you a victim to your thoughts. You are the dynamic energy of life that flows through you bringing the gift of the human experience alive. You are blessed to experience the full range of that human experience — this is your aliveness. None of what you feel is wrong, and it is all created the same way.
Seeing this makes being with our emotions more graceful. It shifts the focus from looking outward to fixing our circumstances or to fixing ourselves to change our feelings. Instead, we are reminded of the source of our experience — the source of who we are. Looking in that direction we see our potential, and we can hear the wisdom that comes from our source. And it is that understanding that then drives change in our life.
We have access to an intelligence that is greater than our personal thinking. It brings us greater freedom of mind and richness of experience. We hear it when we look beyond our thoughts and feelings and how our life looks, to the essence of who we are. There we see, hear and feel our truth that is there to guide us on “this one, wild and precious life.”
Rohini Ross is co-founder of “The Rewilders.” Listen to her podcast, with her partner Angus Ross, Rewilding Love. They believe too many good relationships fall apart because couples give up thinking their relationship problems can’t be solved. In this season of the Rewilding Love Podcast, Rohini and Angus help a couple on the brink of divorce due to conflict. Angus and Rohini also co-facilitate private couples' intensives that rewild relationships back to their natural state of love. Rohini is also the author of the ebook Marriage, and she and Angus are co-founders of The 29-Day Rewilding Experience and The Rewilding Community. You can follow Rohini on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To learn more about her work and subscribe to her blog visit: TheRewilders.org.