we are not our feelings

You might be thinking, that subject doesn’t quite make sense.  This is one of Father De Mello’s mantras that focuses on the concepts rather than the words and grammar.

Let me illustrate this one:  say you’re feeling depressed.  You’re likely to think (or say), “I am depressed”.  That’s not true, though.  You are not your depression.  You are much more than just that emotion.  Think of it this way, your every fiber of being and essence is not 100% depression.  In fact, it’s 0% depression.  Depression is a feeling that you happen to be experiencing at that particular time, but it does not identify who you are.  This holds true for any emotion.

You might be thinking, what does it matter?  Isn’t this just an issue of word choice?  No, it’s much more important than that.  When you identify with an emotion or feeling, particularly a negative one, you’ll hold on to it much longer than you need to because you’ve tied it to your identity, your essence.  If you detach yourself and your identify from this feeling, you can realize that this emotion is fleeting and will pass.  Just like a cloud passes through the sky (even the ones that last for days), your emotion will come and go.  Being detached will allow you to still be you while that “cloud” is present and when it passes.

Think of how this works when a positive emotion comes into play, for example: “joy”.  You might think that you are overjoyed when a great thing happens, but just like that “depression cloud” passes, so will your joy.  If you identify with that joy, you can expect quite a crash when the “joy cloud” departs as well.   If you detach yourself and your identity from this positive feeling, you can realize that this emotion can be enjoyed while it’s here but you won’t be sad or disappointed when it leaves.

Have I confused you yet?  Good!  Now you’re thinking and becoming awake!  The point of all this is to prevent the huge ups and downs that can come from our emotions.  Wouldn’t it be better if you can stay at a nice blissful, happy, state of being regardless of what gets thrown your way?  You’ll be much more prepared to take on anything in that state rather than being held at the mercy of your feelings.

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