Never mind the Feeling, what’s the Quality?

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Words often seem so inadequate, don’t they?

Especially the words we use for feelings.

Way back when I was first studying Psychology, there was a trend for saying that human beings only have four basic feelings:  bad, mad, sad, or glad.

birds sky

What I’m noticing is that the labels people use for feelings cover a multitude of meanings.  So perhaps it’s not about the words we use – like sad, angry, joyful, and so on – but about the quality of mind we have at the time, whether the feeling has an ‘ease’ or a ‘tightness’ about it.

I think, for example, we can have a very ‘high’ quality of mind with both sadness and happiness.

I can remember times when I would describe my feeling state as super-confident… and sometimes this feeling has been tight, unconnected and arrogant.  And other times the feeling has been easy, light, loose, connected and trusting.

I can also remember times where I would describe my feeling state as incredibly sad.  And this feeling has been entirely appropriate – like when somebody I love has died.  The feeling was reflective and rich in potential wisdom.

And sometimes, the sad feeling has been self-indulgent, rooted in a kind of wallowing self-pity.

We all seem to have our own unique ‘signature’ of low quality of mind – a kind of automatic ‘go-to’ place when the external circumstances of our life don’t go as we would have wished.

Some people get stroppy or defensive.

Some people easily move into hopelessness or overwhelm.

Some get scared or sad.

Of course, it is our thinking that creates these feelings.

What’s interesting to me is that there seems to be a remarkable similarity, or universality, between people when it comes to ‘high’ quality of mind.  I’ve asked 100′s of people on my workshops to describe what this feels like for them, and the same words always come up.

A feeling of innate well-being, clarity, connectedness, creativity, joy, peace and love.

I’m seeing more and more clearly the profound truth in this quote:

“The feelings that seem to be coming from what we’re looking at, are actually coming from where we’re looking from.”

I’d love to know your thoughts (and feelings!)

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