As people on this planet, I believe the ultimate "objective" on the journey is to befriend - eventually - everything about the human experience. The befriending process takes time, intention and practice. But eventually we arrive at that place where our hearts are expanded and we may easily welcome those distractions, beliefs, sensations, and afflictions that we used to reject and that caused us suffering and confusion.
Feelings, yes feelings, are the lifelong befriending opportunity. How we view feelings, and solidify them into emotions, causes everyone problems. To assist with understanding the difference between feelings and emotions, I consulted Dictionary.com. Often the two words are used interchangeably; even the dictionary indicated they are synonyms. That can be where our confusion, and pain, begin.
Feelings are: 1. the function or the power of perceiving by touch. 2. physical sensation not connected with sight, hearing, taste, or smell. 3. a particular sensation of this kind: a feeling of warmth; a feeling of pain. 4. the general state of consciousness considered independently of particular sensations, thoughts, etc. 5. a consciousness or vague awareness.
Emotions are: 1. an affective state of consciousness in which joy, sorrow, fear, hate, or the like, is experienced, as distinguished from cognitive and volitional states of consciousness. 2. any of the feelings of joy, sorrow, fear, hate, love, etc. 3. any strong agitation of the feelings actuated by experiencing love, hate, fear, etc., and usually accompanied by certain physiological changes.
Look at the subtle differences. Feelings catalyze emotions. Feelings arise, and emotions carry out the manifestation of the feeling. Feelings are integral to being human. Emotions are also part of the human experience. They are not a problem. In fact they are a delight and differentiate us from other sentient beings on the planet. We perceive feelings as unfriendly when we allow our emotions to take hold and grip our minds with ideas, beliefs, concepts and stories.
You may ask, why is this important? Where is Gayle going with this?
As long as we inhabit these bodies, we will experience feelings - of all kinds. Unless we learn how to welcome, embrace and feel our feelings (please see this month's 5-Minute Try It), we will remain in a cycle of suffering - of our own design. Our suffering was sustained when we crystallized an emotion into a story created by our imagination. The feeling - the energetic sensation in our body - was never felt. It was hijacked by an emotion - usually anger, fear or sadness. And then that anger, fear or sadness was solidified into a well-developed story, which served the purpose of allowing the ego to feel safe.
This cycle of suffering ends once you begin to make friends with your feelings by allowing them to express themselves in your life, authentically.