My emotions have value. They are important to me. They are about me and what I am doing. But to have value and to be important emotions must be used as they have evolved over tens of thousands of years. The presence of negative emotion – like being depressed – did not evolve to gather and remember more emotionally negative facts and events that do nothing but add more fuel to the fire. Being depressed meant to do something to feel better.
Unfortunately I had been taught to tolerate and to ignore negative-feeling emotions. So rather than making an effort to feel better, I did nothing. I did not know what to do. This usually meant a brain storm of more emotionally negative thoughts which would escalate an emotionally-negative situation further along the downward spiral. Like a run-away train down a mountain, there is not going to be a good outcome. Of course, this was all internalized. I had learned not to complain about aches and pains. In the cold of winter growing up on a farm, chores had to be done. Emotions were like frost bit fingers; as long as there wasn’t a medical necessity and the pain could be tolerated, keep quiet and do your job. I had broken my arm, dislocated my wrist, broke my collarbone twice, stepped on nails that went through my foot, as well as tolerating dozens of slivers imbedded into my hands and feet. I had learned to take my frozen hands and run them under lukewarm water. When the severe pain stopped they were thawed out. Physical pain was a part of life. You tolerated it and kept working. That is life. Emotional pain is inconsequential – or so I thought.
The way I describe it now is that depression is like a run-away train speeding down a mountain, there is going to be a crash. But if the negative-emotions can be caught earlier and earlier, that is, if the emotional signals are listened to earlier and earlier, maybe this time, the train won’t gather so much momentum that it can’t be stopped. In a conversation with Esther of Abraham-Hicks, (05-a) I was told that emotions were like brushing your fingers onto a moving fan blade, you can feel the negative vibrations. These are signals to remove your fingers. The same goes for negative emotions and thoughts. My answer was, “by the time I realize my fingers are touching the fan, they’re mince meat.”
The question has became, how can I become the observer-self? That is, how can I separate myself from the pathos of the moment – be it anger, depression, or what ever – and STOP? How can I develop the cognitive awareness to stop and act upon a negativity charged situation in a more emotionally positive direction. As I realized I was on a run-away train earlier and earlier, the easier it becomes for me to stop the downward and emotionally-negative train of thoughts and actions and to take steps to move back up the emotional staircase.
I learned to move up the emotional staircase in steps, that feeling a little less negative is a wonderful thing. The steps of an emotional hierarchy vary depending upon the set of emotions involved. One order of progression may be…despair, anger, frustration, displeasure, pleasure, joy, delight, exhilaration, ecstasy. (Ref: 05-b) I may not be able to go from despair to joy. That would be too great a leap. But I could go from despair to anger, from anger to frustration, from frustration to displeasure, from displeasure to pleasure, and from pleasure to joy over a period of time. Around 1993 I started this process as a heavily medicated patient. It took me years to work out the numerous convoluted habits of thoughts I had developed that would send me careening down the mountain. But with continual practice, a better lifestyle emerged and with the help of a psychiatrist that would listen to me, I became less and less medicated until and the time came that when I took myself off all medications and I did not end up back on a mental ward.
But to this day, and it will be every day in my life, I must catch myself when I am going negative and act upon what my emotions are telling me. I really, really, really know what happens when emotional systems are ignored. Once in the middle of my life of insanity, I ‘awoke’. I was standing in an attic with a rope in my hand. How I got here or where the rope came from I have no idea. I was going to hang myself. Somehow I stopped and heard ‘a voice’ ask, “Can you go on with your life?” I said yes and turned around and made it to the hospital.
Ref: 05-a: Abraham-Hicks
Ref: 05-b: The Emotional Guidance Scale, Abraham-Hicks