Emotional Intelligence and the Difference Between Emotions and Feelings
What is emotional intelligence?
Intelligence is the ability to discern and make use of discernment. Emotional intelligence is the ability to discern emotions and feelings and make use of that.
Emotions and Feelings
Emotions are motivations like hate, sexuality, excitement, sadness, disgust, anger, and loneliness. Emotions come from the below – the body/spacesuit. They serve survival.
Feelings are motivations like love, happiness, empathy, sense of beauty, sense of purpose, and kindness. Feelings come from the above, the soul. They fulfill the soul’s needs.
The body’s nervous system has a limited repertoire of emotional modes. Emotions are not reflexes, rather involuntary mental modes that involve the brain, the spinal cord, and lower nerve complexes, for example, the abdominal brain at the solar plexus.
In case we enter the fear mode, the spinal cord freezes the body, the brain releases adrenaline, our perception zooms in on the source of fear and possible escape routes, and muscles tense to get ready for action.
The disgust mode reduces the chance of getting sick. It’s probably the most important emotion of all because sickness is much more dangerous than accidents or predators. Ninety percent of American Indians died from imported sicknesses.
Emotional modes have evolved over millions of years and defy modification. They can bring out the Shadow in us. Most crimes are emotionally motivated.
Feelings reflect the soul’s needs, for example, to have meaningful experiences, to love, to behold beauty, to be happy, and to experience enlightenment.
Feelings are involuntary too but in a different way that emotions. They are always there. Like the soul, feelings are immortal and we continue to express them in the in-between-life.
True love is the mother of all feelings.
Distinguishing Emotions and Feelings
You shall separate the subtle from the gross, suavely and with great ingenuity. – The Emerald Tablet of Hermes
It’s not easy to keep emotions and feelings apart. For example, sexuality, infatuation, and love like to mix, whereby sexuality and infatuation are emotions and love a feeling.
One way of telling: Emotional modes limit perception and feelings inspire and enlighten. Infatuation is blind, love is lucid.
Also, emotional modes are dormant until external events trigger them. No event, no emotion. Feelings, on the other hand, are always blooming.
Feelings want to express themselves. If there is no situation in the external world that allows them to manifest, feelings will prompt the intellect to come up with a plan to create opportunities. That’s why we are artists and technicians. That’s why we pursue relationships – to express feelings. And that’s why we pursue our heart’s desire.
Because the distinction between feelings and emotions is not well developed in society, language forsakes us. A lot of feelings remain un-coined and many emotions and feelings share the same names, for example, love, which is a wildcard for various feelings and emotions.
Let’s face it, we need to resort to poetry to reveal feelings.
Desires and Needs
Needs emerge from emotions and desires from feelings.
Emotions are formless, needs have a form and direction. For example, the fear mode turns into the need for building a shelter or invent weapons. The hunger mode takes on the need to hunt and gather.
We tend to come up with negative needs, in particular, if it comes to fear and disgust. Instead of pursuing safety, we opt for destroying what threatens us. We rely more on medicine (elimination of germs) than on pursuing a healthy lifestyle. For the same reason, we make war instead of building peace.
Desires give forms to feelings. And they evolve needs. For example, we turn the need to eat (anything) into a desire for steak, pizza, or cake.
Most of the time, we pick up desires in the external world. We see a car and we want it (the car is an elaboration of the need for transport). But we can also pick up desires in the telepathic noise. And then, there are those desires that come seemingly out of nothing. These are presents from the higher self that take the form of callings, for example, our heart’s desire.
The Heart’s Desire
Our heart’s desire is our most important desire. It’s the one thing we want to be and do in this incarnation. I want to be an inspiring author. What do you want to be?
Emotions can’t motivate us to pursue our heart’s desire, because emotions need external triggers. Only feelings can motivate us from within and over a long period of time.
Once we pursue our heart’s desire, all other desires turn into needs, become secondary, and support the realization of our heart’s desire. Time to sacrifice. Do we need a living space with good vibes to do enlightenment? Yep. Do we need a mansion? Nope. Do we need healthy food? Yep. Do we need caviar and champaign? Sometimes.
Do you already know your heart’s desire? If not, take the free video course on Holistic Self-realization.
The decision to pursue our heart’s desire is a turning point in our lives and we turn from a hunter into an artist. And the hound race turns into a desirous quest.
We live for a creative purpose, not for any specific result. – Jason C. Lotterhand.
Emotions bypass the brain’s voluntary control center. Once an external event triggers the fear mode, it will be up and running for a while before we can snap out of it. That’s why emotional manipulation is so effective.
Anger management goes a long way, but it doesn’t help with other emotions like disgust, sexuality, or hate.
Emotion management combines four principal procedures:
- An emergency procedure
- A management procedure
- A therapeutic procedure
Emergency procedures prevent acting upon emotions. For example, when we get angry, we can do a breathing exercise to calm down. When we are scared, we can use a mantra like “I can do this.”
Sometimes, we cannot stop emotional responses and we have to manage them. For example, grief. In this case, it is important to embrace the emotion and live through it. Unprocessed emotions can turn into complexes.
The Kübler-Ross model details seven mental stages we go through when we face persistent emotions:
Knowing in which stage we are, takes the edge off, and allows us to focus on one task or stage at a time. Kübler-Ross used this model to stage the process of grief, but we can use it for any emotional mode. For the sake of trying something new, let’s take a positive emotion – infatuation:
- Shock: A guy takes your breath away and you freeze
- Denial: “He’s too good to be true.”
- Anger: “He’s out of my league.”
- Bargaining: “God, if he asks for my number, I’ll go to church for ten days in a row.”
- He doesn’t. Hence, depression.
- Deliberation. “I’ll spill my beer over his suit and offer to laundry it.”
- Integration. You spill beer over his suit.
Shock, denial, anger, bargaining, and depression are subjective and passive. During these five phases, we struggle to cope with the emotion (mind that we do not struggle with the event itself). Deliberation is a conscious decision to do something about the emotion, and integration walks the walk.
Therapeutic procedures analyze emotional triggers. For example, anger results from fear, hence the first step in overcoming anger is understanding what scares us.
Once we understand what triggers unwanted emotions, we can create new habits. For example, if we are prone to succumbing to intimidation, we can practice martial arts and get used to physical combat and pain.
Do one thing every day that scares you. – Eleanor Roosevelt
The Importance of Feelings
A ghost haunts the house of enlightenment – the notion that we should get rid of emotions and feelings. Emotions yes, feelings no. Buddha showed that (cognitive) discipline is half-ass. He left the path of asceticism because he realized the importance of balance.
Feelings and emotions are the fuel on which our personality runs. If properly cultivated, feelings can motivate us from within. Emotions are not more than emergency fuel and rely on external stimuli.
Do you need an alarm clock to wake up? Or a boss to motivate you? Or a partner to push you to take care of your health? That’s because you haven’t switched to feelings yet. Feelings are like an internal well of vitality that can continuously refresh you from within. Lack of feelings cause lack of vitality, and lack of vitality is the root cause of depression.
I had a business partner once who could only get going when there was an emergency. As soon as business was back to normal he went back to sleep so to say. Some people even have to seek negative external stimulation to motivate themselves, for example, they look for enemies (or make one).
Check out Ikigai. Ikigai is the Japanese concept of having a direction or purpose in life. This can be a job or hobby, but better, if it’s your heart’s desire.
What about taking a moment and estimating your ratio. Do you respond 80% emotionally and 20% with feelings? 50/50? 80/20? What can you do to cultivate more feelings?
Replacing Emotions with Feelings
We can’t escape emotions as long as we are incarnate. And we can’t transform emotions, because they are involuntary. But we can redirect responses from emotions to feelings – that’s emotion management. And we can farm emotions.
This is nothing new. Christians are supposed to practice unconditional love 24/7, even go to the extreme of loving one’s enemy. Buddhists are supposed to practice non-violence and kindness 24/7. Positive thinkers are supposed to think only good thoughts in the face of adversity
Practicing solitude liberates from the loneliness mode.
Practicing peace of mind liberates from the anger mode.
Practicing minimalism frees the mind from the anxiety mode.
So, how do we farm feelings? By practicing creative feeling. Creative feelings fills our body, soul, and mind with love and kindness, and when the moment comes, we have so much love that we can drown negative emotions.
Try to take all that rage and anger and resentment you have in you and turn that into love. It’s surprisingly easy.
Don’t know where to start? Begin with cultivating the four soul values – happiness, purpose, love, and sense of beauty. Guided meditations go a long way. Create a place inside you where you can be a happy, lovely, beautiful, and purposeful soul. Retreat to that place when emotions strike.
Karma and Emotions
Karma is the law of action and response. What goes around, comes around. As you sow, so you reap. Karma keeps the universe in balance – on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels.
Emotions are dualistic: like and hate, disgust and delight, joy and sadness. We’re used to manipulating people and situations to stay on the positive side of emotions. But that’s like winding up a karmic spring. It’s just a matter of time until we swing back to painful emotions.
I don’t believe that feelings are dualistic. I can’t think of an antipode to love. Hate is the antipode of liking. Love is a creative force. Disgust is the antipode of delight, and beauty is above the two, because beauty is a creative expression.
The point is that karma latches onto emotions, not feelings. There is a way to improve karma by responding with feelings instead of emotions. And we can pay karmic debts with a higher currency – love.
Nothing escapes the Principle of Cause and Effect, but there are many Planes of Causation, and one may use the laws of the higher to overcome the laws of the lower. – The Kybalion
Emotions and Feelings in Society
Emotions have been abused the world over to rationalize selfish political agendas. That’s where all the scare, shame, blame, and guilt tactics come from.
Every philosophy has its core desire. Hedonism is the rationalization of pleasure, racism is conceptualized disgust, capitalism is sanctified greed, and fascism is an organized fear response.
Some laws and regulations are still emotionally motivated, for example, the death penalty. Feelings, on the other hand, drive humanitarian progress. Without love, there would be neither freedom, nor equality, nor justice, nor charity.
In the collective unconscious, fear, anger, disgust, and greed patterns battle patterns of empathy, kindness, and honor. Democracy is continuously threatened by collective fear patterns. It seems that collective emotions are winning, but that is only because they keep raising a ruckus and thereby make it into the news. Humanitarianism is on a slow but inevitable winning streak. The light has already won, the darkness just didn’t get it yet. The Aquarian Age is dawning and that is a turning point toward the prevalence of collective love and kindness.
Emotions, Feelings, and Enlightenment
Emotions pull us down into the spacesuit. Feelings raise us to the soul and higher self. We want fewer emotions and more feelings. That doesn’t mean that emotions are bad, they have their place. It just means we are outgrowing them.
We can’t sit under a Budhi tree and meditate until illumination day. We can’t retreat into a monastery to escape emotional modes. We need to do enlightenment in the grind. And the grind is the hound race. There, we run with emotions.
Luckily, in modern societies, we face fewer dangers. Emotions are losing importance and we can afford more feelings.
The longer we pursue enlightenment, the lesser we can rely on emotions to motivate us. When we reach the stage of the great work, we will rely exclusively on the power of love. As we proceed, emotional modes externalize and become something we experience. They become fleeting too and fade quickly like dreams. Ever caught yourself thinking, “What made me upset just now?” That’s what I’m talking about.
Having said that, emotional modes still play a role in higher enlightenment stages, in particular, when we access other realities. Other realities can be as dangerous as this one, and the fear and disgust mode can protect us from slippery enlightenment slopes.
At last, the great work will liberate the body-mind vehicle from physical needs, and emotions and pain will become useless. We go through the mystical death and rebirth and emerge on the other side as a new being – emotionless but full of love.
This post is an extraction from the two-year practical enlightenment email course.