Author Topic: Observing Emotions  (Read 5444 times)

alex

Observing Emotions
« on: January 23, 2009, 02:48:14 PM »
(I realize this was a topic a while ago - I just didn't find an answer in the old thread)

How and where you can observe your emotions? I have found two other senses which are mainly linked with them: the bodily sensations and the thoughts. E.g. anger might manifest as a burning in my chest, and in some diabolic and cruel fantasy in my mind (not necessarily both or in that order) - but aren't these just effects of the emotion? Where is the emotion itself? Can it be ovserved directly, and if yes, how?

regards!

frepi

Re: Observing Emotions
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2009, 03:22:44 PM »
I think that this can be done but definitively not by the beginners like me. When observing emotions, I only observe bodily sensations. Observing my thoughts make them disappear so there is nothing left to observe. Observing emotions seems even more difficult to me.

Flipasso

Re: Observing Emotions
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2009, 03:30:21 PM »
There is something else, linked to emotional states.
The way you breathe!
Not as much the intensity of breath, but the feeling of breath.

There's also something, but I don't know if that's a part of the physical sensations in itself, but there's a sensation in your head, that easily shows you what emotion it is.

Matthew

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Re: Observing Emotions
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2009, 06:56:23 PM »
alex,

The other place you may notice a lot of emotions is in the gut or belly. There is a very large plexus of nerves located near the stomach with direct connection to the brain through the Vagus nerve, a cranial nerve, which serves amongst other things to provide visceral feedback to the brain from the internal organs and controls the larynx and speech. This plexus of nerves also has many connections from the spinal cord and other internal organs and appears to be the originator of "Gut feelings" - an English expression that may not translate to Spanish. Do you have such an expression?

In the Dhamma,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

greenhorn

Re: Observing Emotions
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2009, 05:42:54 AM »
alex,

The other place you may notice a lot of emotions is in the gut or belly. 

This is so true. Whenever I'm anxious I feel the 'butterfly effect' in my stomach. There's also a chakra connected to the belly area, and is related to 'basic' emotions (fear, jealousy, disgust etc): Manipura.

@Alex
I think emotions are just subtler forms of thoughts and they have a direct influence on the biochemical level of the body. If you're angry, for instance your heart starts to pound fast, you sweat etc (same thing when you fall in love, but it's not destroying ur neurons:). So I would say I don't think you can actually distuinguish emotions from like you said the effects they have on our bodies. Also, in the long run, doesn't language actually escape us? I've always wondered how can we define 'mind' for instance, or what's the difference between mind and intellect...I tend to think man lost contact with reality when he started talking. Hehehehe..

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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Re: Observing Emotions
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2009, 09:55:41 AM »
Emotions are simpler reactions than other forms of thought. They are mediated in the brain through the Amygdala which receives input from the thalamus in half the time that the neo-cortex does. The Amygydala mediates basic instinctual survival responses and can flood the neo-cortex in an instant with chemicals that give rise to the "feelings" we have. This can happen before the neo-cortex, the thinking brain, has even registered or responded to the sensory input. These chemical reactions change in long term meditators.

M
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

alex

Re: Observing Emotions
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2009, 02:44:05 PM »
Thank you for your replies - I find them very inspiring. Today is practice day, but I'll try to answer more detailed later.

greetings,
Alex!

alex

Re: Observing Emotions
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2009, 07:23:47 PM »
I tried to make a theory out of my thoughts - as long as I only think about it it feels quite good, but writing it down reveals its flaws and gaps. Resolving them proved way too time intensive, so I just give you the basic idea:

To assume that the emotions do not exist on their own seems to most likely solution. Language with its two words thoughts and emotions suggests indeed a separation, which might not be there. Buddhists distinguish six senses: the five conventional ones, the sixth being consciousness. Or maybe "mind" is the better word here, because mind can refer to thoughts and memories ("keep in mind") as well as ideas and emotions ("to have sth on ones mind"). And the sixth sense is believed to be for both.

On the other hand, emotions are linked closely to bodily functions. Matthew, your reply was way too educated for me, but I think I understood that emotions show itself either in the belly, or as some chemicals (or some organ) in the brain. I don't know how to feel into my brain, but in my belly there something seems to be which can be felt (when the time is right).

And finally: What the heck was that question good for?! If the emotions are strong enough, surely even a male like me will be able to tell that they are and what. If they are subtle, it's just distractions.

Yes, it's not very complete, but it's what I made of your answers. Thanks to you all!

Matthew

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    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
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Re: Observing Emotions
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2009, 06:54:06 AM »
Alex yes I was saying that for neurological reasons we feel emotions in our gut.

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

mettajoey

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Re: Observing Emotions
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2009, 01:41:07 PM »

To assume that the emotions do not exist on their own seems to most likely solution.

Hi Alex,
You are absolutely correct in this.  Sometimes it's good to go with a basic psychological definition of this than the sometimes more esoteric Buddhist explanation.  The structure goes as follows: thoughts - feelings - emotions/behaviors.  A basic thought arises on it's own through our own genetics and  conditions.  Noticing this is essence of meditation. Once the thoughts arise, if you allow them, we begin to define them through our experiences and judgments. This is the aspect of meditation where we try to see the thought as just a thought by undoing our judgments and conditioned responses.  Depending on the thought and our conditioning we can begin to have feelings about that thought.  Staying with this initial thought, processed through feelings and conditioning can at that point drive our emotions or behaviors.  Paying attention to this process at any point is "mindfulness".

Metta,
-Joe
The best type of meditation is the one that you'll do

greenhorn

Re: Observing Emotions
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2009, 06:21:53 PM »

To assume that the emotions do not exist on their own seems to most likely solution.

Hi Alex,
You are absolutely correct in this.  Sometimes it's good to go with a basic psychological definition of this than the sometimes more esoteric Buddhist explanation.  The structure goes as follows: thoughts - feelings - emotions/behaviors.  A basic thought arises on it's own through our own genetics and  conditions.  Noticing this is essence of meditation. Once the thoughts arise, if you allow them, we begin to define them through our experiences and judgments. This is the aspect of meditation where we try to see the thought as just a thought by undoing our judgments and conditioned responses.  Depending on the thought and our conditioning we can begin to have feelings about that thought.  Staying with this initial thought, processed through feelings and conditioning can at that point drive our emotions or behaviors.  Paying attention to this process at any point is "mindfulness".


This is the explanation of how the mind works, in a nutshell. Thank you, Joey. Reading your (and others') clear-cut responses reinforces my trust in meditation. I will try to read less, and do more.

Mindfullness

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Re: Observing Emotions
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2013, 11:15:27 PM »
Emotions are simpler reactions than other forms of thought. They are mediated in the brain through the Amygdala which receives input from the thalamus in half the time that the neo-cortex does. The Amygydala mediates basic instinctual survival responses and can flood the neo-cortex in an instant with chemicals that give rise to the "feelings" we have. This can happen before the neo-cortex, the thinking brain, has even registered or responded to the sensory input. These chemical reactions change in long term meditators.

M

For clarification, would that mean during meditation, we should treat emotions and thoughts in a similar way, i.e., don't repress them but notice them and then just let them be?

 

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