6. Thoughts create emotions
The word ’emotion’ in latin, is ‘motus’ and it means ‘motion’. E-motion, therefore, is energy-in-motion, a mobilizing force which propels us into action. Its origin is a thought, which arises from a perception. Thoughts create emotions. The more we identify with a thought, the stronger our emotional response will be. Our thoughts and emotions feed each other: The thought charges the emotion and the emotion in turn feeds the thought. Have you noticed that when you’re unhappy, for instance, you tend to doubt everything? When you are happy, on the other hand, you trust that everything will work out?
Although we experience a wide range of emotions, we can trace them all back to one of two roots: love or fear. Fear-based emotions are created by ego-mind while emotions rooted in love, arise out of Self.
Self expresses itself through love
The kind of love that comes from Self, is unbounded, expansive and all-embracing. It opens up, flows out, lets go and sets free. In this state, our body relaxes, and we experience a friendly, open environment. We take intuitive action and find that our intentions synchronistically fulfil themselves. Intuitive guidance often comes to us through our somatic feelings. These are different from emotions, because we can’t explain them rationally. They well up from the subconscoius as messages from Self. Examples are gut feel, a heavy heart, a sinister foreboding or just knowing that things will turn out fine.
Ego-Mind expresses itself through fear
Ego will deny that it operates from fear. It thinks that it, too, can love, but in relationships, its love is possessive, clingy and marked with power struggles. It can’t truly love, because fear makes it jealous and greedy. It denies change or movement. In this state, our sense of Self constricts and results in a tight, constricted body. With a fearful outlook, we experience our environment as hostile and insecure as we struggle to get it to co-operate with our intent.
When I am caught up in fear, I get tunnel vision. I hold on like a bulldog. The more I try to regain control over my life in this way, the less I accomplish. Fear shrinks my life bit by bit as negativity, cynicism, envy and loneliness grow. Furthermore, I don’t have anything to show for all my mental-emotional activity. Others don’t know what I’m going through because it all happens in my mind.
‘Fears are sights unseen and sounds unheard. They make up a private world that cannot be shared. They are meaningful only to their maker. In the world of fear, we walk alone, because only we, their creator, can perceive them. We populate this world with people and experiences from our past. They are not based on reality since they are merely perceptions created by our reactions.’ — Course in Miracles
Fears might also come disguised as rational reasons why something can’t be done or as a feeling that other people are blocking our success. We need to understand that we create our own beliefs and behaviours. These become scripts, which we inflexibly hold to, often to keep our anxieties at bay. They range from neurotic habits to philosophical ideals. Our scripts resist rational debate and we may find ourselves caught up in irrational power struggles just to keep them intact.
Emotions affect the body
Under normal circumstances, an emotion has a short lifespan. On the same day I can feel down in the dumps and then completely centred and content. Sometimes, however, fear can survive in us for weeks on end. It becomes free-floating anxiety or hostility, arising from a constant undercurrent of tension. It’s a slow-burning internal fire which keeps the fight-or-flight response mobilized. This state is not without physical repercussions:
Our various emotions produce a wide array of chemicals in our bodies. Fear releases chemicals that make our body tense up and respond as if the feared were actually happening. No wonder that following the meanderings of my mind is so draining. I feel completely exhausted after a day of Ego-mind in the driver’s seat.
Illness comes in various forms, but at its core, it is simply the weakest link in the body giving in as a result of stress. Chronic fear or anger cause physical symptoms of weakness, fatigue and lethargy because the body is continually mobilized for a fight or flight that doesn’t happen. Sustained long enough, this state makes us sick. If we remove that stress from the body, it heals itself.
Thoughts and emotions are incredibly powerful when it comes to our health. Our bodies are the products of our thoughts right down to cellular level. Our thoughts are constantly re-assembling, re-organizing and re-creating our bodies. This can happen very quickly because some cells renew every day. If we hold the thought that we are getting old and our body is giving up, we are, and it will. If we have an illness and focus on it and talk about it constantly, we are creating more disease cells. If we visualize health, on the other hand, our happier thoughts lead to a healthier body.
Purely by changing our perception, we re-write our body’s chemistry.