If you have been raised in church or spent a longer time as a member of some sort of church, then I am sure you have been told not to trust your feelings. I was certainly told time and time again that feelings are a roller coaster, they come and go and cannot be trusted.
It is not strange that this is our teaching as we live in a society that prizes the mind over everything else. We have bodies and hearts but it is in the mind that we live and exist.
“Cogito ergo sum”, I think therefore I am. We repeat Descarte’s mantra over and over again and shut the lid tighter on the container that holds our hearts and all our feelings.
However in our sacred text we read “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Prov 4.23 NRSV) We have long put the mind on a pedestal and shoved our hearts and feelings as deep and as far away that we can manage. Rationality has almost become our religion. We cling to dogma and doctrine and we practice apologetics like it was our life saver or saviour. The Bible has become our source for proof texting and so it is our idol. Some say that we, in the evangelical stream of Christianity, have made the Bible a fourth member of our trinity. We have gone so far as to actually teach that the heart is wicked and deceitful (Jer 17.9)and therefore needs to have a very short leash, while the mind is being glorified and relied on fully.
If we look at the portrait the sacred text show us of the divine, god is not primarily a thinking god. Do a search in your bible program and compare how many times you can find that “god thought” compared to how many times you can find “god felt.”
Our god is primarily a feeling god, a god of compassion, our fellow sufferer, who chose to feel what it was like to be human and suffer with a suffering humanity. If god is our role model then maybe we also need to unlock the strong box we have locked away our heart and feelings and carefully coax our abused and frightened heart back into the forefront.
We have been told that it is weak to be emotional or feeling, probably because when we feel deeply and show it we remind others that they have feelings that they are trying so hard not to feel.
To feel is to be vulnerable. To believe vulnerability is weakness is to believe that feeling is weakness. To foreclose on our emotional life out of a fear that the costs will be too high is to walk away from the very thing that gives purpose and meaning to living. (Brené Brown, Daring Greatly)
We need to bring back (and sometimes revive) our emotional bodies. It is not only ok to feel, it is essential. If we are to find our true selves, it is not our mind but our feelings that will guide the way, if we are to find our way to the divine source it is our deep longings and desires that will open the gates and find the paths.
Your feelings are always true, when you feel anger, you are angry. Sometimes you are all confused and deceived by your mind as to why and sometimes your mind serves you the most incredible stories and reasons, but whatever the reason it does not change the fact that you are angry. Acknowledge the anger, move the energy and let it pass and it will clear a path in your emotional body that will make way for other feelings like joy, pleasure and bliss.
Renowned shame and vulnerability scholar Brené Brown tells us that we cannot mute emotions selectively. If you suppress anger, anxiety and pain you also limit your ability to feel joy, pleasure and bliss.
Do you want more joy in your life? Do you want more pleasure and bliss? Then you must allow yourself to feel and feel deeply. There is a treasure hidden there in your heart, your heart already knows and loves both yourself and the divine. It is there in the tangle of feelings and emotions that you will find the door to the divine source. There is a reason we keep saying that we are to invite Jesus into our hearts …. that is where the truth lives.
We are not going to get anywhere until we start trusting what is within us. You are afraid and doubt what lies deep within you, but what lies deep within you is your salvation and the salvation of the world. (Jim Palmer, Inner Anarchy)
So let us start listening to our feelings, honour and acknowledge them, they are not dangerous or unreliable, your heart will not lead you astray but rather follow your heart and you will finally find your way home where your true self and the divine are waiting with open arms to greet you.