The topmost area of the mind is the area of conscious thought. Thoughts arise in our awareness like bubbles. Many thoughts carry a feeling or a series of feelings along with them e.g. the thought at a restaurant – ‘I love how that pizza looks’, could be accompanied by feelings of hunger, or greed, or happiness, or yearning (longing) or anticipated satisfaction.
The fact offered by spirituality and supported by experiences of many people who are spiritual is that feelings, as well as thoughts, originate from the soul.
Feelings are clearly reflected in the form of physical changes in our body: I may feel my heart beat fast with excitement, my mouth salivate with joy, my stomach sink with fear, my hands shiver or goose pimples on my arms with nervousness, etc. This is because the soul and body are interconnected and work in complementary ways, so that what goes on in the soul is definitely reflected in the body, and what goes on in the body is reflected in the soul. The degree to which both these processes happen in each individual is different. It’s not that feelings arise out of nothing, or merely as a reaction to external stimulation by people, objects, nature, etc. Thoughts are followed by feelings. So we can understand that both of them arise from the soul. Recognizing this is an important step if I want to break free from cycles of unwanted or unsuitable thoughts and feelings.
The longer I experience thoughts and feelings of a particular variety, the greater is the soul’s inclination to generate those feelings. This can reach the point where feelings take over, and I experience their impact even though they are no longer consciously connected them with my thoughts e.g. my office colleague has done something incorrect without taking my opinion, and there’s a series of negative thoughts running through my mind, such as ‘Why did she do like this? It shouldn’t have happened like this. How dare she! Why on earth didn’t she consult me? I do wish she wouldn’t be so unreasonable. It would have been much better if the task had been done like that’, etc. Bring over thoughts of this type in my mind leaves me with a negative feeling – a feeling which is critical, nasty and rejecting.
What is worse, when I have let feelings like this emerge; it is very easy to carry them over into circumstances where they have no relevance e.g. it is the evening time now – I have left my office to go home, and in my mind I am now occupied with thoughts related to my children and groceries that I have to buy to on the way back, but the unpleasant, critical feelings for the colleague are still with me to the extent that they affect my behavior. I react over some minor issue with the grocery store keeper, creating bad feeling in him as well. Or, the other way round, I carry bad feelings due to an argument at home, with my wife, into my office, and then create an atmosphere of irritation in the office instead of comfort and warmth.