A Consciousness of Feeling

A Consciousness of Feeling

Evolution is a work in progress, and no one says you can't help it along a bit. In fact, many people do. When a person fights for what is right, sacrifices his or her time and effort to further a worthy cause, teaches children how to read and write and love each other, or devotes time in meditation or a quest for a deeper understanding, then that person pushes evolution forward, and I am pretty sure that has its own reward. What's interesting to me is the way evolution prioritizes.

First, there is the matter of matter. I have no idea about the actual process and I am glad I am not alone, but perhaps, once scientists have smashed enough particles, we will have some notion of how it all came to pass. As it is, matter is still being produced, which makes me wonder if the cosmos is getting heavier or if it is just manipulating particles that were already in existence. Okay, that's enough. I'll happily leave those questions to my brainier brothers and sisters.

Anyway, once the material part of the job was ready to support the next step, life came along, first as single-cell amoebas (if I remember my biology lessons), and then a bit more complex; mammals, fish, birds, insects, and fairly recently, human beings.

Now, I am not knocking those early prototypes, but I believe they were pretty darn stupid. Pretty much no brain to speak of, but the potential was there. So Mother Nature started fine-tuning, something she does quite well, and pretty soon, one of those Neanderthals made fire and the process continued. If my information is correct, human beings today are a mixture of Neanderthals and Homo sapiens, and whatever else came around, (based on DNA research). No doubt that is why some of us are more advanced than others (tongue in cheek).

Today, looking around, I get the impression that evolution made a lot of progress. I mean, here I am, typing on a laptop that picks information out of the ether, my iPhone next to me in case someone, somewhere on this planet wants to talk to me, and so forth. So congratulations y'all, we are constantly improving, and those scary apocalyptic movies aside, I see no reason why we wouldn't continue to do so for a long time to come, depending on how optimistic or pessimistic you are. But the future essentially does what it has always done: move forward.

My issue is this: There is no denying that we have greatly improved our physical bodies and we have made, perhaps, even more progress in the brain/mind area ... but what about the ability to feel?

Most people think that feelings (emotions and such) are part of the mind, but I don't think that's the case, or at least, I think that there is a lot more to it. When you are overcome by feelings, good or bad, you don't feel them in your head. You feel them in your "heart." In a previous blog I explained that the "heart" has become a nickname for what could be called your "consciousness of feeling." It's nothing more than your awareness of 1) the fact that you are feeling something, 2) what it is that you are feeling, and 3) what it means or how you should deal with it. It's a process very similar to thinking; there's a subject or a question, followed by a logical train of thought (or so we hope), and then a conclusion. The same is the case when you feel; first there is a source, something that produces that feeling, then an understanding and/or evaluation, which is then followed by an action of some kind in response to that feeling.

And this is where I would like evolution to hurry it up a bit. After all, if we become more capable of feeling, evaluating, and responding, we would quickly reduce the amount of negative feelings (pain, hunger, anger, greed, hate, etc.), and work very hard at promoting positive feelings (love, empathy, generosity, gratitude, and so forth). After all, when we have "good" feelings, we are happy. When we have "bad" feelings, we are miserable, and last time I looked, most of us would prefer to be happy.

I know, I am simplifying things a bit. But consider how most of us have difficulty grappling with our feelings, and no one expects us not to. It's an accepted fact that feelings are confusing, vague and yet powerful, difficult to locate and yet hard to escape, and so forth. The truth is that we are at a total loss when it comes to feelings. My older brother, a psychologist with a sizeable practice in a country where people are supposed to be "sober and down-to-earth" (Holland), is himself at times an emotional wreck.

In my opinion, our consciousness of feeling is about as under-developed as our brains were 100,000 years ago. Compared to the progress of our body and our brains, when it comes to the heart, we are way behind. And as a result, we have no qualms going to war, we stuff ourselves while others starve, buy thousand-dollar shoes when others have to go barefoot, say insensitive things to people we love, and on and on, the list is endless. There is no shortage of food or anything else on this planet; it's just a matter of proper distribution -- a piece of cake if we set our minds to it. The technology to keep this globe clean and livable exists. Our ability to solve problems is excellent and improving every day. The only thing missing to make this planet into a utopian place of peace and harmony and happiness, is the will. And so, there you have it, if we were more advanced in the area of the heart, if we had a better developed consciousness of feeling, we wouldn't have all those problems. The heart would be properly touched by whatever problems befall whomever; we would gather our resources without delay and take care of it. Fixing things is easy; don't let anyone tell you otherwise. The only obstacle, always and without exception, is the will. And the will springs from feelings, and we just don't get it.

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