By Dr. Barnes Boffey
In trying to be someone who lives a genuinely happy and fulfilling life, I have found some help in understanding the differences between feelings, emotions and intuition. They are not all the same. I have more control over some and less control over others. Part of the difficulty in maintaining our mental health in this society is the way these words are used interchangeably and often inaccurately.
Feelings are impulses – sensations of energy and indicators of our system’s awareness of a perceived reality as we become aware of it. A feeling is almost indescribable except in terms of intensity; once we begin to name it we are into the area of emotions. Feelings are like electrical impulses that accompany awareness.
Let’s use an example. I come home after work looking forward to seeing my new puppy who I left in the cage when I left. I open the door and see a torn up pillow on the floor. Seeing that pillow, I experience a feeling that something is wrong. It can be like being punched in the gut or just having a wave of sensation run through me, but the feeling accompanies the fact that I am now aware that something is wrong.
After we have a feeling, we begin to try to explain, describe or understand the phenomenon we are now aware of and we “tell ourselves a story” about what we perceive. The story we tell ourselves is what will determine our emotion. Our emotions are our own creations, dependent on the way we explain and perceive the phenomenon about which we are having feelings. As people, we generally have little control over our feelings and a great deal of control over our emotions.
In the case of the puppy, our emotion will depend on our “story.” “That damn puppy..”- anger; or “Looks like I got away easy, just a pillow”- gratitude; or “Great.. finally a good excuse to get a new couch” – happy. The likelihood is that we will tell
a mix of stories and experience a mix of emotions, but we can always track an emotion back to a story. We create the story- we thereby create an accompanying emotion.
Intuition is the complex series of sensations we experience which indicate our connection to/relationship with/and awareness of a indefinable power in the universe. This universal power has an energy which can guide, instruct, support and assist each of us. A big determinant of our ability to access that energy and power is our ability to connect with it. Intuition is the channel through which we make that connection. The more we open up to the events and experiences that are part of the universal energy, the greater becomes our intuition.
This topic is obviously bigger than one blog’s worth, but beginning to understand what we are experiencing and why can help us make better and more accurate choices.