Relearning Experience: to resolve emotional problems
Extracts from Relearning Experience
Feelings motivate action
On the idea of the unconscious as mind
Now imagine thoughts that have no thinker and no author . . . What would produce unconscious thoughts? Where would they reside? What would give them existence as thoughts (rather than simply brain processes)? Conscious thoughts occur in consciousness; the thought itself doesn’t occur as a physical activity in the brain (even though a corresponding physical activity does occur in the brain). An ‘unconscious mind’ would have thoughts that occur nowhere in space, that no one is aware of, and that have no author.
The attempt to suppress feelings
The feelings of the body – whether emotional feelings or strictly physical feelings – are important messages. You can use drugs, food, addictions, distractions of all sorts to try to stifle or overcome the body’s messages, but none of these efforts will succeed.
On feelings and emotions
But if we speak more technically, more precisely, the feeling is the physical counterpart or somatic aspect of the emotion. The emotion exists as a phenomenon distinct from the feeling. The feeling is physical; the emotion is something else. Just as a thought is not a physical object but has a physical counterpart in the brain, so emotion is not a physical phenomenon but has a physical counterpart in the body. Brain process and thought; physical feeling and emotion – these are connected events but occurring at different levels.
You feel something in your body and you wonder what you could be feeling. Something has happened. You consider what it is you should feel or would expect to feel in response to this occurrence. You decide that you’d expect to be feeling anger, sadness, or some other emotion. Therefore, you conclude, that emotion is what you must be feeling . . . But thinking and feeling are different realms. Reasoning is a cerebral activity; thinking is something you do in your head. Emotions are not in the head: they relate to feelings which take place in the body. Thinking is the wrong way to determine what you’re feeling.