Do we own our feelings?

We speak, we analyse, we judge, we compare. We talk about others and ourselves. We step on other people’s feet, we talk about them or their actions and we offend, hurt and upset. Is it really us that does the hurting??? Is it really us that is causing the problems when we talk and question others or their things?


I toned down my voice. I do not criticise, I inquire instead. I do not question the person, I question the action instead. Yet I still manage to cause upset, hurt, pain or confusion. What else can I do if anything??? I can shut the hell up of course, but I am curious or maybe I even care…

It appears we identify so much with our feelings, traits and actions that we treat them like a skin and anyone who even look at them will cause us to become upset. “Hey! Do not dare to criticise MY actions, it is MINE, I OWN IT, it is part of ME!!!” That is how we look at these issues. Is there another way? Not on a theoretical level, but on an experiential???

For argument’s sake let’s sit still and just observe. Observe the arising of our feelings. Instead of saying and internalising “I’m angry or upset” just acknowledge the feeling and distance or detach ourselves from it. Does it make any difference? The feeling does not change, only our reaction to it or our lack of reaction to it. Keep observing the feeling and over time realise that it changes: its intensity will be different and eventually it will pass away. Interesting…

So if we are just an observer of feelings, sensation and the like. What will change? Will we become so detached that we will not be able to have feelings? Or will it give us a chance to more objectively be aware of what’s going on? For example if we see an act of cruelty and instead of reacting to it and in the process ending up hurting someone else, act with a cool head and a warm heart.We will still be able to act, just not as a slave to our feelings and reactions. That is freedom.

Can we simply stand still while the tornado of rage whirl around us? Without getting sucked up into it, just stand and allow it to pass. Once it’s gone we are still there. Let’s put this to test. Someone criticises what we have done. Realise that it had happened and there is nothing we can do to change it. Realise that it may not have been what we intended. Realise that what we are hearing is merely a different point of view. Now take a deep breath and notice that you are still alive. Cool, isn’t it?

So in what situations can you imagine yourself using this approach?

(If you feel like some background music while you are pondering then try the Tornado of Souls from Dave Mustaine and his symphonic orchestra)