Thinking Creates Feeling
Every time I feel bad about myself, someone else or something else, I feel it in my body and it doesn’t feel good. For instance, when someone I dated for six years broke up with me for the third and final time, I thought no one would ever love me again. I felt defeated, useless and hopeless. The deep-rooted pain of those thoughts resonated through every cell of my body. My stomach was upset, my legs were weak and my head hurt. I was tired and I lost my motivation for everything except walking the dogs. But, through my pain and suffering I realized something that set me on a course of continual life changes that would bring me closer to reality and closer to love; it was only my thoughts creating my physical discomfort, nothing else. That led me to the even greater realization that I don’t have to participate in those thoughts. They can play in my mind without me ever getting involved with them. Your life changes drastically when you are no longer a slave to what you think. That’s been my experience.
Beliefs create thoughts and thoughts create feelings. Our foundation belief, the one we were all taught when we were growing up and one that is reinforced in our mind throughout our lifetime is, “I’m not good enough.” Our thoughts about ourselves mirror this belief as we often tend to think things that are not supportive or loving towards us. Below are some examples of the kinds of thoughts that arise from this belief; so many of us think the same things about ourselves.
- Everyone else always wins.
- I’ll never meet a nice person to date.
- Everyone else understands it. Why can’t I get it?
- She never has anything go wrong in her life. Why is my life so messed up compared to hers?
- I’m so stupid.
- I’m too fat.
- I’m not young enough.
- I’m not pretty enough.
- No matter what I do, it’s never enough.
With such beliefs and thoughts as our foundation for how we see ourselves and the world, we fight an uphill battle in order to be good enough and to see others the same way. But, the battle isn’t necessary because the belief is a lie. We have been tricked into thinking we are less than or lacking in many ways, but that is simply not true. There is nothing wrong with any of us no matter how much evidence our mind wants to show us to the contrary.
When we are open to the truth about our beliefs, we have the opportunity to uncover them and the accompanying thoughts and emotions. We can do this by listening to our body, by checking how we feel inside and paying attention to what hurts. This is one way we can see how our thoughts affect us physically. This is an important step in releasing what needs to be released in order to heal all parts of our lives.
Your Body Feels Your Thoughts
Thoughts release electro-chemical signals in the brain and those signals are what we feel in our body. It is often called the body-mind connection or psychoneuroimmunology. It has also been shown that particular thoughts tend to settle in certain places within the body. For example, emotions such as anger are tied to heart disease as our “fight or flight response” is quickly activated and stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, are released speeding up your heart rate and your breathing, giving you a burst of energy. Blood pressure also rises as your blood vessels constrict. With continual constriction, plaque build-up can occur – not a good situation for the heart.
The bodily responses to anger are the same bodily responses that occur when you think that Black Bear is going to have you for dinner. But, most of us aren’t being attacked by Black Bear; we are just reacting to our own thoughts of inadequacy. So, it’s important to understand that when you blow a gasket over your partner’s late work night and your sister’s oversight inviting you for a girl’s night out and your mother’s poor eating habits all in the same day, you could be setting yourself up for heart disease.
The same is true for resentment, judgment, guilt and blame. All thoughts and emotions associated with the Big 5, as I call them, test the resources of your body, often to the point of failure. Many people suffer from digestive issues, back pain, leg pain, headaches and more. The next time you get angry or are on the blaming bandwagon, take note of how your body feels. Which parts of your body are affected?
This mind-body connection is a key to healing what ails us, but we don’t focus on this much when we have a physical illness, though that is changing with books like You Can Heal Your Life (Hay House 1984) by Louise Hay and Your Body Speaks Your Mind (Sounds True, April 2006) by Deb Shapiro. It is true that doctors today know that stress lowers the immune system, but I’m talking about a deep review of limiting beliefs that create the thoughts and emotions that lead to physical illness. With this level of awareness and inspection, we allow limiting beliefs to bubble to the surface. This is where we begin to see our truth. Would we dare to look?
Just as thoughts can hurt us, they can also heal us. Thoughts that arise from love release completely different electro-chemical signals in the body. Notice how your body feels when you are happy, joyful, peaceful or laughing. The more you practice listening to your thoughts and being aware of how your body feels, the easier it will become. In time, you will understand this sacred connection. Awareness of the mind-body connection creates the space for something other than thoughts to arise and that something is truth. Truth is the same as self-love.
Opportunity for Healing
It is easy to blame your partner for saying something that made you feel angry, sad, insecure or unloved. But, the truth is, you are merely reacting to your belief about yourself – the belief that you are not good enough. All reactions that invoke the Big 5 are always about you and what you think about you. In this state of mind, when your partner is busy, you might think they aren’t acting lovingly toward you. Your mind may take that and tell you they must be having an affair, that they aren’t attracted to you anymore or that everything else is more important than you. But, these are all just thoughts. Your mind took a situation and added the lack filter to it that then made you unhappy, afraid, angry, resentful and so on.
The awareness of this is not so you blame yourself or feel bad, as if you are hurting yourself with your thoughts. That is just more thinking .¨ more mind. The awareness is merely to see the connection between your beliefs, thoughts, emotions and physical discomforts. This creates space that can provide healing from the way we have been taught to think. The other major opportunity here is to realize that we don’t love ourselves due to our training. Many of us don’t realize we don’t love ourselves so this may be a lot to take in, but if you observe your thoughts about yourself or you feel the discomfort in the body, you can gain a sense of this connection. This brings the awareness of your beliefs and thoughts to the surface where they can be examined and transformed. The examination is up to you; the transformation is not. Transformation happens in the way that provides you with the most meaningful experience. The mind is not in control of this -your divine nature, or your true self, is.
So now what? Nothing. There is nothing to do. There is only awareness. The rest will take care of itself. The important point is to understand that your thoughts affect your health. You can experience this by being aware of how your body feels and then examining the thoughts that are happening simultaneously or you can observe your thoughts and become aware of how they make your body feel. Whatever works for you is all that matters .¨ there is no right or wrong.
We have to realize that our thoughts create emergencies and critical problems that don’t deserve the level of attention and adrenaline we give to them. The anger, resentment and other similar reactive emotions are based on our fears about ourselves. Nothing is really wrong. Nothing is truly lacking. The result of this awareness is a space between thoughts and the reality of love – the reality that you are not lacking anything. This is where self-love has the opportunity to arise so you can now experience that. This is where healing happens.