Emotions

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How much do you think about your emotions? –whether it’s happy or feeling blessed, or any other emotion.  Pause for a minute and take a checkpoint:  pay attention to the emotion you are feeling right now.  Are you anxious? Bored? Concentrating? Curious? Exhausted? Happy? Indifferent? Interested? Optimistic? Puzzled? Satisfied? Thoughtful?  Did you know that “emotions are primarily non-conscious processes”?  They may be mostly non-conscious, but “[emotions] create a state of readiness for action, for ‘motion,’ disposing us to behave in particular ways within the environment.” (Dr. Daniel Siegel, The Developing Mind page 157, loc 3685 “Nonconscious and Conscious Emotion”) So coincidence or not that the next sentence in Psalm 1 includes three verbs:  walk, stand, and sit?

How do we walk or stand or sit without deciding to walk or stand or sit?  The science of emotion tells us, “we may have non-conscious ‘gut reactions’ that profoundly influence our decision-making processes without our awareness of their impact.” (Dr. Daniel Siegel, The Developing Mind page 161, loc 3773 “Nonconscious and Conscious Emotion”) So I guess we can walk, stand, or sit without really being aware of why we are doing what we’re doing – like when we mindlessly follow a crowd; or when we find ourselves participating in gossip without really planning to; or when we get angry with our children because they’ve pushed one of our “hot” buttons; or when we take responsibility for a problem that we didn’t create because we want to fix the problem or help the person who created the problem avoid the discomfort that the problem causes.  Psalm 1 describes different paths that are available to us in life.  Becoming aware of our emotions helps us to choose the path that we take, rather than mindlessly taking a path only to discover that we aren’t very happy about where it leads.

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