Monday, July 9, 2018

The ocean of feeling

From a series of notes to myself written during May 2018.

This morning, I'm thinking about the extraordinary number of blessings that flow into life every given day.

The emotional part of ourselves, which usually doesn't develop very much, but simply mills around in the same place, has the capacity to develop a much greater sensitivity to our lives.

It can develop real feeling, which is a different kind of emotional state than my ordinary reactions to things. I'd like to speak a little bit about real feeling to try and help explain the difference between my regular emotions and my feelings.

Regular emotions are superficial. They have an enormous power, but what they do is seesaw back and forth on the surface of things. It’s like the difference between the ocean and the surface of the ocean. The surface of the ocean forms a layer which, even under the most violently windswept circumstances, is barely 100 feet or so deep; that is, from the peak of the waves to their troughs.

Yet underneath all of this action on the surface lie vast depths that have infinitely more latent power. This force far exceeds anything that takes place on the surface, where we can see it.

The forces within the depths of our emotive ocean move vast quantities of water and provide a habitat for untold numbers of creatures. Feeling is what lies beneath the surface of the ocean, the bottom 99% that isn't seen. It makes a meager  impression on us, and is rarely contemplated. We spend so much time on the surface, surfing the waves and enjoying the view, that we forget what makes that surface possible — and that is the body of inward Being that is contained under the surface of the ocean of feeling.

This body of inward Being is connected to what’s called feeling.

Feeling has the capacity to see life with an intelligence that transcends the intelligence of the body or the mind. It is capable—at its best—of perceiving The Perfection. The Perfection is sublime; and the seeing of it is a privilege, not a guarantee, or even an aim which one can work towards. Seeing The Perfection is never an aim because it is God's Grace granted only after we have worked hard enough, made enough ordinary efforts—suffered enough—to be deemed worthy in His eyes. In any event, all of real feeling is connected to Grace, because the emotional center, if it ever develops an organic feeling of Being, has the ability to perceive the sacred in a way that no other part can do.

In order to explain this better, perhaps I should explain the function of each of the parts more accurately, so that one better understands what one is ”observing“ —why one is observing it, even— and what the results of that observation might be if our observation were very precise and very sensitive and very intimate.

In our work, we frequently talk about the fact that the “organic sensation of Being” is an aim. This is not a subjective condition. The organic sensation of Being is a living sensation of Being—an intelligence— that arises in the molecular vibration of our cells. It’s not under our supervision; and one can't magically make it happen. When it arrives and manifests, it indicates an awakening of the intelligence of the body, which then becomes a permanent factor in life.

This faculty is important because it is objective — it has the capacity to think” independently without the interference of the intellectual or the feeling mind. It has a special role all its own—and if it is allowed to its own work, the work that it does has an unusually powerful effect on what is called objective reason. It’s objective because it does not perceive based on associations or opinions; nor does it perceive based on feelings. It perceives based on truth; that is, when we play our role as the pupil in the eye of God, the truth that flows in flows first into sensation, as objective fact.

The mind has its own organic form of thinking. But right now I want to speak a bit more about the organic feeling of Being, because feeling, unlike thinking or sensation, is the part that’s the closest to the sacred, and has the unique and powerful ability of being able to perceive it directly, without any impediment.


Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

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