At the center of my work is the discovery that the natural functioning of the feeling mind supports our thriving, always. In the feeling mind’s natural state, uncomfortable feelings arise to bring our attention to unmet needs. When we meet those needs, the discomfort subsides and we feel good again.
In our culture, however, rules often override a sensitivity to feeling. (It’s one of the prices we’ve paid for growing beyond tribes into widespread collectives.) Whether the rules come from a religious text, scientific theory, community norms, or the latest internet guru, we push messy feeling to the side and lean on crisp, organized protocol.
But there’s a cost to this shift. When rules override feeling and underlying needs go unmet, feeling goes underground. Suppressed feelings grow stronger over time as unmet needs become chronic deficits. When we edge too closely to a situation triggering those needs, the now-amplified feeling states roar into the foreground and take over.
We suffer because the intensity of feeling seems out of proportion to the actual situation. So we redouble our efforts, working harder to regain control and expanding our repertoire to include unhealthy strategies like distraction, addiction, and oppression of others. It’s a vicious cycle, and no matter how earnestly we try to rise above the pattern, it takes us down, over and over again.