Maybe you’ve mapped a few feeling states of your own. Maybe you’ve tried asking the mapping questions of someone else to see how it worked for them. Early in your journey you may find yourself wondering: Do we all feel a particular feeling or emotion in the same way? For example, will my map of Sadness be similar to your map of Sadness? Are these maps universal, the same for all people, and can we develop a standardized map of the feeling mind based on these universal maps for each distinct emotion?
That’s a great question. Take a moment to reflect. What are your expectations about this? Do you expect, as the cliché goes, that we’re all the same inside, and that if I’m feeling sad, it feels pretty much the same to me as it does to you when you’re feeling sad? What do you think such a universal map of sadness might look like?
Over the remainder of this post, and a second installment tomorrow, you will find over 20 different varieties of Sadness taken from my files. As you read through them, “try them on” to see if you can empathize with what the person was feeling when they made their unique map. How similar or different is each one from what you tend to experience when you’re feeling sad?
In my chest/torso; black; these dark places, one big one on my heart, these distinct, stationary places, and from those places there is an oozing down; thick fluid, “blood tar,” constant oozing, down about four inches from each place; comes in waves of intensity, heavier and more concentrated in the center of my chest; warm, like the temperature of freshly killed prey; sound of me bawling. (Also, there are tears.)
It wants to be held. When I get there I just want to be held. I am very sad. Could be for any number of reasons. I just want to be comforted, specifically held or touched.
Larger than my body, maybe about a yard out in all directions and filling me completely. Like dark, dark mud, heavy, soft, sagging. Hot. Salty. Slightly gritty, not fully hydrated. Weighing down. Sounds of quiet, private sobbing, many voices, echoing distantly.
This is wrong. So much pain. So much suffering. So much unnecessary pain and suffering. Completely unnecessary. It hurts.
About the pain and separation of this life. Generally very weak, a soft cloud in and around my whole body, emphasis on upper body, gray, moist, like Seattle overcast, still, a little heavy; can become much darker, with movement and precipitation of tears throughout, heavier.
I may never get to experience the full joy that is possible in this life, because everyone is so damaged, and I am alone.
Coming from outside, energy folding in around my heart, coming around my whole head and upper body, coming from outside and coming to just exist inside me. Energy; neutral temp; white and blue and gray, transparent, wispy; a feeling of resignation, it comes in from the outside and folds in, from all sides. Sound of a sigh, my voice.
It’s a feeling of futility, spent energy, can’t sustain itself. It all comes collapsing back in. I have always had this incredible awareness of how finite life is. Not a fear of dying young, but even if I live for 90 or 100 years, it will end. This futility of existence. Which I’ve come to terms with by learning to live and enjoy the moment.
Very, very quiet. Like a deep, deep pool of warm, very dark water. Dark, dark brown. Very deep, down into me, seemingly with no bottom. No movement, very still. Sound perhaps of an occasional drip into water, as if in a deep cave, with an echo. Through my torso, about eight inches diameter, vertical, bottom crossing dimensions under my solar plexus so it doesn’t go into my physical lower belly.
I am lost and sad. Forever.
In my chest, all the way down. Further than body. Expands wider at the bottom. Like a heavy energy. Cold. Transparent. Flowing and pulling downward. Originates from my heart. Sound of the faucet drizzling when it’s not turned off right. Swirls inward, and then shoots downward.
Nothing’s ever going to be the right way. All hope is lost. Usually sad about the future, or what’s happening in my life at the moment (which impacts the future).
Whole torso and head, larger about 6 inches all around; heavy; like dense felt; dark gray, blue, black; very dense, dry but as if it is soaked with water; very warm; no movement; sound is minimal crying.
Feeling sorry for myself, feeling alone, like I don’t matter enough for anyone to support, nourish, give to me. An emptiness.
Thick, black liquid, very thick, very black, opaque, dull surface. In my heart, weighing down. It can pour downward from my heart into my whole body including hands and feet. Makes me want to sleep. Movement is that slow pouring downward, no recovery to it. Sound is indistinct, a low moan with an echo perhaps. Warm.
I am sad. I am permanently separated from any satisfying participation in human endeavor. I am forever an outsider, forever unable to belong, forever alone. I will always be an outsider.
Stomach. Hot. Rising or growing if I let it out. Like a solid liquid, a solid that could move and expand like a liquid might. Red or orange or pink. No sound.
I can’t bear it. I can’t bear the loss, the pain. Some sense of losing myself.
There’s a funny kind of cascade down my front, over my belly, and it scoops back in around. More like mud than anything else. Feels like it’s on the outside, but then it scoops in and under my stomach. Kind of warm – balmy. Black. The motion of it makes me think of what a mudslide might sound like. Starts at collarbone, wide enough to kind of cover my arms. Scooping around a good, solid ball of my belly, a power center in my belly (another state). Maybe the sadness is just like shrouding that. Feels like it just goes out the back, away. I don’t know where it’s coming from.
I’ve been being witness to a lot of the yucky parts of people. Seeing ways that maintaining classroom order brings out the worst in the teacher; seeing the kids being defeated and apathetic. It’s sad seeing that. But it ties in with my daughter talking about not wanting to go to school; she’s bored, wants to do something meaningful. Tied to this fucked up system. So hard to find alternatives without removing yourself completely from the system. It’s sad. The whole rat race thing. It just feels like toiling.
Sad and Alone
Heart, small; solid, hard, dense, but it radiates energy, a white-blue glow; a blue, metallic sphere, baseball size; opaque; cool; it’s just hovering; humming, like an electrical hum. It’s kind of contained. It’s its own entity. It’s important that it’s inorganic.
A heart sense; sadness and grief; if it’s a bigger issue, it’s not so much sad and alone but that I’m sad and I’m just one person. I am separate and isolated.