Emotions aren’t the boss of you

Originally published at the normality factor. You can comment here or there.

I know I was going to continue talking about Mark Morford’s fictitious baby and how the studies on the inherent ineffectiveness of antidepressants make me feel incredibly vindicated, but I really need to talk about this first:

One of the great debates about the path to mental health and good decision making is to try to strike some kind of a balance between the mental and emotional sides of the self.  On one hand, the intellectual mind alleges to provide purely logical, objective thought processes, whereas the heart provides motivation and intuitive guidance.  Which way to go?  Which way, which way?

Normally, it’s not that big of a deal, but sometimes the heart and head do not agree, and then it’s a matter who “which one is right”.

I’m not going to tell you the answer to that because it’s more important to understand what these “head” and “heart” things really are – and what they aren’t.

In particular, I tend to think that we anthropomorphize our inner workings as much as we anthropomorphize our external world. (And if someone tries to tell you that they don’t anthropomorphize external things, listen to them the next time their car breaks down or their computer starts acting up.)  We compulsively want to be fair with the two major parts of ourselves, but the mistake that we make is trying to view them as equals to our Selves rather than as what they truly are:  merely advisors or, to put it another way, tools.

Emotions and intellect are really the tools in your toolbox of coping and dealing with the material plane. The “true” you is the spiritual being who chose to take on a material existence for a time for the purpose of learning and refining what you are in the ultimate spiritual essence.  You are connected with this body and with these tools so that you can experience the world because, let’s face it, without that, we’d be as ghosts unable to truly interact with this plane.  A little esoteric?  Yeah, it can be, but it’s still valid.

Intellectual conceptualization is, by human nature, only as perfect as the original thought-forms that shaped it.  That means that you can only be as “right” as the information that you receive and you can only be as “right” as the validity of the method you have learned with which to process that information.  In other words, the old programmer axiom of “GIGO” (garbage in, garbage out) applies more to humans than to any machine we’ve ever created, especially considering that our intellectual existence is also influenced by our emotional side.

And the emotional side, too, has a “GIGO” potential, but it can be more dangerous to let that “garbage” hang around because we often relate to this emotional side better.  It is more experiential, more volatile, which seems at first to serve the “experience the material realm” directive best.  This is not entirely true, though.  (And don’t fall for the idea that emotions are not influenced by the intellect – how often have you tried to “reason out” of being mad at someone or rationalized why you weren’t really being that abused?)

Think of these things – the emotions, for starters – purely and only as inanimate tools.  They are pliers and screwdrivers and hammers.  They cannot make us do anything, we must choose to pick them up and do something with them.  This is an important understanding because without it, you are letting your monkey wrench drive.  It can’t reach the pedals or see over the steering wheel very well, so why are you going let it call the shots?!

Often, the biggest challenge to our growth process is that this “garbage” – both on the intellectual side and the emotional side – skew and obscure the lens through which the spirit experiences the world.  Intellect and emotion live in what we will call for right now the psyche – and this includes the ego and the subconscious and however other many levels you want to describe – but the part that sorts it all out, the element of free will and choice, that is the essence of the spirit, the True Self.

If the True Self cannot see the world accurately because of all of the damage done and traumas and smudges and the chips, then it cannot exercise its choice effectively.  It cannot do its job of learning and refining, and this is why we work so hard to clean up the mess, to heal and become whole people.

So, think of your healing path in part as cleaning up your tools.  Rub the rust off the hammer, make sure the screwdriver handle is wrapped well, put a little oil in the pliers.  Make the numbers on the tape measure readable, keep your bolts well-organized, and whatever you do, never

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