My dear friends...
In What God Wants, we are told about "the Tool of Tools," a two-layer mechanism for dealing with life that can change everything in your personal experience overnight.
The Tool of Tools is a two-step process bringing an individual to a place of mastery. It all has to do with how a person handles her or his feelings.
What God Wants tells us that "The first level of mastery is to consciously decide how you choose to feel about a certain thing. The second level of mastery is to consciously decide how you choose to express any feeling you are having, whether you chose that feeling deliberately or not."
The point that What God Wants seeks to make, perhaps more forcefully and more explicitly than any of the other CwG books, is that feelings and emotions are two entirely different things--and that both can be controlled.
Many people--perhaps most--go through their lives believing and experiencing that feelings are things that simply come over them. They are, basically, reactions to the events around us. In the minds of most people, feelings and emotions are pretty much the same thing. What God Wants, however, tells us that a feeling "is simply a thought that you hold about something."
An emotion, on the other hand, is "an eruption, an emergence, an expressing of that thought in a particular way."
Emotions make thoughts real by putting them into action. Emotions are "out-picturings" in physicality of an inner idea that exists only in the non-physical. Emotion is energy in motion (e + motion). It is what you do with the feelings you have.
Often we "display our emotions." That is, the body does stuff (we jump for joy!) which telegraphs to the world what we are feeling. There's a very soft difference here, I know. To me it seems that an "emotion" is what our mind then tells the body to do about what we feel. We "feel" a thing, and then get "all emotional." That is, full of Energy in Motion.
Feelings are always true. Emotions can sometimes be deceiving. A person standing across the street, watching another person cry, has no idea what's going on. He does not know what the second person is feeling (it could be sadness, relief, or joy), only that the second person is being "very emotional about it." So feelings are our deepest truth. Emotions are the mental and physical manifestations of feelings after the mind gets through with its endless (and rapid) analysis of them.
The mind doesn't know a darn thing about feelings. Only the heart does. The mind thinks it knows, of course, and so comes up with all sorts of responses. Some of them are actually in accordance with our true feelings. Some are not.
At moments of great decision and choice in our lives, it would benefit us to therefore go deep inside and look at our True Feelings. Therein is our truth--not in our Emotions.
Now the wonderful news here is that we can go past simply looking at our true feelings. We can decide ahead of time what we want them to be.
This is difficult for many people to believe, but this is exactly what masters do. It is the first level of mastery.
What God Wants makes the point that there are really very few things that we are experiencing for the first time. Very few situations are really first-time situations. Most moments in our lives are replays of moments we have experienced before. The astute student of life sees this--and understands the power that this give us.
If we do not like the way we reacted that last time a particular situation occurred, we can now decide ahead of time how we are going to react the next time something similar to it happens. This takes a lot of mental discipline, but it can be done.
May I offer one example? I have a lot of trouble with patience in my life. It is apparently a lesson I have brought myself to this lifetime to learn. And many times in my life, when I have lost my patience I have said or done things that I wish, later, that I'd not said or done.
Now, I have learned how to notice when I am losing my patience. And I have made a decision ahead of time that the next time I lose my patience I am not going to act as I have often acted before. This is called, in the truest sense of the word, reacting. It is a re-enactment of what I did the last time I was at this place.
Deciding ahead of time how I am going to feel the next time I begin to experience my patience being tested has made a huge difference to me in my life. I have got a long way to go on this one before I can announce that I've got it licked, but I also want to give myself high marks for making very good progress. And that is just a small example of what I mean when I talk about picking out a feeling ahead of time. Now, when I see a situation arising that would ordinarily begin to try my patience, I choose quite deliberately to feel peaceful and calm. And a surprising amount of the time, it works!
The second step to mastery is learning to control our emotions. That is, the out-picturing of whatever it is that we are feeling. I have learned how to out-picture anger in a much better way than I used to. There are things that I simply no longer choose to put into physicality, even though I may be angry.
Learning to "come from choice" in the experiencing and expressing of feelings and emotions is the stuff that mastery is made of. I hope you will have a chance to read the section of What God Wants that is devoted to this.
Because it is time now for all of us to make our move toward mastery. We cannot wait much longer. The world requires a new level of understanding and expression of what it means to be human if we are to find peace and harmony in our time.
This is a critical moment for our species, individually and collectively. We cannot continue to interact with each other and with the world as we have been. Our behaviors must change--and mastery of our feelings and emotions is at the heart of that challenge.
© 2019 ReCreation Foundation - http://www.cwg.org - Neale Donald Walsch is a modern day spiritual messenger whose words continue to touch the world in profound ways. His With God series of books has been translated into 27 languages, touching millions of lives and inspiring important changes in their day-to-day lives.