Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Feelings

Feelings are slippery things. Do they mean anything? Are they worth consideration? Do we have anything else?

As a test, poll a room full of people about the temperature in the room. The more people, the better. You'll probably find that their feelings about about the temperature will fall out in three areas: about 1/3 will feel it's too hot; about 1/3 will feel it's too cold; and the final 1/3 will feel it's just right. The actual temperature doesn't matter, but how people feel about it does. To them.

This dichotomy between the truth and what we feel is the truth is present in all areas of experience. Or, rather, interferes with experience. We rarely actually experience reality, but construct ways to make it fit our feelings.

Another amusing test is to get on a crowded elevator and, politely, non threateningly, face the rear of the car rather than the front. Don't make eye contact, or compose you face in any way that may be thought aggressive. I guarantee that most of the people in the elevator will will feel very uncomfortable. Possibly to the extent that will get off the elevator.

So what does this have to do with us as Freemasons?

Well, everything we see and hear, everyone we meet, and every lesson we're taught is filtered by how we feel. We bring a boatload of stuff into each conversation These feelings influence what we see and hear. This affects our relationships and friendships, and even if we want to enter into friendship, and they even affect our floor and ritual work. We may feel unable to learn so much; we may feel that this guy is too old or too young to be teaching us; we may even feel jealous of those in office.

Feelings may be powerful and scary, but they are a paper tiger, like a hoop a football team runs through to open some games. They are convincingly printed, but they are only a couple of microns thick. We can break through them when they are obviously holding us back. Freemasonry is about continual progress. I suggest that we should develop tools to help us recognize feelings that are interfering with our progress, and with our relationships, and deal with them responsibly. This is not to say all feelings are bad, but that we should be aware of them, and where they fit in our lives. It's part of our growth and progress.

Do we have anything else? Yes. There is reality out there. Can we access it? Of course. Sometimes you just have to sit with reality like a brick in your lap. Each experience will bring up feelings, and we have only to sit there and notice our reaction to it. Experience the feeling, and it's power will be reduced.

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This blog is the thoughts of a Freemason. It's not affiliated with any Masonic body, and doesn't speak for Freemasonry in any sense of the word. My purpose is to raise questions, not dictate answers. If you read this blog, please comment; please subscribe, so we can look for answers to these questions together.