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Thursday, February 14, 2013
This post is for anyone feeling the sadness of a loss of a relationship, but it is also for anyone dealing with the feeling of sadness in general. Sadness and the feeling of loss are connected to depression, so this may also be helpful if you are tending toward depression due to a feeling of aloneness that is accompanied by sadness. There are some techniques for dealing with sadness that successfully dimension it and actually use it as a gateway to self-awareness. We talk about these in this blog post.
We thoroughly look at the anatomy of emotional feelings in our book What’s Behind Your Belly Button? and give a new twist to the understanding of these emotions as having a combination of a feeling component coming from the gut feeling of emptiness (generally not fullness as needs satisfaction brings intuitive knowing rather than emotion) and a thinking component coming from the thinking brain. If we experience an emotion like sadness, we can be sure that our thinking brain (CSN) and our gut brain (ENS) are at odds with each other and not communicating completely, although they are certainly trying to do so. We need to separate them further so we can identify what each is saying to us, and that will allow us to bring in some fresh information about ourselves that will set the course of a natural unity of body-mind. In simpler terms, we have to center on how we are feeling emotionally and allow ourselves to look at both the thinking part of this emotion and the purely gut feeling part, then trace the source of those in our understanding of the impact of our experience.
Generally we found in using the Somatic Reflection Process with people who were experiencing sadness and loss, that the sadness was related to a past experience in which they assumed some guilt for the loss, blaming themselves. The sadness that we encountered in the hundreds of people we counseled was found in somatic reflection to be largely related to a feeling of guilt. The feeling of guilt is the same feeling of emptiness whether a person has taken on the thinking judgment that they did or did not do something particular that caused or contributed to their loss or whether they took on the judgment that they were too small and inadequate, unprepared, ill-informed, not-good enough or unaware to act in a manner that would have avoided the loss.
Often, when we ask people for the first time if they can see a relationship to their feeling of sadness to the feeling of guilt, they think we mean something they have done wrong, for which they will say “no”. But once they examine their feelings, they see their sadness has a thinking component of how they think they were “not powerful enough or good enough” and this identity of a “less than” feeling or guilt opens a door of perception up. It is much easier to deal with one’s guilt from the past and find the source of the judgments that we have put upon ourselves (generally back in early childhood where we originally accepted judgments from authorities or others who did not understand how we felt inside) than it is to deal with a profound feeling of sadness and loss for which we have no control or think simply relates to some event in recent times or adulthood. Generally, our adult romantic losses trigger feelings unresolved from earlier life and are even set up to happen because we have not cleared our understanding of ourselves in this earlier event. It does take quite a bit of reflecting on the impact of life upon you, your gut feelings, to reassess your past and understand that you are perfectly human, caring in your instincts., and always have been caring. But until we do find our caring and loving nature inside, we will not feel we deserve love and happiness, and that is our biggest loss.
We often find that people write us and say that they have a breakthrough as they read the dialogues and discussions in Chapter 3 and generally this is a profound feeling experience in which they find some peace and self-acceptance, and sadness and aloneness begins to shift toward hope and a feeling of soundness and peace inside. Here is a short excerpt from Chapter 3 of What’s Behind Your Belly Button? on the "Anatomy of Feelings". This excerpt introduces the dialogues of authentic sessions of the Somatic Reflection Process:
“People commonly experience the awareness of feelings as a combination of logic and feeling rather than a purely instinctive gut feeling of necessity. The inner instinctive feeling is surely there but our conscious awareness is so distracted toward the outside situation through our senses that the instinctive human feelings are available to us only in a combined form with some outside authoritative thinking we have accepted. In contrast to the purely instinctive somatic feelings of the human organism, this type of common feeling experience or level of feeling consciousness may be called psychosomatic feeling.”
“We experience the psychosomatic level of feeling to be allied with our attachments to outside authority. In situations where we are conscious of the importance of what other’s think or how we perform, we become aware that our basic feelings are set side-by-side with the logic of the external authority in the situation and we tend to judge our position in terms of that outside view. Invariably, we come up short and lose in that comparison. We experience the tendency of the logic to judge this type of feeling position to be weak and unreliable. The weakness seems to be related to the logical compromise of our instinctive feelings. Compromised feelings are inevitably unreliable because in such a situation we find we are strung-out away from ourselves. From the point of view of the Self, we find in reflecting on what is important to us that it was the logic system that we accepted that were unreliable. We find it always unreliable to accept outside principles that do not satisfy the instinctual feelings when we apply them to our inner needs.”
“It is helpful to remember that if the feeling is named—fear, hostility, guilt, jealousy, joy, sadness, etc.—it is not a basic instinctive feeling since the act of naming by the logic system attaches the feeling to an outside judgment even though it is related to emptiness or fullness on the inside of us. And it is the inner instinctive feelings with which we need to deal not the outside person, situation or thing with which the named feeling is associated. Often the outside situation is not even a real factor with which we can deal. We can project on a host of fantasies in the outside world while the real problem lies deep in our inner instinctive feelings of necessity.”
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Saturday, February 9, 2013
Was Religion Invented By the Thinking Mind to Try to Make Sense of Gut Feeling and Gut Instinct? An Exploration of the Theory of "God Is In the Gut"!
There are those who have said for some time that "God" speaks through the gut, the most natural part of us that can not be altered by the thinking brain. And now according to an article in Huffington Post on February 8, 2013, Nicolas Baumard of the University of Pennsylvania and Pascal Boyer of Washington University in St. Louis have added something new to the mix in an article to be published soon in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science that theorizes that religious beliefs are a result of the thinking brain trying to explain gut feelings that are expressed in intuitive thought.
From what Huffington Post's author Wray Herbert has written, it may be that Baumard and Boyer have come across the same thing that we have discovered in our work, that religion has historically been fortified by one of our instinctual needs for a gut feeling experience of “connectedness” or acceptance. But our understanding through over 40 years of counseling experience with people reflecting on their gut feelings, is that religion at present does not completely explain the entire gut feeling experience and often sees gut instinct as disruptive to society. While it may care about the gut instinctual need for acceptance (connection), religion seems to have left out the gut instinctive need for freedom (a sense of control of one’s own responses to life). As you may have read in our previous blog posts, we found that the gut feeling expresses both of these needs and that we need them in balance—the need for acceptance (connectedness and attention) and the need for freedom (control of one’s own responses).
Perhaps what Baumard and Boyer are seeing is that we humans have historically needed to find a way to feel safe and connected and have undoubtedly been willing to give up our freedom needs and accept religious doctrine in order to experience this feeling of safety, containment, and acceptance. We could say, then, that it was what we needed most at the time, although not completely satisfying but one of the two of our instinctive needs at least met, and perhaps the one most pressing at the time for survival. And this may explain why so many people feel that religion now leaves us empty and scratching our heads. This may be an indication that we need a new image of humanity, a new belief system that encompasses our need for freedom as well as it does our need for acceptance.
Gut feelings are not thoughts, they are purely feelings of emptiness or fullness in the body—specifically in the gut (ENS) or region called the Hara—and are a gauge as to how well our instinctive needs of acceptance (attention) and freedom (control of our own responses to life) are being met or not met, moment to moment. It is the thinking brain (the CNS) that comes up with religious thought. And we can see in a glimpse of history that religious beliefs have often in the past been contrived to control people from having a sense of individuality and to the advantage of someone or group outside of the individual person. These religious thoughts or beliefs are generally external to the understanding of the needs of the individual human being. Gut feelings always reflect the instinctive needs of the human being, while religious thought often will drown out our awareness of our gut feelings and needs in favor of following a doctrine.
An important question here is, did the CNS come up with religious thought and beliefs to explain gut feeling and gut instinct (the ENS) or did it invent religious belief to control instinct? Or perhaps both are true? Is this invention of religious beliefs a natural and common pattern of the CNS, an evolution of mind with further steps ahead? Is this an unnatural turn in human events that has been invented by only a few in history and then followed by billions, or is that also a natural step, with another step ahead that will be comprised of less following and more individual expression? Are we getting to the point in history where we as a humanity are questioning these past “inventions of religious thought” and through somatic reflection on our inner truth are seeing a need for change? Are we now ready to accept a new image of humanity that embraces the entire Human gut instincts, both for our needs of acceptance and freedom, and thus explains and helps us understand our connection to the universe in ways that feel more truly Human and increases benevolent evolution? You will find in reading our book, What's Behind Your Belly Button? that we both think it is time for a new image of humanity, and we have outlined exactly how the Gut Brain figures into the equation of who we are as human beings with a caring nature.
We try in each blog to give a brief excerpt from our book, “What’s Behind Your Belly Button? A Psychological Perspective of the Intelligence of Human Nature and Gut Instinct”. We thought you might find this excerpt particularly relevant to the discussion of the invention of religion and gut instinct.
An Excerpt from Chapter 9 of What’s Behind Your Belly Button? A Psychological Perspective of the Intelligence of Human Nature and Gut Instinct:
“The entire process of human inspired events seems to take place and have a lasting value when there is something seeming to benefit the inner needs of the organism. When there is support from both ‘houses’ then there is furnished energy of motion, confidence of purpose in the intended result, and movement towards the objectives.
“We can intuit the gradual emergence of the power of change of inner human need, control and acceptance, overpowering the external controls of feudal control. The two-brain image established by human nature has, up until now, lay partially hidden from its own understanding, subject to interpretation by external imaginations and external judgments. In the past, the external awareness of the possessor and observer alike accepted the presence of something internal existed but it didn’t fit the ideas of external control. There existed something internal to all human beings that could be externally disruptive yet supportive, good yet evil, indifferent yet loving, dependable yet unreliable, certain yet unsure. It seems clear that this mystery became the prudence of the action of Charlemagne to incorporate the early Christian movement into the Roman Empire and form the Roman Catholic Church (RCC). The sequence of events that followed were understood and projected primarily as progress of intelligent adaptation to the environments, providing major contributions in wide ranging endeavors to existing cultures in Western Europe (printing, literature, art, science, philosophy, religion, etc.).”
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