Thoughts and Feelings

by Anna

I had an interesting group discussion yesterday about the origin of our thoughts and feelings. Where do they come from? What are they? And, which of them comes first?
Feelings are clearly an emotional response and can even cause physical sensations. For example, we get a tight throat when we are sad and might even begin to cry. So where did this feeling come from? And was it based on a thought we had? When someone suddenly unloads their anger on us, how does that make us feel? Possibly pretty horrified. I ask you to imagine this situation and see what you think you do first: do you first feel anger, sadness, frustration etc. or do you begin to form words in your head and then get an emotional response?

How big a part do cultural conditioning and innate responses play? There are cultures where feelings are suppressed or not expressed at all. In fact every culture has a different way to show how they feel and might even feel offended by someone from a different background who isn’t accustomed to their particular cultural habits. If we were conditioned from birth onwards to behave a certain way, we probably will for the rest of our life unless something makes us question ourselves.
And on top of it all: how much do hormones influence our feelings? Certainly very much if you as a lady suffer from your monthly mood swing or as for males if they “feel love is in the air” as in the need to spread their semen in the wake of humanity. And there is also the common fight and flight response which is triggered by adrenaline rushing through our blood. In a pretty dire situation, do we think what to do next, or do we just do what we feel is right?

Feelings are definitely influenced by thoughts. This is where the power of positive thought comes in. We can think ourselves to whoever we want to be. If you believe to be of no worth, you are likely not a big achiever. “The world is my oyster”, as Shakespeare proclaimed, meaning: the world is yours whatever you make of it.
Many practice a conscious behaviour, hiding their feelings, controlling them with their thoughts. This is tremendously unhealthy and is definitely advised against if you want to lead a fulfilling life. Don’t pretend, be genuine and honest to yourself!

So, what is a thought? Where does it originate? Does it really just “pop” into your head?
Anxieties can “pop” up just as quickly. Do they follow a thought? I have often experienced on my own the subtle onset of a panic attack without a clear visual clue. Was it just a random thought that set it off? Or is there something hidden soo deeply in my unconscious mind that I don’t even realise when something triggers it? And why does the anxiety spread onto other issues that have nothing at all to do with the original cause of the anxiety?

I don’t want to suggest that thoughts come from an undefined higher source, but then I know from my practice with subtle energy healing that “energy follows thought“. Thoughts are clearly just an energetic impulse that fires through our brain from synapse to synapse like a squirrel jumps from tree to tree. And on its way it triggers certain points of resonance in our brain that give us the sensation of an emotional response. The thought that is, not the squirrel!

Feelings are not just emotional though. How do you feel when you accidentally come in contact with a hot oven? Yes, you feel emotional, but most of all you feel actual physical pain, which can be indulged in another time… However, I read once that we have similar or the same cells in our gut as we have in our brain – so we technically think with our gut when we follow the famous gut feeling.

Neither of us in the group came to a definite answer of the origin of thoughts and feelings.
I am intrigued to hear your input!

Food for thought: Do you think in pictures or words?