Are emotions a choice?

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From what I understand, emotions are our responses to events, but response is a choice. However, when I'm in the moment, I don't feel like emotions are a choice, but more like a result. I don't feel like I am choosing emotions out of a spectrum of emotions or that I can conjure an emotion at will. So, my question is what are emotions really?  Are they a choice, a result, both, or what?

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You need more finely grained distinctions to solve this question.

Emotion as a change of the internal state is usually not a deliberate choice. You can talk yourself into feeling something, by remembering past experience, or imagining a probable outcome, but they usually work autonomously. Emotions in this mode carry information about the relationship between the self and external circumstances (whether the circumstances are beneficial, or not). When they act this way, they are very close to the core of my being and if I don't make space and inspect this information, I will give in in to them and let them guide my behavior. Sometimes, this is the correct way, sometimes, it is not, and it is up to the individual to decide on a per-context basis.

More often than not, the choice in "how you feel" lies between the involuntary change of the internal state, and how you react in response to this change. Usually, we do not question whether the anger is in response to the actual circumstances, or in response to our story about it (and how it influences our desired outcomes). Sometimes, you can aikido the story and actually feel less angry. Sometimes, you need to talk to somebody about it to see that it is your own limited perspective about the matter. Sometimes, you should be angry and fight for yourself.  Sometimes, however, emotions arise because the situation is similar to a past event that you have not processed properly and your psyche regresses to that event to "refresh" it. It takes some skill to identify these triggers as they happen and process the trauma that they are influenced by.

In my experience, the more I inspect the root causes of emotions, the better I know myself and more willing I am to listen to them, as opposed to giving in to them. In my experience, emotions are never arbitrary, or stupid, but rather, coming from deep nooks and crannies of me that I rarely look into. They are a mode of intelligence that is not to be underestimated.

Bearing with the conditioned in gentleness, fording the river with resolution, not neglecting what is distant, not regarding one's companions; thus one may manage to walk in the middle. H11L2

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Rather than looking at them as a response to an event, look at them as guidance about your interpretation of an event. In thought we have the illusion that there is separation, we remember the past, we plan for the future, we create time and stories of choice and destiny. Feeling is always now. You can think of the a time that you felt an emotion or fear an emotion being felt in the future, but the only time you can really feel emotion is now, and the only emotions in your direct experience are actually far different from what we think them to be.

However, with thought we can resist the emotion and the resistance to what is actually pure feeling actually creates the negative emotions, but because we are stuck in thought we attribute the bad feeling not to our resistance but as a response to an event. This is how I feel about that.  This is living in though, living in duality.

Again, the emotion is not a response to the event, it is our response to the thought about or interpretation of the event. Is it in line with Self or our illusory self? Beliefs or thoughts we've held for a very long time and keep thinking have a momentum and so they are widely "behind" our interpretation of events, yet only can be seen through now as feeling (light of Awareness) is now. This is why you say emotions seem like a result, because they seem to be a reaction to a pattern that's going on. We seem to be stuck in this pattern, it's our personal matrix. It says we should suffer in this way because there's a good reason, maybe we're bad or someone else is bad and so we are justified in our blame or shame or worry. But you can always stop, go into the direct experience of feeling and feel what the emotion is really made of. At all times it's loving you, guiding you.

Long held beliefs can't stand in this light of now, open, loving awareness very long. This is where true repression of emotions ends. The emotion is finally allowed to be fully felt and understood. It turned out that the mind thought it knew what repression was. xD It's so funny.

We use thought to create. It separates and combines things, it's the tool for creation. It also can be a tool for destruction as all creation requires this action of separation. If you make a collage, you first separate the colored paper into shapes before you can combine them to make something entirely new. If you use your scissors to cut your finger instead of the paper, it hurts. Emotion acts to guide you not to create against yourSelf. This is how emotion actually is guidance of our thoughts. Emotion is neither thought nor feeling, it's almost something in between, somewhere where they meet, if you will, really an unknowable mystery unto itself. It is when we pass off emotion AS thought and not the direct experience of feeling that we lose, forget, repress or misconstrue the true power of the guidance. 


My Youtube Channel- Light on Earth “We dance round in a ring and suppose, but the Secret sits in the middle and knows.”― Robert Frost

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Perhaps, this question also ties with the awareness/choice dilemma.

The fact that you are not aware of making a choice does not mean that there weren't any.
Sometimes, our environment (parents) choose our responses by raising us and instilling schemas within our behavior. In this sense, emotions are choices that were made for us.

Practically speaking, the best we can do is to choose our responses to them, or stop feeding these schemas if they are unhelpful.

Edited by tsuki

Bearing with the conditioned in gentleness, fording the river with resolution, not neglecting what is distant, not regarding one's companions; thus one may manage to walk in the middle. H11L2

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2 hours ago, AleksM said:

Are they a choice, a result, both, or what?

Emotions are internal signals that tell you that there is some incongruence with external reality. 

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Emotions are E + Motion. Energy in motion. A flow of consciousness. When training the quality of your consciousness you gain a certain degree of control over your emotions and can use the tool of experience to match feeling with external events and circumstances.

When just beginning the path, it can seem like it is just reactions but in reality ALL is choice. It's a matter of inner connectedness to the spiritual transformation.

The resultant is To Go Meta on reactive response and automatically choose the emotion which leads you to awakening in a more serene way.

"I believe you are more afraid of condemning me to the stake than for me to receive your cruel and disproportionate punishment."

- Giordano Bruno, Campo de' Fiori, Rome, Italy. February 17th, 1600.

Cosmic pluralist, mathematician and poet.

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10 hours ago, AleksM said:

my question is what are emotions really?  Are they a choice, a result, both, or what?

Here are a few thoughts shared by the Entity “Seth” through Jane Roberts, and recorded by Robert Butts, that may help open new perspective on “Thoughts and Emotions”!.

—TES3 Session 123 January 20, 1965

I would like to speak on some of the topics that were discussed in our last session. If you recall, I said that thoughts and also emotions existed as electric actions, and once initiated are then in independent existence. That is, they are actualities apart and independent from their point of subjective origin.


They are brought into existence in a subjective manner, but they then are independent action, and as such may continue to exist in duration within the physical field, according to their original electric potential. In turn these thoughts or emotions, as electric actions, can affect other actions; and influence patterns can be set up, and are set up. The subjective habits of individuals are largely responsible for their own attractions to various types of such electric actions, and here indeed like attracts like.


Various emotional factors within each personality cause what we may call a characteristic emotional climate. Certain types of thoughts and emotions are entertained therein. Since these are electrical actions, they set up strong electrical fields of attraction within the personality, easy electric paths. Uncharacteristic thoughts or emotions must then meet with some resistance. Habit, then, has not only a psychological, but an electrical and psychological nature and implication.


It will be easier (i.e., there will be less resistance; put that in parentheses) for a given individual to accept certain ideas or emotions therefore, and more difficult for him to accept certain others. I have spoken about fields and systems. While no system is closed, each system has at its furthest reaches sufficient resistance to form sufficient-enough boundaries, so that its own identity is retained.


So does the personality, through negative charges, cause boundaries to be set about its own emotional system. It will accept most readily those thoughts and emotions, or electric actions, which attract it, which have a similarity to its own charged emotional climate; and it will have greater resistance to those which have the greatest dissimilarities. It is, therefore, most advantageous to study well those thoughts and emotions which are habitually accepted by any given personality.


The emotional climate, though intangible, is intimately known by each individual as it exists within himself, and it is the best indication of his physical condition, for thoughts and emotions as independent electrical actions have great influence directly upon the physical mechanism, acting indeed as electric storms which flash through the entire nervous system; or as great stabilizers as the case may be, and with of course many middle varieities of influence.


Thought and emotion then, is not only generally related to the physical mechanism, but as electrical actions, thoughts and emotions act directly upon the system. Again here you see, however, that it is the individual himself who initiates his own emotional climate, and then suffers or enjoys the results.


We must go much further into this particular subject. Nevertheless it must be clearly understood that thoughts and emotions are actualities in themselves, that directly work upon the physical mechanism. Any thought or emotion is bound to directly affect the physical body. Because thoughts and emotions, as electrical actualities, are independent from their subjective point of origin, a given thought or emotion, initiated by an individual, may be rejected by him and cast out. If the thought or emotion is similar to those usually accepted, then this will take time, for new electrical patterns must be set up. But an idea, thought or emotion so rejected still has independent actuality, and may be attracted to the emotional climate of another.


Many psychological intangibles, including dreams, have such an electric reality, and do exist as electric actions. They are to be reckoned with. The connections between the emotional climate and physical health have never been clearly understood, because emotions were not known to have such electrical reality. They were not known to directly affect the system. More is understood as far as the chemical relationships here.


Its manifestations are greatly concentrated, and its patterns attract mass, but in different terms in the electric field. There is, therefore, a similarity existing between an individual’s dreams and thoughts and emotions and physical condition at any given time. The mind, as separate from the brain, the mind exists purely and simply in the electric system or field, and does not project itself directly into the physical field although its effects appear within it.


Each thought or emotion exists then as electric action within the mind. The action is transformed and translated, and is sent to the brain where its effects directly are felt, and the brain then initiates reactions. Thoughts and emotions then, being independent however, are not bounded by or held within the physical body. The physical barriers of skin, for example, the physical limitations of that structure, do not exist and are not recognized by thoughts or emotions. They recognize only electrical systems.


Every individual is pelted, so to speak, with numberless such electrical actions constantly. He accepts only those where mutual attraction exists, and is usually not aware of their possible origin outside of his own system. The fact that thoughts and emotions have an actuality outside of the subjective sense may appear appalling to some. Unless the fact is accepted, however, the human physical structure will never be understood.


Positive and negative thinking is more than a turn of phrase. Dimensions do indeed exist within this electrical field of which I have spoken, and it should be understood that I speak of an independent electrical field, and not of the weak, apparent electrical effects that can be observed within the brain or nervous system. The electrical reality of emotions and thoughts represents a thought dimension that has been completely neglected; and in it there are other dimensions; as within your field there is apparent space and time and height and thickness, so in the electrical system there is intensity and what I will call space reality, electrical mass and potentiality, which is different from intensity and polarity."

Just a few thoughts that Seth Shared back in 1965 with Jane and Robert, which can be found in "The Seth Material" sessions.


Edited by TDLH

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