Eric's Sunday Sermon; Welcome to the Wonderful World of Feelings
Somethings just do not care about your feelings.
Feelings are messy
If we could get rid of feelings the world would be a much simpler place. There we said it right to begin with and right up front. Make no mistake about it and have no qualms as to the truth of this matter. Feelings complicate and make messy every single aspect of human life. Feelings make a round peg square just as we are about to insert it into a round hole. Feelings cause delay and the unplanned expenditure of all of our energy. Feelings create an atmosphere where pure logic is not the king of the day. Feelings are a free radical and unpredictable and impossible to anticipate with any certainty. It would be very easy to get down and out nasty mean about feelings. That is of course if we did not have any feelings.
We can all envision the tyrannical boss or coach yelling at us that he just does not give a darn about our feelings. We can just see the caricature of the drill sergeant pounding into us mamsy pamsies to check our feelings at the door because we have a job to do and there ain’t no room for feelings on the battle field of war. And sadly we can see the soccer coach “dad” demanding of his child to stop crying and get his head in the game.
Oh my, how many relationships have been ruined or stressed out by our inability to communicate in a positive way about our feelings. Yes both the speaking and the listening side of communication are woefully lacking in their ability to make understood, feelings. And the absolute worst is when a linear thinking “scientific” type guy is internally confronted with his feelings. There just isn’t any common ground.
So why is this sermon entitled “The Wonderful World of Feelings”? Let us take a spiritual look at feelings and show them a little appreciation.
Well we just had to put this song in here and it is pretty. But it gives me a strange feeling.
Hmmm? Probably happy that someone is giving him their full attention.
Just imagine for a moment
We see people all the time that are engrossed in their work. We think nothing of it if a person makes a living "being a". What would you think of someone who spent all their time studying feelings? Other than a lunatic and poor, what would you call them?
Developing a manner of talking about feelings.
“Feelings are not emotions”. Personally I think that that statement has a lot of holes in it. The point in placing it here though is to thought evoke. If we look at feelings and emotions as different for a moment it helps guide us in understanding the nature of both. Feelings are organic and a part of our very soul. Emotions are learned responses to external stimuli. Let us let that simmer in our brains for a moment and come back to it.
Death and feelings or is it death and emotions? Probably quite distinguishably both. A good man recently wrote an article about the death of a quail and dovetailed that poignant moment into a questioning and heightening our awareness of the value of all life. In his wonderful writing style he bemoaned the loss of a small animal and let us see an inside view of how it affected him. In reading the article one could feel the raw sadness that a loss of life in something can cause. The article can be found here: http://billybuc.hubpages.com/hub/A-Quail-Died-Yesterday-A-Moment-with-Bill-Reflection#comment-16504443 At the moment of reading it we were working on an article about dealing with death. The article had such an impact that we realized we must first review the notions of feelings before being able to rightly tackle death. Death is merely an example here to give us a point of relation.
Back to our delineating between feelings and emotions. In experiencing the death of another, we encounter both feelings and emotions. Through a long history passed from generation to generation we have come to an understanding that when the biological rhythm of blood coursing through our veins and electrical impulses firing in our brains ceases there is death. And indeed this is a normal way to think of death and living. But here is the hard part to grasp; the resulting response of sadness is simply taught to us. Yes we are just conditioned to feel sad about a biological death of a being. Some are taught this about humans only, others about humans and animals and even some that are taught this about humans, animals and plants. Do not go out and tell everyone but yours truly was taught to mourn the passing of trees. Yes I sometimes cry at wildfires and the cutting down of trees.
But how we feel about it may be far more a part of who we are.
What to do about this reality?
Really interesting song. It seems a little funny to make millions of dollars off a song about happiness.
A beautiful design on a tomb located longitudinally near a battleground known as Hamburger Hill.
Know what you have learned
As is often the case around here we are forced to take a hard look at matters we adults take for granted or just assume. You see we have a little one at five years old. Daily we are confronted with the dual issues of “why” in the immediate and in shaping a young person for the rest of his life. So these issues are not just passing fancies or fads to consider but life forming. Around here, right or wrong, appreciation for all life forms will be taught. Our traditional learned behavior of sadness over the loss of life will be ingrained. But it will not stop there.
In this crazy whacked out microcosm of the earth we call home we will also speak of and have some understanding of soul. In that understanding will be a belief and knowledge that the soul exists, is not made and cannot die. There will be a grasp of the matter that the soul resides in a host of biological form. That the most perfect of these forms is human, although it is far from perfect. And that the death of the biological host is by no means the death of the soul and that that soul is entrusted to God who is perfection.
We will by no means in anyway try to stamp out emotions. They exist and the best we can do is try to pastor them unto greener pastures. Live it, feel it, be it, experience it and learn from it. Be genuine in our emotions. Know them. And above all appreciate them and respect them in others.
Now upward and onward to feelings.
Feelings are the epitome of nature verses nurture.
Let us jump right in with the issue at hand. Feelings are a part of who we are. They encompass and entwine the biological and the soulful. Feelings are OK to have. Feelings are good to have. Everyone has feelings. We do not believe God set out to make mistakes and God included feelings in our makeup. So let us get on board and go with the flow and embrace our feelings. Think of feelings in an “if this then that” mode. In very base terms we can relate to: If I feel hungry I look for and eat food. If I feel fearful I runaway or fight away. (or as is sadly and too often the case, I misread my feelings of fear and direct my attention in the negative someplace else – another issue)
Now about that issue with death. Why would we have feelings about the natural organic cessation of biological functioning? Certainly in a primal setting of hunter or hunted we could envision a sense of relief and gladness that our prey or would be killer is dead. But in our realistically enlightened stage why would we have feelings about lifeblood ceasing? Here is a suggestion. We simply do not have a feeling about it. The closest we could come would be if we had a natural fundamental feeling of acquisition. In other words, a premise that supports the idea that accumulation of persons, places and things is integrated between our souls and our bodies. It does not sound very nice. To put it more frankly; we have a feeling of loss when something dies in the natural. So is fear of loss a natural feeling? Sorry but it just is not. It is raw emotion to suffer sadness at the passing of something. It is purely taught. We are taught from birth to “have”. Our sadness is at the loss of some “thing” that we held precious. That is why we can mourn the loss of a bird that we know and not the loss of a human life on the other side of the world. When you break it down like that it leaves us with an empty feeling. It just creates a void where once we thought there was something real. Hold on now there is good news.
The beauty of creation
Welcome to the Wonderful World of Feelings
The logical, practical, linear scientific mind is left in a quandary if it feels a loss and sadness at the passing of the life force from within a living creature. That mind or that part of all our minds is done for in our grieving scenario. It just makes no sense to feel sadness of the leaving of biological life. But wait just a gall darned moment here. It is real and we really feel it! And do not tell us that our feelings are not valid. Welcome again and come on in and take your shoes off and get comfy in my world. In my world of the spiritual there are vast and endless “justifications” for your feelings of loss. In our biological sharing of time and space we are one. Completely one with every living creature. And most certainly one with all humans who share our likeness and sameness in perspective. In a world where we recognize a spirit within all living creatures great and small there is real reason to mourn the passing of one spirit from our realm. It takes away from us a bit of our spiritual life blood.
We have a wonderful saying in our walk within the world of unadulterated feelings. “There is good news and bad news. First, the bad news; you feel everything more. Second, the good news; you feel everything more.”
Let us wrap this bad boy sermon up.
Today we hope that you do not walk away fulfilled. How nice it is to leave someone with a conclusion of sorts. But today it is better that you leave with a questioning in your heart. Let us reflect and get past our knee jerk taught emotional reactions.How about we stop and actually feel our uneasiness. Let us look inside and come to some understanding with ourselves as to what we truly feel and not just plaster a crack over and move on quickly. Here it is not written to create understanding, it is created for you to write your own understanding.
As is my want on such a glorious Sunday day let me leave you with a prayer. Thank you Lord Creator for my feelings. Let your spirit guide me to become a better steward of such a marvelous gift. Let me appreciate the feelings in both myself and in others as you would have me do. Amen.