Feelings that have an emotional content are another matter entirely, and confuse many people because they can seem to create heaven and hell. Argument and love get entangled again and again, and there seems to be no way through to the peaceful times. Our feelings and emotions keep disturbing the tranquility. It is this aspect of ourselves, this subtle and usually unconscious layer, that needs to be brought into the awareness. Awareness of the body and of the thoughts are the first two steps. This is relatively easy compared to the third step, awareness of our shifting moods, swings in temperament, and complex emotions.
Although the words “emotion” and “feeling” are used interchangeably, this is a common (…and potentially highly destabilizing and destructive… – Cribb interjection) mistake.
Feelings are an expression of what is happening now, consciously in the present moment, and emotions are an unconscious expression from the past, something that has already happened. Feelings are conscious while emotions operate on an unconscious level. Feelings are expressed freshly and innocently, while with emotion the expression is avoided, repressed, or delayed, and when finally expressed is often overwhelming, destructive, or unkind. Emotions like to blame and say “you always… it is your fault…while feelings take responsibility and say “I feel” or “I need”. Feelings strengthen the heart while emotions harden the ego. Feelings bring you closer to the one you love while emotions separate you. It is clear that feelings and emotions have very different qualities, and give us almost opposing experiences of reality. Through our feelings we expand our energy, we feel light and energized. We feel closer to the one we love and supported by life. Through emotions we are contracted and tense, experiencing heaviness, hopelessness, and pain. It is exhausting. We feel separated from the world and outcast by the one we love.
The Heart of Tantric Sex
Diana Richardson 2003