Mind As A Survival Mechanism
The mind uses specific mechanisms to handle overwhelming emotional crisis. It is to be remembered that survival is the primary Human need, which is at the root of any emotional turmoil. As I’ve written about before, it is death (or, more accurately, not being aware/not being able to experience) that we fear. In general, we think we are the body, which is why people fear the expiration of the physical body – they believe it is the expiration of them… it isn’t.
Emotions are connected with what we believe will ensure our survival, not with what actually will. For example, feeling scared won’t save you from being hit by a bus. The emotion emanates thoughts which will then move you out of the way.
Emotions themselves are the root cause of our constant seeking for security.
Emotion = Energy In Motion
The mind’s primary strategy, therefore, is survival. The emotional crisis could be labelled ‘survival mechanism’ – the mind using emotions as its means to survive. We may perceive that it’s thoughts that the mind uses, but it is the feeling behind ‘thinkingness’. One single emotion can replace millions of thoughts.
An emotion originates from experience and how it affected us at the time. They lodge into our psyche if we do not wish to recognise them. Energy builds the longer it is suppressed and not dealt with.
Getting to the route of emotion is sometimes tricky because we use intellect and reason. Reason is a God-given tool to discern, but the mind also uses it to mask emotions behind thoughts.
Most of the time, people are unaware of why they are doing what they are doing. By ‘forgetting’ or ignoring emotions, they use ‘reason’ to justify their behaviour. An example of this is where people make rash buying decisions when they have no money.
(Taken from the work of Dr David Hawkins)
Ask yourself ‘what for’.
A man wants a new Cadillac. His mind gives all the logical reasons but logic doesn’t really explain it. So he asks himself, “What do I want the Cadillac for?” “Well,” he says, “it is to achieve status, recognition, respect, and solid citizen success status.” Again: “What do I want status for?” “Respect and approval from others,” he might say, “and to ensure that respect.”
Again: “What do I want respect and approval for?” “To have the feeling of security.” Again: “What do I want security for?” “To feel happy.” The continual question, “What for?,” reveals that basically there are feelings of insecurity, unhappiness, and lack of fulfilment. Every activity or desire will reveal that the basic goal is to achieve a certain feeling.
Handling Emotional Crisis
Many schools of psychology have extremely complex hypotheses on emotions and how best to handle them. They often involve mythology and symbology, which are both vitally important. Yet, a quality of Truth is simplicity.
The mind does one of the following, usually unconsciously:-
- Suppression (or repression)
- (Surrender if conscious)
Rather than letting mental objects, ideas and thoughts unconsciously run riot, the mind does one of these four things to avoid the pain. The key is to use these mechanisms of the mind consciously. They are typically done unconsciously, meaning they store themselves away and rear their ugly head in the future.
If we can use these mental strategies consciously, they become tools to buy time – but they must be used intentionally. You can relieve the intensity of the emotions themselves so that they can be dealt with in smaller chunks.
We can then deal with as much emotion as we can without being overwhelmed by it. Sharing feelings with empathetic friends or a therapist is a good way of doing this. – Expressing energy externally will reduce some of the power behind the emotion.
Distraction (escape) is also a useful strategy in a state of overwhelming emotional charge. We can then begin the task of surrendering small and subtle aspects of the situation rather than being overwhelmed with its leading emotion.
Handling a crisis emotionally rather than intellectually will shorten the duration. Reason (intellect) is often a barrier to healing work.
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