First, we need to define what is an emotion, and how does it really work? In fact, there is no such thing as emotion in and of itself. Emotion is an interaction between the mind and the body through the medium of energy. E-motion is energy in motion.
Most emotions are created by thoughts. When a thought doesn’t affect the body, it remains a pure thought. But when it does, the body is affected, and we feel an emotion. The source of emotions is the mind, created through the process of seeking pleasure and avoiding pain.
Which thoughts affect the body, and which don’t? Those thoughts create emotions, which affect your survival. Emotions are instinctual survival mechanisms. When your survival is threatened, the emotion of anger or fear motivates your behavior to fight or flight.
You sense the world with your senses, and in each moment, your mind is on the lookout for danger in your environment. This is instinctual and can be still seen on the behavior of most animals. Every time a deer bows its head down to drink water, it sips only a bit at a time. It raises its head almost instantly to scan its environment and is constantly listening to noises alertly.
Humans still have this same mechanism, but it has become more unconscious because we face less life threatening situations. However, your mind still functions as a survival mechanism. Each moment, the sensory stimuli changes, and each moment the mind makes an unconscious decision whether the new situation is hindering or helping survival.
This unconscious decision-making system is the root cause of emotions. The decision is always based on beliefs and past experiences. When a child’s mind is still innocent and curious, it wants to touch everything, including a hot oven. When he touches it the first time, no emotion is created, because it is a completely new experience. But he feels pain because he burns his hand, and now his mind stores a thought, that touching the hot oven is threatening his survival.
Next time he thinks about touching the hot oven, he remembers this experience and the negative judgment associated with it. This time, a negative thought of fear is created, and he will feel a certain type of sensation in his body. This sensation will guide his behavior to avoid the hot oven.
Emotions can be based on beliefs, as well. If his parents tell the child not to touch the hot oven, because it is dangerous and he will feel pain, he may or may not believe this. If he does believe it, a new emotional reaction is created in his mind, which helps his survival. If a negative or positive judgment is once created in the mind, we almost never change it.
If you have a negative experience once, you will always react with a negative emotion. You don’t take the time and effort to look at a similar situation a second time, automatic reaction is much faster and easier. The problem is that your underlying judgments and beliefs about situations are often wrong.
First, no two situations are exactly the same. Second, it is often very hard to tell in advance whether a certain situation is hindering or helping your survival. For example, getting fired from your job can mean that you become homeless, but it can lead to another job with a higher salary. The first option is obviously lowering your chances of survival, while the second is increasing it. But your mind is always judging in advance, comparing the situation to a similar one in the past.
So, the genesis of an emotion starts with being conscious of a situation and judging it based on experience or belief. The mind asks the question whether a certain situation affects your survival or not. If not, no emotion is created. If yes, the next question is whether this situation affects survival in a positive or negative way. This decides whether a negative or positive emotion is born.
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