Where is the Love? (Feeling emotionless)
I have been reading your blog and listened to some of your recordings and they do make me wonder quite a bit and make me look critically at my own process of awakening.
Some things do ring a bell with me; others less so.
I was just listening to your most recent one about waking up from spirituality and again somethings was very familiar to me.
I never have dwelled very deep in spirituality so for me it is rather easy to let go compared to some other hang-ups I still have to let go off; some nasty core scattering issues 🙂
But in all this world of spirituality, there is still some common theme people tend to agree on and that is “unconditional love” and that is one of the goals or benefits of spiritual awakening (e.g., that all is love; to learn to give and receive love; feeling that love etc).
Well, okay, I have stood at both sides of the receiving and giving end and both feel absolutely heavenly and I do understand why people would feel like that 100% of the time.
However recently things has shifted for me and I have started to question all of this and I would love to hear what you have to say on it.
So, the last week or maybe already two weeks (can’t remember how long actually now anymore; like you say in your recording memory is not as it used to be especially related to chronology), I still feel a lot of shit I still have to let go of, but underneath all of that I sense a kind of eerie type of calmness with actually no feeling *at all* associated with it.
I mean, I just feel absolutely nothing.
I do not say I feel emptiness, because that is a feeling as well. I just do not feel anything.
I am aware of all things around me, but I just do not feel anything.
No so called bad emotions/feelings (fear, anger, etc), but also none of the good ones either (love, happiness, joy, etc).
I just am. Awareness looking at the world with no feelings.
So, this made me wonder.
All the love and stuff most people associate with spiritual awakening.. is that just also not another illusion? Something to give up?
Something we believe in because it is something our ego likes to have?
Not that I can’t still feel the love, but it is just a feeling, similar like fear and anger. Nothing more, nothing less. I actually can just call if forth and I feel it.
Same with the sense of beauty during the nothingness state.
I see a wonderful world but only when I allow myself to feel the beauty I get those feelings of enjoyment.
It’s just a very beautiful world without feelings.
Which makes it sometimes very eerie to the degree of almost depressing: seeing so much beauty without enjoying.
I must say, in general when I am in this nothingness state, it feels a bit disappointing, this state of feeling nothingness.
Not something one teaches you that is part of the journey to waking up…. the whole awakenings process is just a farce, at least how it is commonly thought off…
I hope you have time to responds because it would be very interesting to hear your opinion about this; but if you have no time or interests, that is fine with me as well.
Yes, the common description of awakening is that it is a state of (permanent) bliss, joy, compassion, love, etc, but that’s just ridiculous.
We are having this human experience and in this experience all emotions are, .. well, experienced.
All the good and wonderful ones as well as the not so wonderful ones.
What has changed for me personally is that I can experience a feeling and sometimes it surprises me how I react to things that happens.
I would say that there’s more of a general feeling of contentment and appreciation, not an ecstatic form of intense happiness (bliss) but not rage either, or sever anger etc.
So all feelings has mellowed down so to speak.
But with that said; I can also react in ways that surprises me.
Last summer I think it was, I was at a friends house out in the country-side here in Spain and their neighbors were about to slaughter two pigs, and you could hear the pigs scream and I could also see the slaughter if I had wanted to (because it happened outside of the house) and I remember having no strong feelings about it at all and it surprised me.
The same thing happened a while ago when I saw a Spanish farmer kill a couple of chickens outside of his house and I just stopped and watched him and felt nothing.
I remember I was thinking to myself how strange that was, that I didn’t feel anything as I’m a vegetarian for ethical reasons but then in some other instances, like for example when I see birds in cages (which is very typical here in Spain) or chicken-houses where they have no light (only small air holes in the rooms where they live); that really, really hurts me to the point sometimes that I just want to cry because of the cruelty.
And last week I had a what I thought was a seafood Paella (I still eat fish and seafood) and saw that there was meat in it too, and before I would not even had touched the food at all, but now I actually ate the meat too and I felt nothing.
Even though I know that the animal have suffered severely in life and I ”should” react to that (because I normally do), but I felt nothing.
No love, no compassion, no nothing.
Sometimes there’s just nothing; no feelings at all, and that can be strange to experience. (Especially since I’m normally a very emotional person).
I’m only sharing this because of the fact that I too experience these things as being, not ”eerie”, but a bit strange at times.
Or as interesting phenomena.
My feelings feel detached in a way, as if they don’t belong to me, the same with thoughts, I don’t get entangled in them anymore.
Sometimes I can’t even think if that makes any sense! 😀
I can kind if try to think ahead about the future or plan something, or even remember something, and I just can’t do it.
It just stops, my mind stops.
And I don’t have any particular feelings about this, usually I just laugh to be honest.
There’s also intense feelings as well, not just mellow feelings, contentment and so on, but also intense feelings of love, like I want to hug everybody and just love them, but there has also been periods where everything has been very dull emotionally, no zest, no joy, no nothing.
So there are periods in the awakening process where this whole emotional business seem to go haywire. We are being “rewired” in many ways, both in the brain and mind, but also emotionally.
Although an underlying sense of peace has been there since I don’t know how long, but for a longer period I would say – it’s always there underneath everything, even in moments of difficult times and challenges.
Other times I have gone through periods where I haven’t cared about anything, feeling of everything being impersonal and this has been challenging or difficult for people around me because I have not felt anything particular about anything at all.
That’s just weird to some people, and at the time you don’t even care about that; what they think or feel, and that can propel their perception of you even further into ‘you being weird’ or shut off emotionally.
(Usually they come from a place of ego though, wanting you to cater to their emotional needs and when you don’t do that you become “cold” in their eyes).
What I believe is important in all this is our own relationship to the feelings or no feelings (or reactions and perceptions of them) and also our curiosity about what’s going on.
This is the main thing to be concerned about I think; your own relationship to your emotional life, and not what other people want from you when it comes to feelings and emotional responses. (That should be their ‘problem’ and not yours).
I have written about emotions before; raw, primal emotions in all varieties as they are all part of being a human, but I don’t get attached to them, so I don’t feel resentment, frustration, stress and so on, but I can feel moments of sadness, anger, and happiness etc.
The difference is that they flow through me, they never get stuck, and I don’t create stories around my feelings anymore.
I feel mostly (general) appreciation actually (and sometimes strong feelings of gratitude to the point that I’m actually crying and weeping), and so to answer your questions;
It may seem like your emotions go haywire now and then (and in a sense they do), that you go through periods of feeling strongly and then not feeling anything at all, and how I see this is that we go through a process of learning how to function as we are in reality (true self) without identifying with the feelings that come and go.
So you come to naturally detach from them (in a healthy way) as you wake up from the person you think you are, and there’s a phase of integration that happens where you learn how to function without being attached to your emotional life; where you stop identifying with your feelings and you become more of an observer of them.
Then contentment and appreciation is more of an overall sensation of how it is to be a human being, so if I should see someone kill a pig or chickens (the “natural way” if I can use those words as the thought of slaughter houses still makes me cringe) today, I wouldn’t know beforehand how ”I” would react.
I simply don’t know; it’s like feelings arise and come and go and I don’t get stuck in them nor do I create stories around them. (I can’t even say I’ll stay vegetarian for the rest of my life).
Feelings arise in the moment and then I look at them, almost from the outside and sometimes I go ”hm, that’s an interesting reaction (feeling) that I’m having”.
So love is there, yes, bliss can flow through you, there can be sadness, compassion (although not in the same way as before), momentary angry moments and so on, but the difference is that they are “free”, there’s no holding on to them, no story-creating going on around them.
So yes, as you too mentioned; to think that awakening is all about being blissed out 24/7 is a childish idea and actually quite ridiculous because no emotional or mental state can be permanent, that’s just not possible, and to seek that leads to nothing but more delusion.
It’s our (honest) relationship to them, our perception of them as well as our egoic attachments versus our non-attachment to them, those are the things that transforms us.
To be truly free means to be able to have all kinds of feelings but not be attached to any of them.
Love, bliss, fear, anger, .. whatever. Even impatience sometimes lol!
(You can let that flow through you too without being dramatic about it).
You just come to appreciate life so much more when you let go of your attachments to your feelings, which happens naturally in the process of awakening so it’s not a conscious choice type of thing.
I guess the appreciation (or ‘connectedness’) could be called Love because of its depth, and if so, yes, then that’s what I feel most of the time, but it’s not a mind-blowing orgasmic kind of love-feeling that most people think awakening brings.
So my suggestion to you would be to just continue being curious about what happens in you and your emotional world, knowing that this is all an evolutionary process and some of it (such as the strangeness of feeling nothing/being nothing) is also something we all go through.
Sometimes in stages and sometimes through periods of nothingness (when we’re in a spiritual void) but then the day comes again when we move through those times too and so the journey keeps continuing and deepening as we allow ourselves to grow through them.
Yesterday when I was out walking and meditating this cat came and meditated with me.
I love how cool and relaxed cats are about life, they are very present spiritual beings 🙂
Here’s a few of my older articles that has to do with feelings and emotions: