Monday, February 17, 2014

The Mind-Feelings Connection

There was tightness in his chest, adrenaline pouring into his bloodstream and his mind recognized only that his body was revving up with no place for it to go.  He leaned up against a wall and forced himself—first to breathe then to breathe deeply.  He felt rivulets of sweat roll down his sides.  Fear and anxiety can do that to you. 

I realized this week that I have some irrational fears.  One of my fears when charted would look like this: Trials happen to everybody, we grow through difficulty, life is going along to well now so the shoe is about to drop and a big horrible event is coming.  Stupid, right?  This thinking, at a very low frequency, robs me of my joy. My feelings intermesh with my thinking. 

In her book, Finding Your Own North Star, Martha Beck writes, “The unconscious portion of the human mind communicates through symbolism when it creates dreams, language, and every form of art.  It can also express itself symbolically by acting its messages out with the body.” Donald Miller in his blog post, “Why IDon’t Go To Church Very Often,” says of the mind-feelings connection, “Before we get too irate and have a trigger reaction against the idea feelings are actually valid if verified and tested, we should consider new revelations in brain science, learning-style revelations and basic psychology. What about intuition, what about the whole brain? What about Daniel Goleman’s work on emotional intelligence? What about Sir Ken Robinson’s work on education reform? What about Jung’s early work on personality theory and motives? And even Malcolm Gladwell’s work on thinking without thinking? “ 

Two times I remember having massive anxiety; one entailed quitting my job and switching to a new employer and the second was before my first marriage.  Both instances ended badly.  I suspect there may have been an interaction between my feelings and my mind which I should have explored further. 

In the ancient book of Esther God uses the insomnia of a king (Esther 6:1) to change the course of a nation.  Perhaps our feelings when awakened are in place to awaken and arouse us as well.  If only we do the hard work of introspection and prayer to discern what’s going on in our hearts.

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