Friday, February 9, 2018

A Different Point of View

As we know from the first principle of Huna, there are many different ways to think of anything. In this brief article I am going to explore a different way to think of how we experience life.

According to this point of view, we have direct experience of this world in two ways: through physical senses and emotional feelings.

We probably don't even think twice about the fact that we make contact with the world through our physical senses, because that seems so self evident. With our eyes we see light in the form of color, shade, intensity, contrast, shape, size, and texture; vertical and horizontal distance; movement and patterns. With our ears we hear sound in the form of tone, intensity, harmonics, loudness, dissonance; and blends of frequencies that enable us to recognize individual people, objects, and sound sources. We experience touch in the form of pressure, texture, heat, cold, movement, and more. Taste and smell have their own ranges of physical perception as well. What I am proposing here is that we make a parallel contact with the world through our emotional senses. 

When you experience anything you have both a physical perception and an emotional one.
Some philosophies have used the concept of an "emotional body" to get this idea across, and the idea that we sense emotionally through our aura or energy field is intriguing, but we can instead simply say that you have two sets of senses, or two main ways of perceiving the universe.

In addition to the physical perception of sight, there is an emotional perception of sight that occurs at the same time. It's important to understand that I am not talking about an emotional reaction to what you see, but to an emotional perception that is related to the act of seeing. I'll bring up the subject of reactions a little further on.

To help you understand what I mean, think of it this way: physical seeing produces an image; emotional seeing produces a feeling. To use an example, when you look at a sunset, your physical perceptions include the ones I mentioned in the third paragraph above. At the same time you may have emotional perceptions of beauty, expansion, happiness and the pleasure that comes from a release of tension. So, looking at something produces both an image and feeling feelings about that image. The same would be true for our other senses. Each one would produce a physical perception as well as an emotional perception. And perceptions relate to awareness, not to reactions.

Reactions are separate experiences that occur as a consequence of perception. Of course, when reactions become habitual it is very difficult to make that distinction. However, perception is a characteristic of our senses. Reactions are learned, consciously or unconsciously.

It is possible to simplify our understanding of the physical and emotional reactions themselves by recognizing two categories of reaction for each set. All of the physical reactions can be described as varying degrees of pleasure or pain. All of the emotional reactions can be described as varying degrees of insecurity or confidence.

Recognizing that all your emotional reactions fall into one of these categories can be helpful in dealing with them. Fear, anger, hate, jealousy, anxiety are all expressions of insecurity with their own parallel to physical pain. The body tension that accompanies them is a well-intentioned but poor attempt to regain security. Happiness, joy, true pride, and the sense of accomplishment are all expressions of confidence, which is akin to physical pleasure. The names that are given to emotions based on insecurity or confidence merely reflect the thoughts in our mind at the time.

It is curious that in English we use the verbs "to sense" and "to feel" both physically and emotionally. French is more clear, with sentir used more for physical sensing and both se sentir  and ressentir used for emotional sensing. Hawaiian equivalents are too complicated to go into here.

Staying with English, like many animals we can sense danger, fear, friendliness, confidence, and that mysteriously compelling awareness of what we call charisma.

The main thing to note, to contemplate, and perhaps even do something about, is that, just as we can train our physical senses, so can we train our emotional senses. Further, just as we can develop our physical skills , there is the possibility of developing our emotional skills, as well.