What Is A Spiritual Feeling?

February, 2013
R2 enjoying a spiritual feeling -- a "conscious recognition of being alive"

R2 enjoying a spiritual feeling — a “conscious recognition of being alive”

Have you ever had a spiritual feeling? Most likely, you have, but can you describe it? Well, recently, I was faced with trying to find the appropriate vocabulary for describing and identifying the spiritual feelings I have had.

This gives me a backache physical feeling. :-(

This gives me a backache physical feeling. :-(

I believe that we, as humans, have at least three “parts” of our being: mind, body, and spirit. If I’m asked to identify/describe mental feelings, there is a rather extensive vocabulary readily available to do so. Consider the following words: anger, glad, mad, happy, bored, afraid, sad, delighted, furious, disgusted, elated, … In some ways, the list seems to be unlimited.

If I’m asked to identify/describe my bodily (physical) feelings, again there seems to be a rich vocabulary that makes it easy for me to communicate how I feel. Some of these words/phrases are: sore, tired, nauseous, energized, cramped, pinched-nerve, numbness, tingling-sensation, Charley horse , muscle-spasm, and all of the “aches,” i.e. headache, backache, toothache, groin-ache, neck-ache, …

Is an angelic feeling a spiritual feeling?

Is an angelic feeling a spiritual feeling?

But, when I want to identify/describe a spiritual feeling, what are my word/phrase choices? Well, we do have a few good ones, such as: awed, secure, joyful, and uplifted. On the other hand, I feel limited when I’m attempting to describe spirituality and the feelings associated with that aspect of my being.

Is the feeling of being limited, when I attempt to describe spiritual feelings, a spiritual feeling? Hmmm….. I’m unsure, but it does beg the question: “What is a spiritual feeling?” In order to answer the question, let’s first consider the meaning of feeling. Feeling has many definitions, but for my purposes, feeling is: “conscious recognition.” So, if I’m in awe of a beautiful landscape, then I am experiencing a conscious recognition from the spiritual aspect of my being.

What is a spiritual feeling? So far, I have it defined as: “Spiritual feeling is a conscious recognition of an aspect of  spirituality.” If I know what spirituality is, then perhaps, I’ll have this elusive topic nailed-down.

"I consciously recognize that you're alive. Is this spiritual?"

“I consciously recognize that you’re alive. Is this spiritual?”

Recently, a friend introduced me to the following description of spirituality:Spirituality is the individual, subjective experience of and from which a person derives purpose, meaning, and hope.” Using this description of spirituality, what would a spiritual feeling be? Let’s consider the feeling of awe. Previously, I wrote that awed describes a spiritual feeling. If that’s true, then awed is a conscious recognition of an individual, subjective experience of and from which I derived purpose, meaning, and hope. Hmm…, It doesn’t seem to fit. For example, if I look at the Grand Canyon and have a feeling of awe, then am I deriving purpose, meaning, and hope from that individual, subjective experience? I don’t think I am!

There must be another way to view the “spirit” part of my being. Let’s do some more exploring. Spirit is from the latin word spiritus, meaning breath OR spirare, meaning to breathe. When a human-being is breathing, we often consider the human to have the Qi, (Qi is not Quite Interesting:-) or energy of life. In other words, the spirit aspect of a live being is directly related to the being’s energy of life. Using the root meaning of spirit, I think it is reasonable to imply that a spiritual feeling is a conscious recognition of being alive. From my point of view, the words: awed, secure, joyful, and uplifted, seem to fit better with this view of spirit.

"Let's first discuss how you feel spiritually, then we'll address your physical and mental feelings."

“Let’s first discuss how you feel spiritually, then we’ll address your physical and mental feelings.”

So, what is a spiritual feeling? For now, I’ll settle on spiritual feeling is a conscious recognition of being alive. When I have a spiritual feeling, I’m experiencing a feeling that comes directly from my energy of life. Having stated that, I’ll now try to find more than the before-mentioned four words to identify/describe a spiritual feeling. Consider the following: content, calm, alive, frail, insecure, peaceful, quiet, shaky, tough, solid, bold, adequate, immortal, empty, relaxed, exhausted, vivacious, helpless, …

Perhaps, there’s always a spiritual feeling that precedes any other type of feeling. After all, the spiritual feeling comes from our life energy and we must be alive in order to feel. Think about it! If you are feeling angry (mental feeling), then perhaps you first felt inadequate (spiritual feeling). Or, if you have a headache (physical feeling), then perhaps you first felt exhausted (spiritual feeling). This could help explain why spiritual health is so important to our overall health.

What do you think or feel? :-)



Is Your Brain Responsible For Your Thinking?

April, 2010

Is the brain or mind responsible for this perception?

Is there a difference between your physical brain and  your thinking? Does your mind do your thinking? Does your brain do your thinking? Does your brain contain your mind? Is your brain contained “within” your mind?

Satire on George IV in support of Queen Caroline, his estranged wife. The new king spent much of the lead up to his coronation trying to get rid of her. Date: 1820

Honestly, I don’t know the correct answer to any of the above questions and I don’t think that the important part of understanding your thinking depends upon it. You see, from my point of view, “the brain” is like the dynamic world we live in.

Your world changes and your brain changes. How does your world change? How does your brain change? The answer to both is, “Your world/brain changes when (the) part(s) of it change.” What are the parts of your world? Everything that affects you. What are the parts of your brain. Everything that affects it. Maybe I should replace “it” with “you” in the previous sentence. If I did, then your world contains your brain AND your brain contains your world. Now that I think about it, that’s true. How could my world not contain my brain? How could my brain (from a thinking perspective) not contain my world. All of this is, from my point of view, an example of combining: Buddha’s We are what we think , Shakespeare’s  Thinking makes it so , & DesCartes’ I think, therefore I am!

Ok, so what about the question posed in the title: “Is your brain responsible for your thinking?” Well, I do believe that your brain is the receiver of the mind. In other words, the mind, whatever and wherever it is, has a “thing” that receives information, memory recall, reasoning, etc. and that thing is the brain. This is only my paradigm for helping me make sense of the relationship between the brain, mind and thinking. Of course, you might have a “paradigm shift,” therefore causing your way of thinking about the relationship to be completely different. Paradigm or a paradigm shift, it doesn’t matter as long as you “mind your thinking.” :-)

My mind says I’m holding my brain!

So, is your brain responsible for your thinking? Well, suppose you die. When you’re dead, your brain will soon not exist. What about your thinking? For the sake of discussion, let’s say that our thinking is in our mind. When we die, so does our brain. If our brain is the thing that “receives” our thinking/mind, then it seems reasonable that something else could take its place.

Using a metaphor, we could think of the brain as a radio and thinking as a radio signal. When the radio is gone, the radio signal isn’t. Another radio (brain) can receive the signal (thinking). This metaphor also helps explain how some thinking is better than others. Different brains (radios) perform differently. Some (radios/brains) can receive weaker signals and clarify them better than others. Some have more power or stronger batteries than others. In other words, if our brain (radio) is of high quality, then it will be able to receive more and better signals (thinking/mind) than one of less quality.  Perhaps, this is how the thinking animal (human) has made so much progress over time.

Is it my brain or my mind that hurts so badly?

Is your brain responsible for your thinking? Yes, like a radio is responsible for receiving radio signals. The brain is “responsible” for receiving!

My brain and/or mind looks forward to receiving your comment. :-)

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