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The Spiritual Wise Man









The Fourth Great Truth - Feelings

Of the four truths, feelings are the hardest to define. They're not measurements (facts). They're not sequences of measurements (stories). They're not overarching verbal descriptions of groups of measurements (ideas).

So what are feelings? Feelings are what you experience whenever you try to access the immeasurable. You experience feelings each time something exceeds your capacity for words. Moreover, the more this experience exceeds your capacity for words, the stronger your feelings become. Until, at last, they exceed your body's ability to contain. At which point, you cry, scream, smile, laugh, or groan.

Does this inability to find words cause your feelings? Not really, albeit you can have feelings about this inability. Rather, being unable to find the words to express something creates a sort of spiritual "black hole" in you, and when you try to determine what's in this hole, this effort creates your feelings. No surprise then that these spiritual black holes often occur at pivotal moments during important conversations. And when this happens, you can so lose your words that you zone out and just go blank.

Admittedly, this description is vague, inexact, and unscientific. But to be honest, even the three core qualities of truth; time, place, and essence, fall short of anything meaningful. Time? The experience of timelessness. You can't tell when feelings begin or end. Nor how long they last. Place? The experience of placelessness. You can't tell where they began or end. Essence? Having something happen which exceeds your ability to describe.

Know that like the other three truths, with feelings, there are two kinds; mind feelings and body feelings. Here the tipping point is the perceived source of the feelings. Either they're in your body or they're not. If not, then they're in your mind. For instance, if you have a back ache, then it's a body feeling. But if you have a heart ache, then it's a mind feeling. And if your arms are tired, this feeling is in your body. But if your mind is tired, then . . . well, you get it.

Finally, once again, the simplest test if to notice your sense of time. Can you point to a certain beginning or end? If no, then this truth is a feeling. If yes, then it isn't.

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return to the Spiritual Wise Man What makes a feeling? What's a mind feeling? What's a body feeling?