What does it mean to have a wrong functioning of the centers or a wrong placement of the centers?
You are reading too much. Let’s find out what we really know from experience.
Humans have three capacities. When they are functioning, we are human. When they are not, we are something less. These functions we call sensing, thinking and feeling. All kinds of complicated theories and metaphors can be created to elaborate on this simple fact but what matters is that these capacities are experienced and understood through experience.
The problem with our species is that we have learned to confuse this most basic fact of our existence. We generally do not experience feelings but we think we do because we confuse feelings with emotions. Emotions are counterfeit feelings. I can tell you this but you must really see it for yourself, you must penetrate this fully. Emotions are a combination of thoughts and sensations. They are primarily body states.
Emotions are characterized by an excitation of the nervous system which charges and then discharges in a purely mechanical and predictable manner. The sensation-based body state has a parallel mental monologue, a ‘tape’ that reinforces the body state in an exact and predictable manner. Typically, the tape either justifies or condemns the emotional reaction. Usually, the body state leads and the tape follows as a reverberation which has the effect of prolonging the charging sequence until discharge occurs and the state can change to the next predictable sequence. You learned this behavior very early in life, as documented in object relations psychology. Baby’s needs are not fully met…it is hungry, tired, cold, wet or alone. These sensations cannot be resolved by baby. Frustration builds, an agitation of the nervous system. Baby cries until the discharge completes. Baby either sleeps or starts another charging cycle if its source of irritation remains.
From this point of view, all emotions, including the most enjoyable ones, are negative in nature, they are electrical, negative charges that discharge predictably, leading to a shift of state. There is an observable rhythm to the cycle. The particulars are unique to the historical conditioning of each individual as well as the body’s state of health, sensitivity and the level of damage inflicted by life. But the pattern is the same for all of us. We are mechanical because we have learned to be so.
There are two tragedies inherent in the confusion of emotion and feeling. First, we do not know feelings because we think we have them all the time. We celebrate emotions, dwell on them, consider ourselves sensitive and three centered when we are not. From a sufi point of view, the heart is dead, that heart which is the organ of receiving/perceiving/participating in the world of feeling. Second, we constantly lose the possibility of creating, holding and transforming the energy needed to awaken the heart and become fully functioning human beings because we are addicted to discharging.
You must learn to distinguish the exact nature of emotion, to convince yourself that it is mechanical. Feelings are natural to humans and you will find them in your experience as you awaken. Even now, in sleep, from time to time the miracle of being here, the tragedy of being here, will bring you feeling.
What then is feeling? How can it be described?
Start where you are. Observe emotions. We can discuss feeling in more detail when you have learned more about your experience. See what happens when…or should I say if…your observation becomes non-judgmental, impartial. There is no blame in being a two centered being. If your emotion fails to find its partner in thought, does it continue?