Thursday, March 18, 2010

Feelings are our humanity

Excerpt from The Biology of Love by Dr Arthur Janov
Ideas lie in the intellectual realm, feelings lie in the emotional realm. If a person says, "I feel inferior," she is speaking from two levels. The idea of inferiority is a top-level cortical brain event. The feeling of inferiority is a lower-level brain event. It is the limbic system that offers us the feeling of feeling. Herein lies the first major point: it is not enough to think about feelings. It is essential to feel them so as to gain the ability to feel. Feelings are our humanity.

If we are not loved and adored but rather treated with indifference and neglect in our childhood, we may feel "not good enough ... not good enough to be loved". That becomes an imprint. It endures. If this kind of parental treatment goes on throughout childhood, then the imprint will be locked in. That means that all the encouragement in the world at age twenty will not erase the feeling. Encouragement--"You are wonderful, you know"--is an idea; ideas cannot change feelings. Only feelings can. This seemingly simple notion has profound implications. For if we are trying to regain our humanity, we need to regain our feelings; and we cannot do that through the mode of ideas alone.

To regain feeling one must fully experience all the hurt blocking it, and bring the pain to conscious awareness. Then an "idea" can make changes, when it flows out of feelings. Conscious awareness strips the unconscious of its power to direct behaviour. Ideas and feelings reside in different places in the brain. We must not try to make one level do the work of another level. We must not attempt to use ideas to replace feelings. The feeling of feeling involves specific structures in the brain such as the hippocampus and amygdala. Ideas about those feelings are processed in the top-level cortex, specifically the left hemisphere, forward part of the brain. If we use the frontal cortex alone to feel, we are in trouble. The most we can expect is a crying "about", an adult looking back at childhood, instead of a child actually feeling her hurts.
Tapping diagram


Kata Kollath said...

Thank you, this was exactly what I needed to read today.


Noreen said...

You're welcome Kata.