Feelings and emotions are not baggage … but they can come with baggage! If you are feeling overwhelmed by some feeling or emotion, chances are you are not simply EXPERIENCING that feeling — as in, being present with that feeling, without words, translation, judgment, resistance. Chances are that along with experiencing that feeling, you are also experiencing RESISTANCE to that feeling. For example you could be feeling sad or angry, and along with that sadness and anger you could also be feeling “It’s wrong for me to be feeling this way” or “I can’t stand feeling like this.” These layers of judgment intensify the feeling, and actually cause it to stick around longer because we are resisting just experiencing the feeling. It gets bigger and bigger and feels like it might crush you. I had spent some decades on the planet, being swept along on a stormy sea of feeling, before I got clued in to this. Wow, what a revelation it was for me to learn how to just feel pure sadness, or have a pure experience of anger, just be present with it. Also, to have a pure experience of happiness, without the accompanying feeling of “This won’t last” or “I don’t deserve this” or “When is the other shoe going to drop?”
A feeling by itself is actually quite a magical experience almost like a flavor of ice cream. Or the scent of a certain flower. And then, once it’s experienced without judgment, to see how quickly the intensity drops off and the feeling passes, like a cloud in the sky – what a revelation! Just one of the flavors of life, a pure experience. Experiencing is a skill that can be taught, learned, and practiced. And when you learn how to experience your feelings purely without the surrounding “junk” of resistance etc, it completely changes your life. A lot of pain and drama just drops away, and an enormous amount of energy is freed up. You might find yourself suddenly having all sorts of extra time for things you really want to do, or a huge influx of creativity. At least, that is how I have experienced it! Revolutionary.
You can build a whole life around avoiding/resisting feelings. You can build a whole culture around it! We sure have. Bad idea though, time to shake those chains. Feelings are an essential survival mechanism because they are our BS detector and our heart-compass and moral compass. You might think that it would be the thinking, intellectual mind that would have that role, but actually the intellect by itself is just a machine, and without the guiding influence of feelings, that so-called “smart” thinking mind will amplify all sorts of nonsense and get a person into all sorts of trouble.