Like motion, emotion indicates movement.
Emotion used to be some unruly thing for me that I was unable to control. I could be sad sometimes and stay that way for a while without actively turning that feeling around. Then something happened that made me think differently of the whole emotion rollercoaster. I think maybe, I just got tired of being so vulnerable to it.
Now, I view emotions as my own internal guide for whether my actions are on point or not. Let me explain.
In physics, we say motion is the result of kinetic energy, of energy doing work to move an object like a car or or a box. If we can apply the same sort of principles to metaphysics, then emotion would be the result of energy doing work to move an intangible object like our feelings. Rather than kinetic energy, we can call this ‘heart energy’. Where this heart energy comes from is a complete mystery. But there’s no denying its existence and its ability to stir my feelings one way or the other.
In physics, we say motion is positive when an object moves in a certain direction and negative when an object moves in the opposite direction. Likewise, in metaphysics we can say emotions can be either positive or negative.
So if we can accept some mysterious heart energy, perhaps we can accept that the energy abides by certain physical laws (meta- or otherwise). Let’s just suppose that ‘right’ actions cause positive emotions and ‘wrong’ actions cause negative emotions all via this mysterious heart energy. If we buy into this theory, that the universe mysteriously communicates to us via our emotions and the portals of our hearts, then we can use emotions as sign posts telling us whether we are going in the right direction or not.
Positive emotions (i.e. contentendness, joy) let me know I’ve made a good choice that giving up some of my free time to help a friend is well worth the sacrifice, for example. Negative emotions like being mad or annoyed lets me know I’m going the wrong way. Agreeing to disagree makes me feel a lot better.
Emotions can also be used to figure out career paths. Feeling good about studying medicine for example, is probably the only reason to decide to be a doctor.
The only point of negative emotion is to alert you to stop and turn around, whether it’s physically walking out of a room or changing your attitude or trying a different hair color. Feeling mad doesn’t mean you have to get even or get back at the person who you think is making you mad. It means you are insisting on something that you shouldn’t.
Of course there is no proof for any of this, but it does reinforce the old adage to follow your heart.
The crux of life is the journey to discover and decide our destinations. Following our hearts and using our emotions can help us figure out the right destinations for each of us much faster and more ease than without.