Sunday, April 22nd, 2018

Contact Emotions: Are your Emotions Actually Yours?

Published on August 19, 2011 by   ·   No Comments


Shared highs & shared lows

I’ve often heard people talk about ‘contact highs.’ For those of you who don’t have pot-head friends, a contact high is when you feel high when you’re around people who are high. I get this all the time; the spliff won’t have touched my lips and yet the higher my friends get, the more giggly, ‘deep’ and munchy I become.

Can the same be said of emotions? I ask this because yesterday I wrote a somewhat frantic, angry and jumbled article for elephant journal about the riots in London, which must have looked like vomit in word form and which I was sure wouldn’t be published. (It was!)

What causes people to become part of an emotional movement?

You can almost see it spreading. At a festival, everyone’s being all ‘peace and love’ is lovely; we all get caught up in the community feel; we are all One, dancing to the music until we forget ourselves.

But what about angry, scared, raw emotions?

You can see them spreading, too. I certainly felt fear and anger spreading through my body yesterday, coursing through my veins and building in intensity until I was pretty much shaking. I felt like the riot was inside my body. Watching the news, seeing extreme images and talking to people sparked something in me. I got caught up in the same mob mentality that is causing the riots to spread. I took my frustration out by writing a strongly-worded article, but when in the grip of a movement, it doesn’t take much to overstep your own moral boundaries.

So, was I feeling someone else’s feelings?

I wasn’t angry or emotional until I watched the news and spoke to people, so it wasn’t my ugly anger, was it?

As much as it pains me to say this, it was. It was all me. What was happening resonated with the anger and fear that usually lies dormant in the bottom of my psyche, and I’d be a fool not to take responsibility for my reactions to what was happening.

In spirituality, there’s a tendency to avoid perceived negativity. I often hear people say that they “just can’t be around so-and-so because they’re too negative/dense/unconscious/egotistical/etc.” But this is just palming the blame of your feelings off onto someone else.

My mum — a very wise woman, if I do say so myself — told me that drugs can only take me to places that already exist inside me; they can’t create a state that doesn’t exist. I might not be able to freely access this state, but it does exist within my repertoire of states.

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