Hi Brooke, this is a second level follow up to my earlier question about Model Confusion.
I’m trying to align my understanding of consciousness, thought models and feeling negative emotion. I also have heard Byron Katie say that she has not suffered for many years now (or in other ways, has not had a thought that has caused suffering for many years). I’m trying to understand how this is possible or in other words, rationalize all this.
On the one hand, you teach that its important to feel negative emotions since that is (or I could imagine it is) 50% of the emotions that humans are supposed to experience. On the other hand, thinkers like Byron Katie say that they have not had a thought that causes suffering for many years. The only way these two notions can live together is if the below hypothesis is true. I’d like to hear your perspective and see if you agree.
Thoughts cause feelings (which can trigger actions). If I’m 100% conscious, I can watch my thoughts as an observer all the time. And if any thoughts are causing any negative emotions, I can change those thoughts so that I don’t experience suffering.
But for two reasons, this does not happen for me yet:
(1) since I’m not 100% conscious and
(2) since I’m trying to evolve into a better version of myself by setting challenging goals and evolving my thoughts to meet these goals, my brain (which is used to conditioned older thoughts) will keep coming up with thoughts that cause negative emotions / suffering
If I keep practicing thought models (or follow other means like meditation), I can get greater awareness and manage my mind (and reach a higher level of consciousness through my practice). Eventually, I will get better at getting to the source of the negative emotions through this practice.
But in the interim, since I will continue to have negative emotions (due to older thoughts from an un-managed mind and my desire to keep evolving, which requires thinking different thoughts), I should practice allowing these emotions and get comfortable with discomfort. Eventually the negative emotions will pass for that situation. But negative emotions will continue to come up as long as I’m evolving and there is no way to escape them, so it is best to get comfortable with them. Also, by tracking back a negative emotion to the underlying thought, I can discover the thoughts that I need to change over time. And hence its an ongoing lifetime practice!
My questions to you are:
1) Does my understanding above make sense given the perspectives different thinkers you refer in your podcasts?
2) Can someone really eventually attain 100% consciousness so that no suffering exists?