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  • Writer's pictureKjersti Ane Østvik

What feelings are

Feelings – where do they come from?

The way it looks to me, feelings always come from our thinking, whether it is thinking we’re aware of or not. Sad thoughts = sad feelings, angry thoughts = angry feelings. I believe a lot of our thoughts go under the radar, but we can still always feel them in our bodies. To me the feeling doesn’t say anything about the circumstance I find myself in, but everything about what is going on inside my mind. It works inside out. Furthermore, our brain and body do not differ between a “real” danger or situation and a thought up one, so if I feel scared thinking of deep water or whatever it is that seems scary to me, to my brain it is the same if I’m sitting safely on my couch or I am actually near deep water. It is not the deep water itself that is causing the fear, but my thinking about that deep water. Big difference, when you know how a mind works. It’s like when you’re dreaming and wake up scared. The moment you realise it was only a dream, your body and mind start calming down again, but when you’re in it you feel it as if it’s really happening. Consciousness is like a movie screen projecting anything we experience through the filter of our thinking and makes any experience look real to us. Truth is we are all experiencing the world differently and always seeing it through the lens of what is going on in our minds. The way we see the world does not work as a camera taking it all in objectively, it’s always a projection filtered through our minds. Consciousness can put on quite a show with its special effects and make us believe anything is true in the moment, until we realise that perhaps we were in a bad mood or we had some thinking clouding our vision. Our mood is always changing all on its own and our thinking mind is always active in some way, giving us our moment-to-moment experience of life. We all get sucked into believing our thinking is real all the time but knowing more about how we all work in the same way, makes it so much easier to navigate.

You don’t have to take my word for it. Experiment with this for yourself by thinking about something you find scary and see what happens in your body. You may be able to scare the shit out of yourself, even if you’re actually safe and far away from snakes or deep water or heights or driving or public speaking or whatever it is that you think is scaring you. It’s your thinking every time, not the actual phenomena or thing you thought it was. It is empowering to know, because then you can learn not to trust those scary thoughts so much and let them move through without buying into the content of them. Remember, the feeling in your body will let you know if you’re off believing thinking that isn’t helpful or true. Try for yourself and observe what your mind is up to and how that makes you feel.

Feelings are not so complicated then, are they? Well. If you know what they are, to me they become like a built-in guidance system to let you know when not to take your thinking seriously. They are always reflecting what is going on inside your head and not what’s happening out there in the world. Your body will tell you when not to trust the content of your thoughts. Bad feeling = thoughts are not to be trusted, good feeling = you’re likely on the right track and may take your thinking more seriously. It’s all made up, of course, but since we experience the world through our thinking it is good to know when they can be trusted and when we can just let them do their thing without getting in the way. Learning through insight to be safe with any feeling moving through is what gives you your freedom back. Every feeling is made of the same energy, and every feeling is safe to feel and will pass all on its own if we let it move through without interfering. When we’re afraid of our feelings we innocently get ourselves into trouble.

Want to learn more?

Drop me an email at I would love to hear your thoughts and reflections.

With love, Kjersti Ane

Thoughts and feelings are like clouds passing on a blue sky

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