I think a lot about feelings, as my readers know. When a person says he or she “feels alive”, it generally means that they are experiencing powerful emotions. Life is defined as feelings. People would generally even rather feel pain than nothing because it at least reminds them that they’re alive, and though pain is unpleasant, life is viewed as a positive thing even if it is only affirmed by an unpleasant sensation. In this way, pain can be pleasure. I’ve experienced it myself. It’s a powerful thing.
The difference between living and nonliving things is not locomotion or reproduction, at least not in the way that people generally think. It is emotion. Vegetarians and vegans often refuse to eat animals because they are afraid to take part in a practice that might hurt the feelings of animals, which would cause them emotional pain, but they don’t consider the lives of plants to be as important because plants don’t show emotions. They are alive, but they don’t have life.
When one is overly involved in one’s emotions, it makes life a dynamic and exciting experience. Most people allow their emotions to carry them like a ship in the sea, suffering through the storms and drifting lazily when it’s calm. It’s easy to forget that we have the power to rise above the emotions and view them objectively. We can feel our feelings but still remain in control. The first step is not resistance. It is understanding. The intellect dulls the effects of emotions, taking away their power to sweep us off course in our lives. Our feelings can be our guides, but our intellects must be our engines.
Courage overcomes fear, and there are ways of mastering all of the other emotions and living more balanced lives.