Emotions As An Information System

Candace Pert discovered the endorphin receptor. She writes in her book, Molecules of Emotion, the following rather staggering observation:

“If information exists outside the confines of time and space, matter and energy, then it must belong to a very different realm from the concrete, tangible realm we think of as 'reality.' And since information in the form of the biochemicals of emotion is running every system of the body, then our emotions must also come from some realm beyond the physical. Information theory seems to be converging with Eastern philosophy to suggest that the mind, the consciousness, consisting of information, exists first, prior to the physical realm, which is secondary, merely an out-picturing of the consciousness.”
(p 257)

What Pert suggests here are, for us, two really significant things.  First, information as biochemicals of emotion is running every organ of the body.  Second, this information comes not just from our sensory system or our brain, but from a larger concept of the “Mind” that is us and more than us.

A new book by Jeffrey Schwartz (from our work with OCD and neuroplasticity) echoes the growing body of knowledge that the mind is more than and distinct from the brain. His latest book, You Are Not Your Brain, is highly recommended.  Consider all of the emerging literature on “mindfulness.”

But here is the significance of all of this. The emotions of mind are part of a larger unity of minds, a kind of universal mind, to which our individual mind is linked. The emotions of the “mind” are not negative. These emotions of mind are all positive, like love, peace, gratitude, joy, and hope-the constructs of our Emotional Gym.  Negative emotions then become reactions of contrast within a person and become the signs of being out of sync with the larger, greater mind. Negative emotions are more the activity of the brain providing feedback when it is not congruent to one’s “mind” and certainly to one’s strengths.

Where all of this is leading us is to an increasingly greater understanding of the significance of our emotions. As systems of information, they biochemically control every organ in our bodies. Emotions are also the information of a larger “mind.”  They happen first. Individual consciousness happens next. Emotions create. Emotions are a part of a larger mind acting upon individual consciousness. Our feelings are beyond us, they are more than us, and a spiritual person would say that they are the language of intuition, of spirituality and of God.

Consider this. Feelings create. Mood creates. We move and form our consciousness from feelings. The neuroplastic brain is shaped by feelings. And for sure, it is feelings that are running our biochemical systems and bathing every cell in our moods and feelings.

Consider how closely we describe “intuition” with feeling language. I feel this or I feel a sense of that. We get our intuition from the play of emotions from deeper sources or reservoirs within us. To put this more plainly, the farther you are away from an easily accessible range of emotion, the farther you are away from your intuition. Your intuitive self is largely a “feeling” and “sensing by feeling” self.

Negative states of feeling do not create deeply intuitive insights. They may foretell danger or sensitize us to flee, but they don’t function like our positive emotions do in leading us toward action-taking behavior. They are more the feeling of avoidance, withdrawal and self-protection. If feelings are the prior source of consciousness, consider  the idea that our thinking, which we hold as sacrosanct, is far more under the direction of our feeling states than we have previously considered to be the case.  We have spent our whole lives learning what to “think” and so little of it learning both how and what to “feel.”

It is any wonder that we lose sight of what we really want?

You are not your brain. How clearly we have learned that in the study of neuroplasticity.  The brain is an organ that is formed by our focus, our attention, our gaze, and it is shaped by our feeling states.

Here is the bottom line. Emotion is an information system that is driving the biochemical reactions of every organ, including the brain.

Negative emotion is trying to tell us to go elsewhere, to move to another feeling/being place, so that the positive range of emotions can work on health, intuition, direction, vision, well-being and fulfillment.

Emotions are the information system of the “mind” and perhaps of the greater “Mind” in which we are all one.

Continuing Education for Coaches:

1. What does all of this tell you about the Emotional Gym?
2. How do you apply the information in this blog to the statements “thoughts are things” or “change your thinking, change your life?”
3. When you decide to feel differently than what you are feeling, what do you do? What tools do you use?
4. What strategies do you use to keep clients focused on increasing positive emotional muscle?
5. What does the statement “you are not your brain” mean to you? Explain your definition with examples.

For Our Larger Blog Community:

1. The blog suggests that feelings bathe every cell in our body in our moods and feelings. How does this insight affect your UpSpiral? How can you use this information to develop and sustain a more positive state of mind?
2. “Negative states of feeling do not create deeply intuitive insights. They are more the feeling of avoidance, withdrawal, and self-protection.” How has this been true for you? What strengths do you have to pull yourself out of these negative states of mind?
3. How have you experienced a connection to the “greater Mind” described in this blog? How does the information in this blog point you in the direction of a greater experience of  “oneness?”

About the author

Dr. William K. Larkin

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute