I am writing this in New York City, almost 3,000 miles from my home in the San Francisco Bay area. My wife Shelly took me here for a week to celebrate my 75th birthday.
I had planned to skip my blog post this week (I think I’ve only missed one post in three years), but I decided to share some insights I’ve had as I’ve walked miles every day, seeing sights I haven’t seen for over 10 years.
Over a year ago I wrote a post about moods, asking you what you thought a mood was. The response of over 85 replies was the highest of any post I’ve ever written. http://www.mortylefkoe.com/moods/#.
What is a mood?
I’m now pretty sure that emotions result primarily from the meaning we give specific events. Moods, on the other hand, are feelings that result from the meaning you give to several prior meanings. Here’s what I mean.
An event happens that has no inherent meaning. We give it a meaning, which usually results in a feeling. If that happens repeatedly, we are likely to give a meaning to the prior meanings and feelings. That new meaning and feeling is a mood.
Let me make that real with a specific example. Imagine that a loved one misunderstands something you said and gets annoyed at you. Her annoyance has no inherent meaning. But if it occurs for us as: if she really loved me, she would understand—then you will feel unloved. That is a single example of how an event can occurs for you and how that meaning can cause a feeling.
Our occurrings seem real
Remember, the important thing about our meanings/occurrings is that they seem real; in other words, a meaning that exists only in our mind seems to exist in the world, as a fact.
Now let’s assume that you don’t realize what just happened and you don’t dissolve your occurring. As a result you continue to feel not understood and unloved. Later that day or the next day that same loved one says something that occurs to you as: her behavior was very inconsiderate. If she really cared about me she wouldn’t have done that. So again your occurring makes you feel not understood and unloved.
It is possible to notice that you have given a meaningless event a meaning—which has caused an unpleasant feeling—and then dissolve the meaning and the feeling. But very few people distinguish between their occurrings and reality, and even fewer know how to dissolve their occurrings. So now you have a second meaning you think is true and another unpleasant feeling.
When your occurrings “add up”
Let’s assume that happens several times in a short period of time. It is now possible for you to give a meaning to the group of individual meanings: my loved one doesn’t care about me—a meaning that makes you feel sad. At which point you find yourself in a sad mood for several days, having no idea of where that mood came from.
The mood is the result of giving meaning to several prior meanings.
I’m not sure yet how to eliminate a mood once it has started, but it is possible to learn how to recognize your “occurrings” as the happen and dissolve them on the spot. If you do that on a regular basis, you won’t have any “unresolved occurrings” to give meanings to that produce moods.
I’m going to ruminate on this for a while. I’ll let you know what else I come up with in the next few weeks
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