As I sat on the train heading off on my first solo adventure I didn’t feel much at all. In fact, as my eyes wandered aimlessly over the rolling hills and green paddocks of the devonshire countryside, I felt empty. I guess in my mind I had expected to feel some excitement, some nerves, anything at all really. I had expected something. Instead; nothing. It was all about to begin, it was a big thing in my mind, my first time fully alone in the unknown. The ultimate illumination of the powers of my manifestation. What would my energy, emotions and thoughts create… Yet the sensations that consumed my body did not reflect the chattering of my mind. It was strange.
I sat pondering, continuing to allow my eyes to drift over the now readily approaching city of Exeter. Suddenly something new popped into my stream of consciousness.
On my journey to live more presently, had I reached a point where I was unable to feel any emotion related to the future? Along with the release of any unnecessary anxiety or fear of the future, had I simultaneously lost the ability to feel excited for the future too? I felt excitement in my mind, but the sensation did not fill my body, it was a thought not an emotion. I was filled with disappointment. I wanted to feel excited. I begun to think about it more deeply.
By future emotions I mean emotions that are related to things that haven’t happened yet, emotions that spring from thought rather than from experience. In the same way that anxiety can be generated from a negative expectation of the future, excitement was simply its opposite, or more accurately a different manifestation of what was essentially the same. This makes sense when you think about how you sometimes feel nervous and excited all at the same time. You almost become confused as to whether you are nervous or excited, it’s hard to differ between the two. As I put the pieces of the puzzle together, I begun to see how I would only be excited if I was imagining something to go well. If I was expecting something to be good the sensations that arose in my body when I thought of the future were ones of excitement. But it was still an expectation. It was a logical contradiction. If I was to feel excitement, in the sense intended here, I would automatically open myself to the possibility of feeling anxiety of the same kind. They came hand in hand. If I was to free myself of unnecessary anxiety I had to accept that losing excitement was a condition. But why was I disappointed, why did I feel like it was a loss? I sat there almost laughing to myself. I am so used to being on a roller coaster of emotions, living, stuck on an endless treadmill of emotional intensity. I withstood the unpleasant sensations and relished in the euphoric ones, that’s how it works for most of us. A constant craving for what we do not have. Yet I had reached a place of equanimity. In this moment I was totally at peace. I wasn’t feeling because I wasn’t expecting, I was present. I was looking forward to whatever was to come, having surrendered any pressure on the outcome. I was able to think about my adventures to come without attaching weight to what would happen. Therefore I feel neither anxiety nor excitement. For the first time in my life I realized that if was fully present it would always be like this. I would not generate feeling from thought because I was not attached to thought or idea. I would feel emotion only from what was generated in that moment. Emotion would come from my present reality rather than a mind created one. It felt real. It was truth.