Robert Augustus Masters: It’s Not Enough to Feel, We Must Know Our Emotions



Robert Augustus Masters, PhD announces his new book Emotional Intimacy: A Comprehensive Guide for Connecting with the Power of Your Emotions. I haven’t read it, but it has won some powerful endorsements from some folks who have. It is time for an integrally-informed book about emotional intelligence.

A excerpt:

To be alive is to feel, and to feel is to experience emotion. Whether our emotions are overwhelming or subtle, fiery or chilling, dark or light, they are always present, finding expression in an extraordinary number of ways. Our emotions are ever-moving wonders, bringing together physiology, feeling, cognition, and conditioning, allowing us to connect and communicate in more ways than we can imagine. The more deeply we know our emotions, the deeper and more fulfilling our lives will be.

However anatomically complex our emotions are, they are simple in their felt immediacy, providing us with the opportunity to participate more fully and more consciously in them so that we might make as wise as possible use of them. For all too many of us, emotions remain a largely untapped source of strength, freedom, and connection. They are so much a part of us that we tend to take them for granted, losing touch with their sheer mystery and with the marvelously varied ways they transmit our inner workings, facially and otherwise.

How well do you know your emotions? To what degree are you at home with them? How do you view them—are they more ally or foe? Do you distance yourself from them, or get lost in them? Do you keep them tightly reined, or do you let yourself get carried away by them? Or do you cultivate intimacy with them, however dark or unpleasant or disturbing they may be?

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M. Scott Peck on Love: A Critique

Photo Credit: Steve-h

“Love is not a feeling. Love is an action, an activity … Genuine love implies commitment and the exercise of wisdom …. love as the will to extend oneself for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth. True love is an act of will that often transcends ephemeral feelings of love or cathexis, it is correct to say, ‘Love is as love does’.” — M. Scott Peck, author of The Road Less Traveled

Actually love is a feeling, I believe, but as a feeling it is only one part of something central and radiant at the heart of all things in the universe … and to the extent that it is a feeling, it is only showing its fleeting and furtive face, not its essential nature.

True, love is an action, an activity. But activity is not its origin or its essence, but its final realization. Its end is activity in the same way that the end of forgiveness may be to mend a divided friendship or the end of giving is to release greatness. The expression is important and conclusive, but it is not really what Love is about.

True, commitment is at the heart of love. So too is communication. So too is communion. So too is understanding. So too is enough-ness.  Luck is at the heart of love. Luster is at the heart of love. Luxury is at the heart of love. So too is the Sun itself, a radiant source of Light and Luminescence, taking us to higher realms above. So much is implied by love that what can we say about it is to point, as the Buddhists say, to its suchness.

I believe that the exercise of wisdom is connected to Love, but the connection may be more elusive than M. Scott Peck said. Very often love seems closer to loopiness than intelligence. When the power of love is too strong, when its sunshine comes too soon, when its fun turns to foolishness, and when its course is run and it becomes ruined … that’s when love is not at all skillfully expressed. The Sun of Love leaves with lustrous loss; the Moon of Love remains with mournful loneliness.

Is the will to love really about extending oneself for the purpose of another’s spiritual growth? That may be so, when one is looking at love as something one person does to another person. But it looks quite a bit different when one looks at Love as what one person is as his Full Self and what another person is as her Full Self, and that One Self which they have in common.

When One is Love as opposed to one self doing love, the will expressing itself is not his or hers, but Ours; the purpose finding itself too is Ours; the nurturing is the We feeding Us; the spiritual growth is nothing but the finding of our True Nature.

Is it so, as M. Scott Peck says, that love is as love does? I would rather say that love does as Love is and as Love evolves. Love is not something which requires a purposeful act; it is a surrender to the power of Light and Aliveness at the heart of all things, a surrender to God.

Prairie dogs are talking about us

A recent blog post from Beyond Words (great title for a blog, by the way!) reminds me of a fascinating segment I heard on NPR a while ago about prairie dog language. Here’s a clip from the post:

Through recording the calls prairie dogs made in response to predators?a hawk or human or coyote, for example?and then analyzing the call?s layers of frequencies in a computer lab, Slobodchikoff discovered that the calls were grouped together into frequency clusters, with obvious differences between a general warning call or an alarm about a domestic dog versus a coyote.

This in itself spurred more inquiry?why is the prairie dog call for “human!” consistently different than the others, and is there a possibility that prairie dogs are distinguishing between different humans?

“He began to wonder whether the little rodents could possibly be describing their predators ? not just differentiating hawk from human, but actually saying something about the particular human or coyote or hawk that was approaching.”

His test for this was quite simple, actually. He dressed four humans in four different colored shirts?blue, yellow, green, grey?and had them walk through the prairie dog village four times. After recording the warning calls and then analyzing them, Slobodchikoff found that the calls organized themselves based on the color of the human?s shirt. Amazingly enough, the calls even differentiated between other factors like height?”?Essentially they were saying, ?Here comes the tall human in the blue,? versus, ?Here comes the short human in the yellow.?”

It seems as though every time we study animal communication, the more we are discovering their intelligence and perceptiveness. I don’t know of any reason to think that groundhogs are uniquely capable of this sort of “language” whereas other rodents and species are not. If we haven’t noticed the complexity of animal communication before, it’s quite likely because few people were looking (Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals, aside).

Promiscuity, testicle size, and brain size in males linked

Studies of bats and other mammals have found that the average brain size is 36 percent bigger among monogamous males than promiscuous males, researchers say. In bat species with promiscuous females, the male’s body has been shown to use more of its energy to enhance the testes, costing the males the energy needed to further develop their brains. Promiscuity is also associated with big testicles among chimpanzees, whereas dominant gorillas with exclusive access to a harm of females are known to have small testicles.

The implication is that males of some species make a trade-off between brain power and sex appeal. In promiscuous species where there is heightened competition for male sexual success, males are more likely to choose balls over brains compared to non-promiscuous species.

If the results of this research are applicable to the human species, one might dare to speculate, then this could eventually support the stereotypes that associate physical beauty and sexual prowess with low intelligence. Jokes and prejudice surrounding “muscle meatheads” and “blonde bimbos” could get scientific reinforcement. Potentially, stereotypes about breast, penis or ball size could also be put at play. If, say, large penises are supposedly linked to lower intelligence and smaller penises to higher intelligence, then the racial and ethnic aspects of such linkages would become politically and culturally explosive.