I woke up feeling… good. Good is not a feeling. Good is a judgment. “Well” is not a feeling either, also a judgment. So when I answer, “Good,” to the question, “How are you?” I am giving a judgment, a reminder of constant judgment, performance-based being, and the idea that I’m supposed to give a polite answer, or the answer that satisfies the asker, rather than actually responding with feeling or what I’m up to, or what state I’m in. MY answer.
“How are you?” might be a meaningless greeting, but I get to use it as an opportunity to check in with myself and to authentically connect with another. I can hijack it and make it meaningful…
“I feel physically cold, I’m mentally curious, my body feels tired and wants to play, and emotionally I feel numb… underneath the numb, I feel sad.”
Awareness of physical, emotional, and even mental sensations are actual experiences that we can simply notice, if we are sensitive enough to just notice them. They are what is present for us, meaningless, as is. (This is the most powerful and direct way of being, though most of us are in the habit of assigning meaning to our experiences. We bury them in beliefs.)
Judgments are conclusions made about what we notice, about those sensations or experiences.
Experiences are what is. Judgments are the meanings or values we make about those experiences. That’s how I differentiate.
Sometimes I feel sad because I feel lonely in this moment. Sometimes I feel sadness for no apparent reason and it passes just as quickly as it comes. Yesterday I was in the shower and for no discernible reason I welled up in tearful anguish that then swelled to immense and inexplicable joy and awe at the complexity of what I was feeling. Then just as quickly, it was over, like a wave washing over and through me. It lasted 10 seconds tops. I didn’t make it mean anything so it went as quickly as it came. This has been my practice. By the way, it feels amazing – feeling feelings for feelings sake, experiencing experiences simply as experiences without attaching meaning or causality.