(Excerpt from the book The Misleading Mind)
We all, most likely, would agree that we are not our beliefs, our experiences, or our roles. We know intellectually that we are not solely any of these limited things, but there’s the rub. Despite this understanding, we often behave and react otherwise. We “forget” in the heat of the moment. We live in a kind of hallucination brought on by our emotions, which are experienced so fully and directly, it’s as if they take over our mind and we “fuse” our identity with them.
Look at how we talk about our emotions. Usually, we say we “are” the thing that we feel, physically or emotionally. We’ll say, “I am hungry.” And how funny: We’re now no longer a project manager; we are hunger. We say, “Boy, am I tired!” Or, “I am relaxed after that walk.” Or, “I’m mad at my boss and anxious about my job review.” In the moment, we became anger or relaxation or anxiousness. In fact, all day long we are constantly identifying with our emotions, and we treat them as if they are the infallible barometer of our true self.
(This topic continues in the book The Misleading Mind)