Albert Einstein once said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” Einstein transformed the world in more ways than one, but his sense of something larger connecting us all to one another through thoughts, emotions, and higher levels of consciousness are so profound, it is hard to believe he was not a philosopher. His ability to utilize his intuition with cognitive thought and science-based theories allowed him to push the limits on what we know about the universe and how it works, as well as what we can imagine the universe and life itself to be.
For many of us, we live in the words of Einstein without even realizing it. This “level of consciousness” that he hints to has many connotations, but ultimately, he alludes to the idea of combining two biological instincts that our bodies have honed and developed for thousands of years – emotional and rational thinking. As a Nobel Prize winning physicist, he was renowned for his ability to thrive in logical thinking, because that is supposedly what science-based fields are all about. In reality, Einstein is the genius he was because of his emotional and spiritual side that fueled his creativity. This creativity was the basis for all scientific theories he had. If his emotional, creative side allowed him to thrive in physics, why do so many people discredit emotional thought and reactions for life choices today?
Emotional and Rational Decision Making
Many of us have been told in our lifetime that our argument or decision is based in emotions, leading to feelings of frustration, anger, fear, and sadness. Being told you are too emotional and that your decisions are solely based on emotions has many negative connotations today, especially in the business world. This has led to years of people suppressing and ignoring emotions, burying them deep into their psyche to be dealt with later. Completely diminishing emotional thinking has created a disconnection in people – one that could ultimately prevent you from following your true path.
Emotional thoughts are a biological function that differentiate us from many other animals, which mean they play a crucial role to human survival. Your emotions serve a purpose. Whatever emotion you are feeling in a moment, it is there to inform you. By informing you of an emotional response in that situation, your body is signaling to your brain that you should evaluate that emotion. Sometimes this emotion is based in a fear – such as a fear of poverty or a fear of failing – but that does not mean it should be ignored. These emotional thoughts are actually pushing you to investigate the situation more because there is other information that must be evaluated before making a decision.
For example, when you are making a business deal with someone else and suddenly become anxious, where are these anxious feelings coming from? Are they related to past business deals that feel eerily similar to the one you are making right now? Are you dealing with a person who reminds you of someone that took advantage of you in the past? Is it the way they are approaching the entire deal, or simply a mannerism they have that reminds you of someone else? Is your anxiety about this business deal rooted in your fears of failing, or because this person is giving off warning signs that they cannot be trusted? No matter the cause of the emotional response, your emotions are simply telling you to pay attention.
Without emotional thoughts and warnings that are typically connected to past experiences, you may end up in a situation that could have otherwise been avoided. On the contrary, this is not to diminish that emotions can be unrealistic and unreliable. Blindly following your first emotional response and thought is not the right answer to anything either because you still will not have all the facts. This is often referred to as “Child’s Logic” because it is rooted in child-like expectations of wishes and hopes but diminishes the logical evaluation of reality.
Emotions are not precise thoughts, but merely unsophisticated warning signs from your body. Emotional thinking and decision making provide information about your situation in a quick way that encourages you to evaluate a situation without thinking about it with a lot of cognition. This is a useful tool when evaluating on-the-spot decisions or patterns of thinking without having much time to consider all factors; however, just because this emotional thought process raises a red flag in your brain and body does not mean it is the optimal truth of the situation. This is when you must learn to start listening, evaluating, and processing your emotions in conjunction with logical, fact-based thought, just as Albert Einstein did.
With a honed combination of emotional and rational thought, you can learn to open your mind to a higher collective consciousness. When you do this, you are learning to evaluate all of life’s dilemmas and opportunities through a creative lens, allowing your mind to be more open, positive, and receptive to creatively innovative ideas and solutions.
This relates back to Einstein’s quote because he is encouraging us all to realize that we cannot solve life’s problems with the same point of view and mindset we had when we created it. Instead, we must utilize our biological gifts of emotional and rational thinking to expand our views, our minds, our emotions, and our solutions. When working together, emotional and rational thought can pave the way to your highest purpose, while aligning your mind, body, and spirit to thrive in all circumstances. This will not only help with major life decisions, but it will also be essential to finding and following your life’s true path towards success.
Evaluating Emotional Thoughts Rationally
Understanding emotional thought is difficult, scary, and sometimes traumatic. All emotions are connected to past experiences, people, and situations – and not all of these are pleasant thoughts to evaluate and analyze. However, the sooner you learn to deal with where your emotions are coming from, the quicker you will be able to evaluate emotional thinking in situations where you do not have time to dig deep into your immediate reaction. The more time you spend evaluating emotional thoughts in smaller situations with less risks, the easier and more efficient it will be to utilize emotional thinking with logical thinking in major life and business decisions.
To start practicing evaluating emotional thoughts, spend this week keeping a journal or note on your phone with three columns: The Situation, The Emotional Thought, and The Logical Thought. With every emotional reaction you experience, whether it is a wonderful, positive emotion, or an anxious, scary emotion, write it down. Describe the situation in detail, write down your immediate emotional response, and then spend some time evaluating the logical aspect of the situation at the end of the day. This will allow you to start to realize connections and patterns of emotional thinking – ultimately allowing you to shift your perspective on situations that tend to illicit the same response.
Before you evaluate all your logical responses to the situations you kept track of during the day, find a nice, quiet area that brings peace and calmness into your body. Take a few minutes to breathe, calm down, and settle into your body. This can be done by lighting candles; burning sage, incenses, or palo santo; meditating; or all the above. Just do whatever helps you relax and calm your mind.
Review the situation from earlier in the day that you are wanting to evaluate. By reading the detailed situation you described, you will be able to remember the deep emotional thought you had. Start to become consciously aware of how you are feeling and identify that strong emotion. Would you describe it as fear, anxiety, happiness, or light? Step outside of yourself and try to view this emotion as an outside observer. This is when you will start to evaluate the reasons behind the emotional thought. More likely than not, if it is a negative emotional response, you are in fear of not obtaining something you want, or you are in fear of loosing something you already have. What is that fear rooted in?
After contemplating what this emotional response stems from, it is important to evaluate if this response is a logical and valid consideration for your decision. If it is not a valid consideration, contemplate and record in your journal what you will do differently next time you feel this way. If it is, utilize this experience as a reminder for the next time you are alerted with this feeling. When the emotion is valid and raises real red flags, take some time to meditate on how you will address this going forward so that you can act in accordance with your higher knowing.
As you continue to meld this spiritual practice with your real-world situations, you will be able to find the truths in your emotional thinking. This is a powerful tool that you can utilize in all aspects of life, if you make a conscious effort to listen and learn from each emotion. This will allow you to make well-informed and accurate decisions – because listening to your body, even though it is not always direct and concise, can be the difference in your overall success.