Our mammalian/limbic brain is our emotional brain. It is through our mammalian brain that we have feelings for our world.
Our mammalian brain is connected both to the reptilian and the higher cortical brain.
Our more primitive mammalian brain gives us our most basic feelings of being alive and introduces us to the primary colors of our emotional life. Terror, rage, confusion, feeling bereft, and various shades of total delight and pleasure are the colors of our basic feeling of the world.
As we begin to inhabit our higher cortical brain, we also begin to have feelings and judgements about our more raw and intense feelings.
Many of our symptoms are really secondary symptoms. We hate feeling fear, or grief, or rage and so we develop neurotic patterns of avoiding these intense felt experiences of being alive.
On the positive side, having some felt distance from these intense primary feelings allows us to have these intense feelings without also being lost in them. We are able to ride the waves of these intense emotions without drowning in them.
Also, it is through our mammalian brain that we are able to “read” the minds of those around us. When we walk into a room with other people, it is our mammalian brain that is able to resonate with the emotional tone of the room.
We cannot help but have a feeling for our lives. We cananot help but feel waves of emotion as we resonantly move through our lives.
Therefore, if we are unable to tolerate the wide range of emotions, then we will not be able to be effectively present to the world and our lives.
If we want to feel true unfettered joy, delight, and pleasure, we must be able to be open and ride the waves of our unavoidable (and transient) and more difficult feelings of pain, fear, and grief. The cost of this gift and capacity to feel the world and for the world to enjoy a feelingful self-relationship, is that we don’t get to choose what we have been given to feel. We only get to choose whether or not we are going to embrace or flee this wild blessing/gift.