“As the primary indicator of our ‘true feelings,’ emotions have become our new inner self, taking the place once occupied by the soul, the spirit, or the conscience. Now to question our anger, infatuation, sadness, and many other emotions is to question what is most sacred about us. It not only seems dishonest to let go of misery; it seems like a betrayal of who we really are.
“This redefinition of our core has thrown us deeper into chaos, especially since we have also redefined integrity, which used to mean being faithful to our core….
“Look at the dilemma we have gotten ourselves into by deciding that our emotions are our truest self. How can we be ourself if our self is changing every few minutes, as emotions invariably do? Not only are feelings never constant, we have layers of feelings heading in different directions….
“Emotions are like layers of files seen on a computer screen. The one we notice is merely the one we have clicked on. Even that analogy is an oversimplification because the contents of the files have lives of their own and the mouse likes to do a little extra browsing on its own. The bottom line is that if you make your emotions your inner self, you have chaos at your core.
“There is a place within us where we can touch the changeless and beautiful, a place where our real self is experienced in peace. This self does not have to be periodically vented, defragmented, or even defined. In gentleness and ease it is clearly seen, and everything about it is familiar — because this self is consistently whole.”
— Hugh Prather, The Little Book of Letting Go, p. 90-91