Clarify, Sanctify, Purify

by Christopher Lovejoy on October 4, 2020

My preference is to take a stroll through my neighborhood between 3 and 4 am in the morning. This godly hour is one in which I can move peacefully and blissfully at my leisure. This morning, my walk was graced by a light shower, and I arrived home at precisely 3:33 am.

A light rain shower or a drizzle before dawn brings out the best in me. They draw me out selectively, if not wholly, with a presence most divine that releases and refreshes my senses: wayward thoughts recede, and feelings go into retreat. Most times, emotions are absent.

Some very pleasant sensations come out to play. Goosebumps come and go.

This morning, I marveled at a dazzle of light on rain-slicked pavement.

With this brief anecdote, I feel called to bring these three words to light: clarify, sanctify, purify. With the reality, diversity, and complexity of feeling serving as my point of focus, my aim is to supply some wisdom and apply it to the guidance of feeling with love, trust, and care.

Thankfully, I have no idea where this is taking me.

I only know that this is where I feel called to go.


At a crossroads, the voice of urgency is clear: follow your heart or go with your gut, but do something. For those who prize reason and logic, however, this advice fails to make the grade, as “feelings are neither dependable nor reliable indicators of what to do and where to go next.”

For thinkers, a most interesting distinction can be made between emotion and feeling.

Emotion is pure and simple, primal and immediate, presenting as a potent six-pack of raw elixirs across all cultures: fear, anger, disgust, joy, sorrow, and surprise; feeling comes after the emotion; in effect, feelings rise on a tide of emotion with cognition to produce a response.

Feeling adds meaning to emotion to make sense of emotions by producing a response.

On one of my many morning walks in the dark, I encountered a skunk running toward me from inside a hedge. Startled, I darted the other way without taking any time to consciously and deliberately think and feel about what I was witnessing. Here’s my analysis of the experience:


emotion = surprise + fear

apprehension = if I don’t run now, I’m gonna get sprayed

valuation = I don’t wanna smell like a skunk

reaction = move away ~ now!

perception = whew, I don’t smell like a skunk

feeling = relief + gratitude

response = I’m so lucky and glad I got away this time

The emotion, apprehension, valuation, reaction, perception, feeling, and response occur quickly, with lightening-speed precision. The value of this analysis lies in showing the relative contributions of emotion, apprehension, valuation, reaction, perception, feeling, and response.

In this example, one could argue that the surprise is primal, but that the fear is both primal and, based on past experience, derivative, i.e., the sight of an animal coming out of a bush at night will always provoke primal fear, but a skunk will always provoke a different kind of fear.

Provided, of course, you know about skunks and have had experience with skunks.

By itself, the emotional blend of surprise and fear has no meaning. The meaning arises from an automatic construction of the mind and heart that is (eventually) found, with feeling, in the response, which comes in the wake of apprehension, valuation, reaction, and perception.

In this example, the emotions are automatic yet conscious; the apprehension and valuation are automatic but not conscious; the reaction is automatic and conscious, as is the perception that ensues; the feelings and the response they produce are also automatic and conscious.

Does this mean that we are automatons?

In a sense, yes, yes we are. On the whole, we are designed to react to emotion automatically, with feeling, from which we can behave with and through feeling (or a lack of feeling). Feeling is more complex and varied than emotion; usually, feelings also last longer than emotions.

In a sense, no, we are not automatons, for the simple reason that, unlike animals, we (as rational creatures) can reflect at length on the nature, source, and meaning of feeling, as I did with my analysis above. So does this mean that we can depend and rely on feelings to guide us?

For me, this is the $64 million question.


Feelings are productive for responses in that they serve to interpret emotions with thoughts and values, reasons and motives. If, for whatever reason, I do not or cannot process the emotions that I experience, I put myself at serious risk of being unduly influenced by these emotions.

If, for example, I make what I take to be a serious mistake, and if, for whatever reason, I feel angry and disgusted just before making it, I will naturally, if not inevitably, view and treat this mistake far differently than if I had been calm and composed before making the mistake.

In this case, I would be wise to pause and breathe (and focus) to process and release the emotions before addressing and assessing the feelings that arise around making the mistake, acknowledging that the feelings themselves might not accurately reflect what actually happened.

The fact that I cannot trust these feelings is not the fault of the feelings; the fault lies elsewhere: first, it lies in the unwillingness to process and release the emotions that triggered the feelings, and second, it lies in the assumptions made inside the apprehension and/or the valuation:


emotion = anger + disgust

initiation = I make a serious mistake

apprehension = I can hardly believe I made this mistake
valuation = I don’t wanna look like a misfit or a moron
feeling = unworthy + undeserving

reaction = I better cover this up

apprehension = here’s one way to do this
valuation = here’s a better way to do this
feeling = apprehensive + determined

action = follows up on the better way

apprehension = alright, that should do it
valuation = I’m safe, at least for now
feeling = confident + relieved

response = I’m lucky I got away with it this time

I am not one to advocate dishonesty, but I am one to advocate the exposure of how easy it can be to be dishonest under the influence of strong emotions like anger and disgust. In this analysis, I start with an initiation ~ an event that occurs in spite of ourselves as a test of character.

In this example, the eventual response to making a serious mistake rides piggyback on multiple cycles of apprehension, valuation, and feeling, which culminates in a final blend of feeling, namely, confidence and relief. Interestingly, this analysis looks a little like an algorithm.

In human terms, an algorithm is a finite sequence of instructions that can be implemented to solve a problem, dispatch a task, resolve an issue, or even anticipate a challenge. By this definition, algorithms can be classified as logical, if not reasonable, and practical, if not ethical.

Algorithms use operators like if, then, and, or, else and not ~ among others. Operators are words or symbols that connect expressions whose combinations depend only on the value and meaning of the component operators and expressions, as seen in the following example.

Let’s transform the aforementioned analysis into an algorithm that favors honesty:



I experience anger and disgust


I process and release this anger and disgust


I remain present to what happens under the influence of anger and disgust

and so


I make a serious mistake

optional: insert subroutine on discerning whether a mistake has been made (and if so, why), whether a mistake is serious yet stupid (and if so, why), and whether it is necessary, possible, or desirable to cover it up (and if so, why); otherwise, construct a separate, parallel algorithm


I catch any impulse to cover it up


I allow myself to feel what I feel

optional: insert subroutine on discerning the best way to welcome, allow, and release the feeling with any one of many methods for processing the feeling (a few examples: the Presence Process, the Sedona Method, and EFT); otherwise, construct a separate yet parallel algorithm


I acknowledge the mistake


I accept that I made the mistake


I report the mistake as required


I divulge the mistake as desired


I process and release any residual shame or guilt

optional: insert subroutine on discerning the best way to welcome, allow, and release the feeling with any one of many methods for processing the feeling (a few examples: the presence process, the Sedona Method, and EFT); otherwise, construct a separate yet parallel algorithm


I feel a sense of completion coupled with satisfaction

Rising above the analytical side of my brain, I can offer this summary for the whole brain:

Whenever I experience anger and disgust, I shall process and release this anger and disgust; otherwise, I shall remain present to what happens under the influence of anger and disgust. If I make a mistake, I shall catch any impulse to cover it up, and allow myself to feel what I feel.

I shall acknowledge the mistake, I shall accept that I made the mistake, and I shall report or divulge the mistake as required or desired, and I shall process any residual shame, guilt, or regret until that very moment when I can feel a sense of completion coupled with satisfaction.

With sensitivity, I can trust my feeling of completion if, as, when it speaks to the knowledge and wisdom contained within the guidance that the feeling offers. When the assumptions upon which I apprehend and evaluate my situations are sound, so too is the wisdom and guidance.

To the extent to which I can clarify the process that leads from the initial (and possibly initiating) emotion(s) to the feeling of completion is the extent to which I can sanctify the feeling itself (have it be free of any other feeling) to ensure that I can proceed with a firm and pure intent.

In light of these emotional analyses and algorithms, it would be a very interesting matter to explore and examine feeling with pure intent as it relates to wisdom and guidance, discernment and improvement, contentment and enchantment, as well as enjoyment and fulfillment.


do what you don’t wanna do as fast as you can so that
you can do what you wanna do for as long as you can?

~ yours

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