22 August, 2015

Your emotional disposition is more than just who you are...

For a couple of years now, I have been practicing a technique called "mindfulness" -- a term, which is used in several senses by different people, so let me define it here.

It is a technique by which we try to understand our emotional disposition or emotional profile, by observing our emotions over a long period of time.

Emotional disposition is different from our emotional "state" -- the latter simply refers to how we are feeling right now. Emotional states are transient, and in fact, just asking someone how are they feeling, may make them feel different.

Our emotional disposition is our strategic tendency to be in certain areas of the emotional state space, than certain others. It is how we tend to feel and what we tend to pursue when we are under no external pressure.

In that sense, our emotional disposition is "who we are" as a person.

But, it is more than just about who we are.

If we find out things about ourselves -- things that we intensely desire, or intensely despise, and cannot attribute it to any childhood experience, then it is likely to be a characteristic property of our emotional disposition. But where did that characteristic property come from?

The only place it could have come from is our genes. And my conjecture was that forces of evolution encodes emotionally intense experiences of a parent generation, into the genetic code of the next generation.

A recent paper in the Biological Psychiatry journal addresses the same issue and confirms the conjecture. This article in the Guardian, explains more about this phenomenon called epigenetic inheritance.

This is nature's way of recording history. There is an "official" version of history that we are taught in schools and then there is this "personal" version of history that affects us directly.