The great dharma wheel is nothing more complex than that. The big mystery in life is that there is no mystery.
We have a mind. We all believe we do, and we have mental experience. We have perceptions of mentation that we don’t define as the same thing as our mind proper.
What is mentation? Thought, perception and emotion.
Perception AND emotion? Indeed, because we can perceive our emotional state as a process in itself.
Now by default, we all are immersed in what science refers to as a stream of affect. Our body is constantly talking to itself about how it feels. It has been established scientifically that we all receive information on an unconscious level regarding other peoples stream of affect. Perhaps only because we cannot ever fully suppress those little quirks of body language as well as the little physical and biological tells, skin blush, eye dilation, subtle fluctuations of vocal tone. We feel other people’s emotions involuntarily, naturally and reflexively. This process plays out without any attention or effort from ourselves.
What about from far away. People we feel? Mental telepathy? I’m not positing telepathy, and perhaps any translation of subjective content is only reproduced imperfectly, but if so the imperfection of the reproduction is irrelevant.
These are not learned? No. They are innate. Biological survival mechanisms reinforce things like child rearing and self-preservation. We have to be able to perceive and mitigate or avoid hostility. The theory in material science circles is that an intuition is nothing more than a cognitive process without sufficient signal strength to displace your current active cognitive content, but still just as natural as anything you might actively think.
Sometimes we are wrong in our intuitions. Sometimes they are based on hope or fear. Error is ever aborning. Can we learn from error alone? Or even error as a base line?
Now these emotional states play out like weather. They are communicated without volition not only between human beings but between any species capable of any degree of recognition of other states. This exchange maintains coherence between any two human individuals, and even across species. So we recognize that the screeching bird is distressed, or that the growling dog means to warn us off. This emotional exchange goes on as if it has a life of its own. Is this entirely unreasonable to say?
Perhaps moving on, the conceptual ground work can help understand the stuff I meant to describe…
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.