There are three voices that influence us when we make decisions.
One is the voice of reasons - our mind. The facts, the logics, the advantages vs disadvantages, the risks and the likely outcomes of various options.
The other is the voice of conscience - our heart. The values that we hold and the sense of right or wrong beyond the material and physical benefits of our reasoning.
The third is the voice of sensuality - our body. What will give us pleasure and make us feel good.... taste good, smell great, look good, etc.
The voices correspond to the tripartite nature of man --- spirit, soul, body.
When we have to make a choice, which voice do we listen to ?
Josh Billings has a famous quote "Reason often makes mistakes, but conscience never does."
It is common belief that the order should be Conscience over Reasons over Sensuality.
This is not to say that Sensuality is always wrong. There is nothing wrong but in fact it is good that we enjoy good food and sex (with the right party - your spouse). This order comes into play when there are conflict of interests.
e.g. smoking -
Sensuality says : Ok. It gives temporary pleasure. (for me, it does not. But for some, it does).
Voice of Reasons says: No. It is harmful to the body in the long run.
Voice of Conscience says: No. It is harmful to those around us.
So, the conclusion is no.
e.g. profiting by selling thermometer at price during high demand time of SARS day
Voice of Reasons say: Yes. It is profit maximization.
Voice of Conscience say: No. It cannot be so highly price so that only the rich can afford.
So, remember that when there is a conflict,
the priority is Conscience, Reasons and then Sensuality.
Feeling is Not Always Wrong - Listen Carefully
With this understanding, I want to clearly differentiate the different types of emotions or feelings. There is the common misunderstanding that one should not listen to our feelings but to our reasons implying that feeling is bad. This is incorrect. Our feeling is a response to something deeper.
We have to differentiate the source that causes the feeling.
* It is from the external through our body senses, or
* due to our thinking and reasoning, (we feel sad or happy when watching movie) or
* due to our conscience.
If the feeling of peace or uneasiness comes from our conscience, we need to listen to it. When we feel uneasy from our conscience, we sometimes want to use our reasonings to overcome it. We should not. We should always listen the inner voice of our conscience. However, if we continue to suppress our conscience by our reasonings, our conscience will be numbed. To ensure we have sensitive conscience, we should feed it by reading Bible, prayers, and obedience.
Feeling can be directed by our thoughts and our conscience. The best kind of feeling is the passion we felt for doing a good cause according to our conscience and our reasons.