This is a very practical topic which will help you to get more effective and happier in life.
What are Emotions?
Emotions are a form of energy. This energy exists. If it is not already, it will becomes gnaringly obvious after doing the work explained later in this post. For now we have a look at some examples where we can see this energy in our everyday lives.
When we are stressed we sweat or our hearts beat fast. We might be unable to concentrate or get tunnel vision.
Triggers exist. When we feel very emotional about a topic we will react strongly whenever this topic comes up.
How other people react to us. People will sense our emotions (especially woman), even if they only ever so slightly find their ways into our micro expressions.
When we surpress emotions and let the energy get stuck in our body we feel heavy. Keeping the energy down and holding it in takes effort. Because of this we can feel exhausted.
Sex. That strong rush of energy. Feeling of turn on.
Again, this post is not about philosophy or concepts but to teach you a practical skill that will help you immensely if you take it seriously.
It will also help you to get out of victim mentality and take responsibility for your life.
Emotions are what motivate your actions and shape your reality.
Backwards rationalization: We do something out of emotional impulses, to pull us towards one emotion and/or push us away from another emotion. Then rationalize our controversial actions after the fact.
Life circumstances: When we get hurt or abused in childhood our adult-self will draw similar situations or relationships in our lives again and again. Not out of poor reasoning but because we subconsciously feel like this is how our reality should be. Our emotions will drive us to what we subconsciously want with greater precision and reliability than a fine swiss watch.
Science: Reason is only the secondary process when we do science. Emotions, psychology and ego are the primary processes.
You would be wrong to think that reason and logic are the driving force behind your actions. Emotions are what move you.
Our emotions are a navigation system and show us how much we are in alignment with reality, with life. When we feel heavy emotions we are out of sync. If we feel light in our body and our emotions, we know we are in balance.
When it comes to emotions there are mostly two kind of people. Those who feel emotions and those who do not.
Emotions are located in the body. If you can't feel anything you are shutting parts of your body down and restricting the flow of energy there. Yes, you do. All humans are highly emotional creatures. Emotions drive almost everything we do (Survival, Relationships, Sales, Business, Politics, Music, Literature & Movies etc.).
And they are very important in your life. Emotions are the key to real Growth. Whatever journey you decide to go on. Past, present, or future.
If you are already in tune with your emotions and are able to feel into your body you can skip to STEP 2. Alltough, it will be beneficial to start here.
Step 1: Getting in touch with your Emotions
The first step is always to feel something. To do that we need to open up to this energy. Remember I said emotions are in your body? They are but you might not be able to feel them right away.
What helped me was talking to friends about their emotions and finding out where they feel them and let them describe how specific emotions feel to them. What I also did was looking up a study which asked people a similar question. They then created these body maps on where certain emotions can be found in the body.
And I just looked out for them.
1. Sit down in a quiet environment and focus on the body parts mentioned above. Open your heart, open your chest. Do some basic meditation focused on bringing awareness to your body and relax into it as good as you can.
Depending on how good you were at feeling your emotions before this can take a while. Don't expect to feel anything right away. Stick with it because the payoffs will be immense.
2. Think about a moment in your life where you felt a really strong emotion. Could be anything, anger, fear or happiness. Now imagine the situation in as much detail as you can and see if you can feel the emotion again.
3. Notice how in heated debates, discussions or arguments you might become emotionally triggered. Notice where in your body you can feel this.
If you already start to feel something, even if it is just an ache, something restricting or opening up, cold or warmth in your body and you can link it to an emotion you can do this.
4. Do Mindfulness practice with labeling feelings as emotions. Notice how some emotions might be masked and hide behind different emotions.
Emotions can be linked to different Emotional States. I'll start with the heaviest ones. Fear, Grief and Apathy.
If you are someone who can't feel their emotions you are probably in Apathy. Now, Apathy is a coping mechanism we use when there are too many emotions.
Imagine for example being at work and something really sad happens and it overruns you emotionally. Instead of being with that emotion we suppress it to keep on functioning. But it doesn't have to be at work. The fundamental mechanism at work is that we don't want to feel the emotions. Could be because of fear, ego, peer-pressure, social conditioning etc.
The more lighter Emotional States are Desire, Anger, Pride
Courage, Acceptance, Peace/Bliss
Just be mindful of the Emotional States and repeat the 4 practices in this step until you are able to feel from your body and not be in your head.
You don't need to perfect this step. But the better you become at getting in touch with your emotions the better the next step works and vice versa.
Step 2 (A): Accept & Let Go
The counter-intuitive nature of emotions is that you will not suffer by feeling unwanted emotions. But you will suffer if you repress emotions and restrict energy in your body.
Let go of the identification with what you fear. Let go of problems in your life and the story around those. This is real Growth, letting go.
Now, we all have different stories and problems we want to let go here but Hale Dwoskin identified 5 needs we all have to some degree.
Need for acceptance
Need for control
Need for protection
Need for oneness/seperateness
In any given situation see if you can feel one or more of these needs coming up. Look at the need. See how it is like and where it is located in your body. Give yourself permission to feel it fully. Accept that it is there. And let it go.
This was the warm up. Now we will go a little bit deeper.
Coming back to the second practice from step 1. You are hopefully able to feel the emotion and label it. Imagine the same scenario or a different one where you felt a strong emotion that you want to let go.
Maybe you felt an incredible fear because you wanted to do something out of your comfort zone, or you felt rejected by someone you care about, or you felt anger towards someone who hurt you, or you felt sad. Can be anything, you can even go into your childhood memories if you want.
Get comfortable and feel into your body. Ask yourself the following questions and listen for the answers in your body.
Can you welcome your experience? Notice what it feels like.
Any sense of abandonment, sense of frustration? Just sit with it.
Any sense of wanting to control it, push it down?
Any sense of you wanting approval? Or push approval away?
Any sense of wanting security, wanting to survive or quit? Welcome it.
Any sense of wanting seperation/being alone, or wanting oneness, really wanting someone to love me?
Welcome everything and notice what comes up the most and pick that one.
And ask, can I let this go? This wanting.
Than ask your body can you let go any of that wanting? A little more?
Then ask yourself can you let go of the experience itself? Notice your body, emotions and sensations.
Maybe they release completely, maybe only a bit?
Can you welcome the experience, can you feel your heart, stomach your body while doing this?
Can you notice what you are feeling, letting go of thinking about it. Feeling the emotional experience.
Can you notice wanting to do anything with this experience or about it?
Can you let that whole experience go? Or maybe only let go a little bit?
Do it 10-20 minutes until you feel a sense of relief in that area, sense of relaxation. Relax in your body.
Notice how your body is doing this.
What you did here is called releasing based on the Sedona Method. I highly recommend it.
During release you might cry, feel intense pain and I've even seen people vomit. It doesn't have to happen but don't be surprised if it happens when you go deep into old repressed emotions.
Release your emotions and focus on what happens after the release. For example: What is behind anger?
As you do that, you will find that beyond the current emotion you might feel a greater truth, a greater emotion. Notice the constant flux in your emotions going from better to worse to better, let it flow.
If you get into a real deep state you can realize certain things about your memories or reality. Those realizations can make a big change in your life alone. Don't get attached to them
If you feel that you still have resistance start by feeling into you body.
Welcome tightness or pain in your body and let it be there for a second. Be with it.
Welcome resistance, notice you can handle it.
Welcome acceptance, notice if it feels lighter.
Switching back and forth. Breath with it. Be with it. Allow it to be there.
Notice any wanting to do anything with this resistance. Just be with the resistance.
You can even see an emotion from all different perspectives over several days. Again, give yourself permission to feel it. Don't judge it.
Acceptance: If you are ok with either getting something or not you will be in emotional alignment.
Step 2 (B): Self-Love
For this step having non-dual insights or experiences is a prerequisite as I wont be going into much detail here.
You are not seperate from anything. Everything is you. Everything is exactly as it should be.
Whatever you experienced in life or are experiencing right now is exactly as it should be. You are Love. Expand your uncoditional Love towards your experiences and your body. Expand your Love to any situation you want to let go and release.
If someone rejected you - Love that. If someone hurt you - Love that. If you feel fearful or sad - Love that. If you took something personal - Love that. If you feel any heavy emotions like Grief, Sadness or Apathy - Love that.
You can even start with asking if you can love this emotion 1%, 2%... Make small steps in the beginning.
When you start to Love more and more and get more into your body you can even go as far and take enjoyment in everything that makes you feel heavy emotions. There is no one telling you you can't.
What you will notice is, you become lighter and lighter. Your body will get used to releasing emotions. And you will become better at it.
At first you need courage, to deeply feel negative emotions, then it will require patience, great stamina & tenacity. If you have been struggling with something in your life, I'd suggest you release your emotions every day, for at least 2 hours. This is not something you do for a few minutes and then expect big results. You might get great results. But your baselines emotions will not change by much. If you want to change your inner world, expect to release hours everyday for months!
If you release on your childhood issues/traumas. And then release again on those memories from a different angle. Your life will lift up automatically.
As Lester Levenson said, we want to get the push out of us, so the world stops pushing back.
Focus on your Emotional States. They will direct your life magically.
When you do this work you will notice that you feel better and better.
Because of this you achieve goals easier with minimal work.
Your action becomes easy rather than destructive.
If you want to achieve something while being in a state of Apathy or Grief it will be so much more difficult.
Don't waste your time trying to work on something while being in that Emotional State, instead get in a lighter State like Courage and then continue with whatever you where doing.
Like with everything in Self-Actualization it is harder when there is no one around you doing it, too. I kinda got lucky because I hang around releasing coaches who are very indulged in this kind of work. Surround yourself with people who are on the same inner journey.
What also helps is general body awareness. Because your emotions are stored in your body, becoming aware of tension in your body/muscles is key.
Become directly conscious of what I am pointing towards here. Just looking at and understanding the pointer is not enough! Feel it.
Another thing is, you don't want to do this for fixing yourself. You will likely get stuck. Yes, we carry these energies and shadows inside of us. But it doesn't mean you are somehow broken or that there is something wrong with you.
From my experience everyone has some shadow energy that they haven't felt or looked at for a while. It's not a bug, it's a feature. It is your journey and it defines all the experiences you make. When doing these exercises you are not fixing yourself, you are growing. And you will grow immensely, Be ready for it ❤️