We all have trouble dealing with our Emotions sometimes. Feelings that come up can have all sorts of stories attached to them. Stories we don’t like, feelings we don’t want to experience.
We hide what we feel, ignore it, feel shame & guilt about it, lie about it or blame other people for causing them in us.
We also crave certain emotions, want to grasp on to them, get addicted & attached to things, people & places which generate that emotional feeling.
They can motivate our behaviour and make us feel out of control
When it comes to Emotions, perhaps we never really grew up.
Our feelings & thoughts have a somatic expression. ( A response in the body)
The Chinese mapped this somatic expression and attributed them channels. They also discovered which organs get affected by different emotions. Within a Chinese Medicine framework, feelings are considered natural & necessary with their own unique wisdom, insight and character. They begin to be considered pathogenic ( a cause of disharmony or illness) when the mind judges, controls, distorts, represses or suppresses these raw feelings. When the mind becomes involved in a controlling manner, it can stagnate the energetic momentum that contains the feeling.
This is why, when you start to move that blocked energetic momentum & relinquish mind control in practices, such as acupuncture , massage, breath work or yoga spontaneous emotional release can occur.
Our mind is heavily influenced by our conditioning. By our family, sub-culture & societal values. By how our past experiences have shaped us, by our associations. We create defence mechanisms to get through, to avoid pain and to keep ourselves together psychologically. I call these mechanisms the gate-keepers or the body guards. They are so important & do great work. Until they don’t. We outgrow them, but don’t update their job description and they start to cage us in and healthy intimacy in relationships out. That’s where the stagnation can really start to affect your health and happiness.
Emotional stagnation can lead to physical and mental ill health. It can keep you trapped and stunt your growth, maturity and intelligence.
The basis of this usually has to do with fear & control. Fear of experiencing something that will overwhelm you & make your lose control.
The way to deal with that fear is to wake up to the very nature of Emotion.
That is; they are changeable. Often within milliseconds. The latin root of the word Emotion, means ‘to move’ . Left to their own devices without interference by mind they rapidly change.
It is the control, repression, suppression & stories we attach to them, that causes them to stagnate & or to identify with the story so much so, that it becomes part of our personality.
So how to wake up and lose the fear?
1) understand the nature of Mind
2) understand the nature of Feelings
The penny-dropping insight, the big A-ha, is realising that both Mind & Emotion BY THEIR NATURE are impermanent, transient and are in a process of change. This means mis-identifying them as fixed, permanent or part of yourself is fundamentally futile.
If you wake up to this reality, then you can really get to the root of what is causing you pain.
What allows out feelings to transform & continue on their merry (or raging) path is recognition or acknowledgement.
Not by someone outside of you. By your own heart.
If you are busily committed to avoiding or ignoring your emotional truth, it takes a whole lot of energy, effort & mind control.
The Chinese called the cognitive part of our mind, the streams of consciousness, the planning, the thinking, the processing etc the Yi
They called the part of our consciousness that is beyond Mind, the consciousness you’ve had since within the womb, (my working title is: the embryological mind) the consciousness or awareness that is there beyond the thoughts, in between the thoughts, they call that Shen.
Instead of bombarding you with concepts of Shen. ( For which there really is no words ) The Chinese being an insanely practical culture, focused on Shen realisation. They then developed methods for people to practice and guide them to Shen realisation.
Shen realization is the mother of all insights (and a different blog post) and is what re-oriontates everything & you on your path. Shen realisation is awareness of our most primary nature. It is what can really reframe our sense of identity and make it a whole lot easier to see the ‘stories’ you’ve created.
Shen realisation is the goal of treatment process. It’s like the Diamond or pure awareness hiding under the Rough of all the misunderstandings of our self.
We all have Diamond (pure awareness) and we all have Rough (not that)
The degree and impact of the ‘Rough’ is very individual, it’s very human stuff and by viewing yourself with gentle eyes, suspending judgments long enough to listen to your heart into, can lead to liberation and wisdom.
Holding Space for Yourself
This is a practice, and it means setting an intention for your mind to suspend judgement of yourself and sit, listen and feel into your heart, your body and find your truth. Regardless if it’s unacceptable or contrary to your social values, regardless whether you like it or not.
This is a really easy way to do it. You could do it just about anywhere, or use it as a regular practice. The acupuncture table is an optimal place for it.
I sit in Meditation or lie down with hand over heart & belly
I set my intention that for just this 20 mins I will maintain concentration & suspend my usual judgements, stories and avoidance, clinging and all the rest and be kind to those disenfranchised parts of self.
I visualise my self sitting in my heart, by a campfire wrapped in a blanket and I wait and listen.
I listen and wait to see, hear or feel what appears. That which has been hiding, drowned out, un-seen, not felt, denied. I wait gently for them.
I then relax my body, soften & acknowledge what shows up. My truth.
This is where the wisdom seeps in , the A ha’s show up. Accepting what is my truth, does set me free.
I then take rest in pure awareness knowing that all else is impermanent, by nature will change and to identify or hold onto it is futile.
I exhale and let go.