We have a natural tendency to seek pleasure and avoid pain.
When it comes to emotions, we seek to avoid, suppress or deny our bad feelings. This process keeps these feelings trapped in the body. When an emotion remains unprocessed, it pops up cyclically in similar situations, often in an intensified fashion.
Emotions only need to be fully felt. When they don’t, they become trigger that narrow our experience of reality.
We also get stuck in our emotions. When we feel intense anger, anxiety or depression, there is tremendous disturbance within us. When that happens, our vision narrows and we are incapable of feeling anything other than the intense negative emotion.
We get stuck in an emotion and we go down a spiral of exploring the shades of darkness that lie within it.
We often fluctuate between these two states: avoiding or getting stuck in our emotions.
When we let emotions control us, we get stuck in patterns of low energy, chronic anxiety, depression, anger and/or physical illness.
Avoiding or being stuck in our emotions are polar opposites. Neither allows the emotion to be released. This mode of relating to our internal world is an obstacle to living a peaceful and empowered life.
Feeling it All as it Happens
The middle way between these two opposites is to neither push away the negative emotions (avoidance) or to pull them further in (spiraling further into them).
The healthy alternative is to feel emotions fully as they come up and release them right away. When we experience a negative emotion, we feel through them. The only way out is through. And the only way to feel it all is by staying open to experiencing all emotions as they happen.
Observing our emotions with authenticity – without lying to ourselves – and curiosity is needed to feel and released them.
When we stay open to all our feelings, our energy centers open and energy rushes inside of them. When we avoid or suppress our emotions, we close our energy centers and block the flow of energy.
Committing to never closing is a brave undertaking. It means accepting to face emotional pain as it happens in our daily lives.
But it also means freeing ourselves from the very emotions that keep us limited or stuck. The more you practice feeling all your emotions, the more energy flows into you.
When we feel it all, an alternative way of going through life opens up where your inner peace does not get breached so easily. And where high energy, love and enthusiasm become natural companions.
In this space, we experience emotions from a neutral standpoint.
We are Not Our Emotions: Reaching the Stillness at our Core
One great insight is that we are not our emotions but their observers. From this powerful realization follows that we don’t need to identify with them.
We are not our thoughts or our emotions. We are the one experiencing them, i.e. the observer.
When we collapse into them and spiral into anger, anxiety or depression we’ve so identified with our emotions that we lost our sense of Self. We lost our center.
In the same way, when we watch a movie, we can be so immersed in it that we forget who and where we are. In that moment, we’ve lost our center and identify so much with a character that we’ve lost our sense of Self.
Just like when watching a movie, when we collapse into an intense feeling our vision narrows and we are unable to see the rest of reality. In other words, when we are overwhelmed, we’ve lost our awareness that we are the observer of the emotion, not the emotion itself.
By letting ourselves feel emotions fully when they arise, we realize that they do in fact have a limited shelf life. Once fully felt, they fade away.
E-motions is energy in motion. Once fully felt with an open heart, the emotion releases.
Releasing the Hard Stuff
What about our long-held patterns and triggers?
The trauma, the death of loved ones, the catastrophe, the irrepressible pains …
For these, we have an established history of intense stuck or avoidance patterns.
They are trickier to release. Working with a therapist, an energy healer and/or doing your own inner work to release the stuck emotion and the maladaptive pattern that goes with it.
All the emotions need is to be felt. So feel it as it arises and reoccurs. Become conscious of it. Be patient with it. Each time that you consciously feel through it, it will move and release its grip over you until the time where it is fully released.
Meeting Emotions with Curiosity
When it comes up, meet emotions with attention and curiosity. Ask yourself:
- What does it feel like?
- What physical sensations do I feel?
- Does it have a shape?
- Does it want to say anything to me?
- Do I want to say anything back?
You can take this emotion release exercise further by taking some action, to help the energy release further such as:
- Hitting a pillow
- Taking a walk
As you perform the activity, let yourself feel the emotions fully and have the specific intent of releasing this emotion.
Alternatively, you can visualize the emotion flow out of your feet as you perform the action.
The longer the emotion has been trapped, the more work is usually required to release it. Be patient and gentle with yourself throughout the process. Take comfort in knowing that if you keep at it, there will be a day where what triggered you in the past will one day produce little to no reaction from you.
Living the Empowered Life: Living from your Center
Your triggers can be overcome and you can experience all of life from a place of gentle neutrality.
As you become accustomed to living life with an open heart, your resilience increases. Your capacity to feel all emotions expand.
You start experiencing life from your center, a neutral place where the ups and downs of the outside world does not affect the calmness of your inner world.
From that place, intense emotions do come up – this is not about living an emotionless life – but you no longer avoid or collapse into them.
Emotions arise and fade away without affecting your inner peace. From this neutral and open state, creativity flows to us.