I'm becoming more and more aware of how important it is to really feel - and so release - our suppressed emotions. I've described in a previous post, A Sun-Filled Room, how important this is for spiritual transformation. Put simply, we have a natural connection to joy, to bliss, to our true nature, but this connection is clogged up by all our emotional debris.
We have this debris because over the years, we've learned not to feel our emotions. Events have come along but rather than allow ourselves to fully react, we've pushed it all down inside. We've been taught that we shouldn't cry, or we shouldn't lose our temper - and we have gone along with this.
Yet these emotions are crying out to be released. This is why the same old things keep coming along to annoy us. We're attracting these things to us, begging them to push our buttons so that we can release the great well of emotion within us. But time and time again, we keep pushing it all down again...
Which is why the world is in the state it's in, with domestic violence, road rage, even monks now brawling in church! Small things come along to annoy us, and a lot of the time, the way we react is totally out of proportion to whatever has happened. This is because we're not upset for the reason we think we are. The truth is that this new event has connected with the great reservoir of hurt we hold inside us. It's not really losing our place in the queue today that's annoyed us. It's the buried memory of that ice cream we didn't get when we were five - or of the lover who left us a couple of decades later.
We really need to release all this stuff. But how do we do it?
The bottom line is that we need to allow ourselves to really feel these emotions when they come up, not push them back down again. We need to remember that they are coming up in order to be released.
We also need to realize that when we get all hot and bothered like this, we're not being un-spiritual. Far from it - we need to understand that this is an important part of the process of spiritual transformation. A vital part. But we do need to have techniques we can use whenever these emotions arise. Otherwise, the opportunity to release them is going to be wasted.
My friend Sue Ann of Always Embraces Always teaches a very simple technique to use at such times. She says: "Just breathe and embrace the feelings. If you need something to keep your thoughts entertained and occupied while you do it, then concentrate on the breathing. Just let the feelings come up and out." I think this technique is particularly useful because it's so easy to bring to mind when emotions suddenly surface.
If you find that the feelings stick around, you may like to try another useful technique, which I found on Phil Bolsta's blog. It was developed by Dr Ibrahim Jaffe and it's called Awareness Release Technique. (You may recognise Phil's name in connection with his book, Sixty Seconds, which I posted about recently.)
Previous posts at The Secret Of Life have featured other strategies:
The Ultimate Truth 3 describes another breathing technique which I call 'the welcome breath'.
Emotional Freedom Technique has links to online tuition on this popular tapping technique.
Ten Words That Can Heal The World deals with Ho'oponopono, which I have also found to be very helpful in dissolving emotions.
The Quantum Light Breath is a very powerful breathing exercise which can help to release emotions.
Releasing emotions can sometimes require forgiveness - of others and often ourselves - so I'd like to draw attention to another recent post on Phil Bolsta's blog, this one featuring Eva Kor, a holocaust survivor who has forgiven her Nazi tormentors. Do take a look. It's the text of a wonderful, moving speech which Eva recently gave. She is proposing an addendum to The Universal Declaration Of Human Rights.
She explains: "I want every human being to know that they have the human right to live free of emotional pain, and they can accomplish this by taking back control over their lives by forgiving their enemies, and even forgiving themselves for their past mistakes, which is the hardest thing to do."