Emotions make me think of filo pastry: thin, layered and easily dissolved. Emotions are not easily dissolved for everyone, and certainly not for the western collective mind. But I have a hunch more and more of us will be looking to excavate our inner landscape as the months progress. I’ve been wondering what the key elements of finding peace are. I’ve been thinking about what it means to ‘Know Thy Self’ , and why I ask ‘How do you feel? and What do you need?’ so often.
It comes down to willingness. Is a person willing to surrender to non-attachment? Is a person willing to shift their perception of every situation? Can they focus the mind and dissolve emotions that are less than loving. Can they take responsibility for them self?
It seems to me that people hang on too tightly to everything: anger, grief, love etc. Emotions are put in a stranglehold when they are supposed to flow through the body. We’re meant to be more fluid in nature and yet we become so attached to emotions. I think that the stranglehold comes from the fear that the overriding emotion will never abate; or that it will dissipate all too quickly if we don’t clamp down. I don’t know if we fear what others think or if we fear ourselves, but somehow it’s the fear we can get ‘it’ wrong at the core that makes us block our emotional flow.
I think really feeling emotion is the revolution our world needs. Acknowledging what is rising for us and then letting it go is important. What is called for is the understanding that we humans are emotional creatures. Everything that happens to us causes an emotional reaction within the body. I’ve noticed that learning to work with emotions heals people, and they begin to take responsibility for their perceptions of the mind. When we heal ourselves we heal those who are connected to us as well and this changes the world. To do this I think we need to learn to slow down, instead of matching our rhythms to the chaotic western culture we live in.
When getting in touch with more feeling it’s not enough to name the emotions that rise and move on from them. That ‘blow past’ and ‘suck-it-up’ mentality is what has caused our deepest trauma. It’s not enough to say, “I’m disappointed”, “I’m sad” or “I’m angry”. That is because noticing emotions with a name puts space between you and the information being presented. Whatever is arising has more nuanced information to it. Your psyche has the ability to heal anything you are processing, but you have to be willing to look at it and then let it go. Dredging it up over and over again only replays it within the body, and keeps it stuck. We are taught to control our emotions, but not how to let them move freely through us. This is one of the biggest ills of our society (on an individual level).
Everything we feel is just a reaction to a thought we have been thinking, but we haven’t been taught to harness our thinking mind. Our thoughts move faster than the speed of light and can change our mood just as fast. We are thinking even before we are registering what is being produced; this is where thought and emotions get caught in the body. This is where we forget to flow, forget that we have the ability to focus thought. Choosing to feel more means we choose to harness the mind into focus and decide how we want to be in the world. Feeling more allows us to get back into the balance of our essence; the peace at the heart of what we are.
There is a practice I first encountered through meditation, that takes you through the layers of emotion by asking what is being felt under the surface of that emotion. By tuning into how you feel, and then asking what is beneath that initial emotion, you sink deeper into yourself. What I learned through the process is that any seemingly singular emotion is really many layers of feeling in one. We are complex creatures, feelings of restlessness may really have layers of anxiety, sadness, loneliness, anger, fear, disbelief, hope, calmness, euphoria, or peace underneath. The first emotion is always a portal you have to be willing to sink through. This is the excavation of the mind, and it requires honesty.
Profound healing occurs when we take responsibility for ourselves and look into our emotions fearlessly. Emotions have stories attached that are replaying. People, circumstances and memories are often attached to all our emotions in complex ways. Each layer under a surface emotion has the potential to hold us back from the peace at our core because of its surrounding story. But stillness is always there waiting to be reached because it is part of our infinite Self. The stillness is reached by slowing down, listening deeply and focusing the mind. Peace is the core element of stillness, it’s the memory of what we are. It’s always under the surface emotions, no matter how many layers you have to travel through to find it. Allowing what is needed to rise up out of the nuance of your being can guide you back to your true self; it can help you find peace.
And isn’t that what our world needs more of?