Emotional Mastery, Series 2: Troubleshooting and expanding the techniques
This is another follow up to the original emotional mastery series. It was written to help with the readers who had troubles with the methods presented. This post will provide some booster techniques and a third method of handling the emotions – releasing them.
Get your whole body into it
The best way to learn is to practise, so let’s try it now. Think of a situation that remains unresolved for you. If you have read the previous core shames and pains post, this is a good time to practise it. Please find whatever you’ve written and read it once more, allowing yourself to sit with the emotions they bring up.
As described in the first post, feel them directly instead of through your thoughts. This time, however, try to get your whole body into it. Many of my pains appeared as sensations around my throat and chest area when I began exploring my emotions. This was simply because they were the strongest there – and I made the mistake of only concentrating on my chest and throat from then on.
Recently, however, I let myself feel throughout my entire body, especially the parts that I had neglected previously the feet, legs, hands, arms, genitals, and the stomach.
I was surprised to find that anger and sadness also brought up sensations there – although they were so slight that I lacked the sensitivity to feel them initially. It is also possible there simply are no sensations there, though.
So now we have the sensations in your body. What do we do with them? In the original series, I presented two methods – feeling them completely, or loving and embracing them. Let’s go deeper into them now.
Feeling your emotions
As you feel your emotions, your body often reacts to protect you from the pain. One of the ways it does this is tensing up. This acts as a shield to keep you from feeling the pain, although that is precisely what keeps them inside us. So here’s what you can do – keep 90% of your attention on your emotions, but use the remaining 10% to scan your body at random intervals. If you detect any tightness in your muscles, release them. You might find that this releases some of your emotions at the same time. Common areas of tension are the abdomen, the face, the shoulders and the hands.
Another thing your body does is to start holding the breath. To counter this, once you have scanned your body, use that 10% of the attention to focus on your breath. Inhale, and acknowledge your pain. If it helps, say to yourself “This is my anger”, or “This is my shame”. Exhale, and acknowledge your pain. Repeat. Remember to periodically return to scanning your body for new sensations and to release tension.
Loving your emotions
The other method I described was to love your emotions. In that post, I described surrounding it with a loving feeling, although that was just one way of loving your emotions. Many readers have emailed me asking what they should do if they can’t love or if they can’t bring up a loving feeling.
So here are a few extra things you can try. The first is to try “reduced” forms of love. (Some people might disagree with this labelling, sorry!) If you can’t love the emotions, then choose to either accept or forgive them.
How? Each person is different, and I don’t want to lock any of you in. Try it yourself and see if there are any ways you do it automatically. If you can’t, you’ll find a few methods in the sections below.
What do you accept, or forgive, or love? Your entire inner world – exactly as it is. Many people tell me they can’t accept the situation. Take a step back, then, and accept that you can’t accept the situation. Forgive the fact that you can’t forgive. Other readers say that they feel fear or anger at the thought of accepting and forgiving. Then accept and forgive that fear or anger. Whatever arises in you is a part of you, to be accepted, forgiven, or loved.
Loving your emotions is also recommended because it allows you to slowly begin moving out of negativity. It trains you to be filled with love rather than pain, as the love remains after the pain has been dissolved. Plus it feels really good. I would recommend the full version of the love and compassion meditation – I should have labelled it as part of the emotional mastery series, but neglected to at the time.
Releasing your emotions
Now, there is a third method of working with your emotions. Simply let them go. I came across this several times before, but descriptions were always brief and they never made sense to me, so I didn’t include them in the original series.
However, some readers have told me that this series, based on Buddhist mindfulness practices, is similar to the Sedona Method. Intrigued, I picked up a copy and found that it mostly deals with releasing your emotions. But they’ve made it easier on us with a series of questions.
Here are the four questions – I hope they won’t hit me with copyright infringement here, please contact me and I will remove them straight away. (I think they give these questions away free on their newsletter anyway.)
Could you welcome this feeling? (This is essentially bringing up as much of the sensation or emotion as you can, as discussed in the original post.)
Could you release this feeling?
Would you release this feeling?
It’s also important to note that one round of questioning might not release all the emotions, so just keep questioning yourself – they actually serve more as invitations to release. The full Sedona Method book has comprehensive sections on overcoming resistance, releasing wants, and much more. It is very highly recommended.
Another point to remember is that we are working on the level of emotions. I tried to answer with my mind, which was probably why it didn’t work for me back in the early days. Let your heart answer. Even if the answer is no, a portion of the feeling will still be released.
Which method works?
Please play with these three methods, and find one that works for you. Some readers have also asked which method I prefer. I have to say that releasing works beautifully with smaller things – stress and frustration for example. It’s also much faster. However, with deeper pains, such as a deep feeling of shame and self-hatred, releasing doesn’t seem to work, and loving works much better.
Utilising your senses
Now, if you are having difficulties in using any of the three processes, you can try using your senses to help you along. There are three senses that you can use: Seeing, hearing, and feeling. Most of us are naturally stronger in one of these.
If you want to feel your emotions:
Seeing – What do your emotions or sensations look like? What colour are they? Do they have a shape? Mine look like dark clouds with blotches of red sharp energy. If it helps, you can draw them on some paper.
Hearing – Do your emotions or sensations have a name? Can you talk to them? Pretend that you are in their shoes – what do they have to say to you? Is there a lesson you can learn from them?
Feeling – This is what we’ve been discussing in the original post.
If you want to accept or love your emotions:
Seeing – What does love look like to you? I see mine as a warm, soft light. See yourself surrounding your painful sensations or emotions with love. You can also try seeing your emotions as a baby, crying, or angry, as your inner world dictates. Could you pick it up, soothe it and cuddle it?
Hearing – Talk to your emotions. Tell it everything is okay, that you love and accept it as it is. Tell it that you forgive it for feeling that way, forgive the people who hurt you, or that you love yourself for feeling that way (not despite feeling that way).
Feeling – You can also physically touch your sensations. Most of my anger results in a heat and tightness in my chest, so I place my hands on it and imagine a loving feeling streaming forth. Another method is to imagine a sea of love. Next, imagine yourself slowly being lowered into it and letting the love wash over your pockets of sensations.
If you want to release your emotions:
Seeing – See your sensations as pockets of energy, and start burning them. Watch them turn into steam and float away from your body. There are so many other possibilities here, though. Use a giant hammer and squish them. Go on an airplane and drop them out the door. Have fun with it.
Hearing – Again, you can talk to yourself here. Gently coax yourself into releasing it. Perhaps you can talk to it, and gently ask them if they would be happier outside your body.
Feeling – A common technique is to grasp a pen or similar in your hand tightly. Then open your hand and let it drop, and imagine that you are dropping your negative emotions with it. Another choice is tying it in with your breath. Imagine yourself breathing in deeply all the negative emotions, holding it in your chest for a few seconds, and then exhaling them. I don’t know if it is my imagination, but my negative breaths feel hotter.
These are all just guidelines. Make up your own that suits you. They might feel like you are making it all up, but that’s fine – have fun with it.
Removing Step 4
Before we finish off the post, I’d like to mention a change from the original emotional mastery post. I posted a fourth step in it – rubbing it in. What does that mean? Let’s say that you are feeling upset because you got dumped by your girlfriend. Rubbing it in would be mentally abusing yourself – “See! You are hideous! No girl likes you!”
This was originally meant as a way to uncover the hidden shames and pains underneath the event. Additionally, it is a good way to bring up as much pain as you could handle, before you feel / love / release them away. However, some of the people I’ve coached have had troubles with this, as they couldn’t keep disconnected from it.
In the first post, I mentioned that we always have to remain conscious of our suffering. This is another way of saying that we keep a distance from the pain, knowing that we are bringing up the pain to be healed. For many beginners, rubbing it in would draw them back into unconsciousness – that is, identifying with the emotion and letting it act through them again. So I’ve gone back and removed that step. However, the principles of it live on in the stream of consciousness post, which is a written form that is much more manageable.
Which reminds me: As I reread the core shames and pains post, it occurred to me that it placed too much emphasis on purging the core issues. I would like to say that you should purge everything that you have written down in the process – in the stream of consciousness, and especially the wants. One of the biggest steps in my own healing was admitting that I wanted the approval of the abusive client. I nearly broke into tears of relief when I swallowed my pride and allowed myself to say “All I wanted was you to approve of me!”
A special hello to Megan Bayliss from Imaginif. She runs a blog on child safety and protection and works as a sexual assault therapist. She invited me to take part in a worthy series on child protection, but I couldn’t think of anything to say as I know next to nothing on the topic. I hope that this will make up for it – please go over and support her in any way you can!