Do you ever get stuck in certain emotions? Perhaps this happens more often than you’d like? Many of my first-time clients have been struggling with just that, and in a sincere and courageous attempt to address their emotions more consciously, they have gone on a quest to embrace their emotions instead of fighting them. Some of them have been exploring their emotions for decades! They express their emotions through art, dance, in the way they communicate, and so on. Yet when they come to me, they often express frustration or confusion due to the fact that they still feel stuck in emotions such as sadness, doubt, anger, resentment, jealousy, grief, shame, and guilt, despite all their efforts. They want to know why it is that the peace they have been seeking hasn’t yet arrived.
In this newsletter, I will attempt to communicate what I’ve learned about the role emotions play in our spiritual evolution. In my years as a coach and facilitator of conscious growth, many of my clients have asked me: “What about the role of our emotions? What about feelings? What about simply being human?” My views on this matter have been formed by my experiences facilitating both transformation and healing, which are really just different aspects of the same process.
I first started giving healing sessions as a student at an international business school over 22 years ago. I had spontaneously discovered that my intentions could turn me into a sort of lightning rod, bringing through healing energy with the power to facilitate instant physical, emotional or spiritual recovery in those who chose to receive it. Ever since, I have used this energy and clarity to help people grow past their limitations and into the power of their true selves, so they can manifest the success they want and that is their birthright.
What does this have to do with emotions? What I’ve learned from giving thousands of healing and coaching sessions is that whenever I get involved emotionally with my clients’ “pain story,” the healing doesn’t work. Even if it seems to at first, the effects of the healing won’t last. I’ve learned that in order to be a fit vessel for the “higher work” of supporting others in their healing and growth, I needed to be more neutral in my heart. Neutral means that I am not in any sort of reaction, and this allows me to be fully present with what is, so that I can know what is needed in the moment and be in the process of Creation.
In the Spirit Coach Workbook, it says that, “The word reaction spelled differently is the word creation. As human beings, we are either in the process of Creation or Reaction.”
I’ve realized that true compassion resides more in the territory of neutrality than in my little self’s reactionary concept of what love is. When this dawned on me, I started questioning the role of our emotions in our lives. Did trying to be more neutral and live spiritually mean that emotions were now “bad,” and I should strive not to have them? I felt confused for a while, but over time I observed that in order to fill up with a higher, more potent level of God/Universe/Source, I needed to “empty” myself first, and that when I did, I felt better, clearer, more aligned, and more joyful, free and true. It was nothing short of liberating.
In this space I didn’t experience emotion as we usually define it, but rather a very subtle and refined sense of joy. If I had to label it I’d call it enthusiasm, not in the modern sense but rather “c.1600, from Middle French enthousiasme (16c.) and directly from Late Latin enthusiasmus, from Greek enthousiasmos "divine inspiration, enthusiasm (produced by certain kinds of music, etc.)," from enthousiazein "be inspired or possessed by a god, […]" from entheos "divinely inspired, possessed by a god," from en "in" (see en- (2)) + theos "god" (see theo-).” – Online Etymology Dictionary. In other words, in this space I experienced a remarkable lightness and clarity that allowed me to become a better channel for the light of God.
In this expanded state, I feel as if I am vibrating in synch with a divine tuning fork, and I know my path instead of feeling the need to figure it out. When I first touched this space, I knew what was needed and was able to act upon this higher guidance outside the limitations of my rational mind. This allowed me to step into my true service, and it has proved very valuable to my clients and loved ones. Having witnessed this, I’ve committed to being in that state not only in my work, but also in the rest of my life. When I made this commitment, my life became my service, and this brought me much more abundance and ease. Back to the original question: “What about emotions? What about feelings? What about being simply human?”
Without asking you to believe me or agree with me, I invite you to consider this thought: prior to our identity as humans, who we are is Spirit. We are Spirit having a human experience; our human bodies are simply vehicles through which we experience life on Earth, but they are not who we are. These vehicles are miraculous, but they are laden with programs, just like a car’s computer. We are not our bodies, nor our thoughts, nor are we our emotions. Why is it important to realize this? Because it helps to put emotions into their proper context, and move from being “at effect” in our lives to being “at choice.” In other words, it helps us make the shift from being in reaction to being in co-creation. This three dimensional reality is extremely compelling and year after year, from the moment we are born, we forget who we truly are and where we came from.
From a young age, we start to forget that who we are is Spirit having an experience “in the world,” and begin to believe that we are “of the world” – our minds, bodies and emotions. I believe that we start to experience suffering when we begin to identify with these ‘worldly’ aspects.
So what, then, are emotions really? Emotions are like the lights on our car’s dashboard that tell us our fuel or engine oil is running low.
They let us know that we have strayed from our clear and aligned state, and that we need something. Something within us needs our attention and intention so that we can course correct and regain our alignment with our Source. When a warning light goes off on your dashboard, do you “explore the light?” Do you spend time observing it and pondering why it isn’t a different color? No, you understand it as the signal it is to give your car what it needs, and you take the appropriate steps to address the issue (hopefully!) In the same way, when we find ourselves experiencing strong emotions, we must take the necessary steps to address the imbalances within us that are giving rise to them. That’s not to say this will always be easy to do quickly, but just having the intention to return to neutrality will facilitate the process of release and re-alignment.
“But what about all the positive emotions?” you might say. “What about excitement, love, hope? Aren’t these good emotions to have?” In response, I ask you to consider the possibility that it’s all the same. Like I said, emotions are neither good nor bad in and of themselves; they are merely signals that some part of you has left the sweet spot of divine neutrality. You may prefer the blue light on your dashboard to the yellow one, but your preferences are irrelevant to your car’s ability to function. In the same way, while your emotions may indicate where you need to pay attention, in and of themselves they are irrelevant to your path of living in alignment with Source.
Indeed, precisely because the so-called “positive” emotions can feel so good in our bodies, we must be aware of any tendency to become addicted to them and seek them out for their own sakes. This does not mean we do not enjoy experiencing them, but we must do so with awareness. Years ago, a friend of mine got so excited that he fell through a glass window, cutting himself badly and ending up in the ER. He got carried away and ungrounded by this “exhilarating emotion,” and forgot to be present and aware as a result. (Here is a short video on how to ground so you can be more present and aware. You'll need to scroll down to the video called: "Develop your Leadership Potential - Skill#1". I teach this technique to all my executive clients as well as my High Impact Communication Skills students at University of San Francisco: http://loveyourlifeandbusiness.com/index.php/videos)
Love is an emotion that many people feel an understandable attachment to, but it is important to ask ourselves how we define it. Because of the “worldly” programs that I mentioned earlier, for most of us, even our subconscious definition of “unconditional love” is actually still conditional. What we’re talking about here is non-conditional love, which is that subtle joy which is all that remains in a state of neutrality. The same goes for the emotion we call hope. This emotion only arises after we have already left our alignment with Source, in response to the mind’s perception of lack or imperfection. When we experience that alignment, the idea of hope is replaced by a clear knowing that whatever is, is what should be. And, we also understand what our next step is, based on the intuitive guidance of "right action" which can only be known by our Spirit and not by our limited rational mind.
So, are emotions bad after all? Of course not! Emotions are signals, and can serve as helpful guide posts on our path. I invite you to try this right now: Start by grounding yourself. (Unless you already have a grounding practice, use the visualization from my video above: http://loveyourlifeandbusiness.com/index.php/videos. And remember to scroll down to the video named: "Develop your Leadership Potential – Skill#1") Then imagine that way up above your head, somewhere past the moon in the Universe, there is a beautiful bright golden light. This is the light of Source. Somehow, find a way to get a sense of this energy or presence and connect with it. How does that feel? If this feels good to you, then the next time emotions come up, take a moment to ground and connect. It is when we are present (grounded), neutral (not in any form of reaction), and aligned with intention that we can find what Buddhists call “Right Action.” This means the choice that is for the highest and best good not only of ourselves, but of all beings in the Universe, beyond what the little self may think it wants. While the small self may find this idea constricting, it is the key to true freedom.
FUN FACT: In closing, my friend Natalie shared with me this interesting fact. In Nepali, which is the closest modern language to Sanskrit, the separation between emotions (and all other forms) and identity is built into the language, because it was created and spoken by people with a high level of spiritual understanding. For example, instead of saying "I'm angry," they say "the anger is over here with me" - this de-personalizes emotions and inserts an awareness of impermanence and emptiness into the very structure of the language. Similarly, one never speaks of nouns in the possessive. Instead of saying 'my bedroom,' you say 'the room I sleep in,' and instead of saying 'my car,' you might say 'the car I drive.' Interesting, eh?
Please keep in touch, I’d love to hear about your experiences with these practices!