In order to find pearls, one has to dive deep.
People often say, “I am very emotional” or “I know everything about emotions” when they burst into tears over the slightest thing or if they frequently have tantrums. They shed a tear watching something on television, grumble when the cake turns out to be a disaster, or get sentimental when they have a few drinks too many. Usually these are projected and subconscious forms of emotionality. Others may be more aware of their true feelings but feel that expressing them is not very beneficial. A good cry now and then might make them feel better, but they do not feel that it actually improves things. What is missing here?
Experience of the Depths of Emotion
What does this mean? Using the metaphor of our overview of transformation and the pool of emotions; we can only reach the treasure which lies at the bottom of the pool if we dive down into its depths. Exploring the depths of our emotions means four things:
- Intensity—feeling your emotions entirely, in all their intensity;
- Feeling the depths of your emotions in your body;
- Depth of content;
- Depth of time and space—this means that we look at the deeper background of emotions and experience traveling back in time and place.
Intensity and Expression
First of all, this means learning to express the emotions of fear, sadness, anger, and joy through tears, intense breathing, your voice, and beating a pillow with a carpet-beater. This means allowing yourself to feel the intensity of your emotions. If you are not used to this, it might be a little scary at first. I advise you to find a good therapist, who can teach you to do this in a safe environment. Take your time to find out if the therapist is comfortable with this kind of intense Work. When I met fellow mainstream psychologists with whom I had not been in touch for a long time, I was requested to do so in view of assurances of the Exceptional Medical Expenses Act—I was shocked to see that even they were scared of intense emotionality. When I was quite open with them and told them I did breathing work and emotional therapy with people, I started getting phone calls from colleagues asking me if I was not worried about psychosis. Later on, I was called before the needs assessment committee. It took a lot of diplomacy to safeguard my contract for myself and my clients.
Expressing your emotions under your own responsibility, in your own home, or within your own therapy is essential on this path. In the New Age Movement, many people distinguish between positive and negative emotions. This is a pitfall really. Anger is often seen as negative and love and joy as positive. Love and joy are not anymore positive than anger and sadness. It is our mind—and with that our fear—which labels reality. A negative emotion is an emotion which is not expressed, and a positive emotion is one which is expressed in an effective, aware, and non-projected way. Not expressing your feelings recurrently makes you ill and could literally kill you. Many accidents probably happen because people are angry within. The intensity is there, but pent-up inside. We need to transform it in a non-damaging, healing way. I remember, a long time ago, not giving way at a junction and was hit by another car. I was on my way back from the dentist who had just made an irreparable mistake with one of my molars. My own unvoiced anger came back to me subconsciously, just like a boomerang.
Releasing the Emotions in Your Body: The Physical Depth
Our suppressed emotions are embedded in our bodies. In order to release them from the depths of our system, bodywork is needed. Different kinds of massage, Postural Integration and Rolfing, Shiatsu, Bioenergetics, Reichian bodywork, and breathing work are good for bringing lodged emotions to light. When doing bodywork, it is important to get to know the message and emotions of your body.
It is of no real help to you when somebody else does the work for you. There are many rescuers in the land of therapy, but they are really after power. They want you to believe they can heal and rescue you. If you surrender to them, you are the helpless, powerless one and will not be able to regain your own power. Breathing work is a good technique which you can do yourself, and it makes you less dependent on therapists.
Good therapists are people for whom the work with others is also an initiation and learning path for themselves during which they continue to work on themselves in a client situation. Therapy does not serve to cover up personal pools of emotions in that case. Good therapy knows a functional inequality—it is client orientated—but essential equality. Essentially there is brother and sisterhood in the joint Work. Fundamentally, what you need is someone who can offer safety and experience. In this New Age there are fortunately various possibilities for growth by means of courses, therapies, training, and books.
The Correct Message: Depth of Content
It is important to find the correct message from your emotions. Crying and being angry without knowing why is simply not enough. When you fully recognize your feelings, the message automatically becomes clear, and you will find words to describe it. This clarity is a necessary ingredient for liberation. It is important to know why you are crying or why you are angry. Very often people do not know the reason. My experience is that when you surrender to emotions and let them be there fully, the message becomes clear. First the emotion, then the nuance. However, we usually ask ourselves too soon why we feel the way we do. That is often a repetition of what our educators did in the past. When we are asked the question why, we are made to think and emotion disappears. The head should know its place, and that is a secondary place!
It helps to enlarge vague feelings and to exaggerate when you feel vaguely miserable, nothing seems to be going your way, or you are wandering around, grab a pillow and tell all your worries to it. Take out all the unhappy feelings on the pillow. Say anything that comes to mind and use the carpet-beater if you feel like it. Your life will become more fun if you clarify your vague feelings and moods as quickly as possible by setting your emotions in motion. I remember that I was often “bored” as a child and that I used to say, “Mum, I am so bored.” I always got the same reply, “Go and stand on your head and shoot tuppenny [two penny] pieces.” So what did I do? I stood on my head on a chair and called out again, “Mum, I am so bored.” I spent a great deal of time standing on my head instead of playing. It was not really boredom, but vague feelings of dissatisfaction. Now when I am “bored”—luckily this doesn’t happen very often—I enlarge this feeling to see what message it has for me.
A lot of our behavior is subconscious. Sometimes we do not know why we do certain things. Often it is just out of habit. But beyond this habit, there is a deeper meaning; otherwise we would not do it! The behavior is transference from something else. Sexual behavior, for example, without connection with one’s heart and emotions, does not bring satisfaction, let alone transformation. It tends to become a repetition or a search for technical variation. Sexuality can become an addiction unless it is connected to a deeper need for love. When love and affection are not received emotionally, sexuality becomes routine and is empty.
The Correct Address: Depth in Time and Space
Subsequently, it is important to find the correct address of your emotions. Many emotions originate in your past. Many irritations between husband and wife come from past situations. A lot of authority conflicts on the work floor can be traced back to authority problems with your mother or father in early childhood or to problems with older brothers or sisters or with teachers or priests. As long as we continue to vent our emotions in a projected way, there will be no liberation and no healing. Only by accessing the deeper layers of our emotions can there be a fundamental change within us.
I do not advocate literally dropping all of our old pent-up emotions at the correct addresses. Our parents and educators gave us the best they had and did the best they could. Emotional Work with a pillow is a good way of getting rid of your emotional garbage!