The paradox of human emotion is that it both enriches life by accessing a wide range of experiences, and can also be a merciless trap. We’re not robots. Our capacity for love, happiness, excitement, really anything that makes the heart swell and sparks the mind is cherished.

At the same time, not all emotions are pleasant and even the ones that are can limit us. In the two previous posts regarding this — What Emotions Are and How to Spiritualize Them and Emotions: To dwell or not to dwell?the specific distinction was made between an emotion and the human ability to feel.

While these are used synonymously by everyone including many experts, the truth of the matter is that feeling is what allows us to experience an emotion which is the ‘color’ or ‘flavor’ of the feeling state. Emotion is what bubbles to the surface from an ocean of feeling.

This ocean of feeling is a truer source and we’re built to tap it. It’s a spiritual resource, not merely mental or emotional.

Emotions don’t reach a state like peace, not fully. Peace is a feeling, a higher feeling if you will. Peace, balance, compassion, unity… these are ‘spiritual’ feelings or states that we can experience beyond relating to life emotionally. They are feeling states.

Unless there’s emotional healing, higher feeling states are elusive or inconsistent, or even dangerous as it may add to our imbalance. For instance, Love simply is. It existed before we did.

It’s one of those feeling states that emotions can get in the way of. It’s a tragicomedy how so many cling stubbornly and painfully to emotions.

Feelings are abiding, they’re built into the matrix of life. Emotions are what advertisers play with.

A feeling is fluid, it’s alive, it’s dynamic, it actually helps us when we tune into it or go deeply into it, it actually helps us connect with ourselves more deeply.

Emotion tends to be going outwards, like in seeking some sort of external expression. That’s why it’s called “e”motion, “e” here is short for Latin ex, which means out of some motion, out of, it’s motion taking us out of ourselves.

— John Welwood

What is emotional healing? Primarily, it’s living without resentment and trauma tied to the past, that today triggers behavior and emotions negatively impacting you and those around you.

Is it possible to be emotionally healed? Yes! The value of emotional healing is that it harmonizes your relationship with yourself and others. It gives you a sense of confidence and self-esteem so you can function well in the world, and be free of mental and emotional afflictions.

Once this is established, other levels of being open up. There’s the emotional heart and the spiritual Heart. The emotional heart has to right itself before the endless horizon of the spiritual Heart becomes available. A wounded ‘little’ heart can’t even consider the possibilities of Big Heart. Wounds obscure and keep you in the throes of unproductive patterns.

For now, this discussion comes to an end with some excellent writing on the subject by Sally Kempton:

Emotions become problematic only when you identify with them, when you get lost or stuck in them, when you privilege certain emotions and try to deny others. The Tantric attitude toward emotions—acceptance, openness to feeling, combined with the awareness of being a spectator—is really a quality of heart. It takes a certain receptivity and softness.

I’ve used a certain practice for years to cultivate that soft-hearted state of witness. It comes from the late French spiritual teacher, Jean Klein. Instead of being simply the observer of thoughts and feelings, you consciously welcome them as guests. Anger comes up and you think, “I welcome you.” A beautiful feeling arises: “I welcome you.” […]

Surfing your emotions is possible only after you have cultivated some degree of separation from them, which requires you to have a built-in recognition that you aren’t just your emotions.

Contemporary yogic and Buddhist teachers offer a quiverful of strategies for interrupting the tendency to identify with thoughts and emotions. Basic mindfulness is one. Another is the process of recognizing and challenging the stories and beliefs that you hold about reality. Another, very powerful, practice comes from the devotional traditions and involves offering or turning your emotions to God. Instead of blocking emotion, you use your feeling states to give juice to your practice. There are examples of this in all the devotional traditions—mystical Christianity, Judaism, Sufism, and especially in the bhakti tradition of India.


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Emotional Healing

2 thoughts on “Emotional Healing

  • 10/15/2010 at 2:23 PM
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    “….living without resentment and trauma tied to the past, that today triggers behavior and emotions negatively impacting you and those around you.”

    I think this is just the relief many of us really want and need today!
    Thank you as always for your inspiring posts, reading your blog somehow makes life a bit easier….

    Laila

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