A major part of moving inwards to uncover the workings of our bodies and minds is our ability to understand our emotional landscape.
Our conditioning often leaves us in a place where we strive for happiness and avoid sadness or other emotions such as anger, resentment, jealousy. Our desire to experience happiness or feeling we deserve to feel happiness creates an attachment to this emotion. All other emotions become less acceptable to us when we develop this attachment.
For many, this develops a fear or aversion around experiencing emotions that are considered negative (sadness, anger, grief, etc.). Our attachment to positive emotions causes us to repress the negative ones. Then when negative emotions become more prominent we become scared to deal with them. We will often engage in coping strategies such as avoidance/withdrawing, spending more time working, alcohol/drugs, behaving angrily/aggressively.
I want people to feel comfortable and confident experiencing the full range of human emotions. We should all be able to move across our emotional landscape with the knowledge that emotions come and go, they are impermanent, it is your fear of them that makes them more persistent. When the fear is removed you can lean into even the most powerful of emotions and know that this is part of embracing the full spectrum of living. The behaviour that results from allowing ourselves to feel these emotions matures into acceptance, learning and growth.
Understanding and developing emotional competence allows you to break free of attachment and aversion to emotions.
What does emotional competence look like:
– we feel emotions at their onset so we can play a conscious role in how we react to them
– healthy expression of our emotions to address our needs and the needs of those around us in a balanced way
– awareness of what is being driven by our mindsets that were formed during our childhood/formative years and how those mindsets can cause dysfunctional behaviours
– understanding our true needs rather than those driven by the emotional wounds of our lives
A great tool to start this journey is using Yoga Nidra Meditation. This style of meditation moves us into a deeply relaxed state and then guides us through experiencing opposing emotions and feeling such as:
When we practice Nidra we start leaning into these emotions from a calm place and then the fear of experiencing these powerful emotions starts to diminish. Without the fear we are now positioned to feel our emotions properly. We realise they are just like any other thought or sensation that comes and goes. This allows us to understand our reactions better, why they arise, and where they are coming from. Eventually anger and joy, love and hate, pain and pleasure can be experienced and witnessed in the same way, liberating us from self imposed suffering.
So lean in, we have the capacity to experience all sorts of powerful emotions once we dissolve the fear we have created around them.
Click Here to try Yoga Nidra