Working with emotions

Some ways of working with emotions…

  • A wholehearted and heartfelt being with of whatever comes up, even if it would stay forever. This reduces identification with resistance, allowing content to reveal itself free from the filter of resistance and its appearance created by resistance.
  • An inquiry into the components of an emotion reveals how its gestalt is created by sensation and a story about the sensations. When this is seen, the gestalt does no longer appear so real and substantial. It falls into its components.
  • We can find and inquiring into the belief/s behind it. Any emotions is triggered by a belief, or rather the friction between believed-in stories about what is and what should be. We can identify these stories, inquire into them, and find what is already more true for us than the initial belief. This allows the attachment to the initial story to weaken or fall away, revealing the open space behind it.
  • We can track what is behind the emotions, using for instance Process Work, allowing the process behind the emotion to unfold and reveal itself.
  • We can find ourselves as headless or Big Mind, allowing the emotion to arise with less or no identification.
  • We can explore the function of emotions through Voice Dialog or the Big Mind process, seeing their evolutionary and biological function, and how they help the human self (and how the simplicity of this process often gets convoluted through beliefs and resistance).
  • We can bring attention to what is here in our perceptual field, for instance sensations, breath or the movements of the body, which reduces attachment to and fueling of the story about it as a particular emotion, and also reduces attachment to and fueling of the story triggering the emotion in the first place.
  • We can also work with emotions in more conventional ways through relationships, biography, and also look at the larger whole of infinite causes, and biology, evolution, culture and society.

Any one of these may work well on its own, but the real effects come from using a combination of them over time, exploring emotions, and any particular emotion, from many different levels of the holarchy and from several different angles.

For instance, if we only bring our attention to the sensations of the body, it may work fine in the moment and may even over time weaken identification with the story triggering the emotion. But it may not be sufficient to see through the emotion and belief in a more thorough way. They will continue to come up in different situations and forms, inviting us to see and getting to know them more thoroughly.

To do that, it is helpful to inquire into the belief triggering it, and also recognize the gestalt of emotion as made up of a simple sensation and story. Here, we not only gain some insight into the mechanisms of samsara, but also allow it to be seen through and fall away more completely.

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