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Part I - Introductory Section: Maps and Tools

Chapter  5  - Part  1 of  2


Chapter 5 - Emotions & Feelings

This section deals with Emotional Health; Understanding your own emotional history and patterns; the healthy and unhealthy forms of Anger; Catharsis; the healthy and unhealthy forms of Fear, Grief, Admiration, Guilt; Envy; False Guilt (Shame); the three levels of Love, and Joy.

After each part you can link back to the Contents Page if you do not wish to scroll to the end to find that link.

What is a person in ideal emotional health like? Here are some ideas adapted from notes given out in a seminar by Edith Stauffer. Study these carefully for clues to improving your own emotional health.

Some characteristics of good emotional health

A person with sound emotional health

  • Behaves in the long run in such a way as to help herself and others. She does not for unconscious reasons spend her life hurting herself and others.

  • Has a genuine subjective sense of freedom of choice and thus needs to use a minimum of rationalisations for his actions. Can use his will to set goals and attitudes consciously and with goodwill towards self and others.

  • Is able to function in accordance with her potentials, in other words, can achieve a high degree of self-realisation.

  • Can postpone need gratification, can sacrifice for the moment in order to attain long-term goals and objectives.

  • Can give of himself fully in deep and lasting and meaningful emotional relationships. He can be both spontaneous and controlled, depending on how he feels and what the situation calls for.

  • Tends not to enter into neurotic interactions. A neurotic interaction exists when partner A in a relationship unconsciously provokes or encourages in partner B a behavior or an attitude of which partner A consciously disapproves. It is a cry from A for love, an expression of unmet need for which A is not taking adequate responsibility. Abilii (see later) is essential if you are to prevent this happening in your life.

  • Is capable not only of intellectual reality testing, but also of emotional reality testing. We can define emotional reality testing as the ability to perceive the world in terms of emotional reality, to sensitively know what oneself and others are feeling, and to lovingly include that awareness in choosing one's responses and behavior.

  • Does not deny or hide her feelings from herself. Has a high degree of inner security, and thus feels a minimal need for using defense mechanisms such as repression, suppression, projection, rationalization, intellectualization etc. Therefore is not controlled or driven by emotional reactivity.

  • Is capable of learning by experience, and of modifying his reactions when he sees they work against him. Flexible, not rigid. Can see his own mistakes with compassion, humor, even joy, and profit by them, thus gaining wisdom .

  • Has no anxieties. Fear is healthy and necessary for survival, but anxiety is irrational fear, a fear with no adequate referent in the world of reality, and is an important characteristic of some emotional disturbances. Can give herself permission to take risks when necessary to achieve important purposes.

  • Can forgive, and love, self and others unconditionally.

  • Feels a deep identification and inter-relatedness with world-kind.

  • Feels loyalty and sense of belonging to the patterns of family, community, country, planet and cosmos.

  • Has faith in and love for something "higher" than him/herself. Has reverence for Life.

  • Has knowledge of her own highest values and purpose and can guide her choices and actions accordingly.

  • Can balance the "opposite" psychological energies within his own psyche - e.g. self-criticism with self esteem and approval, caution with venturesome-ness, sadness with joy and gratitude, fear with courage, etc.


Making friends with (even taming) the so-called negative emotions.

We do this by understanding their underlying or original beneficial purpose, the way they can become distorted if their original purpose is not fulfilled, their safe natural expression, their catharsis or release if overly stored in the body, and their transformation into qualities of the Higher Self. Sustained negative emotions cause disturbance in the flow of life energy in quite specific meridians, which can be tested for using kinesiology. It could be said that trying to solve the presenting problem is not the problem at all - the task is to practice the quality that will neutralize the prevailing negative emotion.

It is important as you read this to be aware of:-

1. How much medication is prescribed world-wide to "treat" or suppress the effects of the sustained distortions of the primary emotions - for example, anti-adrenergic drugs, tranquillizers, anti-depressants, and drugs for the psychosomatic diseases and muscle tension.

2. The amount of alcohol and tobacco consumed for the "stress" of the sustained distortions of the primary emotions, because people have not known how to do it differently .

3. Of the total cost of these in both money terms and in human and animal life and suffering. If you can become aware of when you have gone off course into a distortion of a primary emotion, then you can more easily self-correct yourself. Vigilance and will are used to restore and maintain a truer course through the processes of forgiveness (see later).

Each of the emotions is described under the following headings - purpose, distortions (the way we usually see them expressed), their safe and harmless release, their higher transformation, and the opportunities to develop qualities from our Higher Selves being presented .


Review of Emotional Experiences - an exercise

(a) Aggressive energy.

This exercise is adapted from Pierro Ferrucci's book, "What We May Be". Its purpose is to take an inventory, to explore your emotional reality in a compassionate, understanding and constructive way, so you can see what changes you want to make in your emotional patterning.

Write:-

  • What situations tend to provoke it?

  • How do you know it - body sensations?

  • What is your style? Explode? Deny it? Despise it? Harvest it for later? Enjoy it? Criticize? Pique? Say "Yes" when you mean "No!"? Stew? Plot revenge? Get pain somewhere or get ill? Repress your feelings? Express your feelings clearly, without putting the other(s) down? Fail to experience it at all?

  • What are your favourite strategies for handling your own aggressive energy? For handling others' aggressive energy?

  • Write about your childhood experiences with it? What did your parents do? Your siblings/ Teachers? Any significant experiences? What decisions did you make? What beliefs did you acquire about it all? Do you still believe them and act out of them? Do they still work well for you? If not, what would work better? Find examples.

Similar exercises could be repeated for (b) "fear", (c) "grief", (d) "admiration/jealousy/envy", (e) "guilt", (f) "self-hate", (g) "love" (conditional, tough, and unconditional), and (h) joy.


The main emotions in order – anger, fear, grief, admiration, guilt, love, joy.

Under each we will consider the purpose of the healthy forms of these, the distortions which give so much trouble, the safe method of release, the mode of transformation, and the spiritual opportunity offered by the experience of it.


ANGER

PURPOSE OF HEALTHY ANGER :-

An increase in energy to produce beneficial change in the environment, whether it is the correction of injustice, survival, or assertion of one's genuine needs.

DISTORTIONS- IF REPRESSED OR NOT EXPRESSED SATISFACTORILY AND HARMLESSLY:-

To sulk, grudge, blame or scapegoat others, become critical, silently withdraw, plot revenge. To attack, to take on the "Perpetrator" role or stance in life. OR tears (pseudo-grief). OR Explosions and fear of consequences then repression and sense of powerlessness, with hate, (pendulum swings between "victim" and "perpetrator" roles). OR guilt. OR sweet "yes-negativity" - the "Doormat" stance. OR despair, self-hate, illness. etc. AND chain reactions of anger in others and ourselves. Tertiary angers (don't look like anger, but pass it on): Being late, making mistakes, "forgetting", never quite coming to agreements or keeping them, interrupting, justifications, acting confused, giving the "silent treatment", having accidents, with denial of anger.

RELEASE:-

Move it out of the body harmlessly as soon as possible. Beat or strangle it out (hose and pillow, beat carpet, strangle a towel etc.).

TRANSFORM:-

Forgiveness.

OPPORTUNITY:-

Missing qualities of the Higher Self seeking expression - Compassion . Unconditional Love without loss of spiritual strength. Strong Love. Loving Strength. Courage.


An Exercise for the Constructive, Creative Redeployment of the energy of Anger, Resentment - or Joy!

BASED UPON THE 10TH LAW OF PSYCHOLOGICAL LIFE, and adapted from Pierro Ferrucci, the chapter called "The Tigers of Wrath" in his book "What We May Be".

PURPOSE:-

To use the energy of current or residual aggressive drives to fuel constructive projects in our lives and bring benefits. Most of us know that to dig the garden or clean the house furiously can release angry tensions at the same time as producing benefits. This is an extension of the same principle.

METHOD:-

1. Pick a constructive project to which you intend and will to give more "steam".

2. Set it aside for a moment, and get in touch with your aggressive feelings. Feel their vibrancy, their vigour, the effect they have upon your body, and , perhaps, the hurt they have caused you and the burdens of using this energy in any detrimental way on yourself or others. Give them 'space' - observe them without judging them or labelling them in any way. For the time of this exercise you are not trying to make them go away, you are accepting them in order to redirect them.

3. Realize that this is now energy that you have at your disposal. It is energy that is precious, and can do things. It is also basically neutral, like electricity or heat. It could be used to hurt. It could also be the propelling power for the project or activity you have chosen. Begin to add loving intention to this energy . Add your love until you are ready for the next step, then:

4. Vividly imagine yourself in the midst of your project, starting at the beginning and working through in your imagination. Call to mind as many details as you can, seeing, feeling, and hearing the sounds that go with all the moves involved, now kindled and intensified by the vitality with which you have chosen to invest them. See the benefits of the completed project , to yourself and others.

TEST YOUR RESULTS:-

Keep records in your journal so you can explore this method objectively and document your results. You can then decide if this has been helpful to you.

"It was rage that motivated me." (Florence Nightingale)

"Good indignation brings out all your power." (Emerson)

"Girl's anger led to best seller." (Headline in newspaper describing how high-school student Susie Hinton was angered by an attack on a fellow-student. She wrote a short story for her class, which blossomed into a novel, "The Outsiders" in 1967, which then became a film made by the same producer who made "The Godfather". The book sold over 4 million copies in the U.S.A. alone, was translated into 7 languages, and became part of the school curriculum in many school systems.)

Aggressive energy has fuelled many creative artists, including Beethoven and Michelangelo.

Mahatma Gandhi described how he would "conserve" his anger at oppression and injustice, not waste it.

Note: A similar exercise to this can be done with the recollection of joyous experiences, or with the recollection of fine sexual energy, to enhance your creativity, in a wonderful way.


Catharsis

The Safe Release of Bad Feelings.

BASED UPON THE 2nd & 10th LAWS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL LIFE

PURPOSES & BENEFITS:-

1. To release or "move out" the BURDEN of current or stored negativity harmlessly . You cannot pour out love if your bucket is totally full of resentment! Can be especially valuable for those who physicalise distress (e.g. cancer, hypertension, heart disease (with care), ulcer, arthritis etc.), find anger management difficult, or deny their own power.

2. To love, care for and restore healthy function to the body by burning up adrenaline and other stress hormones, and by releasing uptight autonomic nervous system sets. To love and care for our relationships - with ourselves, others, and nature by releasing hurt feelings, making space for serenity and peace. To love and care for our minds by clearing them of hurtful thoughts, making space for silence and wisdom. To free our bodies, feelings, and minds thus is an act of love.

3. To make it easier to do the forgiveness process. (Law 10)

4. To help those who fear their own anger to overcome this fear. People who have been seriously abused or witnessed the effects of violence often make a decision to never have anything to do with anger. They may then repress their feelings, and experience themselves as disempowered. And being unable to experience their negative feelings they may also not fully experience the positive ones as well. It's as if by "turning down the volume" on their pain they also turn down their joy. Full and safe expression of deeply held feelings as in this exercise can restore the capacity to experience both anger - and joy.

5. To get information from the unconscious, by bringing to light repressed memories that need the Forgiveness Process. (Law 2)

6. To restore the flow of love. One who cannot release anger safely, blocks love.

7. To assist us in our task of creating Right Human Relationships and Wellness at all levels.

8. As a test to find out if there is any anger stored in us, or to "get ahead", as it were of future anger, by emptying our bucket right out.

9. If you can think of no other reason, it is good exercise!

METHOD

Arrange a satisfactory place and time, alone or with an unconditional friend. Tell any others near you your intentions, so that neither they nor you are disturbed. You may be helping them by modeling being in charge of releasing your own negativity and restoring right functioning.

Use a short (c. 1/2m.) length of hose and a pillow, or a tennis racquet and a mattress. Carpet beating is an alternative, and socially acceptable - but the use of fixed carpets and vacuum cleaners (in the West, not yet in the Soviet Union) has reduced the opportunities for this good outlet. Imagine the object(s) of your aggressive energy are there in front of you and physically release all your angry or other negative feelings. Do it with love and joy that you are unblocking your love. Loud, unpleasant music can help to reactivate the feelings, and allow you to express any sounds or words that you want to. At first you may feel somewhat ridiculous, but as you take charge and allow your feelings to surface, you may be surprised by their intensity and power. They are, after all, the residue of the "killer instinct" that enabled our ancestors to survive to breed us. In the safe situation you have chosen, allow them room for full expression, even if a part of you thinks it is unseemly. It does not have to be reasonable!

Use your voice. Release words and sounds that are meaningful to you and which need to be released. It is important to free the throat area as well as the rest of the body.

Be unreasonable! Yell out the Anger, Scream out the Fear, Wail out the Grief. Sometimes these emotions merge and overlap, fear or grief turning to rage, rage to grief etc.

You do not need to do this "at" someone, sending hate to them. You can do it just joyfully to free your body of the pent up tensions.

If you discover that you are angry with yourself for something, be aware that it is only a part of your total personality with which your are dissatisfied, that there is another wiser part of you that has chosen to heal, and that once you have released the bad feelings you will be able to heal it all with the Self-forgiveness-of-the-personality process.

Do this vigorously for 15-20 Mins., until you feel something like the athlete's "second wind" (neurochemical shift). This may be a sense of completion, accompanied by tears of relief, authentic laughter (unlike the nervous laugh at the beginning), tears and laughter together, or, simply relief.

Sometimes important new understandings have come to people as they do this process.

Long-standing resentments have been "emptied out bit-by-bit" by doing this daily, like spooning it out of a bucket until no more remains. People are often less easily "triggered" for long periods after this exercise.

It is important to do the Forgiveness and Unconditional Love Process after this exercise, to prevent "reinfection".

TEST YOUR RESULTS:-

Document your results in your journal. You can then decide if it has been helpful to you and record how you overcame any difficulties with it. Were there layers - fear, sorrow, anger, information? Did you get to completion, or do you need to do it more? Were there resistances inside you, and how did you overcome them?

Sources: Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, Japanese Industrial Relations practice, and Pierro Ferrucci in "What We May Be" , chapter called The Tigers of Wrath.


Examples of the value of the catharsis exercise.

The first of these is drawn from the time before I knew how to use the forgiveness process to help people, and a kind of spontaneous forgiveness took place.

1. Greta was the first client I ever offered this exercise to, in the days before emotional release therapies had become more readily accepted:

Greta had had a very happy childhood and adolescence. But at university she became angry and depressed for no apparent reason. She sought counseling, and when that failed she was referred to a psychiatrist. Antidepressants and other therapies were of no avail and she had to drop out of her university studies. She came to pick tobacco, a menial and dirty job, but her angry outbursts meant that farmers tended to dismiss her. She became unemployable.

As she told her story, a cold shudder passed through me. I asked if she felt like committing suicide. She confirmed that that was so, and added that if I sent her to a psychiatric hospital she would certainly find a way to do it.

I felt helpless, thinking that I knew no other treatments to offer her. But another patient a few weeks before had lent me a book describing the catharsis exercise, so I mentioned this to Greta. She was willing to do it, and tore into the pillow offered to her with gusto, making a great deal of noise. I was frightened at what my nurse, or the patients in the waiting room might think, but nothing happened and they did not rush out to call the police to say I was assaulting my female patients!

After 15-20 minutes of vigorously throwing her tantrum, and expressing exactly how she felt, Greta looked up and said "I have not felt as good as this for two years! Thank you." She decided to do this exercise every day before going to work, so that she would not get angry and rude to her employer. She did it every day for three months, sometimes twice a day if her anger built up too much in the day. After three months, it seemed that she had emptied it all out, because there was less and less need for her to do it, until no need at all.

She wanted to know - from where had all this come? We explored this with hypnotic age regression. The only scene she discovered which may have been relevant was of herself as a newly born baby in a hospital ward in the next cot to a baby around whom there seemed to be a great deal of anger. She saw herself somehow "draw off" some of this from the other baby - she was a natural healer before she had words! We were unable to verify this scene, but the explanation seemed to satisfy her, or "ring true" for her.

The follow-up is very significant. Her long-held unconscious anger dissipated, and the depression lifted. She returned to university in a different city and subsequently became a health professional in a large city with responsibility for a department, helping children - still a healer...

2. Two teenage boys, Luke and John, became disturbed a few years after losing their fathers. They had had to grow up very quickly and "become the men in the family" before time. This had inhibited their grief process and healing of their anger at their losses. They began to underachieve at school and get into trouble with authority. Both of them found the anger release of the catharsis exercise enabled them to restore their previous level of functioning at school and home. One of them rewarded me with the sentence: "There ought to be a telephone number where kids like me can ring up and get advice as good as that".

3. A man attended a forgiveness workshop, but could not be present at the time when the group did the catharsis exercise together. Later, when he volunteered for a demonstration of the forgiveness process, he became repeatedly stuck and unable to go on with it. I could not understand why. Someone else in the group pointed out that he had not done the catharsis exercise as they had, and that he was still very "caught" in the emotional level. He went out with my assistant at lunch break and did it fully. Then he found doing the forgiveness process effortless.


FEAR, TERROR.

PURPOSE:-

Survival, caution. "Freezing" to avoid detection. Energy for escape (fleeing). Original fears in a baby are said to be only of sudden noises and of falling from a height. Later fears are picked up through experience or teachings of others.

DISTORTIONS:-

(Especially if ridiculed and not allowed to express or share fear as a child) - phobias, panic attacks, chronic anxiety, obsessive or compulsive thoughts and behaviors (to push away fears). Perception of the world as dangerous, of others as untrustworthy, of oneself as powerless. (= "Victim" or "Doormat" stance in life). Sabotaging oneself to avoid situations perceived as risky or dangerous.

RELEASE:-

Acknowledge it. Scream it out and/or release anger held at aggressors as above. Lying on one's back and twisting a towel held by a trusted other (reminiscent of an umbilical cord) while screaming can be very effective in starting this catharsis..

TRANSFORM:-

Forgive past aggressors. Forgive oneself for continuing any patterns of feeling false guilt or self-diminishment as a result of the incident(s). Healing of the "Inner Child". Giving oneself a "happy childhood" now . Public speaking, martial arts etc.

OPPORTUNITY:-

Quality of the Higher Self seeking expression - Confidence & Courage and the restoration of Unconditional Love. (Courage= rage de la coeur, or rage of the Heart) Restoration of the spontaneity and creativity of the Inner Child.

Remember that a victimized child had no power compared to the adult aggressors/abusers. A whole people oppressed by a totalitarian regime is in a similar situation. In trying to hide the humiliation, beliefs like "I have no power", or, "I will never have anything to do with anger" come into existence, and the will is used to repress feelings. This may operate long after it was appropriate for self-preservation.


THE GRIEF PROCESS

PURPOSE:-

To heal the pain of loss(es).

DISTORTIONS:-

If not allowed to heal normally, prolonged "numbness", anger or bad moods, depression, self-pity, "inappropriately" crying for almost anything, (the "crushed tears of long ago"), inability to feel or express feelings, and building a "hard outer shell". The worst grief is for the "loss" of Unconditional Love not received as a child, producing a state of chronic grief and a needy search for love in adulthood. A "Poor Me" stance in life.

RELEASE:-

Wail or cry it out. I believe that the Irish called this "keening" and had professional mourners to help this release. Other similar cultures permit a fuller expression of grief than ours. Share the burden of the loss with unconditionally loving and accepting persons. This may at first seem exhausting physically, but you will be relieved in the long run and lose less energy overall.

Science is now revealing that different chemicals are released from the body when we cry for different reasons - pain, grief, anger, relief, contrition, joy, onions(!), etc., and that this process is a self-healing one. People feel better for having released their feelings in a physical way. It is simply no longer true that "Wise Guys (or Big Boys) don't cry". The tears are better shed, - even the "tears of long ago". We no longer need stop people crying.

TRANSFORM:-

To forgive "life" (or "God") or any perceived "causes" for the loss; to forgive oneself for any "errors" of commission or omission with respect to the incident or loss; symbolic rituals - e.g. to plant a tree, give a gift, to do whatever is necessary to say "goodbye" (e.g. gestalt exercises or letters addressing the lost one in imagination) and move on.

OPPORTUNITY:-

The qualities of the Higher Self seeking expression - Acceptance, Understanding, Forgiveness, Unconditional Love of the Source of Life. Self-healing


ADMIRATION

PURPOSE:-

To bring about growth through the desire to emulate desirable qualities. True admiration, if pure, brings joy.

DISTORTIONS:-

Greed, and then Competition, then Jealousy, then Envy. (=wants to do as well as, then better than the admired one, to possess, then wants them to do worse than oneself at any cost, even if destroys what is desired.) Criticism and sabotage (in thought, speech or action) of the one envied, and self-criticism and self-hatred. ("Cassio & Othello" stance in life.)

RELEASE:-

as for anger, grief, and fear - envy is a very poisonous combination of anger at the admired one, fear of one's own inadequacy, and grief at the loss of supremacy.

TRANSFORMATION:-

Forgiveness of self and other(s). Remembrance that one does oneself have the capacity to emulate the quality admired, as a latent potential in one's own Higher Unconscious. The decision to develop that quality in one's life. Gratitude and restoration of self-love.

OPPORTUNITY:-

Qualities of the Higher Self seeking expression - Acceptance of oneself as one is at present without condemnation, even though one can see where improvements can be made. Unconditional Love. And the development of precisely the qualities perceived and admired in the other from within one's own self.


GUILT

PURPOSE:-

A negative or inharmonious feeling produced by unsound judgment about one's Self , transferred from an awareness of an unsound action or thought, which is to help one to recognize when one has been "off target" or in error, and to get back on target again. More than that is an illusion created by faulty perception of the Self.

DISTORTIONS:-

1. Excessive remorse, or regret beyond what gets us back on target. "Feeling bad about feeling bad". There is a belief that one has failed to meet a demand placed upon one by the Source of life, oneself, or others in a situation. There is an assumption that because one has not met this presumed demand, one must suffer lost love. This can be followed by bringing about the self-punishment that one believes (from past indoctrination or the mass unconscious) is deserved and necessary to pay for the wrong done. . This could be done physically, emotionally, mentally, by holding back one's own growth, or by engaging in negative relationships. It is most often done almost if not totally unconsciously.

2. False guilt can be felt by children who blame themselves for the wrong behavior of adults ("I must be bad or these bad things would not be happening around me"). "I do not deserve....to get well,......... to be forgiven...etc"

3. Self-hatred. Self destructive behaviors. Denial, or "forgetting" of one's true Self.

4. Failure to experience guilt even when one has done great harm, often accompanied by the belief that one is in the right. This is one of the characteristics of evil, which seeks to inhibit or destroy the potential for spiritual and other growth of others, while projecting the wrong out onto them. (As in genocide).

RELEASE:-

1-3. To confess one's error to an unconditionally loving person or group (NOT to a collection of critical judges!). 4. Possibly "exorcism" - see Scott Peck, M.D., ":The People of the Lie"11 for a discussion about the nature of evil and the difficulties in diagnosis and management. The need for an absolutely mature and unconditionally loving team of healers is stressed.

TRANSFORM:-

To do the Self-forgiveness of the personality process and restore Self-love once more.

OPPORTUNITY:-

Qualities of the Higher Self seeking expression - Acceptance of oneself as one is at present without condemnation, even though one can see where improvements can be made. Unconditional Love. And the development of precisely the qualities perceived and admired in the other from within one's own self.


It is humanity's task to grow by transforming the distortions of primary, beneficial emotions through forgiveness and creative acts infused with love.

The "problems" we have are opportunities to make choices based in love. All negative emotions are related to love. Anger and fear arise when what we love is threatened. Grief arises when what we love is lost to us. Envy arises when what we love seems inaccessible to us. Guilt arises when we forget to love.

Each negative state in another can be seen as a cry love.

Each negative state in ourselves is also a call to us to give more love.


Continue to next section: Part I - Introductory Section - Maps & Tools - Common 5


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