Mindfulness & Emotions
Mindfulness is becoming more aware. If you do any kind of mindfulness practice to any depth, at some point you are going to become aware of your subconscious. You will know when this happens when you begin to exhibit overwhelming, out-of-control, child-like emotions. This is more likely to happen with your partner, with your family, with a close group of friends.
All our childhood emotional experiences are in our subconscious. This includes all our unresolved emotional pain, fear, grief and trauma. There are no quick fixes for this. And there is one fix that always works when nothing else does. It is called Love. Unconditional love.
Positive and Negative emotions
Emotions are regularly branded as positive and negative. Actually emotions are neither, they are just natural human reactions to what is happening around us. It’s how we are taught to judge them as children that is the problem, e.g. Crying is ‘being a baby’, ‘big boys don’t cry’, ‘showing feelings is weak’
Emotions and self-worth
As children a huge part of ‘who we are’ is our emotions. So if our emotions are ignored, ridiculed by our parents, or we are told to cheer up, keep quiet etc, then we feel it as ‘I am not important’ & our self-worth decreases. Then we try to do as we are told by controlling our emotions & burying them in our subconscious. So when we find our buried emotions we will also find our buried lack of self-worth. We also copy our parents’ attitude to emotions. So if they struggle with their emotions, or don’t express them, or have low self-worth, anxiety or depression issues, so do we.
Emotions and Control
The nature of emotions is to be out of control. After all, what’s the point of controlled laughter? So when we find emotions we have buried, they will by nature be out of control. We hope to be in control of letting our emotions out. To deal with them as something separate from ‘me’ that I can sort. This is not going to happen. A big part of mindfulness practice is letting go of control.
Having a Breakdown
Letting go of control of our emotions is a kind of emotional breakdown. Actually it is an emotional break open. The real issue is whether we choose to let our feelings be here, or try to get rid of them, to stop the ‘breakdown’.
Learning to Love a Child
If we allow out of control emotions for long enough, we start to realize we are letting child parts of out. And that we have been imprisoning these parts of us in dark boxes inside us and chosen to forgot they are there.
How are our subconscious emotions helped?
By letting them express themselves fully with an attitude of ‘Its ok to be here now’. Any other form of ‘resolving’ is just another way of keeping them pushed down, of being unloving.
Hidden emotions are to do with events and relationships where no-one was there, where no one listened, where it all went wrong, where I wasn’t loved. So letting them out will include feelings of despair and hopelessness, and that no-one is there still. This tends to feel awful. These awful feeling as are far from easy.
Learning to Love Our Emotions
Love means allowing, kindness, listening, warmth, moving towards, not trying to ‘help’ or ‘heal’. In reality, for a long time it will just feel like your life is falling apart, and very loveless. In fact, for quite some time you are very unlikely to feel like you are loving yourself by letting your emotions out, and more like your whole life is spiraling out of control. This is very frightening and very painful. You can feel like you are going mad. To start with, just doing sitting mindfulness, and starting to say its ok to yourself whenever your emotions have taken over
The connection between past and present
When our emotions come out, they express through our present day lives. Relationships going wrong, our relationships with our children, family breakdown. We rarely make any connection with the past for quite a long time. Instead our relationships now become traumatic and very very emotionally painful. There are clues though. The main one is we can feel small, like a young child, when we are arguing or crying. After a long time, and perhaps with help form a counsellor or someone who has been through it, we start to connect the way we feel now, and how we felt as children. Only this time we are expressing how we feel in a more raw way. Also repeated patterns of relationship problems, and our behavior are a clue that maybe we are repeating situations, or ways of reacting to situations, from our past.
Anger is pretty much always a layer on top of fear or pain, or both. So anger, while important to express, is always a route to expressing the fear and pain beneath. Often our parents expressed anger far more than fear or pain, so we learnt that anger is the ‘acceptable’ emotion. Anger can be seen as a closed fist, in how it relates to other people. So the natural expression of anger is violence. Interestingly, the brain reacts to physical and emotional violence in the same way, and some people who have expressed severe physical abuse as children say they would prefer to be hit physically than emotionally, as it hurts less.
So expressing anger without letting it go and relaxing into the fear and hurt underneath does not solve our emotional issues, and our physical and emotional fists will only hurt those we hit, whether in defence or attack. The only answer is to go from anger to the fear and hurt underneath.
How long will it take to let my hidden emotions out?
It will take as long as it takes. In reality, years. In my experience 4 years is quick for one whole lot.. How long it takes for us depends on how willing we are to learn to listen to and love ourselves. So our job is not to try and get it done fast, but to learn to love our emotional selves more.
How will we know when we have let all our emotions out?
We will know when a particular stream of trauma, fixed ways, hidden emotion, karma is resolved when we relax into the final,intensely despairing place where we hold. We feel like it’s the end of the world, end of everything, and we finally let go.
When this happens we fall. Maybe we think we are falling to our death. Then a few minutes, hours, days later, we suddenly realize that we are not dead, but in fact that we are floating in space. In a spacious awareness that is unconditionally loving. Who we really are. Home.
And after a few years that place is still there. Still home. Still who we are.