“…If you let go a little you will have a little peace; if you let go a lot you will have a lot of peace; if you let go completely you will have complete peace. “ Ajahn Chah
One of the greatest skills that we can master in life is developing the ability to bear with and to be open and present with our feelings even if they’re uncomfortable.
A significant cause of challenging emotional patterns that occur repeatedly is having not allowed the emotional energy to be fully felt and to move through us and as a result it can be held in what could be called an emotional block.
Our reactions to situations are usually much more about or certainly amplified by any unprocessed thought and emotional material than triggers from the current situation.
When we don’t allow ourselves to fully feel our feelings we can also then be overly identified with the emotion and believe that the emotion is who we are such as ‘I have sadness’ or ‘I am irritated easily’. This is simply because the emotion hasn’t been allowed to run its course so we don’t know that if we allowed ourselves to feel it fully that it would transform and evolve and on the other side of that emotion there would be better feeling emotions such as a greater sense of peace and love.
There can be a strong tendency to push any difficult emotions or thoughts out of awareness and there might be times on our spiritual journey where this is the best approach if we need to do this in order to keep feeling centred. However, from a place of feeling happier and more centred overall it can be useful to start allowing these emotions to surface and to develop the ability to calmly observe them with a balanced mind. When we develop the ability to stay present with emotions rather than trying to push them away there can sometimes be a fear that the feelings will carry on indefinitely. Though, if the energy of the emotion is allowed to run its course it will get diffused and transform as the often expressed quote ‘This too shall pass’ states.
We could practice observing the emotion and or any physical sensations that feel like they are linked to emotions. It can sometimes be helpful to have a secondary point of focus to help us stay open to our emotions without getting so overwhelmed. For example we could at the same time as staying present with our emotions, calmly focus on our breathing or gently repeat a word or phrase such as ‘I allow myself to feel this’.
Whilst staying more open to our experience and our emotions, it is good to not try to figure out what is causing the emotions as when we try to figure out the cause using our analytical mind this takes us away from being able to be present with the emotion and it is only with the power of presence that the emotion can begin to be transformed. When we stay present with the emotion there will come a time where any necessary insight and understanding into it will naturally arise.
This simple process of being present with our emotions is a very effective way to clear more and more blocks to the experience of knowing ourselves as our true essence of love.