Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Emotions - An opportunity to learn

Years ago I decided to stop shoving "negative" emotions out of the way and instead exploring why they came up. This change in direction has made a huge difference in my life, mostly by encouraging me to take personal responsibility for my feelings instead of blaming others.

This not only makes me feel better, but I'm sure my partner and kids appreciate it!

In the recent past, I've run across a number of thoughts that agree with this path of emotion exploration. The most structured method is offered by Byron Katie called The Work. Basically you start by writing out what has pissed you off (or upset you or frustrated you, etc.). Then you ask four questions:

1. Is it true?
2. Is it really true?
3. How do you react when you believe this thought?
4. Who would you be without this thought?

Katie's web site is very helpful. Additionally, she's written a number of books, my favorite being Loving What Is. The questions appear "too simple". Yet, reading more about her ideas shows you how to delve in deeper to see what's really going on. Yogis -- used to the idea of quieting the ego and mind -- will find an easier time hearing the inner voice that offers honest and true answers to the four questions.

Gary Zukav also promotes the importance of learning from your emotions. In Soul to Soul, he says:

"The painful experiences that you encounter, such as resentment, anger, and vengefulness, are the parts of your personality that your soul desires to heal. They are the parts of your personality that are not aligned with your soul. Your soul wants to create harmony, sharing, cooperation, and reverence for Life.... Your painful experiences are signposts that point directly to parts of your personality that need healing.... learn about yourself from your experiences and change yourself rather than continue to have the same painful experiences again and again. That is spiritual growth." (page 224)

Even Ester Hicks (Abraham) stresses the value of being honest regarding your feelings. She speaks of "feeling good" all the time, but not by denying your current state; rather by finding ways to transform yourself to a place of joy.

I believe Byron Katie's work and emotion exploration is one of many ways to do this.

Love Much,


Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

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