Archive for September, 2012

Disconnecting Your Hot Buttons

Sometimes it seems emotions come at us out of the blue.  You turn left on Main Street and are suddenly overwhelmed by sadness.  What happened?  An acquaintance asks how you are. Suddenly you feel annoyed.  What’s going on?  Emotional reactions that seem to come from nowhere are rooted in your unconscious.  How in the heck did they get there and what can you do about them?When you have denied your feelings rather than simply feeling them, they can pile up in your unconscious. If you deny enough of them, perhaps because you do not want to own your negative feelings, they can even create physical symptoms.  Everyone does this to some degree.

Then, when you see a man on the corner who looks like the boyfriend who dumped you, or you run across an acquaintance who reminds you of your evil stepmother, you can suddenly be catapulted into reactions that don’t seem to make sense.

We say these people or situations push our buttons, because of the automatic nature of our reaction, but this is a bit of a cop out.  When I studied anatomy, humans didn’t have buttons.  If they did, I would look for a reset button during these sorts of outbursts.

You can create a lot more comfort and ease around these hot button reactions without lying on Dr. Freud’s couch (not that there’s anything wrong with that.)  The trick is so simple you might not take it seriously.  But I urge you to take it seriously and try it more than once.

The trick is to simply experience the feeling.  You won’t die from it.  You don’t have to know where it came from, simply feel the feeling.  In fact, the feeling will pass quickly if you don’t resist it. After you practice this a few times, you will notice your hot buttons being disabled, one by one.

There are energetic ways of reducing the resistance and pain of feeling your emotions and making the process easy and rewarding.  I call these techniques emotional alchemy because they transmute negative feelings like anger, sadness and fear into positive qualities like good boundaries, ability to release old issues, and heightened awareness.

What these techniques do is increase the flow of emotions, so they flow right through the body and don’t stay stuffed in the subconscious.  Emotions handled this way change almost magically from painful to neutral.  Practice at properly handling emotions ultimately creates states that are positive.

We have emotions for a reason.  They give us important information.  When we get the message, the messenger goes away.  Just as my grandma’s letters came with a dollar bill tucked inside, the messages of emotions also come with gifts in them.

When you experience good boundaries and let go of old business, you are then present and aware.  You cannot be present and aware for very long before you find yourself feeling joy.

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To those of you who do experience chronic pain, check out The Mind Body Prescription  by John Sarno, M. D.

Emotional Alchemy Transforms Fear into Freedom

photo credit: h.koppdelaney via photo pin cc

Fear seems to be one of the least helpful feelings when you are doing something new.  If that something new involves alligator wrestling, fixing a gas leak, or dating a notorious gangster, then your fear will help you stay alive.Most of us experience a different sort of fear that seems attached to unlikely events or events that do not really threaten us.  We worry enough about saying the wrong thing at a meeting that we don’t notice the mugger in the alley.  I laugh when I think of the driven students at my university during exam time, who were so afraid of failing, they would read their note cards while crossing State Street in front of Mack trucks.

When we examine this sort of fear, we tend to dismiss it as groundless.  The trouble is, it doesn’t stay dismissed.  It often has a message that is just as valid as more obvious seeming fears.  Finding the message can be the solution.  For months I woke up with a feeling of fear I didn’t understand.  After my teacher advised me to meditate on it and ask it what it wanted, I discovered that I was afraid I would never find the courage to pursue a cherished goal.  After I got the message, the messenger finally went away.

Getting the message can take a while.  Meantime, you can energetically transmute fear and feel better right now.  Fear is an energy in your body.  You can change the energy in your body by simply thinking about it in a different way.  Imagine your body is surrounded by a bubble of light.  Now imagine that because you are fearful, you make the outer wall of that bubble extra strong and thick, so nothing can get to you.  Also imagine that the bubble is big enough to enclose your body comfortably.

You have now effectively channeled fear energy out of your body into protective but not restrictive boundaries.

What is an Enlightened Interaction?

A friend recently questioned my term Enlightened Interaction.  “I don’t know what it means,” she said, “what does enlightened really mean?  Doesn’t every new ager consider herself enlightened?” she asked.I suppose there is a connotation of spirituality associated with the word “enlightened,” which could be construed as superior.  But when I use the term “enlightened,” I refer to awareness – spiritual or otherwise.

Dictionary definitions of enlightened suggest it is a state of being knowledgeable. Definitions include, “…freed from ignorance and misinformation,” and, “…based on full comprehension of the problems involved.”   Spiritual enlightenment, then, is the ability to understand from a spiritual perspective.

Coming at our interactions in an enlightened state, means we are aware.  This awareness of others requires listening and seeing the other person without projecting our beliefs and motives onto them.

Spiritual enlightenment creates an awareness of spiritual truth.  In most traditions, this means seeing another as an equal and a unique and valuable individual.  The interaction based on this enlightenment is respectful and kind.

Intellectual enlightenment, “…based on full comprehension of the problems involved,” creates an interaction grounded in awareness of reality.  This implies acceptance of others as they truly are and not getting confused by our fantasies and desires for the interaction.

An enlightened interaction, then, precludes any abuse, control or manipulation.  It is an honest interaction between people who are presumed to be equals, who strive to perceive and accept each other as they truly are.

This interaction is not the norm for most of us, but I’d like to think the next stage in our evolution would make it the norm.  Compared to dishonest or controlling interactions, enlightened interaction is satisfying and pain free.  If you cannot achieve enlightened interaction in a voluntary relationship, it is probably a relationship you should walk away from.

I hope this is…well…enlightening.