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Sunday, 4 October 2015

Emotions are not the truth

It may seem that when you are experiencing strong emotions that this is reality-for sure! You get angry, your body responds, your heart beats faster, your thinking stops…we all know the experience of overwhelming negative emotions. However, these feelings are not the truth of the situation, they are your interpretation of the experience. That experience is interpreted by past conditioning and other influences such as ancestral shadows, environment, culture… the list is almost endless. The same experience can illicit very different emotions, with many different meanings, from different people.

For example, when my husband comes home, the first thing he does is turn on the radio. He isn’t always listening to it, he just likes the noise of someone talking in the back ground. He was the eldest of three boys, in a house hold that was loud and raucous. He likes the sound of people talking, it makes him feel comfortable, at home, even relaxed. The moment I walk in the door, the first thing I do is rush to the radio and turn it off. The sound is irritating for me- I want the noise off before I can start to think about having a conversation with him, or anyone. I was raised virtually as an only child because my older sister left the family when I was six. I was raised in a house that almost silent, my father was sensitive to noise, like me. My mother was always tired from her long days of work. So I learned to entertain myself, quietly. I can’t listen to more than one voice or sound at a time, but I listen with all my attention to that sound. So either I put on the radio and lie down and listen to classical music or I turn it off because then it’s just a horrible distraction and irritant. Who is right? Whose emotions are ‘right”? Whose experiences are ‘true’?

Perhaps we link our emotions to values, and then we feel even stronger about them E.g. He was rude to me because I’m a woman, that makes me really angry because I believe strongly in gender equality. In fact, that may the habitual tone that person when he talks with everyone. It may have nothing to do with my being a woman. And of course, there is ample room for vast plays of transference. E.g. My ex used that tone with me when he was about to hit me, so now I’m really pissed about this conversation.

It takes some self-reflection and awareness to notice that the emotional reaction we have to events, is not the ‘truth’. It is perhaps a ‘truth’ that our emotions reflect or interpret a truth. There is some kernel of truth in the emotion that arises with an event. But to get to the reality of the experience, we have to proceed with caution and kindness, both to ourselves and others. World Metaphoric Transformation can be helpful. The first and second tenant of WMT relates to emotions: remember the story is never about the story and the story is always about me. Or, for emotions we could say, emotions are never about the emotion, they are about me. So following the bread crumb trail back from where the emotion arise, to where it originated within soul is how we can liberate ourselves from false premises, sticky negative thinking and manifest our souls more holistically.

Try This!
1.       The next time a strong negative (or positive ) emotion comes up,
be curious about where it came from. Be aware, it may not the truth, it is probably an interpretation of the truth. E.g. This morning when I was picking hollyhock seeds in the garden I felt a wonderful sense of lightness and fun.

2.       Now really notice, step back from the interpretation of the event and instead focus on the environment of the experience. E.g. This was in my garden, the sun was shining, I was harvesting seeds from an unusual hollyhock flower, The seeds were incredible, when I looked at them, they were incredibly intricate, which ridges and the even the seed pods were fascinating to me because of their design and, shape and textures.

3.       When you have captured the essence of the event, not the emotion of the event, then bring it home. E.g. I was looking forward to putting the seeds into my own hand made seed packages and giving them to my friends and family.

4.       Now find soul in the event which your emotions have responded to. E.g. The seeds represent wisdom and knowledge for me. I love to give wisdom and insight to others, which is like giving them seeds. They can do with the wisdom what they want, plant or not plant, where they want. It is up to them whether to care for them, fertilize and water the flowers, enjoy and then gather their own seeds to give away. That is my aspiration with this activity. It is a metaphor for my soul’s work as a spiritual counsellor. This explain why almost inexplicably I felt a great surge of joy arise in me. I lifted up with a World Metaphoric Transformation.

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