Being present with emotions

Emotions are somewhat of a problem for the vast majority of people in this culture. They can be very pleasurable in the initial rush of love in relationships or in successes in sports and the workplace, but for the most part ‘painful’ or ‘messy’ emotions are thought of as something to avoid or fix. Many, many people have gone to counseling because at the root they see their emotions as a problem and thus think they have issues to resolve.

I personally love emotions. I love them for the huge gift of perceptions they bring, being a measure of dynamics happening externally. I love them for the self-knowledge they bring. But most of all I love them because inviting them in, fully, in their totality, brings such a vivid sense of aliveness that is not possible without them.

Simply put, there are no â??˜problems’ with any emotions. The only problem is our own judgment, the perception of separation that divides parts of ourselves into â??˜good’ and â??˜bad’. This categorization has a strong influence in every experience of emotion.

I’ve written before about related topics, so for further reference you can look at The Allowing of Pain and Negativity and a table of emotions.

To look in detail at something, let’s look on a basic personal characteristic that is treated with suspicion and often repressed: the quality of aggression. It is recognized, truthfully so, that aggression can cause conflicts, crossing of boundaries, and a fundamental lack of listening. And yet this is only one aspect of aggression, an aspect fundamentally based in the perception of differences and separation. Someone mired in this state views others as unconnected to themselves, and therefore an enemy. This is always accompanied by a deep division in the self, where there is some denial of huge swaths of one’s being. Although this is all too common, it is actually not a natural state. Looking into nature and its purity, it is easy to find examples which are not based at all in separateness, but rather of following the natural way each creature is meant to be. Spending time watching tigers or black panthers in the wild gives a wonderful example of this. Their aggression is a thing of beauty, and harmonious.

My totem animal!


Within people, when aggression is allowed to its full fruition – without any perception of separateness – there is never any possibility for war because there is no one ‘out there’ to make war with. Perhaps a better word for the state is dynamism. Dynamism is itself part of the spectrum of aggression, a great expansion of energy which includes and brings others together for a purpose. It inspires and provides a basis for positive change in the world.? Dynamism includes all the aspects of aggression mentioned above, but is not at all based in conflict, so the same energy that is used for conflict in one case is used for creation and beauty. 

?A wonderful example of this state is the spiritual teacher Krishnamurthi. There was a strong outward force around him which was joyful to be around, much like watching a panther in the wild.

All emotions â???? and personal characteristics – have this dichotomy. When blocked and based in the division of right and wrong, ‘me’ and ‘not me’, any emotion can create conflict. When fully allowed to the degree where there is no control and no judgment, there is a transforming that occurs to move us into the potential of the experience of that emotion. This will always be a movement towards love of self and others. Allowing always creates a space for this transformation and movement. All too often, there is a desire to take action to transform emotions into something â??˜better’. At its roots this is a non-acceptance of emotions as they are occurring in the present moment. Any action based on non-acceptance is likely to perpetuate that state.

Saying ‘we are complete and perfect just as we are’ is not an empty statement, nor is it based in a positivity that is about avoiding focusing on ‘negative things’ – though it has often been used for this purpose. It is a statement of fact. As we learn greater experience of allowing, we also gain more direct experience of this completeness. And thus, joy begins to be a regular occurrence.

September 30th, 2007|allowing, emotions, wholeness|3 Comments


  1. therapydoc October 1, 2007 at 8:45 pm

    Yes, but there is such a thing as too much emotion, too much arousal or not enough. A wide range is a good thing, but unless you’ve been there, probably it’s hard to relate to too much of a not so good thing.

  2. tremor October 1, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    Yes, moderation is definitely a good thing. So is discernment, to know when there is support around when there is an emotion that might be difficult. And of course, allowing also means allowing the self-care that doesn’t want to jump off that cliff without a parachute. It all goes together.

Comments are closed.