In my last two articles I started to discuss the path to emotional mastery. I discussed how to deal with negative emotions which arise from negative thinking and how to manage those that arise from what we experience on a daily basis. In this article I’d like to discuss emotional blocks.
We first have to define what these are. Emotional blocks are suppressed emotions from traumatic experiences from our past. These traumatic experiences could be major, such as physical or sexual abuse or could be minor such as a perception of preferential treatment of a sibling by our parents when we were growing up.
The fact is that we all experience emotional blocks from our childhood and adolescence because we all experience traumas to some degree. At a young age we are too immature to realize that resisting the pain of negative emotions only leads to suffering over time. This is because suppressing these emotions does not dissipate them but only keeps them trapped somewhere in our bodies.
When we face stressful experiences, these trapped emotions resurface as dysfunctional responses to stress. When these trapped emotions resurface, the pain also comes back which is what leads to addictions which are an ineffective means to stifle those emotions. Although addictions such as food, alcohol, illicit drugs and sex may provide temporary relief from the pain of suppressed emotions, they will, eventually, multiply the pain of those emotions and lead to further suffering.
The way to recognize if you have an emotional block is to look for a pattern of dysfunctional emotions in your life and trace them back over time to find their source. These may include recurrent uncontrollable rage, incessant grief or unrelenting shame or regret. Now, you may not be able to get to the source of these emotions because often we repress the memories of the events that led to them.
There is also the issue of birth trauma and ancestral trauma. Many people have been traumatized in their mother’s womb through stressful experiences that their mother has been through during pregnancy, which the affected individual may not be aware of. In addition, there is no cultural, religious of ethnic group around the world that has not suffered trauma in their history, whether it is the two World Wars of the last century or persecution by another religious group such as the Christian Crusades.
If you are able to identify a recurrent pattern of dysfunctional emotions and cannot identify the original event, then locate where you feel the emotion in your body. For example, grief is often felt as a pain in the centre of the chest and anger is often felt as a burning or heat in the head.
Once you can trace the dysfunctional emotional pattern either to its source or somewhere in your body you need to find time where you can be alone and undisturbed for a few hours. You may want to do this next part in the presence of somebody who you know and trust.
The way to release the emotional block is to feel it fully right to its core. Now this may seem painful but you must realize that by resisting the emotion that caused the block you are perpetuating suffering. You must feel the emotion fully in order to release its grip on you. Once you are able to do this, you will find that at the core of any emotion that you experience lies love and peace. This is because these qualities are your true nature.
The only reason this has been obscured to you is because you have been blinded by the pain and suffering caused by the emotions that you have been resisting since childhood. You must go through this process for any painful emotion associated with any traumatic or negative experience from your past. This is the key to emotional mastery and the key to integrating your shadow into your Higher Self.
Your shadow aspects are those seemingly negative aspects of your psyche which most people are ashamed of or afraid to own. These negative aspects, however, must be accepted and integrated in order for your to realize yourself as a whole being. It is from the wholeness of who you are that you can live freely and experience all emotions by allowing them to pass through you without making them your identity.
This is how you live in the flow and achieve true emotional and spiritual freedom.
Nauman Naeem MD