This might not be the most popular stance to take, but this is as valid a technique in emotional body healing as any other. This technique is simple, however it runs contrary to what we have been taught by the world, since the time we were born into physical form.
This technique is not for the standard human. Because of the tendency to hold onto the past and to validate negative emotions, this technique can even be considered “advanced”, for self-healing and for the serious spiritual student, magician and metaphysician.
If there is the intellectual curiosity and intuitive knowledge that this technique might hold healing power…BUT, there is still some emotional resistance to this process…step back from this technique and explore other possible obstacles to this concept. Does holding onto the past or holding onto negative emotion seem to justify reacting in any particular way? Are you attached to reacting “normally” to trauma, memory or pain? Are you really ready to let go of the past?
When we hold onto the past….whether it is because of a singular traumatic event, a repeating pattern or an emotional reaction that we think of as normal… sometimes we do so out of the illogical fear that remembering the past or reliving it in some way will keep us safe, from re-experiencing it the same way, again. This would be fine, if in the constant replay, we didn’t continue to feel (re-experience) the same negative feelings we experienced initially. In some cases, we can’t let go of a trauma or let go of blaming someone for our negative experience, because we haven’t figured out how it happened the first time and therefore how to logically prevent it from happening, again.
When enough time has passed from the initial traumatizing (or upsetting) event, we need to keep in mind that some personal and environmental factors have probably already changed, since that time. If the traumatizing event happened when one was a child and one is now an adult, physically most of us are much stronger, know how to enlist legal and professional help, often have others in our lives who could help prevent the event from occurring in the present time, and have a wealth of resources in terms of information and otherwise that we did not have as children. As far as prevention of a reoccurrence of the event goes, we need to keep in mind that being aware of and utilizing those resources can take place only when one is fully aware of the present moment and not living outside of the current time and place….that is, in one’s mind.
When one is reliving a traumatic (emotionally and/or physically) event in their mind, one is taken out of the present moment. In the present moment, one can be aware of their physical surroundings. If there is a physical danger, one can be aware of the warning clues present, including whichever other factors that might keep one’s self safe or able to escape. If the triggering factors are emotional or mental in nature, staying in the present moment will allow one’s self to stay grounded and clear-thinking, so that they can respond and react in as positive and empowering a way as possible.
Even though it seems counter-intuitive, staying in the trauma of a memory or replaying the constant emotional reference usually does not allow one to get past the mental event. There are the chances that one will EVENTUALLY burn out on a particular emotional reference, given enough repitition, but there is no guarantee and certainly no timeline on when it is supposed to happen. Especially when one can build up other mental associations to justify the replay of the memory or reference.
When the trauma or emotional reference is strong enough to keep a “memory” of sorts repeating in one’s psyche (like an internal mental video loop), then changing the submodalities will help break the repetitive playback. Consciously allow the memory or the visual representation to come into full awareness, complete with all of the sensory elements. Within meditation or imagination, distance yourself physically from the visual image/s–see the scene as becoming separate from your personal body. Change ALL of the sensory elements–if there is any dialog, change the pitch and volume of the voice so that they are more comical and less threatening….with the visual factors, change the colors to pastels, stripes, polka dots, black-and-white….change the texture and temperatures….imagine different tastes in your mouth and odors in your nose….add circus music or any other background music….be creative and see how many sensory elements you can make up and alter. When you are done, take an internal inventory. Do you feel any different towards the initial event? Finally, send the dissociated image far away, maybe into the Sun.
Now, with the traumatic event emotionally deactivated and defused, you are free to explore the various aspects on a more mental level. This will be working with the mental references, in general. For our working example, let us pick something (relatively) less charged. Let us work with Sadness.
Create sacred, safe space using whichever methods you find appropriate. Cleanse the physical space with incense or salt water. Invoke the elements or other spirits. Cast a circle. Whatever seems intuitively correct. In this safe space, center yourself. Either in meditation or free association, ask yourself if Sadness enriches your life in any way. Can you get your goals met through being Sad or expressing Sadness?
Expressing negative emotion works for children. Most feeling adults will attempt to rescue or soothe babies and small children, when they are expressing distress of any sort. As these children grow, there might be less inclination on the parts of adults to respond to their signs of distress, as they might be seen to be old enough to either take care of their own needs or that they are overreacting to external circumstances. By the time that they are adults, crying or expressing upset is not necessarily responded to with as much sympathy by the general public. As a matter of fact, some expressions of neediness can be seen as unappealing and unattractive, rather eliciting distaste or some degree of revulsion by the other surrounding adults.
By the time we become adults, we are not supposed to convey distress in the same way that we did as children. We might not have been told explicitly to stop expressing a need for rescue….but, to some degree, there might still be that expectation that someone will fix our problems for us, even though we will have learned different ways of asking for rescue….even if it is by trying to manipulate someone else’s emotions into running to our rescue.
When we think we need someone to emotionally rescue us, we force ourselves to stay in that negative emotional space (Sadness) where the emotional cues to non-verbally ask for rescue live (appearing sad or hurt, expressing that through our bodies, facial expressions, tone of voice). We want someone to satisfy our needs, while we must remain in that Sad, Depressed, Unhappy state. We cannot ever be satisfied emotionally because we would have to leave that emotional state where all of those childhood tools and techniques are kept. Once we leave that dependent state, we no longer have access to those tools of expressed distress. As long as we rely on using those tools, we cannot ever experience anything resembling positive emotion or happiness.
The negative state (Sadness) that we want to be rescued from holds our tools (expressions of Sadness, that hopefully people respond to) for asking for rescue….we cannot use those tools of expressed distress, without being stuck in that sad, negative-emotion state.
What does feeling Sadness get us? What does expressing Sadness do? It is a reaction to not having our reality the way that we want it, at the moment–but, metaphysically speaking, positive manifestations cannot be made with negative energies. It might get us some temporary sympathy….perhaps, it can gain us some attention. But, ultimately, if the goal is to eventually be happy in any way, expressing Sadness chains us to further Sadness and the need to feel Sad in order to garner sympathy and rescue.
Which is the imaginary goal in using Sadness….is it that by feeling Sad, someone will take pity on us, give us attention, show us how much they care, therefore expressing their Concern, Love or Caring for us? Most often, people who relate to other people who are Sad are reminded of their own Sadness–present, past, internal or hidden. There are much more people who react to Sadness by mirroring it in some way, matching it because of the other person expressing it towards them.
More often than not, because of similarity of vibration, Sad people can only resonate with other people who are just as sad or close to being just as Sad. A victim cannot emotionally resonate with someone who is not some sort of victim, themselves. Often an emotional victim wishes for someone who will rescue them in a one-sided sort of way, like a lifeguard rescuing someone drowning in water or a paramedic rescuing someone from physical distress. Unless the relationship is one between psychologist/psychiatrist/professional counselor and client/patient, it is highly unlikely that someone will rescue us the same way in a personal relationship. The person who is emotionally rescuing us will usually need something back in return or will be off to rescue someone else as soon as we are out of our current level of distress.
In the same meditation session, ask yourself–What are alternatives to Sadness that will help me reach my goals? Which positive emotions will be more functional? Is it really practical to be Sad? What is the positive emotion I would want to gain by showing Sadness to others? Work with that positive emotion, directly.