From the Archives: Articles, Media & Links
Emotions: Translations of Subtle Energy
Today more than ever before there is an awakening to subtle energy, the vital force that flows within and around us and creates the ambiance of life. The increased use of Yoga, Tai Chi, Reiki and other energy-based systems are rousing people’s energy senses. As individuals feel flows of energy in their body, they begin to notice energy interactions with people, animals and even plants and consciously participate in the dance of subtle energy to create meaningful, life affirming change.
What people may not realize, however, is the importance of emotions in understanding our internal energy system. Emotions are the distillation of energy information our body receives from the environment - they are carries of energy information. The information gained through our emotions informs our perceptions, then provides the motivation and physical energy needed to enable our goals.
It is no surprise that emotions provide the rhythm, context and meaning to life. Emotions convey the essence of being alive. Without them there is small satisfaction in our successes and minimal learning from our failures. Yet, most of us spend a considerable amount of time and energy trying to avoid or control our feelings. We strive to escape or suppress anger, fear, sadness and shame while valuing happiness, excitement, satisfaction and joy.
And why not? On the surface, this makes perfect sense. The first group consists of emotions that are uncomfortable, the second, energizing and uplifting. We confuse comfortable and uncomfortable with value, labeling some emotions good and others bad. The value of emotions, however, is that they translate subtle energy information from our environment into usable, actionable content. They also transmit our response back into the world..
Consider this scenario: Sarah is walking down the street to meet a friend. She stops to answer her cell phone and becomes engrossed in conversation, oblivious to the people around her. Suddenly, for no reason, Sarah’s hair stands on end and she becomes overwhelmed with anxiety. Whirling around, she looks directly into the eyes of a man who is clearly following her. A bolt of energy electrifies her arms and legs. Immediately she feels angry. Energy pathways in her body open to send vital force into her boundary, the outer border of the energetic space around her, filling her with physical strength and the ability to respond. What happened?
From an energy perspective, the intent of the dangerous person is conveyed energetically and received by the energy structures in Sarah’s body. The information is converted into emotion which arrives with such magnitude it pulls her attention from her cell phone. Before the information reaches the emotional processing center in her brain, she is already reacting because her emotion has informed her intuition and triggered a chemical cascade that tightens her muscles and focuses her awareness. Her emotion informs her perceptions about her level of safety and transmits her response while providing physical energy for immediate action.
Dissecting this process further, we see three distinct emotions that interact with Sarah to provide for her safety. First, she feels anxiety which lets her know that something is out of place. When she swirls around she is confronted with the source of the incongruity: someone is threatening her. The immediate burst of fear prepares her system for fight or flight and the subsequent anger provides protection and resolve. Each of these emotions is uncomfortable to feel and is often labeled as negative, yet each plays an essential role in keeping Sarah safe.
Every emotion we experience provides a message and also channels our energy toward specific results. Here are a few examples:
• Despair- The function of desperation is to jump-start creative thinking. It tells us that old ways of doing things can’t work: there are no more resources and no further answers on this path. Energetically, desperation releases our fixed attention, freeing our attention to reach for new ground.
• Guilt- The reverse of anger, guilt tells us when we have over-stepped another’s boundary, obstructed someone or caused an injustice. Guilt lets us know that our boundary has hardened and that we need to establish fair exchange with others.
• Contentment- The message here is that we are enough just the way we are, and that life is enough just the way it is. It may not be our idea of perfect, yet none the less, it is. Contentment is a purring vibration that harmonizes the cells of our body. The vibration of contentment opens our energy structures and invites flow through our entire system.
The benefits of our emotion are lost when emotions continue past their usefulness and become fixations. For example, an uncomfortable emotion such as fear keeps us safe unless it persists after the threat is gone and holds us back from taking risks. Guilt is useful to control our hubris unless it becomes our predominant response to any stimuli reducing our self-esteem. Anger can protect our boundaries unless it becomes so fixed it blocks connection to other people. Fixation of emotion happens when we don’t process the information and discharge the physical energy our emotions provide. Unprocessed emotion is suppressed under the surface, erupting at unexpected moments to make us afraid of things that are not threats. When we don’t discharge the physical energy of emotions, the energy gets locked into muscles tension setting the stage for chronic muscular pain.
The main reason we suppress our emotions is because we have been trained to second guess our instincts. We have been trained to rely on rational thinking and to distrust what we feel. However, the reasoning part of the brain, the pre-frontal cortex, receives information from the emotional centers of the brain and integrates it with other types of intellect. (1) In other words, intelligent response includes emotional information. Research shows that emotional intelligence is more important than IQ in career success and fostering happiness in relationships. (2)
Do you remember being a kid and knowing from how you felt that a parent was angry with you, but being told you were "wrong”; that "nothing was the matter”? Denials of this nature send a two-fold message.
First, they dissuade us from trusting our senses as we try to come to terms with a contradiction between what we sense vs. what we are told. A person who is always second guessing his or her instincts is unable to act with conviction or access personal power.
Second, the denial of our true feelings implies that emotions are somehow bad and that we should deny what we feel. We are trained to believe that the mind is good and emotions are bad; that emotions take us away from logic and will lead us into the addictions of pleasure over the virtues of hard work. Fear, anger and shame, we are told, trap us in limitation.
Many religions teach that emotions are tricksters, seducing aspirants away from faith. Emotions have even been described as parasites, as though one of the attributes in the magnificence of life is nonfunctional. The message is clear: emotions should be suppressed and overcome in favor of either logic and rationality or blind faith.
Opposition between mind and emotion is an illusion: the two are meant to work together, each augmenting the other’s unique contribution. To return to our innate ability to utilize emotional information requires that we pay attention to the body.
As demonstrated with Sarah, neuroscientists have found that emotions are often felt in the body before they are received in the brain. (3) Being in touch with how we feel puts us into direct contact with the flows of subtle energy around us. Accessing emotions is the key that opens the door to higher consciousness, helping us to understand our selves and the world better. Emotions do this by being a direct link to subtle energy and the information that directs our inner convictions. Emotions are the language of subtle energy; the body’s translation of frequency.
Through emotions, energy interactions are brought into direct awareness. When we become proficient at using the emotional language of energy, we receive the information that emotions hold, direct the force they entrain and then are able to release them. We no longer harbor feelings that hurt or cause injury and no longer allow them to dictate our actions and behaviors. We choose to step into our personal power and take command of our emotional terrain so that our actions become conscious, creative, potent and fulfilling. We become the master creators of our life.
Interested in more? The Path of Emotions, New Page Books
Notes: (1) Rosenthal, Norman E, MD. The Emotional Revolution, Citadel Press, 2002 (2) Goleman, Daniel. Emotional Intelligence: Why it can Matter more than IQ. Bantam; 10th Anniversary Edition (September 26, 2006) (3) Ob. Cit. Rosenthal