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Inside The Path Of Emotions
The Path of Emotions celebrates the creative enjoyment of life through embracing the power of emotions.
Emotions command our life-force and direct our choices. They provide information and guide our exploration of subtle energy. My personal journey into this realm began after reading a book on auras, the radiant energy field that surrounds us, by medical intuitive Edgar Cayce. Within a few years I found Carlos Castaneda’s book The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge (1968), and my life was permanently altered.
Castaneda wrote a series of books that detailed his experiences with his mentor, Yaqui Shaman Don Juan Mateus. Reading them created an internal shift of perception that expanded my awareness into the energy level of reality. Especially liberating was Don Juan’s treatment of emotions, highlighted in this quote from The Teachings of Don Juan: “No person is important enough to make me angry.” The implication to me is that we can, to some extent, choose our emotions.
This countered everything I previously understood. I believed myself trapped in cause and effect, whereby people, events, and circumstances caused me to react with anger, happiness, fear, and so forth. I behaved as though expression or suppression of what I felt were my only choices. However, Don Juan indicated that events create an emotional response based on our beliefs, on the paradigm in which we live. Some emotions are purely survival, such as the fear that impels us to run from danger, but others are choices based on preconceived ideas. What if we change our preconceived ideas, and, by doing so, choose a different set of emotional responses? Can we then consciously engage our emotions and direct their power? The possibility of this was mind-boggling, and entirely changed the manner in which I approached life. For me, it emphasized two important principles:
First, emotions are gateways to our personal power. Today it is commonly understood that nobody can define another’s worth or cause another person to act or behave in a certain way, unless the person being influenced abdicates his or her power. In 1974 this thought was revolutionary, and it reoriented my life. In the blink of an eye, I moved from being a victim of my circumstances to being an explorer of enormous vistas of possibility. The question became: Was I going to give away my personal power by allowing events and people to determine my emotions, or did I have a choice?
Accepting one’s personal power requires taking responsibility for all the circumstances in one’s life. Common wisdom says we cannot choose our emotions; they are instinctive. I suggest that by moving to the formative level of emotions, we can extract the information they carry and consciously transform the powerful force they exert. I am not advocating suppressing emotions—far from it. I am advocating embracing them. It is a shift in paradigm.
Shifting paradigms requires disciplined attention and takes work. The challenge is to respond to every experience not as good or bad, but as an opportunity to grow. In the words of Don Juan, “The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same.”1 Sometimes we meet the challenge well; sometimes we don’t. How well we walk the path is not as important as being committed to staying on it, regardless of how long it takes us to become elegant in our effort.
The second, more scintillating principle is that there is a link between emotions and subtle energy. Emotions are more valuable than gold; they carry our intent into the world. What is personal power other than the ability to gather and command our own energy; to use it, build it, or store it with intent? Mastering the use of emotions is one of the keys to personal power, opening a door into the kingdom of subtle energy. Wasting them siphons away our vitality. Consequently, understanding the mysterious and intractable connection between energy and emotion became the central focus of my life. As Don Juan would say, it is my “path with heart.”
Once attuned to this level of reality, interpreting world events and personal interactions in terms of gains or losses of energy exposes an undercurrent of meaning. For example, looking at the teachings of Gandhi with an awareness of energy reveals nonviolence to be less of a political strategy than a means to access the deepest levels of personal power. Using nonviolence mobilizes a force beyond what we currently understand in a society governed by competition where greed and self-interest are the guiding principles of action. Gandhi said, “The force generated by nonviolence is infinitely greater than the force generated by all the arms invented by man’s ingenuity.”2 Where once I would have read this statement to mean a social force working for social change, now with a view to energy I see it as a spiritual force geared to the highest good of all that is ignited within each person. Nonviolence refuses standard definitions in favor of consciously mobilizing energy.
My training in the use of energy and emotion has been focused on individual healing methods, and I’ve been gifted with several extraordinary mentors: Louisa Poole from Rockport, Massachusetts, taught me how to use my body to feel subtle energy and how to discern different types of energy. A Native American friend taught me the power of living with intent. As much as I learned from what they taught, I learned more from how they lived, and I hold them both in a high place of honor.
The person who brought my search into brilliant, technicolor focus is psychotherapist Iona Marsaa Teeguarden, LMFT, who created a bodywork method called Jin Shin Do Bodymind Acupressure. The Jin Shin Do (JSD) system combines the theories of classic Chinese acupuncture, a traditional Japanese acupressure technique, Taoist philosophy, and Qigong (breathing and exercise techniques) with Western psychological tools such as Reichian segmental theory and principles of Ericksonian psychotherapy. It is a brilliant synthesis of body-centered emotional processing and meridian methodology.
An important part of the philosophy underlying JSD Bodymind Acupressure is Iona’s inspired treatment of emotions and feelings in her “Emotional Kaleidoscope” diagram. You can see and read about the “Emotional Kaleidoscope” in Iona’s book,
The Joy of Feeling (Japan Publications, 1987; Jin Shin Do Foundation, 2006; www.jinshindo.org).
Through Jin Shin Do I understood that the two primary functions of emotions are: to provide information and to generate energy. They are part of the body’s exquisite information-gathering system; collecting, synthesizing, and responding to the vast array of stimuli in this extraordinary universe. Learning how to use emotions allows one to marshal the forces of subtle energy, enhancing all aspects of life.
The Path of Emotions is divided into three parts:
Part I, The Elegant Dance of Emotions, describes the world of subtle energy and how emotions decipher energy information. It explains the physiology and embodiment of emotions providing foundational information for the process introduced in the following parts.
Part II, The Language of Our Core, explains how emotions become derailed and seem to control our actions and responses to life. It describes the role emotions play in unprocessed trauma, causing physical pain and dysfunction. It also introduces the keys to understanding the language of energy and the practices necessary to master intent.
Part III, Engaging Emotional Awareness, covers the many ways we can use emotions and intent to clear past trauma and work with subtle energy for creative expression.
It is my sincere hope that this book opens greater access for each reader to his or her own magnificent spiritual center.
Table Of Contents
Part I: The Elegant Dance of Emotions
Chapter 1: The Energy-Emotion Matrix 17
Chapter 2: The Kingdom of Subtle Energy 21
Chapter 3: Body Sounding: Receiving Energy Information 31
Chapter 4: Emotional Science 57
Chapter 5: The Embodiment of Emotion 65
Chapter 6: Emotions: The Interface of Energy 75
Part II: The Language of Our Core
Chapter 7: Consciousness, Everyday Emotions, and Transcendent Emotions 79
Chapter 8: Inner Tools for Emotional Mastery 93
Chapter 9: Balancing Our Emotional Instrument 109
Chapter 10: Deciphering Emotions 121
Chapter 11: The Emotional Compendium 133
Part III: Engaging Emotional Awareness
Chapter 12: The Four Fold Process for Emotional Mastery 169
Chapter 13: Meeting Emotional Challenges 187
Chapter 14: Emotional Dynamics of Health 205
Chapter 15: Emotional Opportunity 217
Chapter 16: Intentional Living 233
Appendix A: Dowsing and Muscle Testing 245
Appendix B: Emotional Charts 247
Appendix C: Resources 253
Appendix D: Glossary 259
About the Author 287