How to Release Negative Emotions – Chapter Ten

How to Release Negative Emotions – Chapter Ten

How to Release Negative Emotions

Image 1If you are not releasing negative emotions – you are suppressing them.

The thought/feeling system is a circular system that feeds itself. The thoughts feed the feelings and in turn the feelings feed the thoughts. Or looked at another way, the thoughts create the sensations we feel and the sensations we feel perpetuate the thoughts. The sensations create a craving for relief and the mind looks for relief through the flight or fight response. Frustration can develop into anger and anxiety that can develop into panic attacks through this feedback system. Just like the feedback of an amplifier that continually gets louder and louder deafening the ears or, in this case, overwhelming the mind. We can create an uncomfortable rage or an overwhelming fear through this feedback system. We must realise that the brilliance of the subconscious mind is its ability to learn through the development of habits. But the subconscious mind is not discerning about the habits we create. It can create good habits as well as bad. It is our reaction to the sensations that must be the point at which we begin to work. The judgement or perception of something as being good or bad for us creates the want and with the want comes the craving for relief.

We might now look now at the Buddha’s Awareness Meditation – becoming aware of the sensations arising and passing away in the body and looking at these sensations with equanimity. They are not good or bad – just sensations that arise and pass away. Some are unpleasant sensations and some are pleasant – but none is permanent. If they are not permanent they are not me, not I, not mine. We cling to the pleasant sensations and have an aversion to the unpleasant sensations – a craving for more or a craving for less. Now I am not so sure about you, but I have a family to support. I can’t head off into a cave to practise meditating on this for the next seven years – but I can learn a lot from this that allows me to be much happier now. The Awareness Meditation is about acceptance and allowance to break the cycle of reaction and craving. If we look at the root cause of our negative emotions coming from the want for approval, control and security, then we can use this as a starting point to learn to release and let go of these negative emotions.

Many of our problems come from the suppression of these negative emotions. It’s like adding skins to an onion; the onion grows. The universal law of cause and effect would indicate that if we plant bitter seeds, at some time in the future we will have to harvest a bitter crop. The wants are the bitter seeds that grow to create a bitter harvest in our lives. Learning to release and let go of the negative emotions is like peeling back the skins of the onion. At its centre we begin to realise that there is nothing to fear but the fear itself.

So how do we release and let go of these wants? We must release our attachment to them before we can let them go. What are we attached to? We are attached to being the victim: attached to our judgements, that become filters. It is the ego’s attachment born from being a victim and perpetuated through victim mentality. So we become a victim of our ego-self, and the ego is like a scavenger dog. It is always scavenging for something or someone else to blame for the way we feel. The ego is a protection mechanism which requires us to be a victim for its survival. But it’s the ego, not us – just a conditioned response.

Image 1It is okay to have thoughts and feelings. This isn’t good or bad – it just is!

We must bring a problem into our awareness if it isn’t already there. We will make a judgement about this as being bad for us and creating a want for something different – a craving for relief. The first step is to allow those thoughts and feelings to be there by telling yourself, ’It is okay to have these thoughts and feelings. This isn’t good or bad – it just is.’ Telling yourself you don’t want to change them. Here we are trying to withdraw judgement and accept what is. We might have a preference for something else, but at this point we are looking at an acceptance and allowance of what is in this moment: the withdrawal of the judgement about it. You might at this point want to look at the problem. The threat: is it a want of approval, control or security? It might be all three, such as in the case of jealousy. You don’t really need to know what want it is to get an acceptance and allowance of it, and to tell yourself, ‘it is okay to feel this way.’ Through allowing and accepting the thoughts and feelings we are telling the mind that this is not a threat. If your mind stops seeing it as a threat, you stop releasing the adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol that create those uncomfortable sensations. We break the thinking/feeling feedback cycle of reaction. Now we need to relax into these feelings with an allowance and acceptance. It is okay to relax into an allowance and acceptance of these thoughts and feelings and just let them be. As in meditation, we are moving to a point of looking at the thoughts and feelings with equanimity, without judgement – not good or bad for us – they just are. Where in meditations we are looking at all sensations, with this method we are working on specific problems creating the thoughts and sensations and our judgements about them. You can of course use it just to focus on the feelings. Can I find myself in any of these thoughts and feelings? You will find you can’t find yourself in any of these thoughts and feelings. Can I just let them go or do I want to remain a victim of them? Why would you want to remain a victim of your own thoughts and feelings? Can I accept them as they are without judgement and then let them go? Yes. Will I accept them as they are and then let them go? Yes. When? Give yourself permission, say ‘Now’. Then just withdraw the judgement about them and relax into an acceptance and allowance of them. I often find it beneficial to say now with a sigh as I breathe out and relax into them. In this process we are giving the mind permission to let go of the attachment to wanting. For some, the feelings can be like a stress ball in the stomach area. I used to imagine the ball dissolve as I let go. It could be butterflies that disperse, or just breathing out a black cloud of negativity. Use your imagination to find the way that works best for you. You want to be able to disperse or dissolve the feelings in some way. This technique is not much different to what the Buddha taught in awareness meditation, looking at the feelings with equanimity. Not good or bad. Giving permission to accept and allow them to be, and not seeing them as a threat. The process is similar to a part of the ‘Sedona Method’ developed by Lester Levenson, and taught by Hale Dwoskin. The Sedona method takes you through a number of processes to release emotions. I found the program to be very practical, beneficial and recommend it. Like any process, it can be adapted to suit yourself.
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The process to release

Get in touch with the thoughts and feelings of something that bothers you and say to yourself.

Accept that it is okay to have these thoughts and feelings. This isn’t good or bad. It just is.

It is okay to feel this way.

It is okay to relax into an allowance and acceptance of these thoughts and feelings without judgement, and just let them be, just as they are.

Can I find myself in any of these thoughts and feelings?

Can I just let them go, or do I want to remain a victim of them?

Can I accept them for what they are, without judgement and then let them go? Yes.

Will I accept them for what they are and then let them go? Yes.

When? Now…………..

This process might sound simplistic but often the simple things are most effective. Practised often enough the process becomes a habit. All that I have left of the process is an internal sigh as I breathe out. I no longer need to go through the full process and I often find I have released the emotion automatically without doing anything. I supply a CD to my clients that they listen to each day to establish the technique and develop the habit of letting things go. I find the CDs are effective therapy – a cheap and effective way to have a therapy session each day without my even being there. An MP3 of the technique can be downloaded from my website at:

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We often find ourselves swimming against the current of life.

Many people worry about things they have no control over. Does this serve any purpose? No. The vast majority of the things we worry about never eventuate, but we get stuck with an attachment to the problem. We get stuck wanting something different – feeling we are lacking something that stops us being happy. Look back at all the things you worried about a month ago and you will see what I mean. It was a waste of time and energy. You always get by – you always get through. Stuck in negative thinking it is often hard to see a solution. Sometimes there is no solution other than to let go and just go with the flow. We often find ourselves swimming against the current of life, feeling as though we are drowning in it. Even if we are successful swimming against the current, we will only find smaller rivers and streams. Eventually we end up on the rocks. When we learn to go with the flow, we drift into an ocean of good feelings. Learning to release negative emotions is learning to go with the ebb and flow of life. Let’s now look at some examples of this technique.

I was up early one morning working on the end of year financials to send to the accountant while my wife, Julie, went grocery shopping. After finishing the financials I allocated time to upload Dragon voice recognition software on my laptop. I had hoped that I might get away from this two finger typing and be able to dictate much of this book to save time. I soon found my version of the software was not compatible with Windows 7. I searched the net and found version 10.1 was compatible but the reviews of its compatibility left a lot to be desired. While looking through the reviews I found that Windows 7 has its own voice recognition software. I spent the next half hour training the software to understand my voice. I entered this document and the first sentence translated perfectly. The second sentence had something about Lebanon in it and wasn’t anything like what I wanted to say. After a few more sentences and with a sigh, letting go, I returned to my two finger typing. Soon I noticed the clock ticking away. In thirty minutes I had to be at the office. I still needed to do a water change on the fish tank and that would take all of the thirty minutes. My wife arrived back from her grocery shopping and dropped two very heavy bags on the floor before going out to the car for more. On her return she looked at me filling the fish tank with buckets of water and said, ‘I need to get myself a new husband.’ She wanted my help but I didn’t have time. Of course the ego wanted to respond to this. I had been busy all day and was rushing to leave for work on time. The ego wanted to take it personally. Instead I thought, ‘interesting.’ Interesting is one of the best words we can use to stop taking things personally. It makes us the observer rather than the victim. Something else I often say is this: ‘Is what I am about to say going to bring us closer together or move us further apart?’ If it will move us further apart I bite my tongue and keep quiet. In short, I accepted and allowed the thoughts and feelings to be there and then let them go. On the way to work I reflected on my wife’s words. I recalled that when she awoke that morning she had mentioned she had hardly slept due to a pain in her side, and thought she might have a kidney infection. She wouldn’t normally say something like that, so I put it down to her not feeling well. She was fine when I returned home that night.