Emotions….we all feel ‘em. They color our lives through both the highs and lows, adding richness and depth to our story. Sometimes we feel good, and other times not so much. Sometimes we understand our emotions and other times they are a complete mystery. The range of emotions that a human can feel is incredibly vast and we are always oscillating through the spectrum. So how are we supposed to work with all of these emotional ups and downs? Emotional enlightenment, as we like to call it, can often feel like intimidating waters to tread. But all it really takes is a simple shift in awareness, an acceptance, and a commitment to begin looking at what’s hidden underneath the surface. Emotional knowledge has been forgotten as a way of perceiving the world and there’s so much wisdom from listening to the deeper messages. Opening up to the inner world of our emotional bodies, learning how to work with them and understanding what they can teach us, will open us up to an even more fulfilling life.
Our emotional body is one way we process the world around us. Different situations and people we encounter are going to cause a reaction in a particular way based on our emotional response. These emotions show us, in a very instinctive way, how a particular thing feels within our space. Because of this, emotions are a foundational platform that we operate from as an individual. Think about it, our emotions were the fundamental level of expression before we even learned to speak or write. As babies, we cried to communicate that we were in discomfort, we laughed when something brought us joy. All of our emotional responses stem from that inner instinctual child, that is always alive within us. Approaching our emotions with the awareness of our inner child can allow us to come from a more compassionate and accepting place, rather than criticizing or judging ourselves.
It’s a natural human tendency to avoid discomfort and this is no exception when it comes to working with our emotions. Emotions can often be extremely uncomfortable and suppressing them can feel like an easy solution - if we can’t feel it, then it’s not there. This causes us to become numb, bored and disinterested in life, generally causing more stress and tension than there was originally. Ignoring our emotions by sweeping them under the rug is never the answer. Ultimately, that emotion is going to come back and bite us, bigger and louder than before (again, think of it as if you were locking your inner child away in a closet, you can bet they’re going to break out of there kicking and screaming even more than before). So, instead of ignoring challenging emotions, approach them head on. Embrace the uncomfortability and acknowledge them, and their release becomes inevitable. Emotions don’t want to stay stagnant within us, they simply want to be heard and be on their way back into the flow of experience. They show up for a reason, to teach us something. So listen, and then in whatever way feels healthy for you, let it go or let it out. This way we are allowing space within us for a new awareness to take place. That’s the cycle of growth - shedding the old to make room for the new.
We all experience different situations in our lives, but within those experiences we all feel the same emotions; they are a universal language. Emotions are a huge part of how we communicate with the world, but the importance of that way of communicating has been lost in our logic based society. In situations when we lack the words, we can connect through emotion. When someone speaks to us, internally we are relating to what they say with our own experiences, thoughts and feelings. We then can reach a place of empathy with that person, find compassion for them and ultimately connection. To honor our emotions, is to honor the bond that brings us together. A part of the path of emotional enlightenment is opening ourselves up more to communicating from that place within us. Cultivating a rich vocabulary to articulate our feelings and needs is such a freeing experience, leading us to deeper connections with other people, the world around us, and most importantly ourselves.
The practice of emotional enlightenment is a never-ending one. We are always going to be moving through highs and lows within our internal worlds, it’s a part of the human experience. We are never going to reach enlightenment and stay there; we’re never going to reach a point where we only ever feel good. The more attention we give our emotions by making conscious efforts to honor and listen to them, we will eventually start to gain a sense for our internal rhythms. We can learn what it feels like to become “off balanced” and how that shifts our energy. We learn to recognize the shift in our inner harmony when we experience discomfort again (because it will come again, that’s simply the ever flowing cycle of life). With this new awareness that something is starting to go off balance, instead of trying to fight it and suppress it, we can allow those emotions to come into the light safely and allow ourselves to follow the ebb back into the flow.
Even as emotions fade, their memories make lasting imprints that we can continue to store and hold onto, especially if they were traumatic and we didn’t fully let them go. These emotional memories eventually make themselves known within our physical body, which is the storage bank for our experiences, creating tension and dis-ease within our being. Grounded awareness and emotional enlightenment seem to go hand in hand, and by continuing to maintain a practice of both, we can work towards feeling at ease within our embodied selves in this existence. To assist you in your practice, we've created a new Liberation Gateways PDF, to help you connect you to your inner child and work through any areas of stagnation that need to be released.
Lyz: Emotions can be freeing but they can also be really hard to process. There will always be times where we struggle with the difficult ones (loss, grief, pain, sorrow, etc). Everyone can relate back to times when their struggle with their emotions got the better of them, including myself. As a child, I was labeled as a “cry baby” and sensitive. Crying was my way of processing the collection of emotions that I didn’t fully understand at the time and had no way to really acknowledge them. And so my journey of emotional enlightenment began when I discovered the space to honor their true depth of communication with our self and with the world around us.
Megan: I’ve had a very similar journey with my practice of emotional enlightenment as well. Although I am extremely introverted, I have always had a very loud and prominent inner child (Leo Moon). For most of my life it was challenging to deal with, especially because I had no awareness of the emotional response and how to work with it in a healthy way. One of the biggest breakthroughs for me was the realization and association of my emotions with the little kid Megan that is still alive within me, and opening myself up to hearing what she has to say.
L: As I began to reawaken my sensitive nature through my practices, I rediscovered my emotions and all that they offered me. But being they were repressed for so long, they came to me full force, ready to be witnessed. It was overwhelming, until I found a way to really channel them through the art of writing, specifically automatic writing. Through this channel, I was able to let loose my emotional thoughts and reactions onto the safe space of the page without judgement or criticism. Instead of them running amok within the confines of my own mind, I gave them an outlet to take form and provide a tangible train of thought to reflect upon. The more I let myself unleash my emotions, the depth of them slowly revealed itself. I was tracing small emotional triggers back to childhood memories and events. I had no idea, I was still holding on to all this stuff! You could say it was enlightening ;) So instead of responding with an egoic defense to an emotional trigger, I take a step back and give my emotions the space to be processed calmly. In giving myself space to explore them, I am able to communicate my feelings from a place of truth and not reaction.
M: There are so many different ways to come to understand and work with your inner child, and the language of astrology is how I initially opened the doors to seeing the truth behind my feelings. The breaking apart of the human psyche into different planets, each one representing a different function of ourselves, really gave me the awareness that my emotions were just one aspect of what makes me, me. Understanding that by simply being human I have a Moon body (our emotional responses and childhood instincts), allowed me to take an outsider perspective when looking at my emotions, helping me immensely in not getting swept up and consumed with emotional overwhelm. Learning about the other specific energies and dynamics that color my Moon specifically (house placement, sign, conjunction to other planets) articulated certain tendencies and patterns that my emotional body has, which was incredibly validating and gave me the insight I needed for working with my triggers.
L: In my practice of Reiki, I learned to sit with different areas of my body and give space to the memories and emotional experiences that it contained. It taught me to honor my emotions for what they were and find peace in their existence. With that peace, I felt them release with acceptance and compassion.
M: Taking the time to do the inner reflective work, however that may look, is a really important practice to cultivate. A part of being human means getting emotional, there’s no avoiding that. Knowing what my triggers are and where they stem helps in the processing and releasing of intense emotions. There’s a lot of deep work that can be done in this realm, which can be quite healing and fulfilling, if you choose to embark down that path. But the practice of emotional enlightenment can be as simple as acknowledgement. I like to try and start my days by sitting with myself for even 5 minutes, and asking my inner child: “How are you feeling today?” Sometimes I hear an easy answer, and other times it’s more complex. A lot of the time I don’t necessarily have an answer or solution to the triggered feeling that comes up. But by acknowledging that part of myself, showing that I care and I’m listening, brings me into my center. Having the awareness that something is going on in my internal world, even if I don’t fully understand it, let’s me navigate through any triggers from a more mature, calm, and authentic place.
L: Through these cultivations of my emotions, I came to an understanding of how much people communicate with just feeling. Understanding the aspects of my own emotions, helped me to see the same emotions (although through different circumstances) present in others. And through the kindness of that understanding, I found connection.