Emotions arise and need to be experienced in the body
Old emotions can sit in the body, un-felt and un-experienced, like a heavy weight, creating an atmosphere that we carry with us wherever we go and that shapes our experience. When we are able to feel and digest our emotions, we are free to be alive in the moment; otherwise we are stuck in the past
Emotions are the taste of life
Emotions are what give our lives flavour. We move through different experiences and respond to these: we like some activities and move towards them, and don’t like some people, and so move away from them. Some activities or people make us happy, others make us angry, frightened or curious. Just as we need to digest food, and extract what is good and discard and evacuate what is not, so we need to do the same with our responses to situations and people.
Our capacity to allow our emotional dimension is what allows us to be touched by life – to feel what is happening within us, in the atmosphere in a room, to know, in a passive way, what is happening within and around us. Without this, we can get stuck with emotions, repetitive thoughts and feelings that are not flowing, or we don’t allow ourselves to feel at all, but go straight to thought about the feeling, which is a dry and sterile place compared to the richness of emotional experience.
We cannot think about or understand emotions, they can only be felt. When we are talking about emotions, we are no longer in the emotion itself but in our mind.
Emotions are part of our passive aspect; whereas doing and thinking are active. We do not initiate or determine our feelings, we can only let them be, notice them arise and experience them, neither over-caught up in them nor repressing them. So we feel afraid when we are afraid, angry when angry, and then the emotion moves on. We need to be able to experience this emotional energy without creating a scene or going into our head; then the emotion flows through us, and will move us to action as needed, when the time is right.
Old emotions can sit in the body, un-felt and un-experienced, like a heavy weight, creating an atmosphere that we carry with us wherever we go and that shapes our experience
As children, we are told not to cry, feel scared or be sad, be envious of others or angry with our siblings, friends or parents and this has consequences for health in later life. We learn from our parents, grandparents and teachers that there are “good emotions” which they encourage, and “bad emotions” such as hate, jealousy, sorrow, anger, fear, that they don’t want to see or have to deal with. We quickly learn to shut down what they don’t like, and to ignore these messages from our body about our experience.
Labelling emotions, such as “positive or good emotions” of joy and happiness, and “negative or bad emotions” of anger, rage, shame, disgust, fear and terror stop us from simply feeling them. When we are able to feel and digest our emotions, we are free to be alive in the moment. Old emotions can sit in the body, unfelt and unexperienced, like a heavy weight, creating an atmosphere that we carry with us wherever we go. If we do not feel our emotions, we collect the unresolved situations within the body, which are toxic, like the waste products from our digestive system. Emotions need to be felt, accepted and digested, and we can then move on.
Many people fight with experiencing their feelings. They find it very hard to let the feelings be there, perhaps of sadness and fear, and the uncomfortable sensations that come with them. They need to learn to accept these in their body, and then their throat will relax, the tension in their forehead will pass, the pain in the heart area with soften, tension in diaphragm will melt. People struggle physically because their mind tells them that they are not supposed to feel what they are experiencing, they don’t want to feel what they are feeling and try to block it in body and mind. Unfelt emotions remain in the body as tension; collect enough tension in an area and you will have pain. The answer: stop thinking about your experience and start feeling it, allow it to simply be present within you, and feelings will move and flow, leaving you free to go to the next thing.
Emotions are part of our passive aspect; there is no need to analyse them, simply to accept things as they are, to let them have their space. When feelings can flow, they change from one thing to another, from anger to sad, and back to anger, to joy, all flowing , without interruption or stuckness, like water in a river, endlessly moving. Allowing emotion is what creates richness of experience and feel this, we need to learn to be passive, to give ourselves time to be still and quite when we can digest our experience, and accept things as they are, and to let our body take what is useful and throw out the rest. Experience needs to be digested, processed in our body as experience so that what is useful becomes real for us and rest is rejected. When we not able to fully digest something, not able to fully process it and get rid of what is not relevant, it stays in the body as a pattern of tension, out of awareness. Perhaps there was something intense, some anger or pain in relation to their experience, that was perceived to be unbearable in that moment, and there is an act of protection to stop digesting it, but this has implications later in life – something intense that the client was not able to digest, and which continues to shape their life in a way which they may or may nor be aware of. The Grinberg Method teaches people to allow emotions, to let them be without judgment or analysis, so that they can let these go, and live more fully in the present.
When we are able to feel and digest our emotions, we are free to be alive in the moment; otherwise we are stuck in the past
When we don’t allow ourselves to feel our emotions, our responses to situations, they get stuck in our body, in the water that makes up 70% of our body. But emotions are like waves, they need to flow through the body and once this has happened, they will be let go of.
When we don’t feel our emotions, they get stuck. We start to think about them instead of feel the, We go over and over situations again and again in our heads, trying to understand what has happened, or to allocate blame for situations, trying to think our way out, judging ourselves and others. But emotions do not exist to be thought about, they exist to be felt, so that we know who we are in this particular situation, with this particular person.
Old anger holds you stuck in the past
For example, when as a teenager, a younger sister has worn a favourite dress belonging to the older sister, despite being told not to, and anger arises in the older sister. Having been told repeatedly not to be angry with each other by their mother, and wanting her mother’s love and attention, she suppresses this feeling. But it is not forgotten, it keeps rising, moving, she thinks about it, blaming someone, blaming herself, and inner stories are formed about the situation, the sister, about herself, about the mother, perhaps that the younger sister is the favourite, resentments build, and in later life, the relationship between the sisters is difficult and full of misunderstandings and neither of them really know why.
And in similar situations in later life, at work, the older sister will sit on her hands as younger colleagues take the opportunities that she wants, and will not be able to speak out when her partner behaves in ways that take her for granted. The repressed feelings limit access to her energy and clarity, and impact relationships as she withdraws into her inner world. In later life, health problems arise, such as high blood pressure, digestive problems, back pain, headaches, there are difficulties with relationships and a lack of confidence in the face of new challenges and opportunities.
Healthy anger is experienced quickly, clear and simple, as a “NO”.
Something has happened that has crossed my sense of boundaries, my sense of integrity, my sense of how things should be. I feel the sudden flow of anger and I recognise what has happened, not simply as an intellectual event, but with flavour, heat. And it is the flavour that gets me to act, to move away from certain situations or people, or to state my ‘no’ in ways that I hope will bring me a good outcome. And then it is done, the anger is passed, it has served its purpose, and I am free to engage with life again, to experience it and feel my next wave of emotion, such as joy, because a close friend has just called me, and excitement, because he has invited me to go to a film that I want to see.