Emotion has always been something of a mystery. We have been taught to view emotion as a result of thought, but when we examine it carefully, we begin to suspect that this is not always true, that emotion is not under control of the brain but stands by itself, a factor affecting our lives that stands equal to the biological and the mental. In fact, emotion appears to be the primary controlling factor in our lives.
Years ago, Fritz Perls said, “Emotions have a life-span that includes a birth and a death, a beginning and an ending.” Unfinished emotions remain inside to plague us until they are fully experienced, used up, and completed.
We carry within us all the unfinished emotions from all the traumas we have ever had. We may no longer be mentally conscious of these submerged, unfinished emotions, but they are still inside, playing a silent part in our day-to-day reactions to life. What we present to the world, and those around us, is the accumulation of these unfinished aches and pains that subtly or not so subtly, direct our actions and reactions to today’s events.
But not all emotions remain inside to bother us. Why do the painful emotions of grief, fear, and shame cling so tenaciously but the pleasurable ones such as joy and happiness leave so quickly? Is it something perverse about our minds? Exactly how do emotions upset the body? If my emotions upset my body, is it my fault? Is it something I should be able to control? And for that matter, just what is an “emotion”? Are emotions merely the result of a group of rationalized perceptions with biochemical overtones? Or are emotions something more than felt rationalizations or chemistry?
When emotion has been investigated, it has usually been studied from only two perspectives, as biochemistry, or as a mental derivative. Both models have serious deficiencies, not only failing to answer many of the questions they intend to answer but also raising new questions because of their conclusions. Since many of the effects of emotions cannot be explained by either view, they are often ignored or denied by medical and psychological science. Actually, conventional physics offers better explanations for emotion’s properties and effects than either biology or psychology.
A New View of Emotion
When we look at emotion by itself, it seems to have all the characteristics of a field in physics, being very similar in nature to sound fields, radiant energy fields, fields of moving charges such as magnetism and electrostatics, and the circulating fields in weather and hydraulic systems. The feeling of being caught in the experience of another’s emotion is fairly common. Often we approach someone from the rear where we can see nothing of the person’s actions and suddenly we feel anger, or some other emotion. It is not uncommon to enter a room where an emotion is sensed that seems to pervade the room, sensed long before any cognition of events in the room takes place: indeed, long before any events began to take place. Statements such as, “The fear was so thick you could cut it with a knife” or, “The room was full of fear” are common in these situations. These statements imply that the observer felt the emotion and recognized what it was but was not caught up in it, that is, felt the fear but was not afraid.
Emotion appears to be a metaphysical (non-biological) experience paralleled by biological or physical responses and by mental or psychological processes. Individual emotions appear to changes in frequency in the biofield that permeate and affect the entire human body including the brain and radiate outward to affect others.
This is why so many people are able to “sense” or “feel” another person’s emotions without visual or audible clues. This explains how mass hysteria (mass emotion) sweeps through crowds of otherwise normal, rational people and why people report feeling profound love when near a spiritual guru. The biofield’s emotional state affects the body’s glands and organs; the biofield’s emotional state distorts the brain’s perceptions and modifies the brain’s decisions.
How Emotions Affect Us
- Our emotions control the way we think and the judgments we make about everything in life. We cannot start or stop an emotion by thinking of it or about it.
- Rational thought is only ‘rational’ according to the emotion being experienced at the time. (‘Rational as when angry,’ ‘rational as when depressed.’) This is why two people in different emotional states will view the same situation so differently.
- The state or condition of the emotional field affects brain function, causing our thoughts to be either rational (consistent) or confused (random). In a state of confusion, it is the shifting emotional base that shifts the tone of our thoughts, leaving us ‘confused.’
- Because it is a function of the biofield, emotion can be transmitted through space and can be directly experienced by those near the originator of the emotion, provided their corresponding emotion center is open and able to receive.
- Suppressed emotion can be evoked and released from one person’s emotion centers by passing the neutral qi energy (bioflux) emanating from another person’s hands through those emotion centers.
- The residue of painful emotions from incidents in the past congregate into a tangled mass of emotional pain held deep in the body, lying there in wait to re-activate at the nearest sign of an emotionally charged event that feels similar. Each new painful event instantly connects with the bundle of pain inside and starts the reactivation. Since the pain being evoked is usually considered by society (and usually by ourselves) to be harmful, we try to suppress it mentally all the while our bodies are reacting to pain as they always do, by contracting so the contraction continues to trap the pain inside.
- Painful emotions provoke an involuntary bodily response – ACPR, the Auto Contractile Pain Reflex – that squeezes the organs and glands in the bodily region where the emotion is being experienced.
- Functioning of the glands and organs located in the vicinity of each emotion center is directly affected by the emotion being produced (and/or suppressed) by that center through contractile tensions developed in the body to repress the feeling of emotion.
- Painful emotions have to be fully felt, completed, and exhausted before they will leave and until they do, they will affect every choice we make about life.
- Painful emotions have to be fully experienced (not ‘acted out’), completed, and exhausted before they will dissipate and leave our bodies alone.
- Releasing trapped painful emotions not only releases their pain but also releases the corresponding memory that is stored in the brain, the memory that was suppressed because the pain was too great to bear.
Note: This material excerpted from the chapter: The Dynamics of Emotion, in The Text & Training Manual for the SHEN Therapy Personal Empowerment Workshops.
Copyright Richard Pavek, SHEN Therapy Institute