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Welcome to the world of masks !
When dealing with others, like onions, we have learnt to layer our personalities to protect ourselves from painful feelings. In most relationships, only masks actually do the talking and listening.
Yes, masks, do achieve short term results !
However, over time maintaining these same masks is emotionally draining. They not only constrain us, but the process of relating to the masks of others, adds to the difficulty. In due course, relationships with masks, become prisons of frustration and misery. In fact it doesn’t end there, in time, the feelings they hide, manifest into actual physical aliments too through creation of emotional pain bodies.
Can we even imagine caring and accepting spaces without judgement. In such environments, fear being absent, there is no need for artificiality. Don't adults shed their inhibitions in the presence of children? Children do accept us unconditionally and without judgement. Wouldn’t we all want all our relationships to be as enjoyable as the times we enjoy with little children? Relationships where, one can express their self freely without fear of judgment or manipulation.
The need for self expression, is life’s most fundamental need.
We all have the natural right to experience it during this lifetime !
Essence of Experience
Aristotle, the legendary Greek philosopher identified ethos, pathos and logos as the three essential components of effective communication. Even after the passage of almost 2000 years, since its initial exposition, this theory has remained unchallenged .
Simply put, ethos referred to character or trustworthiness, pathos to the ability to resonate emotionally, and logos to the ability to logically appeal to the mind. From this it is evident that the act of relating requires all three faculties of body, heart and mind to be aligned in the engagement.
Isn't it surprising that for any event to be experienced, it must also integrally engage body, heart and mind. Maybe, the act of relating, is actually, the act of experiencing life itself.
Now, all of us are adept in presenting facts and figures logically. Trust, is also easily invoked with the support of institutional or personal reputation. This works in most situations, except those, where trust has been broken.
However, very few of us, have the ability to emotionally relate to others. More often than not, feelings are used as a source of manipulation. Invoking the fear of loss, is a powerful tool for manipulating others.
We all can recollect, the last time fearing loss, we were pressurised to act ! It felt dreadful !
However how many of us would like to remember, the last time we manipulated another against their will ? A little reflection will reveal, that it was again accomplished by invoking none other than the fear of loss. Remember, only one who is fearful himself, chooses to manipulate others through fear !
We fear being emotionally engaged in relationships, due to the fear of being manipulated.
But then, didn’t we agree earlier that without being integrally engaged in relating, life itself would remain unfulfilled ?
How do we go about reconciling these opposites?
So it appears that if we just get rid of our layers of masks, everything will be just fine.
But wait ! Just the mere thought life without masks is too scary.
What’s holding us back? Could it just be the fear. Fear that that without them, our real, vulnerable selves may be exposed. Parts of us, that others may reject. Maybe because we ourselves have not accepted the feelings related to them.
It seems to boil down to the discomfort we feel towards ourselves.
If this is really the case, should we rather continue to hide behind them ? isn’t it time that we attend to the problem ? If we continue like this, can we possibly empathise with another, when we are uncomfortable with ourselves ?
Maybe just being able to relate with our feelings holds the key to Deep Listening and fulfilling relationships.
But handling feelings is really tough! They move us, before we even have time to think.
Could there be another way ?
But then again, haven’t we already tried a million way to distract ourselves from our feelings. Despite our best efforts, they just keep coming back; either through disease or relationship issues.
Have we reached a dead end ?
Is it possible to accept unpleasant feelings back into our lives again.
Chopping onions though tearful, hasn’t stopped us. We ultimately did find a way !
Can we continue to believe that by resisting feelings within ourselves, we can be empathetic towards others ?
Deep Listening with others begins by Deep Listening into ourselves. Hence, handling our own feelings lies at the core of Deep Listening.
Having ourselves experienced difficulties in relationships we choose not give in to blame and distractions. Rather than succumbing to fear and manipulation, we searched for alternate ways. We delved deep into the ancient texts of the great civilisations of India, Egypt and China to find the common ground. We researched various religious practises and contemporary scientific studies on the subject. To ensure their veracity, we ourselves undertook various practices along with intense introspection and reflection. Following from the above, we rediscovered the most ancient and timeless practice of emotional involution or internal Deep Listening.
At the onset, let’s admit, we didn’t really uncover anything radically new. We simply realised that, when one encounter’s a dead end, the only way out, is by going through.
Sounds too simple to be true, doesn’t it ?
Come on, let's explore further.
Let's begin by using the process of food digestion as a metaphor.
In the case of food, our indulgence for taste lies in stark contrast to our attention towards the process of digestion. Consuming without attention to digestive capacity leads to illness and obesity. So also in the case of emotions, our insatiable drive towards pleasurable emotions, lies in stark contrast to our lack of ability to process unpleasant ones. Resultantly, like body fat, we accumulate unprocessed emotions to create emotional pain bodies which manifest diseases.
Resistance to unpleasant feelings, causes us to resist them in others too. This hampers Deep Listening.
Resistance apart, only by accepting our own feelings can we possibly appreciate them in others.
The internal process of acceptance or reconciliation with one’s own feelings, actually mirrors the outer process of relating or Deep Listening with others. It follows the ancient adage ‘As above, so below; As within; so without’:
The 5 stage process as revealed, can be summarised as under:
Sense: Willingness to acknowledge sensations through our our sense organs
Accept: Acceptance of the sensation without judgement
Merge: Surrender unconditionally to the feeling
Appreciate: Awaken spontaneous insights on the process
Integrate: Integrity of mind, body and emotions gained from the process
The above 5 stages process of embracing emotions or the technique of Emotional Involution is also called SAMAI. This acronym, means ‘Time’ in the Devnagiri script. The experience of the passage of Time is similar to the rhythmic, cyclical change of feelings as they are experienced through the changing seasons.
Emotional Involution or internal Deep Listening sounds easy.
Initially however, it demands a great deal of fortitude and effort. This is due to the learned reflex to avoid unpleasant feelings combined with the uncomfortable experience of the accumulated emotional pain-body. Just ask an asthmatic, how difficult it is to just inhale.
However, rest assured, with the sustained practice of SAMAI, this difficulty will subside.
So ubiquitous is this process, that it has been immortalised since antiquity across civilisations as 'A Heroes Journey'. It is the essential storyline presented in all myths just to remind us of the process. If that wasn't enough, it even manifests in every breath that we take. Once learned, it is impossible to forget.
How long should we continue to idolise reel and real life heroes ?
When, do we begin our own Heroes journey ?
The first little step, which begins by embracing my own feelings ?
There are numerous methods to reconcile feelings by the SAMAI process.
Every pathway is so unique, that for an individual, it is, their own life destiny. Feelings, if accepted without judgement are nothing else but an internal navigation system to guide us towards achieving our destiny. Resisting them, is resisting the call of our destiny. Given that each of us have our unique destiny, it's no wonder, then that feelings are always personal.
For any practise, to facilitate emotional reconciliation, it should have the following qualities:
It should facilitate emotional acceptance, not distraction or judgement
Its activity should engage mind, body and soul holistically.
Its activity should be a self expression; where journey's are destinations.
For those of us blessed with creative talents, this is relatively easy.
Orators - speak, painters- paint, singers- sing, dancers- dance, healers- heal, farmers- farm, writers- write, and so the list goes on. True artists have the unique ability, to express their entire range of feelings creatively. When this activity is undertaken for the joy of the experience itself, it is most fulfilling. It leads to achieving the optimal ‘flow’ state. A state of peak performance.
Alternatively, if you have not been able to identify your form of creative expression, that too is fine.
Even a simple act of relating with another at work, play or home can be an opportunity for embracing feelings.
To know more on how to practise Deep Listening through an experiential workshop, please do click on any topic of your interest listed below:
From time immemorial, man has used facial expressions, writing, songs and dance to express himself. Prehistoric cave paintings, are mankind's earliest known attempt to reflect through an act of recording creative self-expression.
A personal notebook, scratch pad, camera are, the simplest form of this timeless tradition.
Just the simple act of recording our feelings without judgement in any form can facilitate the process of Emotional Involution or inner Deep Listening.
It can be through a selfie, photo, video, sound recording,, diary note, a just a plain and simple doodle. You choose your expression.
Let us see how the practise of keeping notes in any form, aids the process of embracing emotions:
Sense: If used daily, just maintaining a notes keeps one open to new experiences.
Accept: The mere awareness of feelings during journalising, leads to acceptance.
Merge: Acceptance when practised without judgement, leads to surrender
Appreciate: By connecting the dots, insight through patterns are revealed
Integrate: Integrity of mind, body and spirit is a natural outcome of this cyclical process.
As can be appreciated, even maintaining a simple daily practise of recording of feelings through selfies, photos, videos, sound recordings,, notes or doodling can go a long way in improving Deep Listening. In fact, even a single month’s diligent practise will show an improvement in Deep Listening capability. To process feelings effectively, it is advisable that every record is tagged to a feeling.
In due course, one can begin to appreciate the ubiquitous nature of feelings. Sensitivity to emotions or sensitivity to energies in motion is the highest form of Deep Listening. Appreciating the energetic nature of existence opens up a world of possibility or ‘Sambhavna’ in the Devnagiri script.
Understanding is good, but experiencing is always better.
The proof of the pudding, lies in the eating. It's time, to roll up our sleeves, and get our hands dirty. For, in the cave that we fear to enter, lies the treasure we seek to find !
Being on this journey ourselves, we relate to your hardships. We have designed a mobile application christened SAMAI for this very purpose. We hope that, through it, you will develop fortitude to embrace feelings for creating fulfilling relationships.
We invite you to explore further by clicking the icon below.
Destiny always whispers from the Centre.
Are you, listening deeply ?