Does experiencing my emotions without judging them, free me from the conflict of having resisted them?

Contribution by Carlos HerreroOsés de Peralta, Navarre, Spain.

Emotions are basically a reflection of our mind in our bodies, they are the impulses that drive us to a particular action or behaviour.

Some specialists on the subject talk of four basic emotions, others of six, such as, anger, fear, happiness, disgust, surprise and sadness, the rest are secondary and depend on the context in which they occur.  They also say that their duration is only a few minutes and all of them have one functional characteristic, in other words, they are beneficial for all of us and, although we sometimes do not believe it, they are neither good nor bad and all human beings experience all of them.

Conflicts with emotions arise when we do not know what to do with them.  Their nature is impermanent, they emerge, they bring a message and they impel us or move us to do something and then they disappear.  Since our mind is conditioned to express judgements and assessments, when unpleasant emotions arise within us, we deny them saying, “this should not be happening”, “I am going to do whatever possible to make this disappear”, “there is something wrong with me” and our reaction is to resist the emotion, to try to make it disappear and to conceal it.

To do it we tend to get into ways of behaving that are not healthy, like blaming ourselves and others, distracting ourselves with harmful habits, trying to resolve the issue with our minds by turning the issue over and over without resolving it and getting into what we know as brooding, etc. 

And so we create a conflict out of an emotion that lasts as long as it has to and then disappears, our mind creates something that we experience as being solid and stable.

One example is annoyance, if we follow these dynamics it may become one of our personality traits, “I am like this and therefore I behave like this”.

The only way that I know to break away from these patterns is to pay attention when an emotion arises, experience it fully without judging or assessing it as being good or bad, that is, abandoning the mental history that we tell ourselves about it, not resisting and not reacting nor following our impulses as we normally tend to do and in this way the emotions will follow their natural course and disappear.

It is down to practice, please do not be discouraged…To begin with, in the case of strong emotions we normally only realise when we have already done “what we have always done,” over time we become aware when we are part way through the process, but in time and with kindness we start to “see them” when they arise and that is when we have the power to “negotiate” with them.

Enjoy practising!