November 23: Day 146
STONE EIGHT CONTINUED
Release: After experiencing all feelings, I release any emotions I deem harmful to my spiritual path.
Instruction: Release the past.
The past is behind us and can no longer hurt us — unless we allow it to. When we reflect upon past situations, we can only recall them through our thoughts, and as we have been considering, thoughts can bring back old emotions that we no longer want to hold. If we were to look at someone who abused us in the past, we might immediately feel the emotions of betrayal, hurt, and other negative emotions that we might want to release. It doesn’t mean we will forget what happened or that steps shouldn’t be taken to make sure the abuse doesn’t happen again to us or to someone else, but reliving the event and being tossed immediately into emotional turmoil is something we don’t have to live with. When the emotions come, we can follow our pattern of feeling the emotion, recognizing its source, deciding to step back and examine it, and release it. The more we practice this exercise, the easier and quicker it becomes to see it as a part of our past that no longer has power over us.
One key to knowing which emotions need to be released is when we feel as if we have become the emotion. When we say to ourselves I am ugly instead of I feel ugly, we have accepted something that is not true, and we should let it go. If we say I am angry instead of I feel angry, again, we have become the emotion. By separating the emotion from our feelings, we see it as a third party that has the potential to make us happy, sad, content, loving, irritable, or any other of the various emotions we each experience on a constant basis. As we will examine in Stone Nine, releasing the past is key to a healthy present and future. Why would we want to hold onto negative emotional experiences when we can release them and live a happier, healthier life?
Take some time today to consider the difference between feeling an emotion versus being the emotion, and be sure to include the emotions we consider positive. Instead of saying I am happy, try saying I feel happy instead. If you were to ask me if I were happy, and I wasn’t feeling particularly happy at that moment, I would say no, and then I might feel a sense of disappointment. But, if I could readily say I don’t feel happy, but what I am feeling is contentment or joy (or any other emotion), then the sense of disappointment would probably not be a part of my response.
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