The Emotional Body: The Next Frontier
I’ve spent the greater part of my life working on the physical body, from competitive swimming as a kid to practicing yoga poses since 1972. I have also spent a great amount of time focusing on the mental body, completing a Ph.D. in sport psychology and having a regular meditation practice for nearly 40 years.
Through yoga, and especially meditation, I have become aware of the power of the mind and the importance of where I choose to focus my thoughts. It appears that the next frontier in yoga for me, and possibly for many yogis, is the emotional body.
I’m sure many of us have noticed that occasionally something triggers a strong automatic reaction that seems to come out of nowhere. Upon reflection, we realize that one of our “hot buttons” got pushed. I’ve realized that it is unresolved issues in me that trigger those automatic reactions.
According to Bruce Lipton in Spontaneous Evolution, 95% of our daily behavior comes from our unconscious programming that was downloaded to us by the age of 6. That leaves only 5% of our behavior coming from our conscious choices. Yikes! That catches my attention! That means whenever we have an outburst, it most likely comes from conditioning received in the first 6 years of life, conditioning that operates powerfully but below the surface. And as is probably the case with all of us, some of my outbursts have been disastrous.
Over the years, through yoga and meditation, I’ve connected with a deeper place inside that is eternal and unchanged. Rather than continuing to think of myself as primarily a mind in a body, as I did before yoga, I’ve connected with a deeper spiritual essence. I am eternally grateful for this precious gift of yoga. Along with that, yoga and meditation have encouraged self-acceptance and self-love. Knowing that I have a spiritual essence that is deeper than my emotional layers has given me both the perspective and the courage needed to look into negative emotional patterns that have been influencing my life.
Then, a couple years ago, I found The Presence Process by Michael Brown. His amazing book details an effective process to uncover hidden emotional issues in a safe and gentle way, fully feeling and integrating them. It’s a 10-week program that includes 15 minutes of deep breathing twice a day along with readings from his book and “perceptual tools” to use throughout the day. It’s been a transformational experience for me, and I wanted to share information about it in case it speaks to you as well. I’ve done the process twice and have just started my third time. Each time I clear more energetic blockages and become more compassionate toward myself and everyone else. I also find that I react less (from my conditioning) and respond more (from my consciousness). As a result I feel more present in my life, and I am more authentically joyful!
There are many You-Tube videos of Michael Brown talking about the process. This 4 minute video is a great introduction: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yFC2nJqVog. You can also check out a website devoted to his work: http://www.thepresenceportal.com as well as order his book, The Presence Process: A Journey into Present Moment Awareness, from Amazon.
The Presence Process teaches a skill that can be used for the rest of our lives: the ability to “digest and integrate” our emotional experiences so that we are more present in our lives.