Brandon Bays on Emotional Freedom
Author of "The Journey"

We so often have the misconception that our emotions interfere with our experience of ultimate peace: that they are the storm that distracts us from the spacious calm. They seem to limit our experience of freedom and obscure the boundless field of grace, which by nature is vast, free and emotionless.

We learned at an early age that there were ‘good’ emotions and ‘bad’ emotions.

We learned that ‘bad’ emotions weren’t welcome and that only ‘good’ ones were allowed. If we felt fearful, shameful, hurt or angry, we were taught to cover it all up, push through and be strong.

Pretty soon, any strong emotion arising caused an instantaneous shut down and cover up, as we quickly tried to transmute it into something more comfortable to society. Even if we secretly sequestered ourselves away we would often fight back the tears, try to talk ourselves out of what we were feeling or diminish its importance, and maybe even felt ashamed of our weakness in the process.

Emotions became our invitation to go to battle. The instant anything arose that we or society felt was too emotional, all our strategies to annihilate, deny, or transmute it arose … we fought it, resisted it, tried to explain it away; we argued with it, projected it and blamed others for it, blamed ourselves for feeling it, and ultimately started to develop more long-term strategies for suppression. We took up smoking, drinking alcohol, overeating, senseless television watching, endless reading of just about anything; all in an effort to narcotize and put to sleep any and all so-called unacceptable emotions that might dare to raise their heads and try to destroy our peace.

Emotions became the culprits to be destroyed before they destroyed us.

Indeed, everywhere we look, in every context of society, secular or religious; it seems that all of life is conspiring to kill our emotions, to suppress our natural feelings. It seems nearly everyone agrees with the culturally conditioned belief that most emotions are bad and must be subdued at all costs.

It’s no wonder we can’t experience peace for any length of time. We are always on the battlefield, fighting wars against the enemy – an enemy that won’t give us any rest. It’s a battle we all fight, even though we know it’s one we will never win.

For as long as we have breath in our bodies, and have life in our being, emotions will come as a natural part of being human. It’s as if we are fighting our very selves, our own nature. And what a fruitless, endless battle it is. We can’t stop the force and any resistance only drains your energy and exhausts your being.  When so much effort is wasted trying to resist the natural flow of life, there is not much life force left to experience the inherent joy of life.

It’s our very resistance to what is that destroys our peace, robs us of fulfillment – not the ‘negative’ emotion itself, but the struggle against it.

We have become warriors: warriors fighting a phantom enemy called emotion. And when the battle becomes too much we collapse into depression, into a place of numbness and we seek counselors or doctors and psychiatrists who prescribe drugs to block out our intense feelings. Or we engage in pointless and mind-numbing activities to distract us from our feelings – watching vacuous television game shows, washing the car, vacuuming the carpets when they’re already clean, gambling, endless gossip– all in a game of emotional avoidance. Or we temporarily raise the white flag and plead for mercy: we turn to God and start to pray. We go to an enlightened master, meditate, or recite mantras. At best, we get a short window of peace before the next battle begins.

It never occurs to us to drop the role of warrior; to cease the battle altogether.

Maybe we all just need a change of profession. Maybe we weren’t cut out to be soldiers in battle, fighting against life. It’s just that no one ever gave us another job opportunity – they didn’t offer us an alternative choice. But what if you decided not to play the game of war? What then? … What if you gave up all resistance? What if you simply refused to fight?

What if, instead, you said, ‘Come one, come all. All of my emotions are welcome into the ocean of love that is always here?’ What if, instead of a battlefield, it was discovered that life is an infinite field – a field of trust, openness, and love?

And what if, in this infinite field, all the natural flow of life’s feelings were free to come and go? What if you provided no resistance whatsoever to the natural flow of life?

That which you resist persists.

Your resistance to emotion is perpetuating the very thing you wish was not there. It’s in the moment of true surrender, openness and acceptance that your emotions feel so welcome that they easily come, and just as easily go. Resistance keeps your emotions in play and creates only more of itself. Resistance begets resistance.

It’s time to call off the fight and welcome your enemy with open arms. When you lay down your shield of protection and look this so-called ‘enemy’ in the eyes, you will see yourself shining there. You are looking into the eyes of a friend and that friend is your Self.

The invitation is to finally lay down your arms, dear one, and welcome all of life with all your heart. Your old enemy will turn out to be your closest friend, and the only enemy still at large will be realized to be resistance itself.

The time has come to befriend your emotions. They are the gateway to your Self. They are the gateway to freedom.

Based on the book Freedom Is. Copyright 2006  by Manifest Abundance Limited.  Reprinted with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA. or 800-972-6657 ext. 52.

 Fall 2007

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