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  • Lisa Bushman

Understanding Our Emotions

Last Saturday, I attended a continuing education course on Mindfulness and Letting Go. The emphasis of the course was on being mindful of our emotions, and understanding how we experience them.

While at the conference, the speaker had a table at the front of the room, which was filled with books of recommended reading, as a supplement to the class information. One of the books that was on the table was a book that I often recommend to most of my clients. Knowing that book well, I struck up a conversation with the speaker and we began talking about other books that he recommended. Eventually, I bought the book "Letting Go - The Pathway to Surrender" by David R. Hawkins and I'm so glad that I did. The book is absolutely fascinating and I highly recommend it.

The premise of Hawkins book is that the level of our emotions dictate how we experience and respond to the world. Each chapter of the book is devoted to talking about a separate emotion and describing how our experience of that emotion affects how we view ourselves. It also discusses how this emotion plays out in our lives.

What really caught my eye was a chart in the appendix which listed all of the emotions discussed in the book. Hawkins cites research for how each emotion has a different vibrational level and how this affects our levels of consciousness. He maps out the emotions by sorting them numerically from highest to lowest vibration.

If you're not familiar with emotions and vibration levels, think about what you experience when you walk into a funeral home for calling hours; or the feeling that you experience while at an OSU football game; or how about feeling tension in a room when people are confrontational or uncomfortable with others. We all know, through a feeling that we have, that something is happening in our presence. These vibrational feelings are what Hawkins is mapping out in his chart.

What I found so interesting was the middle zone. There is a point in the chart where a person no longer dwells in the negative emotions (guilt, shame, apathy, fear, etc.) and shifts to the positive states (love, joy, peace, acceptance, etc). This tipping point comes when we experience COURAGE.

According to Hawkins, when we begin to move through courage, it increases our self respect. Other people are no longer the primary means of our help, survival, or support. Because we are increasing self-confidence, we are much less concerned with our own security, and there is a willingness to take chances and shift paradigms. We become willing to experience uncertainty, periods of confusion, and temporary discomfort in order to move forward. There is a realization that our beliefs and views are now a result of choice, and not just years of conditioning and negative experiences.

If you've been reading my blogs, you'll know that my last blog talked about the affects of avoidance, and how this holds us in fear and prevents us from new experiences. There is no courage in avoidance... just a fixed rigid state of not engaging in life. So to see COURAGE show up as the turning point, it now all fits together.

So the next time that you're stuck and not moving forward.... try a little courage. It's what's needed in order to move to the next level in your life. There are no other paths.....

-- Lisa

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