Modern psychology has adopted a reductionist stance on emotion, rendering it a long classificatory listing of what could be perceived to be the many types of feelings, moods, personal traits, temperaments, reactive patterns and so on. There is no consensus in defining what it is, which is to say, mankind is nowhere nearer to understanding what emotion is, in the same way it has no consensus on defining cognition, mind or consciousness.
I have had to live in a kingdom of emotions for a time and half. My daily food for so long, was to be awashed in a roomful of tears, ecstasies, grieving, rage, laughter, shock, disgust, eurekas and the list can just keep going on.
It never occurred to me to actually name them. In energetic states, they all seemed the same. Pain and pleasure for instance were one thing only, just turning into each other depending on a person's temperament for the week. Therefore, I wasn't interested in helping anyone to sustain any one particular emotion. The more they attempt to stay within "happy," "joy," "amazing," and "superb," it was only a matter of time before they experienced what lays in wait underneath, a contradictory tracing that frames, emotions are wave-like, exhibiting properties of motion, dance and dynamism.
In this, Nealle Donald Walsh is spot on when defining that emotions are energies in motion.
Which is then to say, emotions are perceivable in their directionalities. They go up and down, in and out, left and right in circularity.
In my innerdance framework, emotions exhibit the dualities through these two terms - Projection and Reception.
Emotion is only one of these two. If these are not happening, people have gone into liminality, the space in between these two.
In Freud's psychonalysis, projection can be seen as a Mental Displacement. It may be simply called blame, passing onto another, an inability to own one's expressions and the feedbacks that result from their own creations.
Reception, in Freud's Dream Analysis, is called Condensation. It could be regarded as acceptance, taking responsibility, a quiet capacity to listen to the messages conveyed by everything one experiences.
A Theory of Emotion that simplifies to this degree observes the cycle of guilt and shame exhibited in individual or group stages of change.
Guilt as an emotional construct is founded on the architecture of exteriority. In guilt societies, the prison system arose from a dualistic materialism view that humans are machine-like, and are manipulable by rewards and punishment systems. In such societies, energies are dominantly externalised, placing prominence on the visible world.
Shame as an emotional construct is built on interiority. In shame societies, individuals tend to absorb and receive what is projected in guilt. Humans find themselves debilitated by a habit of absorbing what is circulated in family systems and peer groups that are more inclined to favor the larger group's greater good, rather than that of the individual's.
In her 1946 book Chrysanthemum and the Sword, the anthropologist Ruth Benedict outlines the differences between Japanese and American traditional ways of thinking, speaking and feeling, affecting Asian and Western self-conceptions of themselves. The book's large contribution is in how it introduces the contests between shame and guilt cultures, using Japan and the US as having very dissimilar psychological and emotional constructs.
In innerdance, it is shame that is reframed in spiritual context. In the way bodies are positioned horizontally, arms extended in non-defensive positions, when eyes are closed, shame is productively held as an intensive interiorization that takes place within an observable process of release and change. Here, waves of energy conversions can happen almost automatically. What was once resisted in states of judgment and displacement, awakens as a powerful change agent that facilitates shifts on many dimensions.
In Embodied Cognition, the new Cognitive Sciences have begun to understand that emotional thinking is not necessarily irrational thinking. Especially now that cognition is believed to be embodied and not separate from the physical, emotions starts to become an objective field of awareness which in energy states, hosts oceans of knowledge .
Emotional states hide intelligences that lay untapped. Those suffering from chronic bouts of addiction, depression, lethargy, introversion, anxieties are wise beyond belief. Within their physical containers, waves of power and illuminations are held down, waiting to be unleashed.
An american named Kelly writes: "The most important experience I have had in my journey out of addiction and toward a friendship with my mental illness has been an acceptance of reality as reality. I operated for my entire life from a place of fear, preemptively sabotaging anything good in my life, convinced that eventually I would be rejected or disappointed anyway. I had been aware of mindfulness, and the concept of the eternal moment, of living inside the breath, but these were abstracts, and unreachable ones. I would come to learn that transition would not come gently to me; the infrastructure of my defense mechanisms was such that it needed to be obliterated rather than peaceably dismantled. What needed to happen was a violent, cathartic, ego-destroying, horrific show, and that's what happened. To come out of prison without realizing I had been there was deeply traumatic, and the innerdance caught me in that vulnerable moment. I needed a God other than my own self-obsession. God was inside me, I realized, rather than something with which to compete, or do battle with. The composite experience of my transformative arc - the crushing mayhem of falling apart, the bruised and battered surrender, the community forming itself around me, holding me, the innerdance lifting me out of my human limitations,and then the setting down of my bare feet on new earth - has served to soften me. The world outside is less important to me now. It exists, and I must interact with it because I choose to live in a city and do things like rent an apartment and buy sandwiches, but my skin is no longer so permeable that the world outside and the sacred inner space are conflated. I am much more safe now, not just because I know I won't commit suicide, but because I am not afraid of dying. In fact, I know for certain that death is an illusion, and it doesn't matter what I do or how I am seen or what I contribute to this planet while I visit it. I used to think that healing meant returning, but I have no cognitive memory of the place that I am now returning. The feeling of familiarity isn't quite the same as coming home from a long journey, and so I almost didn't recognize it. It's difficult sometimes to measure distance when my nose is right up against the path, but every once in awhile I get a glimpse from a high-up place, and I can see the place I came from, and the awe in that moment is healing."
Would you contribute to this discussion? What is a wise emotional being who has transcended emotions?