This article is excerpted from the chapter Emotional Processing in Shadow Tech.
The awareness work that we’ve been speaking of so far is quite cognitive in nature, but there is an emotional side to shadow work that is equally or even more important than cognitive awareness work. If we could share anything with anyone regarding shadow work, we’d want that to be what we’ve learned about processing emotions. Emotional energy is very heavy and dense and may be the most powerful source of power for our parasitic programming. If we don't clear our repressed and mis-channeled emotional energy, our spiritual evolution will be totally blocked once we reach a certain stage, and in many cases, we can't even get started until we clear some of this garbage out first. If we are suffering from physical pain or disease, emotional clearing may be more important than anything else.
The method we have found most helpful so far is taught by John Ruskan in his book Emotional Clearing (2003). This book should be a mainstay of spiritual methodologies but is currently under recognized. Another author, Michael Brown has a similar method called The Presence Process. We came into both of these authors through synchronicities and interestingly, we were already doing a similar kind of work intuitively when we came into these authors. We recommend them everywhere we go.
The idea behind emotional clearing is incredibly simple but can be challenging. When we find ourselves to be emotionally triggered, we use the trigger as a doorway into our emotional body and we hold it open until our emotional energy flows out and integrates into our mind-bodies. Normally we are always repressing at least some emotional energy, and in some cultures we are repressing high amounts of emotional energy in general. In western society, we don’t have a healthy acceptance of our lower nature, and we certainly don’t have an acceptance of our woundedness. Adding the increasing stress that our culture places upon us, we have a blueprint for destruction. Healthier outlets for emotional energy like work, sports, sex and entertainment express some of our pent up emotions, but they can easily become addictive cycles. We also displace our internal entropy through emotional outbursts, raging, bullying, passive-aggressive behavior or through episodes of depression, drug and alcohol addictions and generally self destructive moods and behavior.
Looking honestly at my own American society, I can see that we are repressing massive amounts of emotional energy which is not only manifesting in increasingly destructive behavior but it’s holding back the entire society from evolving. We are culturally trapped in an arrested state of consciousness that we will not advance from until we process the emotions we are repressing. Every society is harboring deep shadow energies at this stage, but America is unique in that we are simultaneously technologically and economically advanced while being heavily emotionally and psychologically depressed and repressed. As individuals we have the choice to take matters into our own hands. As we process our psychic garbage, we clear the entire eco-system of our culture. The absolute best thing we can do for “the planet” and for the “evolution of consciousness” is to clear and manage our destructive psychic energy.
We are all acting as power nodes of destructive energy that we transmit to each other continually. As we become more sensitive, we begin to feel and sense our own destructive energy cycles, and those of others more easily. The authors believe that emotional clearing, within any spiritual container, may be the most important thing we can do for personal and cultural health. As we will discuss, physical disease is very often the result of repressed shadow energies, making clearing essential for those suffering from ailments as well.
How it's done:
Anytime we feel an emotional pressure within us we have the opportunity to clear an old wound. We might have found ourselves arguing with our significant other about an issue that has never been resolved. Or perhaps we have received news that a friend has blamed us for their own irresponsibility. Maybe our children have failed an important class in school. Maybe we have been reprimanded by our boss and feel angry, depressed or scared that our job may be threatened. Maybe we cannot stand traffic, or loud noises, or crowds, or when our coffee is not made right. There are infinite ways in which we can be emotionally triggered. Sometimes we are only mildly triggered and the annoyance passes quickly, or maybe we cannot get our emotions straight for days. Regardless of the trigger, it's intensity or length of time, it’s an opportunity to clear an old wound and to move displaced energy into coherence. The victim-victor cycle that we discussed is largely fueled by our repressed emotional energies.
When we find ourselves emotionally charged, we simply find a safe and quiet space to process. This could be on the couch at home, parked in our cars, or anywhere that we can be left alone undisturbed. If we cannot do this at the time we feel the highest charge, we can return back to the feeling the next day, or at any time, and allow ourselves to revisit the thoughts and feelings related to the triggering event.
In this method, we simply sit with the negative thoughts and feelings and we give them permission to come up completely. We ignore opposing thoughts that tell us we don’t have time to do this process and we stay present, allowing our feelings to flow freely through our bodies. If we have the impulse to act out, say with rage, we resist this, but crying is extremely beneficial. We hold our space and allow the emotions to fully emerge. In some cases we will feel intense anger overtake us. Other times we may cry in deep sadness for a long time. If we don’t experience a sizable release at first, our emotions may initially sit in our bodies making us feel uncomfortable. This discomfort is a sign that processing is going on. Our emotions might be feelings of fear, anxiety, grief, or any emotionally painful feeling. Some emotions may shift over several minutes to reveal deeper core emotions behind them. Anger often gives way to deep sadness or grief.
No matter what the emotion, we allow it to totally emerge and flood our consciousness. We permit our feelings to stay with us for as long as need be. After a successful session, no matter if it's 3 minutes or 3 hours, we will feel a sense of clarity and lightness. This is sometimes present soon afterwards, but it also may take a day or two to be recognized. Regardless, each clearing session will have an effect and will be the impetus for increasing psychic clarity. Our ability to release may start small, but will increase as we do the practice repeatedly.
Emotional clearing can sometimes invoke a Kundalini rush which comes on quickly, or it may be spread out more evenly over time. We will find ourselves experiencing joy more easily and we will simply feel lighter and less burdened as we continue to process. There are many ways that this process can affect us and we can expect external alterations in our outer world as well. Over time, we become less triggerable, more emotionally stable and more grounded. Anxiety, fear, anger and insecurities will decrease as we continue to use our triggers as doorways into clearing.
Shadow work in general requires both cognitive awareness and body based emotional clearing. The methods we are discussing are those that have come to us and are working for us. We recognize that there may be other effective methods, such as indigenous shamanic practices or modern versions of them like Lama Allione’s Feeding Your Demons process, and we encourage you to experiment, but we would tend to be skeptical of any process which attempts to push away destructive thoughts and feelings. We must go directly into the cave of the dragon to inherit the key it is holding.
This said, the dragon at the base of the cave is more of an illusory chimera than we might expect. Every organism naturally moves away from pain and towards pleasure, so it's understandable that we want to avoid going into old wounds. Also, we unconsciously remember the pain that accompanied our wounds when they originally occurred and we don’t want to relive that pain. As adults, when we consider going back to those old feelings of victimhood, we naturally choose not to. This is a natural instinct, but the truth is that as adults we will usually not experience the childhood pain again by going into it. We have an adult level of separation now and we have the ability to go into our feelings in small doses. We are not victims of circumstance anymore and we can choose exactly how and when we want to process our emotions. We are in a much safer and more mature state now.
From an adult place, when we go back into the cave, we can go with our flashlights, our spelunking tools, our maps and compasses. We have tools and discretion that we didn't have back when our emotional energy was first blocked. We also don't need to use any kind of force. Simply allowing our feelings to fully flow releases their signature elements allowing the body to integrate them properly.
Once our repressed energies are released and allowed to flow again, our bodies will move to integrate them and transform our patterning. We will have to face our uncomfortable feelings many times to fully process them, and this is challenging, but the process is definitely less painful than we might imagine. Watching from above as we process our emotions, our higher awareness stands close to us, acting as a beneficent and wise parent. We essentially re-parent ourselves and send ourselves a sense of accepting compassion, which is the antidote to the virus we carry.
We are trained by our culture to repress and deny our emotional states. We are told that we have to stand tall and “get over” our emotional wounds. Men are especially taught this, but women are also deprived of their ability to process their emotions because their male counterparts often don’t have high emotional awareness. Men will often deny their partners’ and children’s ability to fully experience their emotional states. This is not to insult men; this is just a common situation in patriarchal cultures. When we experience a deep emotion, the best thing we can do is to feel it as fully, as deeply and as often as necessary until it is processed. In this way, the channels of our nervous systems remain clear and we don't develop the problems we now have. Children especially need to be able to experience their full emotional states without fear of judgment or punishment. Children often experience natural developmental issues at various stages, but cyclical destructive behavior in children is often related to shadow cycles in parents which need to be cleared. If parents are not carrying their own psychic viruses, which can exacerbate a child’s emotional wounding, children should be able to process and move on in a normal amount of time. Eckhart Tolle suggest that parents who are awakening to the existence of their family pain bodies (psychic parasites), openly discuss the situation with their children who will learn to recognize their parents’ pain bodies as well as their own, and the family can awaken and heal together.
If we consider repressed emotional energy caused by childhood wounds and other disharmony to be garbage, would we want to simply “get over” that garbage? Stepping over garbage means leaving it to fester and rot. As we know, when we leave old organic material to rot, we get an infestation. Indeed our repressed emotional energy is a potent source of food for the parasitic ecosystems of the psyche that live in the shadow. Our repressed emotional energies are a fantastic source of energy for the victim-victor life cycle of our viral shadow programming.
Most of our earliest traumas we will not remember as we process them. We may simply cry or experience fear or anger without any associated old memory. On the other hand, we may remember the event that caused a trauma or a newer memory that’s linked to it. When we sit and allow our triggered emotions to fill our states, we may have thoughts that relate to our stories of belief that we have been living through. Thoughts may appear that tell us how our pain is someone else’s fault or about how inadequate we are. This is ok. We simply watch our thoughts as objectively as possible. Over time we become more comfortable with the realization that our thoughts are stories or programs and not an objective reality. Our pain lives within the context of our stories. If our stories were different, our emotional states would be different and if our emotional states were different, our stories would be different.
As we process our emotional energy, our stories naturally change as a consequence, and when they do, this allows us to see their subjective nature. Over time we learn to recognize that our entire experience is caused by the programs we are running and not due to the external world and circumstances alone. It is through our inner programs that our outer world and relationships become personal experience. When our internal state is altered, our experience of the world, or reality is altered. This is a well known ancient truth, and has made its way into New Age philosophy, but unless one integrates their repressed psychic garbage, that energy continues to fuel powerful viral programming which severely limits our transformation.
Relationship as a container
Melissa and I have found our relationship to be a very effective container for emotional clearing. Through counseling others on this practice, we have found that it's much more effective if both people are actively involved. If one partner is active and the other is at least aware of what their partner is doing, this will suffice, but if one partner is totally in the dark, it will limit progress, possibly heavily. This type of work is based on internal integrity, openness and honesty. Total transparency is needed within an intimate relationship if it is to mature to its highest potential. One partner may not want to engage in the process at first, but if they are at least aware that the other is working on processing their emotional cycles, this may be all that’s needed at first. Later on, the other may want to join in, and if they do, a powerful alchemical vessel will have been created. If they do not, one’s own trans- formation will alter the relationship accordingly.
We have to come to terms with the possibility that our partners may or may not be ready when we are. No matter what the outcome, the increased clarity and maturity we experience will serve us as the relationship evolves in whatever way it does. If we become impatient with our partners, should they not decide to join us, we can add those frustrated thoughts and feelings to our awareness work and simply release the emotional fear that underlies them. Our impatience will decline.
When Melissa and I first began this work, we were experiencing a destructive cycle that would repeat every few weeks. It would usually start with something that I would say or do that would give her the impression that I had different intentions behind my words and actions. She would take my words and actions to be clues that I was using her, or alternatively, that she was not what I was looking for in a mate. Either way she would find herself experiencing deep emotional pain that would cause intense emotional outbursts. This was an old family program still running.
My response to her behavior was usually anger. I would feel that her reactions were uncalled for and that she was creating needless chaos. I would then transform into an angry “father thing” to scold her. The cycle would conclude with her feeling hurt and me feeling guilty for being a jerk.
We had turned one full round of the victim-victor cycle and our shadow parasites had been fed. A few weeks later, they would be hungry again and the cycle would repeat.
This cycle was actually not unique to our relationship but was active in both of our prior relationships and in our parents’ early relationships. We were still living with the same shadow cycles that had turned many times before, in many prior generations, through the ages. I should say that even from the start, our cycle was somewhat less toxic than in prior relationships because we had both matured, but regardless, the cycle was still present and we were being drawn into it again. This time though, we were both the experimenters and the experiment, and we would switch back and forth as we fell unconscious then re-awakened again.
We would begin by reacting to an unconscious trigger that would begin the cycle, becoming totally pulled in and reactive. Then at some point we would wake up and see that we were running the old program and try to remove ourselves from the cycle. Usually one of us would wake up first, and when that happened, they would try to pull the other back into the conflict. I tried many times to run away from a fight and lock myself in a room to begin to begin to process the emotions, but Melissa would run after me and bang on the door. Later on she would admit to not having been in control. Other times she would wake up first and I would be the one to carry on, continuing to yell and project angry words.
Sometimes I would begin the cycle, and in my case, this was often when I found myself emotionally sensitive. When my cycle wants to begin, I become easily irritated and begin to speak with a harsh sharpness. Now we both recognize this as my viral pain body seeking energetic food.
As we studied this cycle, realizing that it was viral and parasitic in nature, we began to recognize that it was sourced in our old emotional wounds that we had been carrying since childhood. I discovered that had an angry little boy in me that we named Austin (after a teddy bear I had been using as a puppet), and that Melissa had a neglected and unloved little girl in her that we called Little Melissa. We began talking about these characters and noticing when they were active in each other. It was these old programs that were engaged in our fights. These were psychic programs that were fractured off in our development and had turned dark. They were feeding on the same destructive energies they were formed out of.
Austin and Little Melissa are not cute little children. They are rabid, destructive shadow entities that can only live on the negative energies formed by turning the victim-victor cycle. By turning the cycle, these viral programs live on and thrive, but as we eventually found, “The Heart is Toxic to the Virus”.
I remember one instance where in the middle of an argument I awoke to the deeper nature of Melissa’s behavior. I suddenly saw her clearly as a wounded six-year old girl. First I saw it, and then I felt it. A sense of compassion came over me that neutralized my anger. Usually it's hard to feel com- passion while we are charged with anger, but this spontaneous awareness of her as a child did the trick. I was unable to feel anger at a six-year old girl, and in the middle of our charged, emotional argument, I embraced her with a loving and protective hug. Suddenly she froze and her emotional state calmed immediately. The cycle had ended and we both cried and then talked about what had happened. We had successfully neutralized the energy of fear and anger with the polar opposite vibration of loving compassion and this was the first time we realized that we had the ability to end our cycles through an internal shift.
Although this technique works, and we repeated it again, it's not something that we have been able to administer easily. It's difficult to activate compassion while feeling angry or wounded. I used the image of Melissa as a child to activate this state on a couple of occasions, but I also found it to be difficult to manifest. Using John Ruskan’s Emotional Clearing is a much more effective method over the long term.
These days, when we awaken to a destructive cycle, we tell the other that we recognize the cycle is happening and that we want to go sit and process. Then we simply remove our energy from the argument, recognizing it as a program, and go sit down. We might still be experiencing thoughts of wanting to blame the other, but we simply allow them to be present and we go sit and process. This takes practice. Usually our inner stories keep the cycle going, but once we understand the total fictional nature of our internal stories, this becomes easier. Now that Melissa and I have done it enough, when one sees that the other has left the game, we usually respond in turn and we both go sit and process.
This process of waking up and exiting the game is not a smooth one, because the shadow energies want to persist. In the beginning we could not stop a cycle even when one left the room. After a fight, we needed a day or two to “come down”. Now we don’t allow emotional garbage to linger after a conflict. We learned to process as much as possible immediately afterwards, and then we discuss all of our destructive thoughts and feelings with each other, if not that day then the next.
As of the time of this writing (2015), our cycle has been reduced to a much less energetic state. Currently, the way a parasitic cycle will come to the surface is usually through a subtle wave of internal anxiety, fear or anger. When this happens, the other person certainly picks it up, but we do not project it on to the other nearly as much anymore. When we are triggered, one of us usually notices and brings the situation into the open. Then the triggered party quietly goes and processes and we wait it out. After a while the cycle ends. Sometimes it’s a bit more dramatic, but still far reduced in intensity. We have seen a drastic reduction in destructive cycling after two years of processing.
I should point out that when one of us is triggered, it coincides with an opposing charge in the other that supports that triggering. So if one of us needs to process, the other should also examine their own state to see what they may be holding on to as well. These cycles do not happen in isolation, so any conflict within our experience points to energy in ourselves that we need to process. This can take time to fully accept.
We have also come to realize that we cannot physically escape any outside situation that we are triggered by because it will just be duplicated in another place and time. Whatever emotionally charges us pulls conflict into our lives. Anything that makes us insecure or angry in a repeated fashion is linked to an old wound that has to be cleared. When we clear that energy, our bodies restructure themselves for a new electro-chemical reality which replaces the old state. We then attract and repel energy in our world according to the new state. This takes time but does occur. When we attract abundance and security it’s because electro-chemical programs which model that reality are active and clear within us. When we attract conflict and despair that's because those electro-chemical programs are strongly present within us.
Our mind-bodies are a vast energetic community and we want that community to be healthy and in balance. Just like a local community, when we do not take care of each other, our community members become wounded, criminals or addicts. When we do not nurture our internal mind-body community, those same patterns are created within us. Our psychic imbalances give rise to internal criminals and addicts — programs within us that plague us until we get to the source wound that created them. In all cases of addiction and criminality, we find abandoned and unloved children. Where are those children within our own psyches, and what have they become?