WATER MODULE

PART III: SKILLS
LESSON 7: Being With And Discharging Emotions

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LESSON SUMMARY

Lesson 7: Skills - Being With And Discharging Emotions

We get caught in reactivity...craving, grabbing, wanting, repelling, protecting, fighting, defending.  In this lesson we learn several practices to restore our ability to Discharge our emotions in a healthy way, relearning the natural processes that allow us to be in the immediacy of our emotions, feel them fully and release them completely.

 

LESSON VIDEOS

VIDEO 1

Video 1 - Being With And Discharging Emotions

In this video we explore the cultural conditioning that often leads us into Samsara and Suffering versus Nirvana and Bliss.  Here we will re-learn our capacity to Discharge as we re-learn to do what animals and babies do naturally as they shake, cry, and make sounds to restore their nervous systems.   In this video you’ll learn about our cultural ‘Still Face’ conditioning which has hardened us, making it more difficult for us to naturally feel and discharge our emotions.

 

Being With And Discharging Emotions Audio

VIDEO 2
VIDEO 3

LESSON VIDEOS

Video 1 - Being With And Discharging Emotions

In this video we explore the cultural conditioning that often leads us into Samsara and Suffering versus Nirvana and Bliss.  Here we will re-learn our capacity to Discharge as we re-learn to do what animals and babies do naturally as they shake, cry, and make sounds to restore their nervous systems.   In this video you’ll learn about our cultural ‘Still Face’ conditioning which has hardened us, making it more difficult for us to naturally feel and discharge our emotions.

 

Being With And Discharging Emotions Audio

 

Video 2 - How To Be Present With Strong Emotions

In this video we look at three things we can do to be present in the face of strong emotions and how we can ground and connect to what’s underneath the intensity which is a strong desire for an unimpeded connection to love.

 

How To Be Present With Strong Emotions Audio

 


Video 3 - Skills Lab Being With And Discharging Emotions with Ethan Henson

In this video we will practice viewing from the limited ordinary mind, feeling the pain and suffering that is in our personal bodies, the collective body, and the world and then contrast that with viewing through the seamless, limitless, awareness of air and the compassionate heart intelligence of water noticing the impact that has on our view of ourselves, each other, and our world.

 

Skills Lab Being With And Discharging Emotions with Ethan Henson Audio

 

LESSON CONTENT

Being With and Discharging Emotions


The Karmic Storehouse.

We have all these parts and because we have all these parts, there's a lot of emotion that these parts are experiencing all the time and we get caught in reactivity...craving, grabbing, wanting, repelling, protecting, fighting, defending.  This is all within us, so what do we do with it?

 

Sometimes when you unhook, and you shift mind, you'll feel it all settle. It almost  dissolves away and then it coheres into its true form which is love and bliss and coherence which is the one truth.

 

There's also the reality that if we can't get all the way there, if we are caught in our emotions,  it can be dangerous if we suppress them.  What do you think happens when you suppress emotions?  You can't actually suppress an emotion, or deny it. If it's there and unexpressed, that energy will find another route.  Emotions are energy based and affect the form so when you try to suppress them, they turn into matter and solidify in the body.  Suppressing your emotions can impact your body and even make you sick.  

 

Our emotions can also distort our thoughts, and if we create from those negative emotions, what we build is on unstable ground. Experiences from our early life didn't just set up belief patterns, they also stored emotion that if they weren’t fully metabolized, continues to live in the body field.  

 

So there's an idea from Buddhism called the karmic storehouse.  Your body is part of the collective body where every negative unprocessed thought, belief pattern, and all of the energy that's unmetabolized is stored and keeps recreating reality from the obscurations that block us from our true nature.  We're living in all this unprocessed mind which clouds our view and continues to amplify Samsara, a cycle of suffering or hell versus of Nirvana, which is the unobstructed view of our true nature - god or heaven.  So we start living in that hell. 

 

 

What do we do to get out of this Samsara, this hell?

In Luminous, we have two primary things that we focus on to shift from Samsara, or suffering, and Nirvana, where we experience the bliss of our true nature.

 

#1 Unhook from the mind that's generating it (self to self practice)
We continually unhook from the Samsaric mind, and find that which is beyond it - this pure awareness that's always here,  that cannot be harmed, that is not of that delusion mind. From that ground, you view everything and then it purifies it and brings it into its true nature, which is coherence, love and bliss.  Unhook from the mind that's generating it, get beyond it into the mind that is your own mind, God's mind, the pure mind, purify it, cleanse it, transform it into its' true essence. 

 

#2 Create a safe space for all parts to be unconditionally held so the emotions can process (self to other relational practice)

We make sure to include all parts we often suppress or hide allowing the emotions and the energies that stay in our body field constantly affecting everything to process.

When we have parts that we feel shame about we tend to hide and not allow them, so they have no way to fully metabolize.  What’s needed for those parts to metabolize in a healthy way is for us to shift into awareness with each other creating spaces for all the content to come into the light of awareness without inhibition.  Everything needs to process.

 

  

 

STEP 1 AIR: Spacious Awareness: As we create a relational container for each other, we start by holding air, emptiness -, bringing an awareness that's not caught in the content, an awareness that understands it's not solid, it may feel real to that part, but not true.  

 

STEP 2 WATER: Next, we hold water, which embraces and connects with it, so it feels felt, acknowledged and fully received.   This is the ‘Healthy Mother’ who holds open, nonjudgmental, unconditional presence.

 

STEP 3 TREE: Then we bring Tree as we align our central channel and transmit the ‘Healthy Father’ who is everywhere, but right here, reliable, in service, and holding a safe strong container.

 

 

How to be with anger

For some of us we can’t let things like our anger flow.  For others they can’t let their sadness flow.   The reason we teach people to go get a bat and beat a pillow to find the pathway to anger is that it teaches you to let that energy flow which can be powerful.  The problem is the anger never ends, because anger needs to be fully and energetically received.  

 

“What happens if anger is actually listened to, received and taken in without resistance? It converts to its nature - our natural defense system.  If we can give the container that actually honors it, and uses that wisdom of water - receiving, embracing,, and not resisting - then it finally gets the deeper connection that has been withheld or resisted for so long.  The rage and power, all of that energy, finds a place to become a calm stream as it pours down the mountain becoming the lake below."

 

What happens if anger is actually listened to, received and taken in without resistance? It converts to its nature.   The resistance of it is whats causing all the pain.  Most of the time when someone's angry at us, our natural defense system, either wants to push back, "don't fucking be angry at me!", or it wants to run away.  There's a lot of intensity in that emotion, and all the parts of us that have shame are afraid that something's wrong with us and that they're going to point it out.  

 

If you can move into a receptive state and breathe and take in when someone is emoting, you’ll help them access what wants to express, wants to be met, heard, taken in, and that completes it.   If we can give the container that actually honors it, and uses that wisdom of water  - of receiving, of embracing, of not resisting, then it finally gets the deeper connection that has been withheld or resisted for so long.  The rage and the power and all of that energy finds a place to become a calm stream as it pours down the mountain becoming the lake below. 

 

Anger is actually just the distortion of clarity when it degrades and blends with ordinary parts.  Within anger, there’s some truth blended with a lot of intensity and emotion.   If you can receive it without resistance and not worry about what was true or not true, you’ll find little truths mixed with untruths and it can even feel pleasurable to receive it if you are in simultaneous awareness allowing the energy to love and flow.

 

If you are using anger and saying, "I'm just going to be freaking angry in the world and be angry at whoever I want, and you’ve got to containerize me!" That's a child's view. We aren't children that demand that everyone be our container in every moment, but we do have an intelligence that understands that anger does need receiving and that we can consciously choose to receive it. 

 

You could even grow a super power that when people are angry in the world you could consciously show up and give the container to people when they're needing it.

 

 

 

 

The Natural Discharge Process

 

“There is a natural mechanism called the ‘Discharge Process’ that governs how our nervous system releases impact, like the ability to cry and scream and shake..We are designed as animal bodies to discharge our emotion and our energy. But what happened is, is our society conditioned this out of us."

 

If you watch children, little children, boys and girls the same... what happens when Johnny falls at the park and scrapes his knee. What does he do? He cries out.. Before he's been conditioned that boys shouldn't cry and that he's a sissy if he does that, Johnny just goes.... Whaaaah!  

 

There is a natural mechanism, that if you look at children, it hasn't been conditioned out of them, and in Co-counseling, they called it the "Discharge Process". It's how our nervous system releases impact.   What happens is when we have experience, we have all these beautiful mechanisms, like the ability to cry and scream and shake.

 

Peter Levine talks about this in his book "Waking the Tiger." You know where, where the deer, it's running and running and is going to get killed and somehow he makes it, and the animal shakes off all of that energy that got created in the terror of "I might die" allowing the animal to restore, relax, and eat grass and be a normal deer again.

 

We are designed as animal bodies to discharge our emotion and our energy, but what happened is  our society conditioned this out of us.  

 

 

Our ‘Still Face’ Conditioning

One way it is conditioned out of us is through the "Still Face" experiment. The baby is crying and if someone doesn't respond to them and come co-regulate with them, it becomes too painful and too traumatizing, so the baby ‘Still Faces’ and loses its discharge process.

 

Many, when they  were babies, weren't responded to, and then as they became adults, created a culture which is more hardened and shut down.  Some were told when they cried, "Don't be a little baby, stop crying, go in the corner, shut up!" 

 

Those same people, got so hardened they couldn't feel.  They weren't in the interconnected field of awareness.  They got into industrial complexes and wars..."We need warriors here." So you need even less feeling and harden even more.  

 

We create little soldiers. Men need to not feel or cry, because “How the hell am I going to get them to work 40 hours a week and kill other people for me? Right?” You with me? 

 

So what happened is there's a population of people who, innocent themselves, somehow got cut off from their own felt sense and that generated actions that were from people who were hardened from their felt sense and they created industrial complexes and warring zones.  

 

Then they had to create people who could live within those complexes. So then we got culturally stronger to condition people to not feel themselves, because it would be really hard, if people felt their own bodies, to make them work 40 hours a week in cubicles, or in industrial environments. People wouldn't be able to do that. If they could feel themselves. 

 

The people wouldn't be able to kill each other, if they could feel themselves. That's why, if you look at the military, you see the way their bodies are held.   There's this straight body that moves more like a machine, because that blocks the sensation of feeling where there's almost no flow, almost no life force, because how the hell are you going to shoot another frightened, vulnerable human being, if you're in your felt sense? 

 

Feel what happens when you live in a culture that first, years ago, parents were told that when a baby cries, don't respond. And then that same culture told children to shut up and be quiet.  Right? And that same culture told young growing boys, as they were growing into men, that they were acting like girls, if they cried or had feelings, that they were being sissies. "Don't be a girl!". Right? And even in modern day, it got so much cooler to be the distorted masculine, that all the women started to act like that, like, "Oh, we want to be in the society. We want to fit in." So now I'm going to be masculine and I'm not going to feel. I'm going to show up in my business suits and put away my feelings, because I want to be part of the power group.

 

So feel  what's happened to us.

 

 

 

The Immediacy Of Feeling Our Emotions Without Story

 

“We need spaces where we can regain our capacity to feel our emotions because through our vulnerability, through our ability to discharge emotion and energy, through our ability to feel, we are opening to our capacity to feel, sense, love, and connect with each other."

 

So feel how water, which is asking to bring us back to the felt sense and to ask us to find our way to go back to that natural mechanism, which is to feel, and to discharge our emotions, to be able to cry, so that the hardness can soften. To be able to express our emotions, so that they don't compress our bodies.Water is the invitation to be in the warm, loving, receiving presence of the entire emotional range.

 

And water can be compassionate for the bodies among us who can't even cry anymore. Because we understand that it was created through trauma, and it's not someone's fault that they can't feel, or can't cry. It's actually a deeper form of trauma.

 

We need to get this skill back. We need to be able to feel our emotions and we need spaces where we can regain this capacity, because through our vulnerability, through our ability to discharge emotion and energy, through our ability to feel, we are opening to our capacity to feel, sense, love, and connect with each other.

 

One of the teachings of water is about feeling our emotions without story. We are used to ‘weather reporting’ from our ordinary mind, rather than just dropping in and crying or shaking or screaming or laughing.  

 

This is what Co-counseling teaches - is the need to get beneath the story, and actually let the natural discharge process occur, and for most of us that actually is a lost capacity. Some of us still have it, but many of us have lost it.

 

It’s actually something we have to practice with each other. We can literally, in someone else's presence, just allow the feeling and the emotion to move and the crying to happen, the shaking and yelling to happen.  We just be in the emotion without anything between -  raw immediacy.  It is allowing and not forcing.  It isn't about making yourself cry.  It's through presence with what is here with the intent to allow emotion to occur.

 

The rigid process and it's tightness is in the Western cultural paradigm.  It becomes a defensive overlay  in our tissues that pushes against it in overdrive.

 

When you learn to process your emotions, then you have capacity for other people's emotions. It gives you resilience and buoyancy.  When you're caught in a more rigid pattern you actually get that that's where the fragility comes from - the inability to feel yourself.

 

 

What if you freeze and can’t access your emotion?

Some have the wound where you can't discharge.  What you do is just be absolutely present with the numbness or with the freeze.  Hang there noticing “I can't even talk” and notice the catatonic state of all the people in the pandemic who are overwhelmed and can’t get off the couch.  Be in the felt experience of, "I cannot move". That is still discharge.  When awareness is directly with an experience, even if the  experience is of freeze, it is processing it and metabolizing it.

 

In the freeze often opposing forces are coupled - there's an overwhelm and a lock and we can't feel, or there’s a sad and a ma at the same time, or a collapse and a fight on top of each other. Our systems can blow out into numbness when that happens.  

 

We are able to presence the numb and once you're there, you might be able to start to feel like... "oh wow, there's a clamp, and there's something rising". Things that are paired, you can start rocking between them a little bit, oscillating. 

 

At Luminous we do it from the ground of awareness. So my experience now, when I discharge, because I'm in the ground of awareness, I can discharge the most intense emotions and there's a relaxation in it, because we are in awareness processing it. It's a Simultaneous skill. 

 

 

How To Be Present With Strong Emotion

In Luminous terms fire is the heart, the fire heart.  It is a desire for there to be nothing in the way of connection.   Sometimes when something's in the way of connection, it brings up an energy that wants to cut through or express.  When people are angry or hurt we can use our view to know that the heart of that anger is that they want what they cannot feel, which is an unimpeded love.

 

When someone is getting really dynamic and the energy has more emotion or intensity there's three things we can do to not get caught 

 

  1. We emphasize the awake awareness aspect, the emptiness. We can get more transparent -  beyond energy into that, which is absolutely clear, unchanging, pristine and cannot be stained or harmed which is the wisdom quality of Air.
  2. We emphasize the ground, which is the wisdom quality of earth where we send our awareness into our lower half, into our legs and feel that source of ground.  Here we are just deeply present, but are maintaining a sense of stability.  If you're up in your head, and you're starting to lose your sense of not being able to hold your own stability, then bring your awareness lower. 
  3. We emphasize our love, our heart that loves and  embraces all and can hold everything and everyone our true heart.

 

 

White Fragility & Loving Your ‘Enemies’

 

“The distorted masculine is only after one thing and that's the purpose for which it was created.  It’s main intention is to connect to divine love - and it's really pissed off because it doesn't have it.”

 

At Luminous we want to be able to hold a powerful ground, receiving and strengthening with more ‘tree’ and ‘earth’ so we can hold high charge like anger or any of the more difficult masculine distortions. 

 

We can bring in a beautiful piece of wisdom from Jesus who encouraged us to be able to love one another ‘as thyself’ and to be able to love your ‘enemies.’   Loving our enemies is something that I myself struggled with for a lot of years when I was coming into more of a spiritual evolution within myself. Many of us have struggled with this even if conceptually we are onboard.  

 

It's really easy to do it at a distance when you're not directly connected to the person, place, and groups of people that show faces we dislike or don't want to be a part of,  We can pray at a distance and say ‘I send you love.” 

 

It's a whole different game to be connected to someone right in front of you who is doing everything that's perfectly designed to trigger every part of you all at once and then be expected in that moment to be able to access love, when everything inside of you is saying “Hell no, screw you.”  All you want to do is just get out and retaliate in every way, shape, or form and then strut your way out of the situation.

 

The distorted mascuine has one piece of the anger that is mad because it doesn't have that connection to divine love and has the desire for that connection that is saying “Why don't you come in and give me that open love.”  Then there's another part that's the protector in there, that's saying  “I'm going to destroy you because you're not giving me that fucking love.” It's the same pain but one has the volume turned up much louder.

 

How can we ground, invite in love, and stay connected to the person until they can reach the other side of all the intense anger that’s inside of them? How can we do this while not getting hurt, living into a masochistic dream of just taking blows from people and trying to smile and pretend we’re good with it?

 


Being With Charge Skills Lab with Ethan Henson: Question & Answers

How can you tell if what you are feeling is them or your own parts being triggered?

If you're in awakened Tree ground, then you're tethered into the person's nervous system and what you're experiencing should be pretty right on and not your reactivity.   You might feel the tightness in your own body but if you are in Awakened Tree & Ground it’s not yours and is instead what you are picking up on.  

 

We have to make sure we are stably in the Awakened wisdom spaces and not in parts.  The moment we go into parts, we're going to go into reactivity and whatever pain or problem and then will start resisting and going into defenses or wanting to check out and get away from it. 

 

What happens if our reflexes are to go inward when we receive a lot of charge?

The reminder to breathe can be very helpful if your reflex is often to go in.  Anytime you start that sense of locking up, that's a part.  Remind yourself that it's okay, everything's safe. Breathe. Stay open, keep letting it come through.   It’s important to do body sensoral monitoring, while you're staying tethered into a lot of charge.  Keep breathing, don't freeze.

 

Can you add Water in both the distorted masculine and the distorted feminine?

When you get into these awakened wisdom spots as long as you're in the stream of it, it will inform you of what's needed.

 

When we're in the, our awakened state holding these qualities and allowing this energy, it seems like the energetic tether is actually a huge part of how this energy transmutes through the connection of allowing and receiving. 

 

If you're in an intimate partnership connecting with somebody that you have a strong emotional bond with where we can take things personally and are not just in a container space as a practitioner, how do you maintain alignment and stay connected given there may be a lot of personal material arising?

 

First you may not practice this with your partner’s right off the bat. So you would want to train with someone who's got access to more of these awakened states.  

 

Second is the discernment between what piece of it is actually true. You need to know that and then you also need to be able to have the discernment to say ‘that’s a problem I'm willing to own,’ AND what's this other big piece of reactivity that doesn't feel like the punishment fits the crime?  That's the part that in reaction that's bringing the story to the table that really has nothing to do with me. 

 

When you're in a partnership, you need to be able to own the part that contributed to creating the issue. You have to own that and be able to separate that from the projection.  If you don't you’ll feel like you're trying to pay a debt for something that wasn't yours to pay, and that's what ignites your reactivity.   I did this, but I didn't cause all of this rage. 

 

What happens when it feels like an ambush and you aren’t ready to hold the container?

You really have to make sure that you have the buy in from both sides and give them an invitation to come into more conscious connection about it so there is consent from both sides.  If they are wanting something more continuous and spontaneous then you both have to really jump in and bring some structure to it so that you aren’t just blind sided.  

 

Often, once you crack the lid, it’s like pandora’s box and it brings forth an invitation for all the parts with this super atomic energy to start to come out and then it becomes a never ending story of processing and management and you can get really blown out and burn out.  If you're going to invite that kind of atomic connection into your system then you have to be bold enough to expect that from your reflections of the world.

 

 

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