One of the simplest (to explain) yet hardest (to put into action) Kundalini teachings is being present with your feelings and emotions. Being raised in today’s world most of us were not encouraged to recognize and process our negative emotions, nor learned how to release them from our bodies. They stayed locked in our cells, guarded by an unconscious defense mechanism that tells us it is not safe to feel these feelings. Growing up perhaps you were told by your parents or other authority figures: "stop crying, toughen up, suck it up, don't be weak, real men don't cry" if you are a man or "you are more beautiful when you smile, don't show you emotions to others" if you are a woman. This narrative resulted in internalizing that there was something wrong with your negative emotions or worse, that feeling them in the first place means there is something wrong with you. Alternatively if you grew up in a house with wounded and unconscious parents that have occupied all the emotional space, you may have felt that there was no room for your pain. Maybe your parents had the best intentions but just didn’t know how to be with emotions and used distraction or dismissal. Whichever way this happened you learned to categorize layers of negative feelings as unacceptable and lock them in the unconscious mind.
Learning how to feel what we feel fully is the only way to heal, although it can be challenging we can teach ourselves this new behavior. Some of us don’t even allow ourselves to feel positive emotions and that needs to be addressed as well eventually, as it is not as destructive as not having access to our pain, which can result in addictions, depression and even physical illnesses. None of this by no means is your fault, it is merely how you were thought to be and what you had to do in order to survive in the social environment you were raised in.
Kundalini will be your helper on this journey since she is going to bypass all your defenses, dig into your cells and bring out those buried feelings for you to look at. Unfortunately all this is happening without your relearning how to be with those feelings and that they are safe. This is where your conscious work is so important. You need to reprogram your reaction to and the perception of pain in your body. Your mind is preprogramed to recognize pain as distress and run away from it, seek relief and pleasure instead. This is helpful since you are supposed recognize when someone has violated a boundary. In this case though, of old pain coming in to your awareness to heal your response to it should be the opposite. Especially with Kundalini since the pain has already been dug out and trying to push it back in will only result in a vicious cycle of fighting with yourself. Having all of your defenses armed and on high alert can be a losing and an exhausting battle, yet you can't disarm as long as you believe pain is wrong and unsafe for you to feel. Teaching your mind that emotional pain means healing in this part of your life, and that there is nothing wrong with you is the most important perceptual change on the road to healing. This can make a world of difference in breaking the fight-or-flight response you unconsciously activate with Kundalini.
Making a list of occasions where allowing pain to be what it is resulted in a learning experience can help re-train your brain. Your mind needs a little convincing and that is perfectly okay, that it won't hurt you, don’t force yourself to adopt this idea without believing in it first. We were conditioned a certain way and did our best to fit in, but pushing away our feelings and emotions results in abandoning ourselves and Kundalini is asking us to show up for ourselves, to be present with our inner most vulnerable and wounded parts and love them into healing.
So, what should you do when a strong negative emotion or feeling is arising? (With the Kundalini fuel behind it, it usually means take over your entire experience)? I will detail a few tools to healing and being with your emotions in the section below. Not every feeling or emotion wants the same solution so developing the ability to know what it needs takes time and practice, you can always ask the feeling what it needs of you, but if the emotion is too intense for you to be able to converse with it just try the different tools to see what seems to work. This is a new skill we all have to learn so be patient with yourself, you will end up an expert in your own emotions.
Tools for emotional self-support during Kundalini:
- Inquiry: ask yourself, what am I feeling right now? Answer with one word describing an emotion such as: angry, frustrated, sad, desperate and so on (I will add a list of emotions to this page so you can start practicing, if you never worked with your feelings you may not know how to describe nor recognize what you are feeling, you can print the emotions page below and point at each one and ask your body if that is what it’s feeling one by one). Multitudes of feelings and emotions can exist simultaneously. Once you have named them all, begin to offer compassion to the inner child who is overwhelmed. Tell him/her:
- I am so sorry you feel this way.
- I am so sorry you were hurt.
- I am so sorry I wasn't grown up enough to protect you then - I am now.
- I wish you didn’t have to feel this way.
- I am so sorry nobody held you when you felt this originally.
- I know how hard this is on you, what you feel is so valid.
- I am truly sorry you are in pain. I wish I could take that pain away from you.
- You are so brave for feeling this. I am so proud of you for allowing this feeling.
- Is there anything I can do to help you through this?
- I love you and I will never leave you.
- And more - create your own.
If the words hit the spot you will be crying or feeling a healing happening with the compassion offered, don’t rush this process, don’t lose patience with yourself, don’t push for a resolution. Just keep offering your heart and empathy to your wounded self, which is your inner child. All he or she needed when they first felt this emotion was someone to validate them, to hold and comfort them through it and no one offered. You can be that for them now, you can be that loving parent they needed.
- Being with a feeling: Sit with the feeling or emotion as much as you can without trying to fix, resolve or get rid of it: Try to ask your body where this emotion is felt and breathe into it. Set your intention to meet it with love, curiosity and compassion. Tell the emotion you mean it no harm, you just want to let it be. If you sit with it long enough it should shift. If it doesn’t try to visualize it feeling bigger than your body, filling up the room and keep breathing into the area. Name what you are feeling out loud or in your head until it shifts. It can shift but still feel strong, try to stay with the new feeling till it doesn't feel intense nor negative anymore.
- Conscious regression: Sit or lie down and close your eyes, ask the feeling or emotion how old you were the first time you felt it. The first age that comes to mind is the right one, if no answer arises you can guess and hear a yes or a no internally until you get it right. Visualize yourself at that age or the closest you can remember to being that age and let your inner child feel that feeling or show you the story; What was happening at that time that made your inner child feel this way? Reassure the child that it is safe to feel that emotion now, that the adult you is with them. Don’t push for a resolution; let the child stay with the feeling as long needed. If you are experiencing too much anxiety or panic hold your hands together or open your eyes to remind yourself that you are a grown up now and are witnessing your inner child in their experience. Witness your child until the intensity has slightly subsided and ask them if there is anything they need from you, a hug or a loving word? Sometimes, what you and your inner child need is to remove a particular individual who hurt you. You can be as creative as you like, send them to a small island or a star in another galaxy if they feel too threatening to your inner child. You may also need to face or confront someone who hurt you when you were a child as your grown up self. This can take place in a visualization as well or if that doesn't feel safe, or you can write a letter telling them how they made you feel, even one you never send. Visualize your inner child lovingly. Just allow for the time space continuum to collapse and meet your child where she/he is hurt to offer them healing, support and protection. They may just need your presence, or a hug.
- Express the feeling/ emotion: some feelings just need an outlet, journal (interview your feeling and ask it questions), or talk to a friend. If it’s a more abstract feeling/ emotion you can draw it, dance to it, or ask for its help to show you how it wishes to express itself. You can give it form, weight and shape in your imagination. Hold the intention to get to know it fully and not to get rid of it.
- Anger or rage are very intense emotions that may just need an outlet to move out. You can go out to nature, set out an intention that you are going to release this emotion into Mother Nature and ask her to absorb it for you. Pick up little stones and throw them as hard as you can into the wilderness, she can take it. If you have no access to nature, scream into a pillow, dance to music with a strong beat, visualize throwing balls of fire into the sun or anything that works for you. You will feel the relief once the energy in motion (emotion) got to move after years and years of being stuck. Be mindful not to take out this anger on the nearest unsuspecting person, they may have done something to irritate you but the rage is most likely an old feeling and yours to handle not pass forward.
- Prayer: keep handing over everything that hurts you to the divine, you are not on this journey alone. The universal intelligence and love is with you every step of the way, ask for the help you need.
If you feel to scared to do this alone find safe people or a professional to sit with you during these processes. Releasing deep feelings and emotions that have been stored in your body and cells for this long, can be a shock to your system. You may experience anxiety, panic or other varied physical symptoms. Your body may take a few days to rearrange itself around a deep wound that has been released. Think of it as an energetic surgery if you will. So pace yourself in your healing work (if Kundalini allows) and be gentle with yourself the days following such a release. For deep pain and *trauma you may need to repeat these processes again and again and again, don’t be discouraged. Healing years and years of wounding takes time. Be proud of yourself for taking on that sacred task. You are so very brave.
Download a feeling file here
* Important note: If you have been through major trauma in your early years, be it abuse, neglect, abandonment or physical trauma, be gentle with how much you stay present with the pain, and work with someone who specializes in trauma if your body goes into panic and anxiety when you try to sit with a memory. Trauma is not like any other pain trapped in your body, it affects the brain and it’s wiring and causes PTSD. Going into suppressed or unhealed trauma may trigger a strong fight-or-flight reaction, anxiety, panic attacks or flashbacks that you can’t just snap out of. Please, if you have suffered trauma in you life, work with a professional therapist who specializes in trauma and don’t overdo it on your own. It’s important to be ultra sensitive to your nerves system and what it can handle. Sometimes pharmaceuticals can be helpful for the healing process. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to seek for help or take medications; it does not mean anything is wrong with you, only that you have been wronged and that for your hero’s journey of healing you need a little extra support. You are not taking drugs to suppress your pain, rather to heal it at a safer pace. I have been there myself, so feel free to consult with me if this has been your experience.