The Nature of Emotions
Emotions are either useful or not useful. Emotions such as love, compassion, happiness, joy, can all be useful. Emotions that we usually consider negative can actually be useful. Even fear can be useful. If you are standing on the railroad tracks and a train is coming, thank goodness your body has the innate intelligence to produce the energy of fear to motivate you to get off the tracks so you don’t get squished!
Useful or not useful seems to be a better distinction for our purposes than good and bad or positive and negative. The useful emotions are not of concern. They’ll take care of themselves. We can just leave them alone. Our concern is with the not useful emotions.
There are two categories of not useful emotions. One is called “reactive emotions” and the other is called “incomplete experiences.” The reactive emotions category is further subdivided into the two causes of reactive emotions, which are the stories that we make up in our mind, stories that we make up about things that don’t actually exist. There are two kinds of these stories. One is called expectations and the other is called projections.
We all know what expectations are. We have some notion or idea of what we think we want to have happen or not happen in our life. We create a story about how we want things to be. We typically do this in order to get a sense of control or safety. Even though it’s a false sense of control we don’t really realize that and we still do it. We’re deeply conditioned and habituated to do this. Everyone around us does it. It’s a very, very common thing to do. We make up a story and then we live inside that story. We expect it to happen the way that we want it to. But then, when it doesn’t happen, we have reactions like being angry or disappointed or frustrated or sad or depressed. Everybody is very familiar with this.
The other kinds of stories that we make up are called Projections. Projection means projecting the possibility of negative outcomes onto the future. This is the stuff that fear, anxiety, worry and hyper-vigilance are made of. These are all projections onto the future of things that we fear might happen. They are usually based on having had experiences of something similar or having seen others have such experiences. We may still have some traumatic experiences held inside of us from the past that are the basis for creating such a story. That’s reasonable but it is easy to understand that it is not helpful in avoiding such things happening in the future. Even so, we create the projection of the possibility that something negative could happen and this creates our fear.
So the expectations are stories about things that do not exist anywhere except in the mind. This is a compelling set-up for being upset when what we think we want to have happen doesn’t occur. Projections are also stories about things that do not exist anywhere except in the mind. Projections cause us to react with fear, anxiety and worry. We have a technique that you are about to learn for resolving all of these reactive, not-useful emotions. It’s called the SEE Technique.
SEE is an acronym for Side Entrance Expansion and when you learn the technique, you’ll see exactly why we call it that. This technique is used to resolve the entire category of reactive emotions. This is because all reactive emotions have the same type of energy field, as you will soon see. My experience is that the SEE Technique is faster, more effective and thorough for resolving these kinds of not-useful emotions than anything else that I’ve ever found. You will see that it is very, very effective. You will also see that it is teaching you to do something that is outside of the normal range of your previous experiences. It is teaching you to do the exact opposite of what you are deeply conditioned to do. Instead of staying stuck inside of the energy field of the reactive emotion, you’ll be able to extract yourself from it and then watch it simply fade away.
In the chart above about the useful and not-useful emotions, you’ll see on the right hand side the other major subcategory of not-useful emotions called Incomplete Experiences. Incomplete Experiences are emotional reactions to intense experiences that were just too much for us. It was just too much to process, too overwhelming when the events that caused the emotion happened. This is because of our deep conditioning of the Core Dynamic of Resisting Feeling Things Fully.
Incomplete Experiences have a completely different kind of energy field than the energy fields of Reactive Emotions. Incomplete Experiences are the emotional pain, the trauma, and the painful experiences that we just can’t seem to get over.
When we have experiences that are really intense (and it doesn’t take that much to be qualified as really intense) they tend to become traumatic. Traumatic means we can’t fully process or assimilate the experience. If we go back for a moment to the conditioning of the Core Dynamic of Resisting Feeling Things Fully, as I mentioned, this is due to putting a lid on accessing our own innate capacity to feel. We are not good at resolving these intense, emotionally painful experiences.
Again, I’m speaking from personal experience here, because I’ve had a very traumatic experience on December 7, 1993. December 7th is Pearl Harbor Day and on that day in ’93 I had my own personal Pearl Harbor experience. I was living in a small town in Iowa, and I went to answer my door at about six in the evening. There was a stranger standing there. As I started open the door, he pulled a big handgun out from behind his back. As I saw that I tried to slam the door and lock it. We had a big oval of decorative glass in the center of the door, and as I was in the process of slamming the door and locking it I yelled out “Oh God, he’s got a gun.” But he stepped over and shot through the glass and the bullet hit me in the chest on the right side near the nipple. I found out later it was a .44 caliber handgun, which is a huge bullet. Hunters use them for killing bears, and it’s a total miracle that I survived such an assault. Normally getting shot in the chest with a .44 would kill most people. So I got the reputation in this small midwestern town for being faster than a speeding bullet.
The bullet hit the lower edge of a rib, ricocheted and went down through my diaphragm, right between the two lobes of the liver, missed the intestines, went through the psoas muscle and lodged back in the pelvic bone, right behind the fifth lumbar, just missing major nerves and arteries on the way down.
So I was helicoptered up to the University Hospital in Iowa City where they did an exploratory surgery. I’ve got a big scar down the middle of my abdomen all the way from the sternum down to the pelvis, where they opened me up to see what happened. The bullet went in just to the left of my nipple on the right side and it ended up down by my fifth lumbar as could bes seen on the x-rays. Well, they said, “What did it go through? We better go in and see what’s going on in there, see what needs to be repaired.” So I was conscious and awake until they put me out for the surgery.
A few days afterwards while I was still in the hospital recovering from the surgery, the assistant surgeon came in to check on me and see how I was doing. And he said to me, “You know Tom, you’re really rather lucky” and I was a little bewildered by that, so I said, “I just got shot in the chest. Explain what you mean by being lucky.” And he said, “Well, if you’re going to get shot in the chest at close range with a .44”, he said, “one in a 100,000 people would survive it, and one in a million would come out without any loss of organs or limbs or, you know, as unscathed, basically, as you are.” So I said, “Well, in that context, I certainly see what you mean by lucky. For sure!”
They had not been able to get the bullet out from the top during that exploratory surgery, so three months later I went back and had a second surgery to get the bullet out from the back side. The scar tissue that was encapsulating the bullet was starting to compress some nerves that went to my right foot. This was starting to create some excoriating pain across the bottom of my foot. Fortunately, they were able to remove the bullet and the scar tissue in that second surgery and that got rid of that pain.
As you can well imagine I had some trauma from this experience, without question. I had nightmares. I had flashbacks. I had startle response. I had shaking of my legs in the night. I had all kinds of posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms. I didn’t know it was called that at the time, but that’s certainly what I had. So my own personal need to find a solution to my own trauma was really one of the major motivations for discovering these techniques that I’m sharing with you now. I needed to personally recover from this intensely traumatic, anxiety-producing experience.
I started to explore and look for real solutions that would actually allow me to resolve the trauma, the emotional pain, the anxiety and the fear. As you can imagine I had a hard time opening my front door for about a year.
Clearly I wasn’t meant to die, because I didn’t. And it seems that perhaps what I was meant to do was to discover these powerful and effective and simple techniques for recovering very thoroughly from traumatic experiences. Now I get to share these techniques with you and anyone who wants real recovery from trauma and emotional pain. Who would’ve thought that getting shot in the chest would end up being in some way kind of an asset. But I guess often times traumatic experiences, when properly dealt with, can turn into something actually quite beautiful as it has in this case.
I wanted you to know the origin of and motivation for discovering these techniques. I’ve been able to resolve all of my own traumas so I don’t have any of PTSD symptoms anymore. No nightmares, no flashbacks; all the trauma has been resolved for a long-long time now.
When we have intensely painful experiences we have a tendency to go away from where the emotional energy is intense in our body. As a result we tend not to complete the experience of the energy that the body is creating inside of us. The source of Incomplete Experiences is that the body is creating an intense energy field that for some reason it needs us to experience. However, we are afraid of being overwhelmed by it so we avoid it in whatever way we can. Typically this means repressing it, or disassociating from it, or masking it with a “drug of choice” such as drugs, alcohol, food, sex, prescription drugs, etc.
This is a very useful insight about emotional pain and trauma. Think of it like this. The body is trying to bring us some kind of experiential wisdom by creating the energy field of the intense emotion. This is experiential wisdom not intellectual understanding. But we’re deeply conditioned to avoid this. We’re going the other way, as far away as possible. But the body does not give up on us. It keeps creating that energy. It is saying, “Come on. There’s something here that you need to complete as an experience.” It’s not a cognitive wisdom. It’s an experiential wisdom that the body wants to give us by having us complete the experience, so it keeps creating the energy, creating the energy. We say, “No, no. Maybe later, maybe next Wednesday, maybe never.” So each incomplete experience has an energy field and the nature of these fields is quite different from the energy fields of reactive emotions as you will see from the explanations and graphics that I’m going to share with you in just a moment.
We use the CORE technique for resolving incomplete experiences. CORE is another acronym and stands for Center of Remaining Energy and this is exactly a description of how you do the technique. You go to the center of the remaining energy and you feel down into it. The CORE technique is used to resolve the entire Incomplete Experiences category of not-useful emotions.
So to review… We have two categories of not useful emotions. We have the reactive emotions and we use the SEE technique for resolving those. Then we have the incomplete experiences and we use the CORE technique for resolving those.
Now, the interesting thing about all of this is, that in order to Live the Continuous Experience of Wholeness, you have to become emotionally competent. You have to resolve these fears and traumas. You have to run the anti-virus software (a Human Software Engineering analogy description of using the Pure Awareness Techniques) for eliminating these not-useful emotions. Fortunately, the techniques are fast and easy to learn. You’re going to learn them in the next few pages. They are simple enough that anybody can learn and use them.
It does require a quick training in how to eliminate the not useful emotions because we are deeply, deeply habituated and conditioned to not know how to do that. We are deeply conditioned to do the opposite of resolving them… actually, our conditioning is to keep them.
This article is an excerpt from the eBook – Live the Continuous Experience of Wholeness – by Tom Stone.
Training in Emotional Competence is available on line via live or recorded webinars and also via live in-person seminars around the world. See our international schedule of events both live and on line here – International Events Schedule
This article was revised and update on June. 29, 2014