Learning to replay and observe the energy of every day interactions frees up space for autonomy and self-actualization.
Have you ever had a difficult interaction where you found yourself overreacting, moving quickly from irritation to anger? Or instead of acknowledging your differences, you harshly judged the other person? Maybe an interaction left you feeling invalidated, insecure, and swept up in the age-old story of feeling not good enough.
Your rational self eventually pulls you out of the emotional miasma and you regain equilibrium. Yet, hopefully you find yourself curious about what occurred to flip the switch from irritation to anger, disagreement to judgment, self-acceptance to invalidation.
We’ve all been there. We’ve all got emotional baggage, and its energy attends every interaction. Unpacked or not, each individual’s emotional baggage is in the room. Beyond our own stuff, we unconsciously tuck other people’s emotional laundry into our suitcase. That’s often what causes us to leap past the edge of rational engagement and response into over-stimulation and reaction.
These unexpected episodes are profound learning opportunities. When meditatively explored with neutrality and curiosity, it’s possible to unpack the energies that lit the fire and take steps to incrementally extinguish them from your energy field.
The Practice: Whose Energy Am I Using?
If you’re willing to bring your curiosity (without self-blame, judgment or shame) to replaying the experience, the inner dialogue and discernment that emerges is incredibly enlightening.
When other times, places and people from your distant or recent past emerge in your awareness, you’re using the unresolved emotional energy from those people and experiences in your current interactions.
1. Use your favorite meditative practice to move your awareness within.
If you’re new to inner work, sit upright with your feet flat on the floor, placing your hands on your thighs, palms down. Breathe gently and fully, through the nose and out the mouth. As you cycle through 5-10 breaths, notice the inward turn of your attention.
2. Gently, quietly, return your awareness to the incident, as if watching the episode on a movie screen. Observe your side of the interaction. Remember, no judgment. Simply observe.
Does my behavior, language, reaction, stance, position, remind me of another time and place? (example: the arguments you often have with your spouse or partner)
Did the behavior, language, reaction, stance, position of the other person trigger memories of someone else in my life? (example: my father used to act this way with me)
Does my reaction have entangled tendrils of emotions from other times and places? (example: the rage you feel when your boss blames you for mistakes made by your colleagues)
3. Again, without judgment or blame, imagine creating an imaginary flower, three feet in front of your torso, outside of your energy field. Direct the emotional energy belonging to your boss, partner, spouse, father—whoever came up in your meditation—onto the flower. Hand the flower to the other person or people.
4. Gently, without judgment or blame, own your unresolved emotional energy. Imagine compressing the energy into a softball-sized bundle and send it down into the Earth for recycling. You’re letting go.
5. Imagine greeting the other person in your difficult interaction with warmth and gratitude. He or she has served as a catalyst for your growth and evolution.
6. Close the meditation with a few gentle, cleansing breaths.
As you internalize this practice, you’ll shift and evolve your emotional energy with increasing ease and grace. You’ll know that each of these experiences are opportunities to clear out, resolve and let go of energy, emotion and unresolved conflicts. You’ll create space and awareness for increased presence, autonomy and resourcefulness for meeting life’s experiences.