Emotional Alchemy

by Alan McAllister, CCHt PhD-phys

Many years ago I was struggling with a fear that manifested as a tension in the back of my left shoulder. A good friend reminded me that all emotions are an aspect of life force, of love. Imagining the tension to be like ice that melts when you shine the light of loving awareness on it has helped me ever since. This is the essence of emotional alchemy.

The yogic creation story is not very different from the Big Bang theory, except that it starts with consciousness, which then becomes energy and finally matter as it expands into space. Like other forms of energy your emotions are all rooted in a level of Being we call love, no matter how unloving they may feel, because that is the energy of life force, of consciousness, which is the foundation of everything.

Several years ago I went through a period of deep grieving, mixed after a while with anger and fear. During this period I was given experiences of how all these so called negative emotions are forms of love. Lying in bed one morning, in that sweet half awake, but very relaxed space, I was feeling into fear and tension in my body. I noticed that I was mentally labeling this as bad, as something to fight or run away from. When I released that label, it became simply a feeling, a physical experience, like being hungry; a form of life force.

I lay there and felt that life force in my body, without resistance and with some curiosity. This is what fear feels like. I’m still breathing, still alive, perhaps even a little energized, but its not really hurting me. Slowly I notice the second layer of label, the one that says this particular energy is fear. I release that and the feeling changes. I am now experiencing pure life force in my space, almost joyful, very alive, and some part of me knows that I can now use this any way I want to.

To feel into an emotion, to hold it with curiosity, releasing labels and reactions, will allow it to transform. You are simply owning a bit of your own life force and helping it relax back to its original state. This experience is spoken of in different ways through all the traditions. I think of it now as emotional alchemy, which can be done in the vessel of your body, or an external energetic container.

There is really not much to do, except releasing the mental labeling, the binding form. In quantum terms you allow the form to dissolve back into the void from which the pure life force can emerge with a new flavor. All energies inherently move and will release a constraining form when allowed to, just as solar magnetic fields expand and simplify as soon as they emerge from the solar surface. Of course this can release stored energy, as solar flares, or as emotional experience. The trick is to hold the container with loving awareness, allowing the emotions to just be energy and then reclaim it creatively. The unpacking process happens naturally.

Later that day I was sitting in my kitchen when I felt waves of joy pouring over me. I was startled but very grateful and knew that spirit was filling me back in after releasing in the morning. I was being shown what energies were available when I could stop labeling things as bad emotions that I needed to resist and be scared of, and that I was supported in allowing the transformation to happen.

At other times I have had similar experiences with other emotions. All are indeed forms of love and can go back to that basic state. We can do this for ourselves and hold space for others to do it as well.

Along with curiosity I find breathing to be excellent and also a sense of humor. Knowing its possible and practicing makes it easier. The result is more space for joy and aliveness, more space for You.

(© 8/2013)

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