Monday 3 September 2012

Managing emotions, spontaneity and the sense of self

We're emotional beings, and there's no getting out of it. Ioften found experience in a university context to be a bit bizarre: here we were, the intellectuals of the world, being erudite, wise and perspicacious, offering our learned informedness to whoever wanted or didn't want it, never admitting to the emotions that actually drove us: egotism, greed, competition and the need for recognition. Blatant and obvious non-communication between emotions and intellect. A model that many students followed, if they were to succeed. I once failed a student for getting 95%. He was obviously baffled and indignantly wanted to know what I meant. My answer was to the point: "You're more interested in the marks than the subject".

We're also creatures of context. Milieu therapy was once a fashion. We respond continuously to our environment, balancing, rebalancing and counter-balancing our internal harmony which is felt, although we take the base state for granted: this is the felt sense of "who I am". We expand some sensitivites, we diminsh others, and ignore more. The sense of  "who I am" is an emotional complex more than anything else. There, somewhere in your chest, throat and tummy, more than your head. If I say something to you that sounds soothing and sincere, your guts will calm, even though your thinking might go on alert,

E.Q. is a commonly used concept, now, yet is a very valuable tool in the coach's toolkit. There are quite a few kinds of intelligences to bring to daily awareness: I.Q. of the first kind, E.Q., spiritual intelligence, ecological intelligence. Let's simplify them, and say they're a sum total of how we respond to daily experience, which necessarily includes experience of the self. Do we experience the "self" or is the self that by which we experience? I have the idea that this is like asking if we side more with quarks, neutrons or charming, strange sub-particles, all going up, down, top and bottom at the same time.

Adept use of logic should blend into emotional dexterity and versatility. It's remarkable that some of the most closed-minded people are very clever scientists.

What's valuable to you is the survival skill you've chosen to keep close by. I was raised in an extremely judgemental context, and much, if not everything, depended on having the upper hand in being right. I learned to use reason and logic not so much for playing chess, but for the survival of my veriest self. I was delighted to discover that kindness, human kindness that brings the heart into the recipe for gracious consciousness, as a most basic ingredient, is even more crucial to the taste for truth than wit.

Biofocusing and spontaneity have much in common: we don't deliberate on seeing, our eyes go to the point of interest automatically. Our hearts recognize more than choose. The emotional knot that's the self will untie to an extent in the event of physical death. What's saved thereafter is what's worth saving. Survival in respect of physical life is bound to be more tricky than survival in respect of spiritual life, when basic fears are literally put to rest .

The problem of authentic living is that it involves a huge tension between the spontaneous self and the mananged self. Coaches who propound the enthusiasm and energy of authentic living mgiht find this to be a cul-de-sac. You can't create emotions to order. The fierce dog, the policeman waving you in, the advert flashing by, the strange cloud over the mountain: you can't predetermine the responses of your guts to these.

In the very gap between the managed self and the spontaneous self lies the way on. This is an educational path. NLP as I understand it, isn't a closed system. It's a strong yet open system, accepting of insights that provide growth and self-development. The model of the outstanding and excellent self can't be a static model. Tricks of shifting awareness and manipulation of consciousness are not the goal: The undiscovered self is essentially mysterious, spontaneous. The discovery of the undiscovered self can be both exciting and horrifying. Tight-rope. Can be fun if you have the guts for it.

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