Tom wordt regelmatig benaderd door buitenlandse organisaties. Soms beantwoordt hij na een video- of audio uitzending nog vragen. Hieronder een kort stukje van zo'n vraag & antwoord sessie.
Participant: My question is about hidden or delayed emotions. My 6 year old kid cut her head last week. Apparently a backflip in a small, crowded room can result in that. Lots of blood. Lot of screaming. At that moment, all I felt was this is a situation to be handled. Cool head, no shaky hands, clear thoughts about what needs to be done, including calming her down. We went to the ER, got stitches. No big deal at that moment. You’d say, perfect example of keeping it together, right. Except all the stress came out at night, I didn’t sleep, my thoughts were racing around that situation. Suppressed emotions found their way out... so, what went wrong in the first place???
Tom: The reason that it seems that people have hidden or delayed emotions is that they do not understand themselves. Our quite limited perception of ourselves is what we hold on to. Willingly, but that creates problems as well. This self image does not cover at all the reality of ourselves, resulting in missing our own point often times.
If we wish to experience our emotions in the moment, then we have to be in the moment. Our brains or minds, that many really believe is them, is actually constantly distracting us from being in the here and now. Where it becomes obvious that if the mind distracts us, we cannot be the mind. Yet the here and now is the only reality that will ever exist. The rest is in our minds, as a story, nothing more. It does not exist, not here and not now, ever. So to understand ourselves and actually notice what is going on within us and around us, we need to not just be ourselves, we also need to notice what is going on within us and around us. Most people think that they do notice, but they actually constantly interpret what is going on, based on values, which is a double derivation from reality. This is what the mind does, it uses associations, which result in a value based interpretation of the now, from the past. It also results in the triggering of emotions which accompany those value based associations. This is why it is correct that there are no emotions if we are truly in the now. If we notice the now without those value based interpretations, we do not experience emotions either, only peace and joy. That is our true natural state.
As soon as our minds kick in and we decide to be distracted by it and identify with it – this is a decision, a choice, not something forced upon us – we are distracted from the here and now, and from ourselves. This is where things happen that we don't notice until afterwards. It's not that it isn't there, we are not noticing it.
For example, if someone's child gets hurt, the mind associates that with a threat to itself: what it would mean to me if this or that happened to him or her. The associations that implicate what is going on, might happen, create fear, which then becomes the driving force in that moment. Fear is an emotion and a result of those value based associations from the past, dragged into the future. And so our focus is immediately on that and the outside world, instead of on ourselves in the now. Whatever happens inside is then ignored for a value based 'greater purpose' in that moment.
It might seem that we are in the now because we feel fear, but in fact a fear is always and only about a perceived threat, about something that does not exist in the present. It is always about the next step. Whatever is in the now is handled quite efficiently and without fear. As an example: someone can live in fear that his partner will leave him one day. But once the partner actually leaves, there is no fear, for it has happened. There can be a number of emotions, but the fear is not present. It might come up later again, but then because of something new.
For a mother, when a child gets hurt, usually the first response is to save the child. So the focus is on the outside and not on the inside. There is no noticing of what is going on within the mother. She is distracted by the now and deals with it, accurately usually, because she is in the now, acting and not thinking in associations. However, the associations about what this occurrence means are still there and are actually the driving force. But they are not noticed in the now. As with anything else that is not dealt with, it will popup again at some point to be looked into and dealt with. In these cases there is simply a delay because of the choice made: saving the child in the now is more important that noticing herself and dealing with her own associations. So they popup afterwards, and for someone that doesn't understand this, it seems that there are hidden emotions. They are not hidden, they are ignored by choice, to be helpful in the now.
How do you deal with those 'hidden' emotions? As I said before, they are communications to ourselves. They are meant as that only. Once that is finally accepted, and not before, we can then see what story they point to. Because emotions are never about the present. What causes a negative emotion, a fear? A perceived threat. What is that threat? Loosing my child. What does that mean to me? That I am identifying myself with it as part of myself. Therefore, losing the child would mean loosing part of myself. Therefore I need to protect myself, which includes the child. But the child is not really part of myself, I include something on the outside. That creates the need for outside control. Yet, in spite of what I want to believe, I have none. It is proven every time something unwanted happens, otherwise they would not. So I live in suppressed fear and everything is okay, but conditionally. When something happens, the first thing to do is correct it, or else. Yet, these happenings also prove that control does not really exist. So afterwards I have to deal with those realisations. All the suppressed fears popup and I start to imagine all those things that got triggered by that event. And that is where those 'hidden' emotions come from, there is no longer a distraction.
Now, the interesting thing is: we don't need to be changing ourselves at all to neutralise those emotions, i.e. those stories. We only have to see and accept what we believe as it is, without holding on to what is 'good or bad'. We don't become monsters if we do, we become honest people that align ourselves with our true values. By nature we would be more friendly and helpful than a million people together at this time. But that requires total honesty to ourselves about ourselves. It requires a letting go of wanting to be a 'good person' in our minds. It requires letting go of ideas that do not match out true intentions and nature. This is a huge challenge for almost everyone. Yet, it is also the most rewarding transformation ever. We hold on to our stories and thus experience all those emotions, blindly reacting to them, hurting others and ourselves. Only because we believe those stories are important. But they are not. The proof is everywhere for us to see. There is more depression, fear and violence than ever before. We are afraid of each other because we project our fears for ourselves unto others. We divide ourselves and then project it outward. This is what we witness every day, everywhere. But we don't have to, it is a choice. One person can change many others. Which example do you wish to be? Will you continue to divide, or start to unite yourself?