by Justin Faerman
Justin Faerman is a visionary change-agent, entrepreneur
and healer dedicated to evolving global consciousness,
bridging science and spirituality and spreading
enlightened ideas on both an individual and societal
is the co-founder of Conscious Lifestyle Magazine and a
sought after coach and teacher, known for his pioneering
work in the area of flow.
is largely focused on applied spirituality, which is
translating abstract spiritual concepts and ideas into
practical, actionable techniques for creating a deeply
fulfilling, prosperous life.
"When dealing with
remember you are not dealing
with creatures of logic,
but creatures of emotion."
It has been said that until you learn to control your emotions, they
will control you.
This is because virtually
all human behavior is motivated by the pain/pleasure principle,
which states that:
All behavior is
driven either by the act of seeking some perceived pleasure or
the avoidance of perceived pain and the avoidance of pain is
virtually always a stronger driver than the possibility of
When looked at through
this lens it becomes clear why fear and other negative
emotional states are such powerful and often self-limiting and
self-destructive forces in our lives:
states are uncomfortable, and often painful to experience, which
means we will avoid people, situations and circumstances
that trigger them like the plague.
For most people this
translates to things like being afraid to quit the job they hate for
something better because they have a fear of the unknown or not
pursuing their passions and dreams in a big way because they are
afraid of failure and not trying means that they can't fail, or not
forming deep meaningful connections with other people because they
have a fear of rejection.
As you can see from these
examples, this leads to all sorts of behavior that keeps us from
living lives that are wildly fulfilling, often sacrificing our
deepest desires to stay within the limits of our comfort zone, lest
we trigger any uncomfortable or painful emotional wounds.
This limits both our
personal and spiritual development because what we need to do to
grow and expand along those lines often triggers insecurity and fear
within us as we are stretched outside our comfort zones.
But the irony is that this dance between pain and pleasure is
a double-edged sword, because ultimately the healing and
transcendence of fear and old emotional wounds and patterns leads to
great joy, connection, confidence, fulfillment, success and growth,
which are all strong pleasure drivers, and what we all secretly or
not so secretly crave.
As you release fear and
old emotional patterns, I can guarantee that your life will get
They tend to act like
storm clouds - obscuring our perception and blocking the sun from
shining into your life. When they finally pass, you find that
everything is brighter, warmer, more enjoyable and rich.
And because emotions
so heavily influence our decisions and the decisions we
make control what we experience in our lives and ultimately our
destiny, working through fear and other limiting patterns reliably
leads to major positive shifts as we align ourselves with a more
expansive, free and joyful version of reality.
Fear and Other Emotions
As with most things in life, it is the path of least resistance that
gets the best results, and this is especially true when it comes to
working with emotions.
Whatever you resist,
persists and yet this is how most people deal with fear
and other negative emotional states.
What I've learned over
the years helping clients heal deep emotional wounds is that every
negative emotion we experience is a reflection of a deeper, unhealed
aspect of ourselves.
When we trace these
feelings back to their source, we find their cause, which can
ultimately be healed and released, the process of which erases the
emotional charge altogether.
This means lifelong
patterns of fear, insecurity, worry, shame and so on can be
eliminated rather quickly simply by letting go, understanding there
is a deeper wisdom at play and ultimately looking within to discover
There is a beautiful quote from
Eckhart Tolle where he states
"Life will give you
whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your
consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need?
Because this is the
experience you are having at the moment."
I find this to be a
helpful perspective for working through fear and other negative
emotions because it reminds us that when they surface, they are
actually seeking resolution.
And, like Eckhart
observed, this deep inner healing work is perhaps the fastest path
to not only the evolution
of consciousness, but also to a
life filled with a deep sense of joy, peace, self-love, connection
with yourself and the world around you and almost effortless growth
and expansion in whatever direction you choose.
Working Through Fear and Eliminating Negative Emotions
It is love, not time, that heals all wounds because it is the
lack of love for ourselves and others that creates all wounds.
All fears are
self-created. We know this because what one person finds scary
another finds exciting or even boring. Therefore there is no
objective determination of what is worthy of fear.
It is our subjective
interpretation of events that labels them fearful or worthy of
any other emotional reaction for that matter.
This means that we can change our conditioning around an event,
person or circumstance that removes the fear or any other
negative emotion that we'd rather not experience. And one of the
easiest ways to do this is by transforming our negative
experience of someone or something (including ourselves) into
one of love.
We can literally
train ourselves out of the experience of fear, shame, worry,
anger or anything else for that matter.
This is because our
nervous system is literally conditioned to react to certain
stimuli in much the same way we originally or most often
choosing a different reaction, or even more powerfully, by
letting ourselves have a deep, somatic experience of love in the
face of fear, we can reprogram our nervous system in a positive
direction that eliminates any negative emotional response.
Exercise: Healing Emotional Wounds
with Unconditional Love
Love begets love and so the best way to begin to retrain your
body and mind to begin reacting with unconditional love is to
give yourself a direct experience of it.
And by bringing the
experience of love to our deepest emotional wounds we can
release years of conditioning, trauma and stuck energy in a
remarkably short period of time.
Think of a
significant past event, situation or person (which can
include yourself) where there is some kind of negative
emotional charge (anger, fear, shame, jealousy, hate,
rage, anxiety, worry, etc.), hurt, grievance or trauma
and simply observe what comes up.
or judge, simply mindfully observe what you are
experiencing, feeling and remembering.
Then after a
few moments, tell yourself "And I love that this
happened to me," (it can help to say this out loud), and
let yourself move into a state where you actually begin
to feel love in your body for yourself, the
situation/experience and anyone involved.
yourself feel and drop into an authentic experience of
love - as it must be genuine for this to work.
feeling of love deepens, let yourself move into a
feeling of forgiveness for yourself, the
situation/experience and anyone involved.
As you move
deeper into the authentic experience of love and
forgiveness, it reconditions the way your nervous system
is wired to respond and heals the emotional wound around
the incident/experience permanently.
Emotions are not static, they shift and change in an
instant and this exercise allows us to re-imprint how
our nervous system experiences old memories from one of
pain to neutrality or even joy.
practice by taking a minute to meditate and observe what
good has come of this experience that you may not have
challenge yourself to look at the experience through new
eyes and discover positive things that you may have
previously been unable to see.
This helps to
further re-pattern your mind and nervous system to
change the imprinting of the experience from something
negative to something positive.
technique can also be used in real time to deal with
reactions that come up in the present moment as well.
regularly begin to meet all fear and negative emotional
responses with love, you literally train your body and
mind out of the experience altogether.
This work gets easier over time and most people have no
trouble staying motivated to continue after experiencing
the emotional catharsis and release they experience
after one session.
literally feel yourself evolving, and it is not uncommon
to experience major positive shifts in your life, your
mood and your health after even a single session.
If you find it
challenging at first, stick with it as it may take a few
attempts before you are able to really let yourself move into a
space of authentic love.
After all, you are
undoing years or perhaps even decades of emotional conditioning.
The art of cultivating unconditional love is at the core of our
personal evolution and spiritual development, and so I recommend
that you learn everything you can about it, which will help you
on your journey of moving more deeply into the experience.
A great starting
point is the work of Harold W. Becker, who covers many
important practices and distinctions for cultivating
Stanislav Grof throughout
the 1970's and 80's,
Holotropic breathwork is a
set of practices designed to stimulate the body and mind into
expanded awareness and non-ordinary states of consciousness
frequently experienced by those on LSD and other hallucinogenic
drugs without the use of
Grof developed it as
a successor to his LSD-based psychedelic therapy, following the
suppression of legal LSD use in the late 1960's.
breathwork involves intense rhythmic breathing for extended
periods of time and is usually accompanied by music that is
evocative and conducive to the experience.
Typically about 5-20
min into the process, people will begin to transcend waking
consciousness and slip into expanded states of awareness,
frequently experiencing deep, cathartic emotional healing,
ecstasy and bliss.
Grof claimed that the Holotropic breathing process,
natural inner healing process of the individual's psyche,
bringing him or her a particular set of internal
With the inner
healing intelligence guiding the process, the quality and
content brought forth is unique to each person and for that
particular time and place."
Similar to the
emotional healing practice outlined above, Holotropic breathwork
reliably leads to the healing and release of deep emotional
wounds and trauma, which naturally creates feelings of joy,
ecstasy and bliss as we reconnect with our true nature which is
an expression of unconditional love.
breathing works on other levels as well.
Although our emotional states are in large part governed by our
internal psychodynamics, they are also determined by our
physical health. Breathwork of any kind and specifically
Holotropic breathing, creates a natural high as the body is
infused with life and health-giving nutrients and energy.
The practice infuses
the body with large quantities of oxygen and
Qi (mandarin for "life energy
or force"), which stimulate deep healing, cleansing and
rejuvenation of nearly every system, organ, gland and tissue.
Most people typically
use only about 25% of their lung capacity, which keeps them
chronically under-oxygenated, depleted and their body and mind
operating at below optimal levels, as cells require abundant,
oxygen-rich blood for proper functioning.
During the extended
practice of Holotropic breathing, the body and mind are
essentially supercharged with oxygen and Qi, which reliably
leads to elevated emotional states.
While it is possible to practice Holotropic breathing on your
own, it's best to experience it for the first time under the
guidance of a trained facilitator in order to get the hang of it
and understand the subtleties of the process.
A quick google
search should help you locate a workshop, training or
facilitator in your area and there plenty of videos online
documenting the process.
Movement and Dance
Ecstatic movement and dance have long been used by indigenous
cultures from around the world as a way to elevate
consciousness, release emotional trauma and blockages, and
induce states of bliss, ecstasy, oneness and expanded awareness.
Similar to Holotropic
breathwork it induces healing in a variety of ways both on an
emotional, spiritual, psychological and physical level.
Ecstatic movement and dance are different from normal movement
and dance in that they are typically spontaneous and non-linear,
meaning that there is no "move" or pattern to follow.
Instead, the natural
impulses and intuitions of the body are allowed spontaneous,
real-time expression, which translates to letting whatever feels
good or right in that moment guide your expression and movement.
This could range from subtle shaking to wild arching movements
of the limbs and spine to complete stillness and everything in
between. There is no form, only formlessness and spontaneity.
While it is not fully
understood how and why ecstatic movement and dance are such
powerful healing tools, they have been used for thousands of
years to reliably induce states of ecstasy, bliss, catharsis and
Best of all they are fun, safe and require no training to become
an expert, although you can certainly get better at the process
of letting go and becoming more self-expressive over time.
Part of the reason why ecstatic movement and dance are such
powerful modalities is that they tend to remove energetic
blockages in the meridian and nervous systems of the body.
philosophy explains that energy can and does become trapped in
our bodies along our meridians and throughout the nervous system
in response to both everyday stress and old emotional wounds
that we have not yet let released.
This is the
foundational idea behind the practice of acupuncture, which is
aimed at freeing this trapped or blocked Qi in the body through
the use of strategically inserted needles, which stimulate and
balance the meridians and often lead to profound mental,
emotional and physical healing.
Ecstatic movement and dance work in much the same way as
acupuncture as the rhythmic shaking, dancing and movement of the
body works out these blockages by stimulating the meridians and
nervous system without the use of needles.
If you observe a baby
for any length of time you'll notice they are constantly
wriggling and shaking somewhat spasmodically.
This is actually
emotional energy running through their nervous system and
meridians releasing themselves organically from the body in a
more mellow form of ongoing ecstatic movement.
It's a natural
process of the body to release emotional energy through
movement, but seeing as how most of us learn to censor our
self-expression as we get older to fit in with the expectations
of societal and cultural norms, that spontaneous emotional
release and expression becomes stifled, creating energy
imbalances in the body.
Ecstatic movement and dance allows us that freedom of movement
and expression we deeply crave and is a powerful tool for the
healing and release of fear, and for that matter, any negative
Exercise: Healing Fear and Negative
Emotions with Ecstatic Movement and Dance
1. Find a space
either indoors or out where you can move wildly or freely
without injuring yourself, and put on music you enjoy that
makes you want to move or dance.
This can be done
without music, however, most people tend to find it helps
2. Spend 5-10 minutes or more moving or dancing in whatever
way shape or form feels most natural and pleasurable to you
in the moment.
If you are not
sure what to do at first you can begin by letting your body
shake somewhat forcefully all over. Then as you get into a
flow and begin to loosen up, start expressing whatever type
of movement intuitively feels right in that moment. Don't be
afraid to really let yourself go and get into it.
The more you are
feeling the somatic experience of it all and the less you
are thinking about everything the better.
3. When it feels right stop, and become totally still either
standing straight up in a relaxed position or laying flat on
your back with your arms and legs stretched out in a
4. Be still and let yourself feel and tune into the energy
coursing throughout your body and in the immediate field
Remain in this
state as long as you like.
At this point, if you
really let yourself go and got into it, you'll likely feel intense
ecstasy, bliss and energy moving and surging throughout and around
Often times old emotions
come up and are released either during or after the ecstatic
movement and dance session, and if they do for you be sure to give
yourself space to work through whatever is present.
If something is intense,
feel free to combine exercises and move into a space of love and
forgiveness and use that as a tool to work with whatever is present.
Ecstatic movement and dance can be proactively used to clear out
fear and old emotional wounds as well.
1. Think of a
significant past event, situation or person (which can include
yourself) where there is some kind of negative emotional charge
(anger, fear, shame, jealousy, hate, rage, anxiety, worry,
etc.), hurt, grievance or trauma and simply observe what comes
Don't resist or
judge, simply mindfully observe what you are experiencing,
feeling and remembering.
2. Then begin the ecstatic movement and dance practice outlined
previously from step one.
In this way, you can more
rapidly work through old emotional patterns and memories without
waiting for them to surface on their own, which may take time and is
heavily influenced by the degree to which they are being repressed,
either consciously or unconsciously.
Like the unconditional love practice, this technique can also be
used in real time to heal and clear fear or any other negative
emotional response that comes up in the present moment as well...