For the longest time I have a problem in letting go of my negative emotions. I can keep them under control, but it keeps coming up over and over again like a bad dream, or someone suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Freudian theory says that repressed emotions will always find a way to express itself, somehow. Ferenczi’s Trauma Theory says that trauma is “a fixation of the innervations predominating at the moment of the concussion (of the shock).” “The innervations dominant at the moment of trauma become permanently retained as morbid symptoms and indicate that undischarged parts of the affective impulses are still active in the unconscious”. Together they are both talking about the same thing. The energy within that was interrupted from being fully expressed will always find a way to be expressed. Therefore, repressed anger will eventually erupt like a volcano.
For many years, I have always thought that the best way to keep these negative emotions at bay was to accept it and come to terms with it. Understand what causes it, why it arises, then with understanding and acceptance it should go away. SO NOT HAPPENING !!! I misunderstood the Buddhist teachings. What I was doing was still repressing the negative emotions, denying its existence, assuming that it will go away with time. When Buddha said to nip the cause and the effect ceases, he was right. Our perception was the cause of the negative emotion, we created that emotion. If we stop creating that emotion, then it would not have existed. I did not change my thinking/perception, I understood the cause, and then I repressed the emotion.
So what should I do now that I already have that emotion? It would not die unless I release that energy; and if I do, depending on what that negative emotion is, all hell might just break loose upon my “peaceful life”. A calm exterior, but a turmoil within. But I found the key to releasing it, through mindfulness and observation. It works !! I took my anger, I allowed myself to fully experience that episode of anger but at the same time as I am experiencing the anger I took note of what effect the anger had on my physical body, my mental thoughts, and the outwardly manifestation of behavior (but still not acting out my anger towards anyone, or anything). For example, as I am going through the episode, I would note that my breathing increased, the rate of breathing increased as well, my heart would pump faster, my body temperature rises, muscles tighten up, heart hurts, and started having angry thoughts that supported the manifestation of the anger. After it passes, and it will fairly quickly, I felt this HUGE relief coming over me. Depending on what triggered the episode, it may come back, but each time it returns I go through the same process. So I allowed myself to experience the full effects that the anger episode brought out, but without having to act it out. I let the locked up energy dissipate by allowing it passage.
Of course it does not solve the problem why I got angry in the first place, but it sure helps to release it responsibly. I am pretty sure it works the same for all the other negative emotions too. Most definitely, a change in personal perception (Buddha’s way) is still the best method to eradicate negative emotions totally.