In the tantric and alchemical traditions, we’re invited into a direct, intimate relationship with our emotions. By doing so, we convert what might appear to be worthless, disturbing, or an apparent obstacle, into gold.
Unlike therapeutic work which seeks to unfold the inner meaning of our emotional experience (wonderful work), the process of transmutation involves a resting in the very core of the energy of the emotion, discovering its spacious, luminous nature.
For a moment, we set aside our need to understand, shift, transform, or heal it. We enter into relationship with it, intimately close, but not so close that we drown and lose perspective. In this way, the emotion reveals its essence as light, transparency, and warmth. We do this not instead of exploring the meaning of our experience, but in addition to it, so that we may touch the full-spectrum of life as a curious, emotional, embodied human being.
There is so much space around our feelings, our emotions, even our thoughts. They are not nearly as solid as they often appear, but of course we must discover this space for ourselves. Not a dead or empty or void-like space, but one filled with aliveness and qualities of compassion, of engagement, of skillful action, of helping others. In this realization, even disturbing emotions offer a pathway into the spaciousness of our own true nature. Even the most difficult emotions become allies and yield to the warmth of true friendship.
It does take some practice to see this, to rewire the old pathways of repression and dissociation, on the one hand, and becoming flooded and seeking relief from emotion on the other. But in the sacred middle, we practice a profound intimacy with our experience, while at the same time not fusing with it. It is more an art than a science, and the canvas is the temple of your very own body.
As we hold and explore within the tension of the opposites of fusion and repression, stay open and curious in the unresolvable nature of the center, rest and creativity are naturally generated, and a new freedom dawns. One that is alive with love, kindness, curiosity, and new vision.