Our adopted Sioux uncle once told me, "Nephew, the longest journey that you will make in your life is from your head to your heart," gently touching his forehead and then his chest.
Linda Francis, my spiritual partner, and I are still on that journey, and so are you. Everyone is on it. The journey into the heart is our future and our only way of creating a future. It is movement toward wholeness, integrity, and compassion. It is the healing each of us longs for, and the healing that each of us must accomplish if we are to move forward into our fullest potential.
Learning to experience emotions is one of the most difficult tasks that can be undertaken. Many people do not know that they are angry, even when rage flows through them like a river. Some do not know that they are grieving, even when sorrow is the only sun that rises for them in the morning. Most people think of themselves as experiencing emotions only when powerfully emotional currents erupt through their lives, disturbing routines devoted to activities, accomplishments, or survival.
Emotional awareness -? becoming aware of everything that you are feeling at every moment -? is very difficult because we experience so much pain each moment. Becoming aware of our emotions means becoming aware of pain. It is challenging, difficult, and unpleasant. It is also more rewarding than most of us can imagine. That is because most of us cannot imagine a life free from compulsions, fixations, obsessions, and addictions, in which we act with an empowered heart and are free of attachment to the outcome.
The alternative to becoming aware of your emotions is to continue masking the pain that you experience. When you do, your pain emerges in unexpected ways?distorting your behavior, changing your words, shaping your perceptions, and creating consequences that are as unwanted as they are difficult.
This alternative no longer works. Our species is undergoing an unprecedented transformation. Its consciousness is changing. Its perceptions are changing. Its values and goals are also changing. Individual by individual, old aspirations are being replaced by new. Comfort and influence are no longer goals that inspire, even those who live in poverty. The new goal is spiritual development. An awareness is emerging in millions of individuals that we are more than bodies and minds, more than enzymes and molecules, and that each of us is more than a temporary presence in the Universe.
This awareness is transforming the human experience. As it does, the determination to explore every aspect of consciousness, and to cultivate those that contribute the most to Life, is replacing the desire to bury painful emotions. This requires emotional awareness.
I am an author by choice, inclination, and aptitude. I love language. I love the rhythm and flow of words and sentences as they clothe ideas and give them expression. I love the challenge of writing without ambiguity, even though I know that is impossible. I know the slipperiness of language, and the delight of it. I know the limitations of my native language, and I honor the capabilities of other languages to shape thought and experience differently. I was born to know and use language. I am a fish and concept is my water.
Shortly after I met Linda eight years ago she told me, "Beloved, language is my second language." Now we have cocreated a book together. Linda's language is relationship. She excels at empathic communication -- she is sensitive to others and she often knows what they feel. She swims confidently in a sea of emotion. Her challenge is articulate expression. Mine is consciousness of emotion. Both of us strive to create authentic power in our own lives -- the alignment of the personality with the soul.
This is the context in which we cocreated this book. In her moments of clarity, Linda's expression is powerful. Her words are appropriate. Her meaning is unmistakable. Her expression is flawless. In my moments of sensitivity, emotions fill my awareness. I cherish people. I feel what they feel as well as what I feel. I love Life.
Linda and I have the same combination of qualities within us that you do?some that are strong and well-developed, and some that are yet to be developed. We have each drawn on our strengths in the cocreation of this book. I wrote the text, and Linda added dimensions to the text that I did not consider.
All of my books in the past have been solely (and souly) text -- words, sentences, paragraphs, and chapters. This book is much more. It includes illustrations, diagrams, empowering thoughts, and, most important, authentic power practices. Authentic power is the alignment of your personality with your soul. You must become aware of what you are feeling in order to create authentic power. These practices are designed to help you do that.
A central practice in this book is a scan of what you are experiencing in your body. It is easy to understand how to do this and why it is important. However, to actually observe your emotions moment by moment will take commitment and effort on your part, no matter how experienced you are with practices.
Some people easily make new practices part of their routine. If you are one of those people, you can immediately incorporate the practices that you feel are most productive for you. Others have not yet developed the discipline to use a new practice, even if they know it is essential for their well-being. If you are in this group, would you consider asking a friend to do an experiment with you? This experiment is a way to support you in remembering to practice what you feel is important. Ask a friend, whom you can think of as a spiritual buddy, to remind you daily of your intention regarding your practices. This is especially helpful with practices that you find yourself resisting.
Go at your own pace. You can select one practice and do it for a day, and then another for the next day, and so on. You can also choose one practice and do that one for a week, or a month, or until you are ready to move on. Utilize the practices in any way that is useful for you. Have your spiritual buddy check in with you every other day. Remember that it is your responsibility to keep your commitment. Your spiritual buddy's commitment is to check in with you, not to take responsibility for you.
Some people will read this book, understand it, and never stop to do the practices, even if they think the practices are good. It will be hard for them to slow down enough to see their great value. Their experiences will be entirely intellectual, and disconnected from their bodies. You cannot become emotionally aware just by thinking about it. Therefore, you will not gain as much from this book if you do not take the time to do the practices, especially if that is difficult for you.
Becoming emotionally aware is a process. Creating authentic power is a lifelong endeavor. The authentic power practices that we have included in this book work for us. When you do them, allow yourself to think about other authentic power practices that might work for you, and create your own. You will discover many. Eventually, your life will become an authentic power practice.
The information in each chapter of this book is part of a whole that is necessary to understanding the heart of emotional awareness. You may think some of the chapters do not apply to you, but, upon reflection, you may be surprised. At the least, they will increase your ability to appreciate other people and their challenges. When you can see the challenges of others with detachment, you are better able to see your own.
Emotional awareness is more than applying techniques to this circumstance or that circumstance. It is a natural expression of an orientation that turns your attention toward the most noble, fulfilling, joyful, and empowering part of yourself that you can reach for. That is your soul.
Cocreation is more than collaboration. Cocreation occurs when individuals bring all that each can offer to a joint effort and, at the same time, open themselves to a larger, or higher, idea that may not have previously occurred to any of them. They do not seek to impose their opinions, but to find a way together to a solution that satisfies all of them completely. They are not content with compromise. They seek the satisfaction of cocreation. They will not cease until each of them says, "Yes. This feels just right to me. This is perfect."
The Heart of the Soul feels that way to both of us. It has been a gift for us to cocreate, and it is a gift for us to share.
Gary Zukav and Linda Francis