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Chapters 12 - End

Emotion is presented in chapter 5 as one of
four primary realms of the manifest domain,
which include: physical matter (including 3-
dimensional space and time), image, thought
and emotion. It is suggested that these
realms are enfolded within each other in the
frequency domain and are read out as separate
experiences only by the mathetical lens of
the brain.

This model or idea of emotion suggests that
emotion is part of a multidimensional
phenomenon, that it is part of a
constellation of events--some of which appear
to occur sequentially, and some of which
appear to occur simultaneously, or more
accurately, synchronously. It also implies
that emotion exists simultaneously in
physical time and metaphysical timelessness
(i.e., in the frequency domain) in precisely
the same way that a photon of light exists
both in time and in timelessness (time stands
still at the speed of light), or in the way
that a holographic image exists both in its
unfolded state (in the image produced when
the reference beam shines through the
hologram) and in its enfolded state (stored
within the hologram).

It appears that the phenomenon we call
emotion is but one aspect of a three-phase
chain of events and processes: (1) a
stimulating event; (2) evaluation of the
event by the organism; and (3) the organism's
response. A flow chart reflecting the
relationship I see between these three
phases, as well as their components is shown
in figure 16.
Most theories of emotion assume explicitly or
implicitly the presence of some kind of
stimulus responsible for triggering or
generating emotion. James was the first to
recognize a relationship between stimuli, the
subjective experience of emotion, and
My thesis . . . is that the bodily changes
follow directly the PERCEPTION of the
exciting fact, and that our feeling of the
same changes as they occur IS the emotion.
(1884, p. 13)

Figure 16. A three-phase chain of events
which constitutes the phenomenon of emotion.

In this definition of emotion, James uses the
phrase "perception of the exciting fact" to
represent what most authors call "stimulus."
Robert Plutchik (1980), on the other
hand,introduces the term, "stimulus event" t
o represent the same phenomenon. I have some
difficulty with each of these terms: "fact "
suggests something static with no beginning
or end; "stimulus" is too sterile, too
clinical; and "stimulus event" seems
redundant. I prefer to use the term
stimulating event, with the understanding
that it has the following characteristics:

• A stimulating event can be any
happening in the frequency domain that
registers an impression--directly or
indirectly-- upon any of the organism's
• A stimulating event can occur either
internally or externally with respect to the
organism--that is, it can occur within the
inner realm or outer realm of existence.
• A stimulating event may be either
transient or permanent in nature. A transient
event is one involving change that is of
temporary duration, moving from state A to
other states and returning back to state A
again (roughly speaking) at the end of the
event. Examples of transient events are:
compressing and relaxing a spring; all cyclic
events. A permanent event is one involving
irreversible change, moving from state A to
other states, remaining in some state other
than state A at the end of the event-- such
as death.
• The onset of a stimulating event may
be instantaneous or gradual. Examples of
events with instantaneous (or nearly so)
onsets are: a bolt of lightening; sudden
trauma, such as personal injury or the death
of a friend; or a threatening gesture made by
a menacing-looking stranger on the street.
Examples of events with gradual onsets are:
puberty; growing old; and seasons of the
• The ending of a stimulating event may
likewise be instantaneous or gradual.
Examples of events with instantaneous (or
nearly so) endings are: automobile accidents;
imprisonment (one is either in or out of
prison) ; or growing old. Examples of events
with gradual endings are: illness, puberty;
and seasons of the year.
• The duration of the manifestation of
the stimulating event can range from minute
fractions of a second to infinity.
• A stimulating event can manifest in
many different forms; and impressions from
such an event can register in any or all of
the primary realms of the manifest domain--
physical, intellectual, visual and/or
emotional--and in both inner and outer realms
of these domains. It can take the form, for
example, of a physical event manifesting in
the organism's environment, such as an
unusual sound-- whether unfamiliar, or
unusually pleasant or harsh or loud. Or,
internally, it can take the form of a “mood
altering" chemical ingested by the organism,
or nutritional deficiencies or excesses which
affect the internal state of the organism. It
can also take the form of thought (an idea);
or an image--registered either through inner
or outer vision.
• A specific memory can be a powerful
stimulating event. The memory of a traumatic
event, for example, can serve to stimulate
the emotional response appropriate to that
event were it to happen in the present.
• Imagination is another powerful
stimulating event. When you imagine yourself
to be in a situation that would constitute a
stimulating event in the manifest domain, the
effect upon you is the same (to the extent of
your ability to imagine being in that
situation) as if the event were actually
transpiring in the manifest domain. This is
basic to Stanislov’s concept of method
acting. I t is also basic to the phenomenon
of being swept up and moved emotionally by a
fictional account of life portrayed through
drama on stage or in film.
• Witnessing emotional energy flowing
through another being can also, through a
process of resonance, serve as a powerful
stimulating event.


The evaluation phase appears to involve: (1)
the impressions which the stimulating event
registers on the organism's receptors—both
within and beyond the organism's conscious
awareness; ( 2 ) the organism's
interpretation of the impressions; (3) the
organism's appraisal of its interpretation;
(4) the formation of a belief about the
nature and likely effect upon the organism of
the stimulating event, i.e., the organism's
commitment to an idea of the nature and
significance of the stimulating event; and
(5) confirmation of the belief.
These phenomena in the evaluation phase occur
more or less sequentially and sometimes very
rapidly--particularly when the stimulating
event is straightforward and familiar. In the
case of unfamiliar or complex stimulating
events, the evaluation process becomes
protracted; the organism may ponder any one
of the steps in the evaluation process for
varying lengths of time, occasionally looping
back to the stimulating event--or the
impressions of the event if it has ended--in
the confirmation process. However, once a
commitment has been made to an idea of the
nature of the event as well as its
significance, the organism's response is
precipitated immediately.
Emotion is extremely limited during the
evaluation phase. I do not mean weak; I mean
limited. We can experience certain
anticipatory states, such as curiosity,
wonder, hope, dread and fear; we can also
experience states associated with the
unexpected, such as surprise, shock,
disbelief and confusion. I say this both from
experience and from the premise that an
organism cannot relate fully in an emotional
way to any event or situation until that
event has been evaluated and a commitment has
been made to the total idea of the event and
its significance.

A number of authors make reference directly
or indirectly to the role and function of
evaluation in the generation of emotion.
(See, for example, Leeper 1948, 1970; Arnold
1950; Plutchik 1962, 1980; Pribram 1970; and
Stanley-Jones 1970.) I find the work of
Leeper and Arnold to be the most relevant to
and compatible with the concepts I'm
presenting here. Their approaches, although
quite different from mine, throw light on the
physiological aspects of the evaluation
process and corroborate much of what I am
It is useful to consider impressions to be
the reception of waves of information
generated by the stimulating event; such
waves radiate specific information within
each of the manifest realms. Impressions thus
can take on many different forms and can
register in any--or all--of the manifest

Impressions generally appear to come from the
manifest domain--partly because we believe
that to be the place where the event is
happening, In actuality, impressions of an
event come from both the manifest domain and
the frequency domain. Pribram proposes how
this might happen at the neurophysiological

Essentially, the [holographic] theory reads
that the brain at one stage of processing
performs its analyses in the frequency
domain. This is accomplished at the junctions
between neurons not within neurons. Thus
graded local waxings and wanings of neural
potentials (waves) rather than nerve impulses
are responsible. Nerve impulses are generated
within neurons and are used to propagate the
signals that constitute information over long
distances via long nerve fibers. Graded local
potential changes, waves, are constituted at
the ends of these nerve fibers where they
adjoin shorter branches that form a feltwork
of interconnections among neurons. Some
neurons, now called local circuit neurons,
have no long fibers and display no nerve
impulses. They function in the graded wave
mode primarily and are especially responsible
for horizontal connectivities in sheets of
neural tissue, connectivities in which
holographic-like interference patterns can
become constructed.
Aside from these anatomical and physiological
specifications, a solid body of evidence has
accumulated that the auditory, somatosensory,
motor, and visual systems of the brain do in
fact process, at one or several stages, input
from the senses in the frequency domain. This
distributed input must then, in some form,
perhaps as changes in the conformation of
proteins at membrane surfaces, become encoded
into distributed memory traces. The protein
molecules would serve the neural hologram in
the same way as oxidized silver grains serve
the photographic hologram. (1978)
It is sometimes impossible to know the source
of your impressions, except in retrospect.
Your life is filled with events moment-to-
moment. You are constantly receiving
impressions--overlapping waves of
information. When you are moving through a
period of life which has, in Bohm’s terms, a
high density of events, it is more difficult
to sort out which impressions are associated
with which events.

Both James and Lange gave a great deal of
their attention to the internal processes at
work between the stimulating event and
emotional response. Lange wrote:
. . . We have in every emotion as sure and
tangible factors: (1) a cause--a sensory
impression which usually is modified by
memory or a previous associated image; and
(2) an effect--namely, the above mentioned
vaso-motor changes and consequent changes in
bodily and mental functions. And now we have
the question: What lies between these two
factors; or does anything lie between them?
If I start to tremble when I am threatened
with a loaded pistol, does a purely mental
process arise, fear, which is what causes my
trembling, palpitation of the heart, and
confusion; or are these bodily phenomena
aroused immediately by the frightening cause,
so that the emotion consists exclusively of
these functional disturbances of the body?
The answer to this question is obviously not
only of far-reaching significance in the
psychology of the affections, but also of the
greatest practical importance for every
physician who has anything to do with the
pathological results of violent emotions.
(1885, pp. 63-64)
My answer to Lange's question as to what lies
between cause and effect, given the model I'm
presenting here, would be: interpretation,
appraisal and confirmation (the latter two to
be discussed later).
Interpretation of impressions of a
stimulating event along with the organism's
appraisal of the interpretation are the two
most decisive factors in determining the
specific emotion (or quality of experience)
the stimulating event will precipitate.
In short, interpretation is the organism's
construction of reality, i.e., the way the
organism puts the impressions together to
form its idea of the source of the

Interpretation appears to involve all three
instruments of intelligence identified in
chapter 7: awareness, memory and imagination.
Two processes seem to be engaged: (1) sorting
the impressions which will be registered in
conscious awareness from those which will
not; and (2) formation of the registered
impressions (information) into gestalts or
ideas of the nature of the stimulating event.
All of this transpires, of course, within the
matrix of the organism's paradigm, and the
entire process is programmed by the dictates
of the paradigm.

In the sorting process, as the waves of
information generated by the stimulating
event impinge upon the organism's receptors,
it appears that the organism "sifts out" the
nonessential and censored impressions and
registers in conscious awareness only those
impressions it believes to be essential in
relating to the event. Neurologically, there
is evidence that the reticular formation is
at the center of this sorting process;
programmed by the slow neurons, the reticular
formation--which stands at the pinnacle of
the spinal cord and functions as a gateway to
the rest of the brain--chooses selectively
which afferent (incoming) messages will get
through to the rest of the brain for

Once registered, the impressions are
partitioned by a phenomenological sorting
process (perhaps a function of the
mathematical lens of the brain?) into
coherent gestalts that become ideas.
Neurologically, I would imagine that the
formation of impressions into gestalts is a
holographic process involving the entire
brain, or at least the cooperation of several
major structures simultaneously, with each
structure projecting coherent vibrations
carrying specific information about the
central idea (compare this central idea with
the object/image in holography) into the
center of awareness to be superimposed into a
single image or idea--which becomes the
organism's global interpretation. These ideas
need not be labeled or associated with words
for this process to transpire; indeed, in the
case of a simple, straightforward stimulating
event, words are not involved in any aspect
of the evaluation process.
The importance of ideas in the generation of
emotion was first suggested by James. While
he held that emotion was nothing more than
physiological sensation associated with
bodily changes, he also held that it is the
presence of ideas that triggers such bodily
. . . Most occasions of shame and many
insults are purely conventional, and vary
with the social environment. The same is true
of many matters of dread and of desire, and
of many occasions of melancholy and regret.
In these cases, at least, it would seem that
the ideas [italics mine] of shame, desire,
regret, etc., must first have been attached
by education and association to these
conventional objects before the bodily
changes could possibly be awakened. And if in
these cases the bodily changes follow the
ideas, instead of giving rise to them, why
not then in all cases? (1884, p. 18)

The task of interpretation is an extremely
difficult one; and the higher an organism is
on the phylogenetic ladder, the more
difficult the task. Primitive organisms exist
in simpler environments; they have less
information to process and interpret.
Few authors consider interpretation as a
separate process in the generation of
emotion. Most, such as Arnold (1950) and
Leeper (1970) include interpretation as an
integral part of the appraisal process.
Interpretation, as presented here, does not
involve placing value of any kind on the
stimulating event; that is the function of
appraisal. I base this distinction between
interpretation and appraisal on the premise
that nothing can be valued or disvalued until
its existence has been established through
the process of interpretation of impressions.
In short, interpretation involves the
question "what's happening?" and appraisal
involves the question "what does this event
mean in my life, i.e., how will it affect
me?" The process of appraisal involves many
of the same tools as the process of
interpretation. Appraisal requires, however,
that the tools used to interpret the single
event be applied at a much higher level of
abstraction--at the transpersonal level--
taking this event into the context of the
broader spectrum of the organism's life,
weighing the significance of this event
within the context of all the other events
the organism has experienced.
Appraisal is a major function of the
organism's paradigm. It appears that the
belief system we refer to as a paradigm may
consist of two subsystems: one that
influences how the organism will interpret
the nature of the stimulating event, i.e.,
what is happening; the other dictates the
value attached to such an event, i.e., how
the organism feels about what is happening--
particularly whether the organism feels
positive or negative about the event. The
basis of the value attached to such an event
thus lies in the organism's memory--whether
that memory was gained through previous
experiences of a similar nature since birth,
or whether the memory came into this
existence, along with the organism, through
the information already encoded in the DNA
molecules of its cells.

Imagination is also involved in the appraisal
process; for it is imagination that enables
the organism to look into the future and
anticipate the consequences of the
stimulating event. Imagination is integrally
involved with memory, in that the organism
relies to some extent on its memories of the
consequences of similar events it has
experienced in the past.

A number of authors have addressed the issue
of the role of appraisal (some call it
"evaluation") in the generation of emotion.
Among the most noteworthy are: Arnold (1950,
1960), Leeper (1948), Plutchik (1970, 1980),
Pribram (1970), and Young (1961). Arnold,
Leeper and Pribram examine the "emotional
mechanisms" of the appraisal process; their
findings appear to corroborate the model I'm
proposing here; they are at least compatible
with it.

Belief Formation: Confirmation of
Interpretation and Appraisal:
Commitment to an idea of the stimulating
event and its significance does not come
immediately to the organism --for at least
two reasons: (1) the steps of interpretation
and appraisal take time to process in the
manifest domain; and (2) the organism does
not believe the first interpretation or
appraisal it makes in most situations--nor
often the second or third.

Once the organism forms a tentative idea of
the nature and significance of the
stimulating event, it must --in most
situations--go back once more to examine the
event in view of the tentative idea to see if
the interpretation and appraisal still hold.
A period of time has elapsed since the
initial impressions impinged upon the
organism. A belief, after all, is a memory by
the time it is formed, as suggested in
chapter 4. The organism must establish that
nothing changed while its central attention
was occupied with interpreting and appraising
the event.

It appears to be the nature of living
organisms not to trust initial impressions--
especially if these impressions are
associated with an unexpected or novel event.
We have all had experiences in which our
initial reaction to something unexpected--
whether positive or negative—was disbelief.
We can stand face-to-face with such an event
and refuse to accept the validity of the
impressions we are receiving. I t simply
takes time for an organism to adjust to the
unexpected. During such periods of disbelief
we tend to become disoriented and confused--
especially if the disbelief continues for an
extended period. It is almost always self-
limiting duration--unless, of course, we
refuse to accept the occurrence of the event
and enter a “psychotic" reality in which we
pretend within ourselves that the event never
occurred, behave as if it didn’t, and soon
forget that it did.

Confirmation appears to include a number of
activities which tend to occur sequentially,
although the sequence is interrupted over and
over by looping back on previously processed
activities until the final commitment to an
idea of the event is made. These activities
• reexamining the stimulating event (or
memory of the impressions of the event if it
has ended);
• reviewing memory for relevant
previous experience with similar events ;
• gathering further data, if needed;
this can be done in two ways: (1) searching
the periphery of awareness for other
impressions that may be associated with the
event; and (2) offering a gesture of
intent--a "partial movement" in the direction
of the response under consideration—in order
to stimulate a "partial counter-response" in
the 'environment (poking something to see how
it responds, so to speak);
• reexamining the dictates of the
paradigm to determine whether the impressions
of the stimulating event may necessitate any
alteration in the structure of the belief
system--and making such adjustments as
needed; and
• making final commitment to an idea of
the event.


Since each organism is an integral part of
the frequency domain, the seeds of the
organism's response germinate within the
frequency domain. Furthermore, each response
is, in turn, a stimulating event within the
frequency domain which, accordingly,
influences the frequency domain--including
the part of the frequency domain that
constitutes the organism responding!
The organism's response manifests in all four
Realms: emotional, physical, intellectual and
visual. This is true even in the case of
suppressed expression; the response exists
even if it takes the form of self-control.

In addition, within each of these realms, the
organism's response manifests in both inner
and outer realms --and in qualitatively
different forms. This is reflected in figure
16: two kinds of responses are associated
with each realm, represented by the boxes at
the bottom. The left box represents the
organism's inner response in each case; the
right box the outer response.
Activities during the evaluation phase tend
to be linear, logical and sequential--the
kinds of activities we tend to associate with
the left brain. Activities in the response
phase tend to be in accordance with the Tao,
subject to the forms of yin and yang, and
synchronous--the kinds we tend to associate
with the right brain.

Responses vary a great deal in rapidity of
onset as well as duration. Rapidity and
duration are functions of (1) the nature of
the stimulating event; (2) the nature, inner
state and activities of the organism at the
time of the stimulating event; and (3) the
particular realm of the response under
consideration. Generally speaking, it appears
that visual response is capable of the most
rapid onset, followed in descending order by
intellectual and physical responses, with
emotional response being the slowest. Also,
at the neurophysiological level, some neuron
receptors continue to fire for an extended
period after the stimulating event has ended.

Emotional Response
Not all emotional responses become manifest
in overt behavior or expression. Papez (1937)
was the first to call attention to the fact
that emotional experience and emotional
expression can be dissociated from one
another in humans. Relying heavily on Bard's
(1929) findings, Papez held that emotional
expression depends on the hypothalamus, while
the subjective emotional experience depends
on the cortex. He believed that his
hypothesized neural circuits could account
for emotion as arising either from cortical
activity or hypothalamic activity. While some
of his ideas about the relationships between
receptors, thalamus, hypothalamus and cortex
still appear to have validity today, the
anatomical mechanisms he hypothesized are

Plutchik (1962) also suggests that expression
and experience can be separated. He goes even
further. He suggests that subjective feelings
are sufficient conditions for emotion, but
not necessary. In other words, a person may
be under the influence of emotion without
being aware of it. Furthermore, physiological
changes are necessary but not sufficient for
emotion to occur. All identified
physiological changes associated with emotion
can be induced by methods in which emotion is
not involved--for example, physical exercise
or illness.

Inner Response.
An inner emotional response, as I am defining
it, is first and foremost a feeling. It is
something experienced inside. It is
metaphysical energy. It is the felt meaning
or holographic compression of one's
impressions, interpretation and appraisal of
the stimulating event.
This is precisely the component of emotion
that James insisted did not exist--except as
the feeling of the bodily changes that follow
the perception of an exciting fact. He argued
. . . without the bodily states following on
the perception, the latter would be purely
cognitive in form, pale, colorless, destitute
of emotional warmth. We might then see the
bear, and judge it best to run, receive the
insult and deem it right to strike, but we
could not actually feel afraid or angry.
(1884, p. 12)

This, to me, is a specious argument. It
sounds most plausible when applied to such
excited states as anger and fear. Applied to
less primitive emotional states, however, it
looses much of its power to convince.
Consider sadness, for example, over the loss
of a friend, or the death of someone you
love. If it were possible to take away all
the feelings of its bodily symptoms, the
sense of loss and resistance to accepting the
loss would still be there to be felt. The
only way to eliminate the feeling of the loss
in such a situation is to abort the grief
process by suppressing emotion (by means of
any of the methods described in chapter 2).

Outer Response.
While inner emotional responses manifest in
the form of feeling, outer emotional
responses manifest in the form of expression.
Emotion is expressed directly in a number of
ways: muscular tension throughout the body,
facial mask, voice tension, tears, breathing
pattern, "body language", and music, to name
a few. It is beyond the scope of this book to
explore in detail the many facets of
emotional expression. Rather, my intent here
is simply to acknowledge that emotional
expression exists as a separate phenomenon in
the process of emotion and point out some of
its dimensions. To date, I believe the best
descriptive accounts of emotional expression
(with the exception of the medium of music)
can be found in Darwin's (1872) work, The
Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals,
and Carroll Izard’s (1971) work, The Face of
Emotion. While Darwin focuses on the origin
or development of the expression of emotion
in humans and animals, Izard focuses on the
neuromuscular components of facial expression
"that occurs so naturally and vividly when
young children experience emotion and so
begrudgingly and sparingly in sophisticated
Physical Response
I make the following distinction between
inner and outer physical responses: inner
responses are those activities and events
which occur literally within the organism's
physical body; outer responses (behavior)
involve the organism's interaction with its
Inner Response. There appear to be only three
primary mechanisms which control most inner
physical responses associated with emotion:
(1) the central nervous sys tem, particularly
the limbic system; (2) the peripheral nervous
system, particularly the autonomic system;
and (3) the endocrine system. Acting in
collaboration at all times these systems
control most of the neurochemical activities
in the brain, as well as the autonomic
activities of the circulatory system,
respiratory system, digestive system,
muscular system, skin, eyes, ears, nose and
throat. Many of these activities are
described in chapter 10.
Outer Response.

As I am defining it, an outer physical
response is a behavioral event; it occurs in
the realm of the organism's interaction with
its environment. Because of its accessibility
to observation and measurement, this is the
realm most thoroughly studied in the field of
traditional psychology. It would be beyond
the scope of this work to describe in any
detail the nature of such behavioral events.
There is, however, much evidence to support
the idea that all behavior is directly or
indirectly goal-directed. Indeed, it could be
said that outer, behavioral responses serve
any of the functions described earlier.

Intellectual Response
A clear distinction can be made between inner
and outer intellectual responses, as I am
defining them. Inner responses are those
intellectual activities which are contained
within the organism, such as thinking to
oneself. Outer responses are those activities
in which the organism is engaged in
intellectual interaction with its
Inner Response.
Inner intellectual responses may or may not
ever become expressed outwardly. My own
experience would suggest that very little of
our inner intellectual workings ever gets
expressed outside ourselves. Inner responses
include: (1) thoughts generated by the
stimulating event, such as rerunning the
event through consciousness in the form of
words and inner “conversations" among
fragmented paradigms competing for
acceptance; (2) speculations about further
possible implications of the stimulating
event yet to be realized; (3) speculations
about possible ultimate outcomes of the
stimulating event; (4) calculating the
likelihood of possible outcomes identified;
(5) making plans for the future in view of
all of the above; and (6) worrying about
possible negative outcomes of the event.

Outer Response.
Employing the principles of logic which
comprise the intellect, the organism
interacts with its environment through the
media of written, spoken and/or symbolic

Many people--far too many--have difficulty
relating to the world because they have not
learned how to respond to stimulating events
in any way other than the inner intellectual
activities described above, Such people tend
to feel powerless to influence their
environment in any positive way and feel
victimized by life. Indeed, they are
powerless until they begin to expand their
skills in responding to the world around
them. Often the first step out of this prison
is to express outwardly one's inner
intellectual activities--directly with
another person, in writing, or symbolically.
More about this later when we look at the
process of "self-integration" in part 4.
Visual Response
A clear distinction can also be made between
inner and outer visual responses, as I am
defining them. Inner responses are those
inner visual activities which occur within
the realm of inner visualization, i.e., those
described in chapter 5. Outer visual
responses are variables in the quality and
substance of conventional vision.

Inner Response.
Inner visual responses take the form of
images, or inner visions. Unfettered by the
laws that govern the behavior of photons of
light, inner visions can take on an infinite
variety of forms--limited only by the
imagination of the creator.
Such inner responses can include: (1)
rerunning the event through consciousness in
the form of images, sometimes searching the
visual memory for details missed the first
time through in hopes of a better
understanding of the event; (2) images of
spatial representations of ideas and
relationships between ideas triggered by the
stimulating event; (3) visual scenarios of
possible ultimate outcomes of the stimulating
event; and (4) visual scenarios of future
plans in view of all of the above.

Outer Response.
Outer visual responses take the form of
changes in the quality and substance of
conventional vision. These changes are the
result of certain physiological changes in
the eyeball and changes in the degree of
dispersion of attention. The physiological
changes in the eyeball are those described in
the previous section on the physiological
correlates of emotion, namely, (1) changes in
the muscular tension in the walls of the
eyeball; (2) changes in the ciliary muscle
tension, which alters the shape of the lens;
and (3) changes in the pupil size.


Whenever a feeling is voiced with truth and
frankness, whenever a deed is the clear
expression of sentiment, a mysterious and
far-reaching influence is exerted.
At first it acts on those who are inwardly
receptive. But the circle grows larger and
The root of all influence lies in one's own
inner being: Given true and vigorous
expression in word and deed, its effect is
The effect is but the reflection of something
that emanates from one's own heart, any
deliberate intention of an effect would only
destroy the possibility of producing it.
--The I Ching, Hexagram 61, Chung-Fu/Inner
Truth, Nine in the Second Place (Wilhelm
Baynes translation)

One measure of intellectual intelligence in
traditional psychology has been the ability
to solve problems. If, as I am suggesting, we
humans are equipped with a faculty which I
call emotional intelligence, it follows that
this intelligence must also have the ability
to solve problems. But what kinds of problems
does emotional intelligence solve? Whatever
they are, for now, let's call them emotional
In this chapter we will look at what it means
to have an emotional problem and what it
means to solve one. We must first, however,
examine the matrix/paradigm within which the
whole emotional problem-solving process
occurs-- as it is experienced and evaluated
by the problem-solver. Furthermore, we must
reexamine the learning process itself and
identify the kind of learning we're talking
about when we speak of developing emotional

The solution of an emotional problem must
necessarily involve change. The most basic
expression of this change, it seems, and
certainly what I consider the most relevant
to the issue of solving emotional problems,
exists in the forms of contracting and
expanding. If this is so, the more we know
about the phenomena of contracting and
expanding, the more we will understand about
the structure of reality and how it can be
influenced toward the "better" (however that
is defined)--that is, how the manifest can be
influenced through direct interaction with
the non-manifest.

Many people believe that growth stops at
physical maturity. This belief tends to be
prevalent among those of us who are
materially oriented, in the sense of
believing that physical reality is all there
is; adulthood is seen to be a relatively
static state that slowly degenerates with age
until death brings relief. Such people tend
to go on doing the same thing day after day
once they achieve adulthood. Indeed, the
ability to do this for a lifetime is believed
by many to be a sign of strength and

The idea of contracting and expanding have
been associated with emotional states from
the time of the Stoics. Chrysippus, one of
Zeno's immediate successors, probably spoke
of "mental pain" as "a fresh belief in the
presence of something bad, by reason of which
men think they ought to suffer contraction."
Certainly he spoke of pleasure as "a
swelling" or "elation. Unfortunately,
Chrysippus saw such contractions and
swellings as the result only of faulty

Thaddeus Golas, philosopher, describes not
only the basic function of expanding and
contracting in our lives, but the subjective
experience of these movements as well :

The basic function of each being is expanding
and contracting. Expanded beings are
permeative; contracted beings are dense and
impermeative. Therefore each of us, alone or
in combination, may appear as space, energy,
or mass, depending on the ratio of expansion
to contraction chosen, and what kind of
vibrations each of us expresses by
alternative expansion and contraction. Each
being controls his own vibrations.
A completely expanded being is space. Since
expansion is permeative, we can be in the
"same space" with one or more other expanded
beings. In fact, it is possible for all the
entities in the universe to be one space.
We experience expansion as awareness,
comprehension, understanding, or whatever we
wish to call it. When we are completely
expanded, we have a feeling of total .
awareness, of being one with all life. At
that level we have no resistance to any
vibrations or interactions of other beings.
It is timeless bliss, with unlimited choice
of consciousness, perception, and feeling. .
. .

When a being is totally contracted, he is a
mass particle, completely imploded. To the
degree that he is contracted, a being is
unable to be in the same space with others,
so contraction is felt as fear, pain,
unconsciousness, ignorance, hatred, evil, and
whole host of strange feelings. At an extreme
he has the feeling of being completely
insane, of resisting everyone and everything,
of being unable to choose the content of his
consciousness. Of course, these are just the
feelings appropriate to mass vibration
levels, and he can get out of them at any
time by expanding, by letting go of all
resistance to what he thinks, sees, or feels.
(1971, pp. 13-15)

The movements of contracting and expanding
have many dimensions or characteristics.
Figure 17 shows some that I have identified
in the literature and in my own observations
of these basic movements.

It is tempting to view contraction as
something that is negative and undesirable
and expansion as something positive and
desirable. Contraction is, after all, often
accompanied by fear, pain and isolation, as
Golas has suggested. This, however, would be
an oversimplification and a distortion. Any
of the dimensions of expansion shown in
figure 17 can be experienced either as
pleasure or pain, depending upon the
circumstances within which the expansion
occurs, Furthermore, contraction is as
necessary as expansion in the universe; just
as the inchworm moves forward by means of
alternative movements of contraction and
expansion along the axis of its body, so do
we move forward through inner spaces by the
alternative movements of contraction and
expansion--if, that is, we know how to relate
positively and constructively to the
experiences of both contraction and

The I Ching paradigm offers insight into the
relationship between contraction and
expansion. In hexagram 32, entitled,
Heng/Duration, duration is described as a
state of movement--that state which endures
the transition from contraction to expansion,
like the phoenix rising from its own ashes:

Figure 17. Dimensions of contracting-
expanding movement

Duration is a state whose movement is not
worn down by hindrances. It is not a state of
rest, for mere standstill is regression.
Duration is rather the self-contained and
therefore self-renewing movement of an
organized, firmly integrated whole, taking
place in accordance with immutable laws and
beginning anew at every ending. The end is
reached by an inward movement, by inhalation,
systole, contraction, and this movement turns
into a new beginning, in which the movement
is directed outward, in exhalation, diastole,
expansion. 61
Not all movement is of this nature, that is,
self-contained and self-renewing, beginning
anew at every ending. For example, it is
possible, by resisting contraction, to
interfere with the natural momentum, rhythm
and flow of a particular movement, thereby
bringing it to a standstill. It takes only
the resistance of a piece of lint to bring a
clock to a standstill; or resistance to
expressing fear, pain or desire to bring an
interpersonal relationship to a standstill.
One theme that will be repeated throughout
this text is that we humans create many
problems for ourselves by resisting
contraction when it is inevitable and
completely natural. We do this, of course,
because we don't want to appear weak or
vulnerable or ignorant or out of control to
people in our lives whose respect we want. .
The price we pay for this respect, however,
is sometimes very high.


There are many forms of learning. Different
skills must be acquired, for example, to
learn to ride a bicycle, to read, to solve
mathematical problems and to build a house. I
want to focus here on what I consider to be
the most central, most significant mode of
learning involved in the process of
developing emotional intelligence: gaining
insight through expanding awareness. We will
be looking at the relationship between
insight and expanding awareness later on. For
now I want to focus on and clarify what I
mean by expanding awareness. There are many
ways to expand awareness. I will focus here
on three methods, and corresponding models,
that have particular relevance for developing
emotional intelligence: releasing binding
energy, peripheral expansion, and central
expansion (central fixation of attention).

The most intense, dramatic manifestation of
expansion in the physical realm is found in
the release of energy when an atom is split
into its component parts. When an atom is
smashed in an accelerator, the "binding
energy” -- the energy involved in holding the
nuclear particles together--becomes freed. We
have seen the intensity of this expansion in
nuclear explosions,

Just as binding energy is needed to hold the
atom together, Bohm, Krishnamurti and other
are suggesting that a huge amount of binding
energy is needed to hold the "thinker"
together. Renee Weber writes that

. . . huge amounts of binding energy are
needed to create and sustain the "thinker"
and to maintain his illusion that he is a
stable entity. That energy, being tied up, is
unavailable for other purposes, pressed into
the service of what Bohm terms "self-
deception” (a phenomenon described in detail
by Buddha as ignorance, avidya, literally
"not really seeing."). Thought, or what Bohm
terms the 3-dimensional mind, mistakenly
believing itself autonomous and irreducible,
requires and hence squanders vast amounts of
cosmic energy on this illusion. Energy thus
pre-empted cannot flow into other grooves. .
. .
Bohm holds out for atom-smashing of a subtler
kind: . . . the death of the 3-dimensional
thinker and his re-birth within the n-
dimensional domain of consciousness. Such an
event would usher in the dynamic state Bohm
refers to, in which creation and dissolution
and creation would flow through us
simultaneously, like quanta of energy born
and borne away in the split microsecond, ever
welling up afresh without being arrested,
clutched at, or sullied. The consequence--
were such a task successful--is a new
paradigm of the universe, of consciousness,
and of human reality. No longer is it a
question of a knower observing the known
across the gulf of knowing which separates
them. That model of consciousness has failed
us through the centuries in which we have
stubbornly clung to it. . . .

. . . The nonmanifest, as Bohm painstakingly
argues, is n-dimensional and atemporal, and
cannot be handled in any way whatever by 3-
dimensional thought. Consciousness
functioning as thought (as opposed to
insight) cannot know truth or compassion at
first hand, and herein lies the root of its
failure to embody these energies in its daily
Only when the individual has dissolved the 3
-dimensional self consisting of gross matter,
can the ground of our being flow through us
unobstructedly. To a theoretical physicist,
the parallel of the state of affairs with
quantum mechanics is evident. Bohm extends
its applicability to psychology, urging on us
the dissolution of the thinker as the highest
priority the seeker for truth can undertake.
. . .

The dismantling of the thinker yields energy
that is qualitatively charged, not neutral or
value-free. It is energy unbound and flowing,
characterized by wholeness, n-dimensionality,
and the force of compassion. . . .
The atom-smashing applicable to consciousness
Bohm and Krishnamurti term "awareness." Such
a process provides consciousness with direct
access to that energy, leading it to
experiential certitude, based on evidence,
that the ultimate nature of the universe is
an energy of love. Mystics have proclaimed
this with one voice.
. . . In many respects the aims of the mystic
coincide with those of the physicist, i.e.,
contact with what is ultimate. But there is
one critical difference. Smashing the atom is
a dualistic enterprise; the physicist
(subject) works on an object considered to
lie outside himself. Changing the object does
not fundamentally change him. By contrast,
destructuring the thinker necessarily
involves the operator or experimenter
himself, for he is the test-object in
question, at once the transformer and what is
undergoing transformation. Hence the
resistance, arduousness and great rarity of
such an event. . . .
. . . The psychological atom-smasher thus
with the saint, who no longer adds to the
collective sorrow of mankind and instead
becomes a channel for the boundless energy of
compassion. Consciousness becomes a conduit
aligned with the energy of the universe,
radiating it to the creature and human world
without distorting it or diverting it for its
own self-centered pursuits. (1978)
From this description, it would seem that
Bohm's "3-dimen-sional thinker" may be in
more-or-less the same state as Golasts
"contracted being." One apparent difference,
however, is that Bohm, basing his model on
atom-smashing, conceives of the process of
releasing binding energy as a one-time event
in which the binding energy is released
suddenly and permanently; this would
correspond with Krishnamurti's idea that
enlightenment must occur suddenly and totally
or not at all. Golas, on the other hand, sees
the processes of expanding and contracting as
ever-changing phenomena, as I do, which can
be used as a basis for gradual personal
growth. I would suggest that both kinds of
expansion occur --both sudden and gradual--in
actual practice.
In peripheral expansion you discover
something new on the periphery of your
awareness--that is, something coming into
your awareness from without--such as being
confronted with an idea you've never before

Robert Neal, my closest associate in this
research, describes (in an unpublished paper)
this kind of expansion in terms of removing

I think of expanding awareness as simply
learning to make the best use of my own
perceptions. For example, if I had lived all
my life wearing side-blinders like the ones
used on team horses, I would have limited
vision. If someone came along and said, "Why
are you wearing those blinders? Take them off
and you can see better," and if I followed
their advice, I would gain instant expansion
of my perceptions. I would probably be a
little confused at first. After all, after
going through 40 years of life with such a
limited focus, I would have to adjust to all
the new input coming in in the periphery. I
might need a little help in learning to deal
with this new input, but gradually I'd become
accustomed to it, and I would marvel at how
much more aware I was of what's going on
around me. I would be experiencing this life
with an expanded awareness.

Your side-blinders can be involuntarily
removed under certain circumstances"
involving surprise or shock. For example, I
was basking in the shower one day, several
years ago, in a house we had only recently
moved into. I was un-aware that the washing
machine robbed the shower of all the hot
water when it came on. I had adjusted the
shower, un-beknownst to me, during the
machine's wash cycle. I didn't even know the
washing machine was on. I had just settled
into wherever I go when warm water pounds on
the top of my head when I was blasted--with
no warning, of course--with what felt ice
water. I will never forget the experience.
The cold water caught me so totally by
surprise that it sent me into a state of
confusion and disorientation for a period of
time. What stood out for me was my
realization that I had involuntarily opened
my eyes--very widely--the instant the cold
water hit 'me. It's not something that I
"thought about," asking myself whether I
ought to open my eyes to check out what's
happening. My eyes sprung open all by
themselves. In contemplating this experience
over the years since, it has occurred to me
that any event that doesn't fit your
expectations of what ought to be happening in
the setting in which it occurs creates fear,
which, among other things, forces you to
"open your eyes”—sometimes opening “inner
eyes” you’ve never used before and were not
even aware that you had. This has happened to
me many times.

In central expansion you narrow the field of
your attention and, in effect, magnify or
amplify something already within the field of
your awareness. Imagine, for example, looking
at a white, blank wall of infinite dimensions
in all directions. From a distance it appears
to be completely devoid of any distinguishing
features. As you move closer to the wall you
detect a tiny speck. Moving closer, you come
to see that it is not a speck at all; it is a
tiny pinhole. Moving even closer, placing
your eye very near the hole, you begin to see
through the hole. Beyond some point, if you
focus fully on what you see through the hole
with central fixation of attention, you see
so clearly what is on the other side of the
wall that you lose all sense of peering
through a hole. You have, in this manner,
expanded your awareness beyond what it was
before; you have discovered aspects of
reality beyond the wall that you were unable
to perceive only moments before. Much of your
learning about the source of emotional pain
comes by way of central fixation, that is, by
gradually becoming aware of something already
within the scope of your awareness--something
you have been avoiding placing your attention

When we hear accounts of a person having an
emotional problem or suffering emotional
distress, there is often an implication--
sometimes slight, sometimes heavy-- that that
person is not as he or she ought to be; that
he or she is somehow a failure, unstable,
unable to manage his or her life properly--
even mentally ill. This attitude, as we have
seen, is the result of beliefs passed down to
us from the Stoics and reinforced by our
country's earliest settlers. Many of us
continue to believe that it is possible and
desirable to avoid emotional distress simply
by willing it away and becoming unemotional;
and if our self-control should fall short of
what is needed to avoid such distress, we
must at least conceal this "weakness" from
public view and maintain an outward image of
composure. To do otherwise would be
considered to be self-centered, self-
indulgent, immature, and not in the best
interest of self or society. I contend that
these beliefs and corresponding attitudes
constitute the foundation of Reich's trap
(see page 64).

Before we can begin to look at the processes
involved in emotional problem-solving, we
must come to an understanding about the true
function of emotional distress, devoid of the
negative, superstitious beliefs that surround

In actual fact, no one can live without
emotional distress from time to time. It is
part of the human experience. Even if you
deaden yourself to life's experiences, as did
the patient of James's colleague quoted in
chapter 2, the suffering continues. If
nothing else, you suffer because you feel
nothing and life has no meaning! There is
nothing immoral about having an emotional
problem to solve. No need to feel ashamed; it
is not a weakness. Indeed, it is a weakness
to be unable to admit to yourself that you
are in distress. We don't consider it immoral
to have an intellectual problem, do we? On
the contrary, we consider it to be a
positive, wholesome, growing experience for
our children to be challenged by intellectual
problems in school. We have learned that
their problem-solving ability can be expanded
by accepting and conquering such challenges.
Even at the expense of occasional tears.
Unfortunately, however, most of us have never
adopted such an attitude toward the challenge
of emotional problems.

Darwin suggested that emotion enhances the
organism's chances of survival. Recent
evidence strongly suggests that emotion
serves a much broader, more sophisticated
function in human life than guidance only in
fight-or-flight situations; allowed full
expression, emotion may be the most
dependable guide to intelligent action
available to humans--not only in crisis
situations but in the fulfillment of basic,
everyday needs. As suggested in chapter 9,
page 192, your emotional experience at every
moment is the holographic compression of the
whole of your existence. That is to say, how
you feel right now is a monitor of how things
are going in every realm of your life. Given
this view of emotion, feelings of distress
are not seen as a weakness or something to be
concealed. Rather, they are seen as an
impetus for needed change--either within or
without. They present a problem-to-be-solved
Pribram’s (1970) theory of emotion offers a
useful framework within which lie can discuss
what it means to have an emotional problem.
He suggests that an organism maintains its
equilibrium (homeostasis) by means of a
motivated execution of "Plans." As Pribram
uses the term, Plan is a multidimensional
idea: not only does it refer to a sequence of
actions laid out in the realm of imagination,
it includes neural mechanisms and programs
which become engaged when the organism is

We are constantly constructing Plans and
implementing them. We also evaluate the
success of previously executed Plans and
modify our Plans accordingly. This evaluation
is by no means an intellectual process alone,
however. On the contrary, Pribram suggests
that this kind of evaluation is felt. He
calls these felt evaluations Feelings as
Monitors and regards them as Images--the
background or matrix from which Plans emerge.

Pribram proposes that within each organism
there are two kinds of Plans when viewed from
the neurological standpoint: motivational
Plans involving a "go" mechanism; and
emotional Plans involving a “stop” mechanism.
The "go" mechanism tends to open the organism
to further input, allowing it to go ahead--in
which case the associated feelings are
considered by Pribram to be motivational in
nature, rather than emotion. The "stop"
mechanism, on the other hand, tends to close
the organism to further input, blocking it
from going ahead--thus generating what
Pribram calls emotion. I must point out that
Pribram makes a distinction here between
emotion and motivation which does not
correspond with the paradigm I've been
presenting. Feelings of appetite and
interest, i.e., those qualities of desire
which inspire the organism to approach the
stimulating event, are not considered by
Pribram to be emotion; instead he calls these
feelings motives. In this context emotion is
limited to those negative feelings which are
generated when the organism is thwarted in
its Plans. I, of course, do not limit emotion
in this manner; I include both positive and
negative feelings in the realm of emotion.
Further, I see desire--in one form or
another--as the central motive in all that
the organism does, so that I have no need to
examine motives if I understand desire.
Adjusted for these differences, Pribram's
model serves as a framework within which we
can ask what constitutes an emotional

What, then, does it mean to have an emotional
problem? That is to say, when does emotion
present a problem-to-be-solved? When you're
feeling light and loving and filled with
compassion and confidence, i.e., expanding,
emotion is not a problem to you. Even when
you encounter an obstruction that interferes
with your Plan, in Pribram's terms, and
causes you to lose your equilibrium and
contract, thereby generating discomfort,
emotion is not a problem. Emotion presents a
problem for you only when you are obstructed,
contract, and are unable--for whatever
reason-- to regain your equilibrium, revise
your Plan and feel good again. In other
words, emotion presents a problem for you
only when you find yourself trapped in
distress and unable to find your way out of
the trap.

I contend that the basis of this kind of
chronic disequilibrium, and what I choose to
focus on throughout the balance of this book,
is the chronic suppression of emotion--that
is, presenting an image to the world that is
different from what one is experiencing. More
about this later, when I describe a problem-
solving process which I call self-


Although each emotional problem is unique,
much can be said in a general way about the
emotional problem-solving process and
emotional solutions. I will summarize some of
my observations here and expand on them

• The first step in solving any problem
is to acknowledge that it exists.
• The next step is to begin to clarify
what the problem is; in the realm of emotion,
this does not always come easily.
• As the problem is clarified, the
solution, which lies hidden within the
confusion of the problem, also becomes clear
and stands out against the background of the
• The solution to an emotional problem
will be either functional or organic in
nature, depending on whether the problem is
functional or organic.
• Most emotional problems involve
suppressed emotion which must be released at
some point in the problem-solving process--
which means disengaging your mechanisms of
emotional suppression, whatever they might
be, letting go of your emotional control, and
allowing f ear and pain to flow openly
throughout your being.
• An emotional solution always involves
gaining insight into the immediate cause(s)
of the given problem; occasionally it
involves gaining insight into the remote
cause(s) as well.
• Individuals vary in their ability and
readiness to solve emotional problems--
certainly in terms of the time it takes them.
• Any true solution to an emotional
problem will not leave the problem-bearer in
an emotionally suppressed, less awakened
state; it must quiet emotion (see page 305)
rather than suppress it.

Before expanding on there observations, let
me pass on to you some of the ideas and
models that were presented to me by Joel
Kramer, yoga teacher and author, many years
ago. These ideas may help you to grasp the
nature of the change and movement encountered
in the process of solving emotional problems:

Imagine walking down a quiet, serene,
wilderness path, enjoying the peace and
tranquility of nature. Suddenly, you hear
branches snapping off to your right; out of
the corner of your eye you catch something
moving. You turn your head spontaneously to
face the movement and see a tree falling in
your direction. You move! You don't stand in
the path of the falling tree and ask
yourself, "Well, now, let's see. Should I run
this way or that?" You are motivated to move
immediately--without thinking about it. Your
total organism responds to the problem
situation with all faculties of intelligence
engaged, What is important here is that you
bypass the decision-making process
altogether; no "decision" is made at any
point in the process when you are seeing
clearly in a crisis situation. The very act
of seeing clearly precipitates movement; that
is, in seeing there is movement. Not even a
split-second decision is made.

Another idea, which is really a corollary to
the last one, is: true freedom is having no
choice at all. In your natural, free state,
when you are open to the universe and all its
forces, inwardly and outwardly, turning away
from nothing, you see with such clarity that
you live as spontaneously as if trees were
falling on you at every moment. You don't
make decisions. The implication here is that
there is only one correct response in any
given situation that is free of confusion.
True freedom, in this sense, is seeing
clearly, with full awareness, turning away
from nothing; These are indeed difficult
issues to ponder. They raise many questions.

Let us look at the dynamics of the falling
tree in other time frames. There can be any
number of "trees" falling in your direction
right now--so slowly, like the hour hand on a
clock, that you fail to notice them until
suddenly, one day, you discover that you are
in grave danger. This awareness, this tuning
in, can come about as a result of a
functional breakdown, or it can be a simple
as somebody saying, "Hey! Look what's
happening in your life!" Others often can see
what's happening in your life before you can.

It is thus within this Eastern paradigm--
which holds that the very act of seeing
precipitates movement, and that true freedom
is having no choice at all--that I offer my
observations about the emotional problem-
solving process and emotional solutions.
In my attempts to help people with problems
they brought to me in my role as
psychotherapist, I was painfully aware of the
possibility of giving them the wrong kind of
help. I was never sure--despite my training
and experience--what "help" meant, or how it
could best be
given, or whether it was even possible for
one person truly to help another person. Nor
was it apparent to me that any of my
colleagues were really sure. For this reason
I adopted an approach that seemed to minimize
the probability of my giving the "wrong" kind
of help: I insisted that each person
(including small children) define his or her
own problems, as clearly as he or she could.
It is, of course, standard practice to ask
anyone you are attempting to help what the
problem is. But I took it much further than
most. I did this by setting my own
expectations and prejudices aside to the
extent of my ability and by asking explicit
questions, like, "Why are you here? How do
you know that you have a problem? How do you
experience the problem? What do you want,
right now, sitting here in my office? or What
do you hope to receive from this experience?"

In the beginning I asked these questions only
during my initial contacts. As time wore on I
came to see that people are in a constant
state of change--however slight--even those
who appear to be stuck on a treadmill. So I
began to ask for a redefinition of the
problem more and more frequently over a
period of years. I eventually reached the
point where I was asking these questions at
every contact.
This process of continually clarifying the
problem --as it is perceived by the person
experiencing the problem--revealed a number
of things to me about emotional problems and
the problem-solving process. For one, I found
that other people's concerns were much the
same as my own --no matter how "crazy" they
might be. The experience of fear, for
example, is the same, whether you are
schizophrenic or depressed or "normal". After
listening to many attempts to define and
redefine their problems, it is apparent that
the thing people are most concerned about is
the way they feel emotionally.

I gradually came to realize that the very act
of defining the problem and conveying it to
another person somehow solved it in most
instances. Furthermore, the resolution did
not come about in a sequential manner, with
the problem being defined first, then
searching for the solution. Rather, the
solution seemed to lie hidden within the
problem, and when the "problem cloud" was
brought clearly enough into focus--in much
the same way that a camera lens focuses an
image on a plane--the solution came into
focus as well. I suggest that what happens in
this process is that the mathematical lens of
the brain sharpens its focus on the
holographic compression of the felt

My sense that the solution to every problem
lies hidden within the problem was
strengthened by a dream I had. This was one
of several dreams in which I awakened within
the dream. From my journal: August 14, 1976,
Just got out of bed. I've been having an
incredible experience. It would be inaccurate
to say that I just woke up. I've been awake
for some time in my sleep state. I lay there
for at least an hour, it seems, wishing I had
the tape recorder hooked up so I could
describe what I had discovered without having
to open my eyes--knowing that once I opened
my eyes I would immediately lose much of it.
And, of course, I have lost most of it. ...
The more effort I put into trying to recover
it, the further away it shifts. Perhaps all I
can do is to record the uniqueness of the
I do recall saying to myself over several
times, "I have discovered an entirely new
method of problem identification, hoping to
be able to remember at least that I had seen
that much. I had a vision of it in
mathematical terms of partitioning [shown in
figure 181:

Figure 18. Alternative methods of
partitioning a "problem cloud”--only one of
which reveals the solution.
I don't have the slightest idea right now
what any of that means, except that the new
partitioning, the new conceptualization of
reality, facilitated solutions that couldn't
be found before. I also remember telling
myself not to feel bad about the fact that I
was not going to remember any of this,
because the knowledge would still be mine--
tucked away in there--knowing that I would
eventually have conscious access to it if and
when I ever really needed it. But damnit! I
want it now! ...

I just remembered also (an hour later) that
the solutions existed within the problem
cloud, and that the solutions became visible
once the cloud was properly partitioned,
i.e., just as with emotional problems, the
solutions lie within the problems. . . .
Is it possible that the "partitioning of the
problem cloud” is simply a means of
separating the solution from the problem? By
conceptualizing the problem in the right way?
Mental health professionals make a
distinction between two basically different
sorts of "mental disorders"; functional and
organic. There is far from a consensus within
the field, however, about which disorders are
functional and which are organic. Nor is much
attention paid to this distinction in actual
practice; increasingly, problems are treated
as if they were organic in nature regardless
of the true nature of the problems.

Borrowing these terms and modifying them to
fit my paradigm, I use the term functional
disorder to mean a problem in the way in
which one functions in the world, i.e., in
the way one relates to the world--including
the beliefs that one holds. By organic
disorder I mean a problem which has its
origin primarily within the physical realm,
such as a chemical imbalance, nutritional
deficiency or neural disorder.
Given the nature of emotion, an emotional
problem can be either functional or organic
in nature. Sometimes problems involve both
functional and organic disorders. Most often,
however, one or the other is the primary
contributor. Whatever the case, I cannot urge
strongly enough that organic solutions be
limited to those problems which are primarily
organic in nature. I say this with full
awareness of the dust this may stir up among
those who support the position of the
American Medical Association, which,
increasingly, supports organic
interpretations and solutions to all
emotional problems regardless of their true

I could give countless examples in which
organic "solutions" have been tried for
functional disorders. One of the most common
of these practices--and the most
destructive--is the prescription of
tranquilizers (an organic solution) to help
anxious and/or depressed individuals whose
primary problem is ignorance about how to
resolve interpersonal conflicts (a functional
problem). Every day, people who go to mental
health centers for help with ordinary family
problems stemming from ignorance are being
given pills to alleviate the fear and pain.
The true cause of the problems may be
ignorance about how to communicate
emotionally (a common functional problem).
The true solution, in this case, would be
emotional education (a functional solution).

One of the more bizarre examples of using
organic "solutions" to functional problems
comes from William Sargant, the renown
psychiatrist who testified as expert witness
that Patty Hearst had indeed been
brainwashed: Sargant recently came out in
favor of brain surgery for a woman to help
her to cope with "a psychopathic husband who
cannot change and will not accept treatment.
"62 Sargant also stated in The Times of
London that “conscience can now be eliminated
surgically without any impairment of day-to-
day efficiency.” 63

Repeated observations of the problem-solving
process led to my realization that the
resolution of a problem tends to come
spontaneously when you engage emotional
faculties of awareness, release control over
your emotional state and allow emotional
energy to flow as the problem begins to come
into focus.

This realization, along with my earlier
finding that solutions lie hidden within the
problems, led to two corollaries: First,
emotional problems exist within the "owner"
of the problem, as I have defined it.
Therefore, the solutions, which lie within
the problems, must also lie within the owner
of the problem. My experience and my
observations of others have supported this
without exception. This understanding has
helped me, after years of trying to rescue
people, in some sense, to give full
responsibility to each of us for solving our
own problems.

Second, solutions to emotional problems lie
within the realm of emotion--beyond the realm
of the intellect alone. The intellect can, if
properly used, lead you to the exits from
your personal prison. It can even provide you
with the justification you need to take the
risk of approaching the exit. But once the
intellect has taken you this far, it must
disengage and take the back seat to emotion,
so to speak, and allow emotional energy (and
intelligence) to take the lead and flow--like
a river--to the solution, sweeping you along
with it. Few of us have had much experience
with this kind of problem-solving. As a
result, it looms for many of us as something
to be afraid of.
According to Tibetan medicine, which is based
on the teachings of Buddha, all illnesses
have two basic causes: immediate and remote.
Western medicine focuses almost exclusively
on immediate causes, giving little
consideration to the underlying, remote
causes of an illness. (There are,
incidentally, only three remote causes of all
illness, according to Tibetan medicine:
ignorance, "anger" and "desire". These
elements, it is presumed, are present in all
beings and must be "kept in balance" for
optimum hea1th.)64 The common flu, for
example, has as the immediate cause the
presence of a virus, along with a weakened
immune system and vulnerable tissue; the
remote cause involves the origins of the
person's weakened condition which enables the
virus to overpower the body's defenses.
Remote causes involve such factors as the
level of stress to which the person has been
subjected over the past few months or
years--which may in turn be due to the way
the person relates to anger and/or desire.
Remote causes go to the very roots of a
person's lifestyle.
Developing emotional intelligence is, in this
respect, much the same as healing: one must
not only look for the immediate causes of
problems; one must also, in the long run,
gain insight into the remote causes. As a
consequence, many solutions to emotional
problems involve major changes in lifestyle
as a result of insight gained. In terms of
holographic theory it could be said that true
resolution of any emotional problem
necessarily involves change in the frequency
domain as well as the manifest domain; that
is, it necessarily involves insight. It
should be noted that when you remove a remote
cause, you eliminate from your future life
all the problems that would have been created
by this remote cause had it not been removed.
This is one very down-to-earth, practical way
you actively participate in the creation of
your own personal reality.

Ignorance and fear are, in my observations,
two of the greatest obstacles most of us face
in solving emotional problems; either we
don't know what action to take to initiate
resolution, or we do know and are afraid to
take it. Unfortunately, too few of us
recognize this simple truth. We suffer
instead from the mass delusion, planted by
the Stoics, that emotional problems are
manifestations of illness and pathology--more
specifically, "mental illness". Such problems
are, accordingly, considered to fall within
the domain of the American Medical
Association wherein the all-too-ready
“solution" is to control emotion by
manipulating the body's chemistry through
medication and/or psychosurgery.

When ignorance is the cause--the remote
cause--of an emotional problem, the only true
solution must be some form of learning. Any
professional helper in this situation really
ought to be educating the person with the
problem about how to go about solving the
problem--by examining his or her way of life
and corresponding paradigm--rather than
giving the person a pill that anesthetizes
him or her to the experience of the problem.
Remove the experience of the problem and you
become imprisoned without knowing you are
imprisoned--or caring.
It also became apparent in my observations of
the emotional problem-solving process that
there is a wide variation in the length of
time it takes, and the degree of difficulty
involved, for individuals to resolve
emotional problems and corresponding
interpersonal conflicts. Some people seem to
need little more than permission and trust to
bring their problems quickly into focus and,
in the process, resolve them. Others seem to
plug away forever with only slow progress--or
none at all. Since my approach is basically
the same with everybody, it is apparent that
at least some of these observed differences
exist within the individuals experiencing the
problems. What accounts for these individual
differences? Intellectual intelligence seems
to have little bearing on one's ability to
solve emotional problems. I've encountered
many people who were bright intellectually,
with the credentials to prove it, who
nonetheless were inundated with emotional
distress and unable to resolve it. It was
this phenomenon, incidentally, along with my
growing awareness that solutions to emotional
problems lie within the realm of emotion,
beyond the realm of the intellect, that led
to my discovery of the existence of emotional

The insight gained in resolving an emotional
problem often involves the release of
repressed emotion, sometimes from very early
childhood. Resolving problems according to
the methods prescribed here thus goes much
further than simply resolving current
problems, one after the other. After having
successfully resolved a number of emotional
problems in this way you begin to realize
what I refer to as the quieting of emotion.
By this I mean moving toward clearing
yourself of repressed emotion to the point
where you are open to all emotional
experiences at all times, suppressing
nothing. For most of us such a clearing
process takes a number of years of releasing
repressed emotion associated with past
trauma. As you move toward clearing yourself
of your repressed emotion, you have less need
to avoid or resist anything out of fear of
bringing something you've hidden away to the
surface of your awareness

In this chapter I have presented some of my
observations of the emotional problem-solving
process, exploring and redefining in somewhat
abstract terms what it means to have an
emotional problem and what it means to solve

In the next chapter I introduce a problem-
solving process, which I call self-
integration, that addresses problems deriving
from the chronic suppression of emotion. This
process, which is in accord with the paradigm
of emotional problems and solutions presented
in this chapter, emerged in my awareness from
the background of all the philosophical
systems, psychological paradigms, problem-
solving methods, techniques and experiences
to which I had been exposed over a period of
15 years in my work in the field of mental
health and in my research for this book.


I have established, I believe, the importance
of emotional expression in your life. The
evidence is overwhelming that you are better
off in many ways if you are able to express
what you feel openly with those you are
closest to, with whom you have the most
intimate relationships.

Nonetheless, most of us grow up in an
environment that is emotionally suppressive,
to varying degrees. Under such circumstances,
it is easy to become trapped in a world in
which you feel you must play-act most of the
time, presenting an image to others that
reflects an inner emotional state that is
significantly different from what you are
actually feeling. You may, for example, try
to conceal feelings of anger or resentment
toward particular people in your life; or you
may try to appear cool and confident when you
are feeling weak and vulnerable inside. You
thus live a dual existence. Your inner life
becomes a secret. You feel alone even among
"friends." At the extreme, expressions of
love for you have little effect; you know,
through faculties of meta-awareness, that it
is an exterior image that is winning the
approval and affection of others; and you
worry more than a little about whether those
who profess to love you would do so if they
really knew what goes on inside of you.

If you sense that you have become emotionally
suppressed, how do you go about becoming more
expressive emotionally? What are you to do
when you "wake up" and discover that your
life has become a prison built of lies as a
result of disregarding and suppressing your
own feelings? What are you to do when you
discover that you have gotten off course as a
result of listening to the advice of others,
ignoring your own desires and judgment?

It turns out you don't really have too many
choices. Indeed, there may be only one. True
freedom, after ell, as Joel Kramer said,
leaves no choice at all. It may well be that
the only way out for you is to brace yourself
for the repercussions, be ready to lose
everything except your integrity, and come
out of hiding and express what you truly feel
inside. A major part of my research over the
past 18 years has been focused on this
seemingly simple path to freedom and sanity,
which I call self-integration.
Evolving directly from human nature, self-
integration is a natural process--a special
kind of change and expansion that exists
freely in the universe, as natural as growth
itself. Each person's approach to self-
integration is unique and self-expressive.
People are spontaneously discovering the
guiding principles of self-integration in
increasing numbers every day. Not recognizing
it for what it is, different names are being
attached to various aspects of this basic
process, thus contributing to the
fragmentation and confusion that already

Self-integration is not a form of therapy--
although it is definitely therapeutic.
Rather, in formal terms, self-integration is
a process of growth and change precipitated
by bringing inner experience and outer
expression together into a congruent whole.
It is, furthermore, the primary problem-
solving process applicable to problems
deriving from the suppression of emotion.

Self-integration does not come easily. It
takes a flair for adventure, courage, a
strong will to live, and a commitment to
ideals and principles that may well subject
you to ridicule and rejection from friends,
relatives and society. You are, after all,
breaking rules that have governed our moral
order for more than 2,000 years.

Before you can begin to integrate yourself,
you must first come to at least a partial
realization that you are fragmented, that is,
that there is a significant discrepancy
between what you feel and what you express to
others. This is achieved through a process of
tuning in to what's going on inside, the
details of which will be described later. In
the beginning this may mean tuning in to an
undifferentiated, chronic pain that has
blended like white noise into the background
of your life.

As you continue to focus your attention on
your chronic pain, you nurture a shift from
chronic to acute pain, bringing it more
clearly into focus as you do. At some point
the pain begins to demand your attention; you
can no longer ignore it. You begin to
contract. As you turn your attention to face
the fear and pain directly, you contract
further; your pain becomes vivid, dynamic and

And just as the pendulum reverses its
direction at the apex of its movement, so do
you expand after a full contraction. Seeing
the inevitability of accepting your pain, you
flow with it into the realm of emotion,
releasing your self-control and allowing full
emotional expression. Allowed to run its full
course, this process precipitates the
emergence of the solution from the background
of the distress.
What precipitates this reversal from
contraction to expansion? The contraction
precipitates a paradigm shift within you,
through insight, which points the way to the
solution and frees you from the forces
responsible for the contraction in the first
place. Were you being pulled down by
something while swimming, this method of
problem- solving is a little like putting
your head under the water to see what it is
that's pulling on you in order to free
yourself from it. The expansion thus appears
to be a combination of insight and a release
from the underlying stress.

What form does the expansion take? That is,
what kind of solution emerges from the
background of your pain? As you tune in to
your pain and nurture it, you become
increasingly aware of its source and its
nature: namely, your own duplicity (see pages
349) and the fear and pain that this brings
into your life and problems it creates for
you. Beyond some point of clarity on this
issue it comes to you, sometimes quite
suddenly, that you have no choice but to come
out of hiding and let go of the security you
felt in hiding your true feelings from the
world. Thus, in seeing clearly the nature of
your pain, you move out of it. And the
impetus to move is the felt distress and/or
desire which comes with seeing clearly where
you are--and seeing that there is a way out,
an exit, no matter how risky it may be.

Without insight, without a paradigm shift,
any relief from the distress is temporary;
the problem has only been masked. In order to
transcend the problem--in the sense of being
free of the forces that generate the problem
--you must expand by gaining insight; by
seeing the problem differently, finally
understanding its nature completely; by
understanding why it was a problem before and
how it is to be resolved, given its nature,
if it hasn't been already. Once this happens
your former confusion becomes transparent to
you; you see where and how you were confused.

In summary, self-integration can be described
as follows:

How does self-integration work in actual
practice? First of all, you cannot fully
integrate yourself without another person to
express your inner experiences to. This could
be a therapist; it could be a close friend or
relative. Hopefully it will be someone you
love and who, you feel, loves you--if there
is such a person in your life. If not, trust
will do. If you have more than one person to
share your feelings with, all the better.
One, however, will do.

As you go about your daily life, if you feel
bad in any way about anything, acknowledge
it--first within yourself, then with the
other person. Don't ignore it until it goes
away--again. Grab it this time! In this way,
describe whatever you perceive, whatever your
awareness is. In this process, your feelings,
your emotional states, are your most
important facts. Pay attention to them and
the rest of your life will take care of

Look in particular for secrets you keep from
each other. Secrets are illusive. They often
exist only in your peripheral awareness, and
most of the time you perceive yourself to be
quite honest. But every once in awhile you
become aware of something that causes you
distress. When that happens, grab it. Talk
about it. If you don't, in a very short time
it can slip out of focal awareness into the
periphery where you immediately forget you
ever had the experience.

Once a bad feeling is recognized, let it
in--really look at it. Let it come all the
way in. Let the tension build! Let the fear
build! Fear is a warning that you are going
to get into some real emotional pain if you
keep going. Don't stop! Let it flow! Let go!
When you feel like crying, let the tears
flow. When you feel like sobbing, let your
body's natural rhythms take over and direct
the flow of your breathing. At some point you
become one with your pain; there is no
separation between you and your pain. You may
slobber and your nose may run, but you don't
care. You can no more stop what's happening
at that point than a woman can stop the
contractions of labor during childbirth.

Real pain! You're there! You see clearly how
it all came to pass. You see clearly how your
beliefs--your memories of past
interpretations--have continued to generate
pain throughout your life. You also see
clearly what you must do about that part of
your life to rid yourself of that pain once
and for all--if you haven't already done it
by then. You natural will is now in charge.
What else can happen? Some of it is beyond
description or imagination. Sometimes it's
hard to admit what happens. People might
think you're crazy!

Sometimes you feel emotional stress but are
unable to bring any of its details into focus
clearly enough to be able to express it to
another person. When you try to name what you
feel inside all that comes into awareness are
vague impressions, such as not feeling good;
not being happy; feeling depressed, afraid,
sad, lonely, angry--whatever. And you don't
know why, exactly.

I'll describe very briefly a process which,
once mastered, nearly always works to bring
this kind of free-floating, undifferentiated
stress into clear focus. I refer to this
process as intense focusing, or, less
formally, the floor process. This is the most
efficient--and the most penetrating--form of
self-integration I have found thus far. This,
incidentally, is the process involved in the
examples I've given of time regression. Since
it is primarily experiential in nature, there
are limits to how far I can go in conveying
its essence to you on paper. Also, you may
need to have someone assist you who is
experienced in this process, at least in the
beginning. As you become more familiar with
its potential you may want to modify its form
to suit your own personal needs:

Lie on your back; a foam mattress on the
floor is ideal. Spread your arms and legs
slightly apart, your feet about shoulder-
width apart, your hands about a foot from
your hips (much further out than this and
your arms may tend to fall asleep due to lack
of circulation). Place your hands palms up,
allowing your fingers to relax, if possible,
not touching each other. Quiet all physical
movement. Close your eyes. Breathe deeply and
rapidly, about twenty breaths per minute,
through both nose and mouth, keeping your
lips parted enough for the passage of air.
Continue this until you begin to feel energy
vibrating through your body. It is common for
one's teeth to chatter at this point.

When you have breathed sufficiently to
energize your system in this way, say 3 to 10
minutes, depending on many variables, let go
of placing your attention on your breathing,
allowing it to take care of itself, and place
your attention on your physical body. Put
thoughts on hold, as much as possible. Don't
try to analyze your experiences. Simply allow
yourself to experience them. Whatever you do
find, don't shut it out. Flow with it,
express it, and see what happens!

When attention is focused on the physical
sensations accompanying emotion, the
experience becomes amplified--in very much
the same way that a magnifying glass
amplifies the image of objects behind it.
(This is an example of expanding awareness by
means of central expansion, described on
pages 257-288.) One significant difference is
that the magnifying glass has a fixed
amplification, while amplification of
impressions by focusing on your inner state
is variable. The more narrowly you focus your
attention, the greater the amplification.
Continued long enough, the experience
shifts--often abruptly--from a primarily
physical experience to a primarily emotional

One can encounter many strange and bizarre
things in the physical realm during this
period. Spatial relationships can warp--
inwardly and outwardly. You can feel that
certain parts of your body have enlarged or
have shrunk. This can happen with any part of
your body; most often it happens in the
hands, arms and shoulders. You can also feel
very small, off in the corner of a large
room; or you can feel so large that you fill
the room. Aches and pains can appear in any
area of your body, Often such discomfort is,
in part, associated with a past injury or
illness or trauma. The following passage from
my clinical records reflects some of the more
common experiences one can have during the
floor process:
Bob came today for our second meeting--this
time for the expressed purpose of exploring
the floor process for the first time. . . .
Bob has a chronic neck pain that dates back
to an automobile accident years ago.
Physicians have told him that there is some
deterioration in the cervical disks, due in
part to the accident and due in part to an
inherited weakness. He reports that his
father had rheumatoid arthritis and, I
gather, believes that he may be headed down
the same path.
During the floor session Bob immediately
experienced pain in his neck which was gone
by the end of the session. He experienced
tingling vibrations down the inner side of
his legs extending from his toes to his
groin; enlarged hands; swollen shoulder
muscles; and pain in his abdomen just below
the naval, in the area of the aortic plexus.
Through deep breathing the abdomen pain
became quite strong, along with very tight
muscles. Slow convulsions came along with a
sense of wanting to double, which I suggested
that he allow himself to do. Only very slight
shivering. It proved to be useful to press
firmly on his abdomen. This finally erupted
into undifferentiated weeping, which lasted 2
to 3 minutes.

He came out of it feeling euphoric, energized
and committed to this way of learning about

Fear is often the first emotion to be
experienced in this process. Once self-
control is released, however, your fear
leaves. There is nothing left to fear.
Whatever it was that you feared has happened.
You are there, swimming in the sea of your
pain--often undifferentiated pain at the
outset. By that I mean pain which is free-
floating, in a sense, not attached to any
particular thing that you can yet identify.
At some point, the quality of your pain
begins to transform from a vague, cloud-like
form, coming more clearly into focus.
Suddenly the basis--the source--of your pain
leaps out of the cloud into full view. You
recognize immediately the truth behind the
pain; you remember what put the pain there--
and who! At the same time you see clearly the
belief that was imprinted in your memory of
the experience that generated the pain. More
accurately, you see through the belief; it
becomes transparent to you, because you now
see the distortion, the misinterpretation of
reality, that went into the formation of your

As the belief falls away, you see--for the
first time in your life--the reality beyond
the limitation of that belief. You are one
step closer to the direct experience of
ultimate reality. Beliefs tend to be layered,
like an onion, surrounding ultimate reality.
Remove one and you are likely to be faced
with another, although you can't be sure at
the time whether this is ultimate reality you
are seeing or just another belief to be
transcended further down the road.

Despite the common threads throughout such
self-integrative experiences, I want to
stress that each person's experience in the
floor process is unique to that person, in
that setting, and at that moment in time. As
such, it is impossible to predict with
certainty what kind of an experience you will
have when you follow this path--no matter how
many times you've done it before.

A person following you through this process
can be very helpful by making the journey
faster and less frightening. Having had
experience in letting go, this person will
have less fear of the basic process and more
confidence in a positive, expanding outcome.
This person can help you also to sort out
which experiences are common to the process
and which are uniquely yours.

As I said earlier, once you achieve full
contraction through this process you
spontaneously begin to expand. If for any
reason you should choose to abort the process
before achieving full contraction--out of
fear, for example --all you have to do is
open your eyes and sit up. It's as simple as
that. I suggest that you try this along the
way from time to time to test its
effectiveness. This builds your confidence in
your ability to deal with the unknown and to
be in control of losing control.
Intense focusing is usually an interactive
process between only two people. I choose to
call the person going on his or her inner
journey, i.e., the focus of attention, the
leader; the person accompanying the leader on
this inner journey is the follower. This
helps to keep the issue of responsibility in
proper perspective.

The focus of this text has been exclusively
on the leader in the self-integration
process. The reason for this is that a person
must first experience leading before he or
she can attempt to follow someone else.

A full description of the art and science of
following would constitute a chapter of its
own. I will make a few brief comments on
following here to give you an idea of some of
the considerations that must be made.

The follower should have had enough
experience in exploring his or her own inner
problem states to have overcome his or her
basic fear of the realm of emotion; enough to
understand the validity in allowing the
experience of fear and pain to flow freely.
The follower will hopefully have a basic
familiarity with the material presented in
this text, providing him or her with a
conceptual base from which to present another
view of the universe to the leader along the
way, showing the leader some interesting
places to look for solutions. This must be
presented, however, in a manner which places
responsibility for "going there" solidly on
the shoulders of the leader.
For you to accompany anyone as a follower,
allowing them to lead you into their inner
world, you must be open to your own emotional
responses to whatever happens. Whether these
inner responses are expressed at, any given
time is another issue. Being open emotionally
you are vulnerable to all the pitfalls that
threaten any relationship. If the leader is
engaged in emotional conflict directly with
you, the follower, you become acutely aware
of it--to the point where your own needs can
upstage the leaders. For example, if the
leader is angry with you, or blaming you
(holding you responsible for his or her
pain), you must communicate first about the
negative emotion directed at you--even though
the leader may want to deal with something

Your own emotional state, then, has equal
priority with that of the leader. If tension
develops that distracts you from
concentrating your attention on the leader,
you must interrupt what's happening and take
the lead yourself. To continue to follow--
rather, to pretend to follow--would be
dangerous to both of you. There are
exceptions, of course, but these need be
considered only after you have gained
considerable experience as both leader and
follower. It comes down to this: it is very
difficult to follow the .leader when you are
afraid to go where the leader needs to go, or
when your pain is greater than hers or his.

Again, self-integration is a matter of
bringing together one's inner experience and
outer expression. On the surface this sounds
rather simple; one could almost say it's
simply a matter of being honest about your
feelings. Upon closer examination, and
certainly when attempted, self-integration
turns out to be an extremely complex process.
A good part of my research over the past 13
years has been devoted to studying this
process--using it in my daily life to deal
with the problems that confront me; studying
and analyzing its characteristics; and
attempting to teach what I've learned about
it to others.
The balance of this chapter is devoted to
looking more closely at this complex process,
identifying and examining its components, or
sub-processes; we will be looking at the
characteristics of their relationships as

Self-integration consists of two interrelated
processes: tuning in and integrating.
Integrating further consists of two
interrelated processes: coming out and
letting go. These processes and their
relationships are shown graphically in figure
19. We will be examining them in some detail
throughout the remainder of this chapter.
Figure 19. Graphic representation of
relationships between tuning in, coming out
and letting go.

Tuning in is a matter of waking up inside,
realizing how you truly feel about yourself
and the world, and realizing further that you
have been presenting an image (or images) to
others that was not in accord with what you
felt at the time. This process also
necessarily involves sharpening your
awareness of any chronic or residual fear,
pain, embarrassments or dissatisfactions in
your life. It may also involve accepting that
you feel unprepared to express what you feel.

Integrating is a matter of eliminating
duplicity from within yourself, bringing your
inner experience and outer expression into
mutual harmony, enabling you to function more
from a central place of integrity.

As you begin to wake up inside you become
increasingly aware of a felt sense of who you
are and what you want. You also feel the need
to come out of hiding and express what you
feel--not simply to a therapist or physician
or priest, behind closed doors, to be held in
confidence, but to the world! But, as it
turns out, it's not that simple. If you
consider taking such a bold step as being
honest and sincere emotionally with everyone
you encounter in your daily life, you sense
immediately that you cannot come out and
express your true feelings to the world
without the risk of losing all that you
obtained by concealing them. You cannot, for
example, tell your friend that you resent
something he or she has done without the risk
of alienating him or her. Nor can you raise
issues of conflict that exist between you and
your boss without running the risk of losing
your job over these issues as they come to
the surface. It is because of this phenomenon
that I suggest that the processes of coming
out and letting go are virtually inseparable,
like two sides of a coin. Like the
relationship between yang and yin. (This is
why I have chosen to refer to them
collectively as integrating. I have
represented this phenomenon symbolically in
figure 19 by the arrow between coming out and
letting go.) While you can examine each side
of a coin and learn its characteristics, you
cannot relate 50 only one side of the coin
and deny, realistically, that it has a fixed
relationship with another side. To do so
would be to live an illusion. You cannot flip
only one side of a coin. This is important
knowledge to have if you intend to play the
edge of either coming out or letting go.

A triangular relationship thus exists between
the processes of tuning in, coming out and
letting go. This is represented in figure 19
by broken lines. These three processes stand
in special relationships with respect to one
another, as follows:

As stated above, coming out and letting go
are inseparable, since one always
precipitates the other. In a similar way,
tuning in is inseparable from integrating, in
that tuning in leads spontaneously to
integrating and integrating brings about
changes in yourself, the manifest world
around you, and the frequency domain that
require you to tune in to see what these
changes are. This is represented in figure 19
by the arrow between tuning in and

Actually, tuning in can be separated from
integrating, that is, from coming out and
from letting go, up to a point--that point
being where the pain of the awareness of your
own duplicity and its consequences matches or
exceeds the pain associated with coming out
and letting go. At any point prior to that,
it is possible to begin to tune in to
something and subsequently turn away from it
out of fear and suppress your memory of the
event of tuning in, thereby avoiding the
risks involved in following through and
integrating yourself. You do this by using
your meta-awareness to monitor the placement
of your attention to avoid feeling the need
for integration. This, of course, takes a
constant expenditure of energy--awake and
asleep. . However, beyond some point of
tuning in--and the corresponding expanding
awareness--it no longer "makes sense" to you
to resist your felt need to eliminate

When integration occurs, it takes the form
either of coming out or of letting go,
depending upon the total situation; and
whichever emerges first, the other eventually

Furthermore, you do not tune in to the whole
of your existence all at once, to be followed
sequentially by the integrative processes of
coming out and letting go. On the contrary,
you tune in--sometimes slowly, over a period
of time, sometimes abruptly--to but one
aspect of yourself at a time and, beyond some
point, you spontaneously begin moving in the
direction of coming out, i.e., revealing this
newly discovered aspect and letting go of
whatever benefits that befell you while in

In actual practice, you are at various stages
in the process of self-integration around
many diverse issues. While tuning in to one
facet of your life, you are in the process--
simultaneously--of coming out and letting go
with respect to other facets.

I want to expand on certain aspects of the
process of tuning in. My purpose here is not
to provide an overview of established therapy
techniques aimed at helping people to tune
in--although that would be a worthwhile
endeavor. Rather, my purpose is to examine
the nature of this basic, human process. I
will, of course, do this in terms of the
theoretical framework presented here.
Tuning in is not a simple process. How do you
go about tuning in? What happens when you do?
What do you tune in to? .Before exploring
these questions, I want to reflect on some
related ideas and models in order to create a
framework within which we can communicate
about this process.

Socrates stressed the importance of living
the examined life. But what constitutes the
examined life? How do you go about examining
your life in the most constructive way? I
suggest that you must contemplate and
evaluate your life from two vantage points:
from the inside and from the outside. That
is, not only must you examine your own life
subjectively and objectively for ways to
improve it, you must also submit yourself to
examination by others whom you trust to tell
you the truth--as they see it--and whose
judgment you value. Only in this way can you
ferret out many of your illusions and their
associated beliefs-- beliefs that block your
creativity, create problems for you, and
weaken your problem-solving capabilities. To
do this, of course, you need to associate
with honest, sincere people--people who see
value in telling you what they see in you,
regardless of the emotional pain it might
bring into your life. This, of course, is one
of the primary functions of the
psychotherapist--although, I believe, few of
us would ever need to engage the help of a
therapist if our families and friends would
dare to tell us how they really felt about
our behavior.

It seems apparent to me, living here in the
Mission in San Francisco, that young people
growing up in this urban society have become
so disillusioned that they have turned away
from the examined life and have given up the
search for self-improvement. The icons of the
'60's--individuality, personal freedom,
voluntary simplicity and creativity--have
given way in the '70's and early '80's to
conformism, competition, fundamentalist
religions and material wealth. This is
perhaps a backlash on a grand scale from the
revolution in the '60's. Somehow it didn't
work. Love, alone, was not enough after all.
We cannot single out and nurture any
particular emotion that is deemed acceptable
to society, such as love, and continue to
suppress the rest of the spectrum of
emotion--at least for any length of time. It
is not humanly possible--not even in theory.

In chapter 6, I introduced a model of
consciousness in which I compared
qualitatively different faculties of
awareness, such as smell receptors and pain
receptors, with different channels in a
television receiver. I speculated further
that these different faculties of awareness
may involve information transmitted, received
and processed by the brain within different
frequency ranges --again, similar to a
television receiver. In this context, tuning
in can involve two dynamically different
kinds of activities: the first consists of
further clarifying, sharpening the image, and
reducing the background noise on a channel
that is already being received (central
expansion); the second consists of turning on
or activating a new channel of perception--or
a channel that has been “sleeping” for a time
(peripheral expansion).

I also introduced the idea of awakeness and
discussed briefly the role of awakeness in
the process of tuning in. To work toward full
awakeness--which is a life-long project--it
is necessary to pay attention to the way you
use your attention; you do this, of course,
with your faculty of meta-awareness. This may
sound more difficult or esoteric than what I
intend. I simply mean observing how you use
your attention. While meta-awareness operates
in a wordless, timeless space, the
observations made with meta-awareness can be
put into words. Indeed, it is useful to take
a few minutes every so often and ask yourself
what you are doing with your attention; pay
particular attention to where you place it
and where you avoid placing it. Verbalize it:
"I'm aware of the typing element pounding
against the platen; the fatigue in my
shoulders; my poor posture; the engine idling
in the car parked in the street outside;
voices; the smell of car exhaust; my need to
urinate. I resist placing my attention on the
fat around my waist and on my sexual
In addition to paying attention to the way
you use your attention, being fully awake
involves paying attention to:

• your environment (including other
living beings around you);
• your feelings;
• the condition of your physical body
(including your health and posture) ;
• the consequences (often delayed) of
your actions:
• possible sources of conflict and
stress--both immediate and remote; and
• what you need to do in view of all of
the above.

I see three states of being with respect to
the experience and expression of emotion: (1)
awake and aware emotionally while expressing
one's present emotional state; (2) awake and
aware emotionally while suppressing the
expression of one's present emotional state;
and (3) "asleep" and unaware emotionally
while suppressing the expression of one's
present emotional state. Emotion is directly
involved, nonetheless, in all three states--
directing all that you do, regardless of
which state you may find yourself in.

Tuning in means paying attention to what is
happening in the present moment--inside and
outside--with no resistance, accepting where
you are. This may mean owning up to certain
things, such as admitting to yourself that
you are not being fulfilled by your job, or
that your health is suffering because of the
stress you've been under, or that there are
things about your lover that irritate the
hell out of you. Thus, when things are not as
you want them to be, if you want to acquire
the power to change them, you must first
accept where you are and allow yourself to
experience the discomfort associated with
this realization. Only in this way will you
see what must be done and feel motivated to
change what can and must be changed.

Tuning in often leads to the realization that
you have in some way gotten off course in
life; you are not the person you have been
presenting yourself to be--even with your
closest friends; you are, in fact, different;
you don't fit into the mold you've created
for yourself in your attempts to be accepted
by others; you do, in fact, experience very
strong emotion at times, despite the image
you present to the world of being inwardly
calm, composed, unshaken.

I'm not suggesting that it is immoral or
wrong to lead this kind of a double (or
multiple) life. Indeed, there appear to be
times when it is necessary to present an
image that differs markedly from what you are
experiencing inside. It seems to me that this
kind of hypocrisy--which is what it really
is, regardless of one's motivation--is only
wrong when you do it without awareness and/or
believe that there is no other way to live.
This belief keeps many people locked into
lives of quiet desperation, in Veblen's
terms, concealing it from the world.

When looking for the source of an emotional
problem it is necessary to allow the
possibility that you are the primary
source--or that you at least participate in
creating the problem--even when you feel
convinced that another person (or the world)
is to blame. As long as you believe (are
convinced) that you are innocent, when in
fact you are not, you will never be able to
resolve the problem by bringing about the
needed change from within yourself. And you
will, accordingly, continue to blame the
world for your pain and feel victimized by
Tuning in, then, involves assuming
responsibility for yourself and the
consequences of your decisions and actions;
accepting yourself as the primary source of
solutions to your emotional problems;
developing self-direction; and making the
necessary changes, correcting your course.

The very act of tuning in precipitates a
gradual increase in your discomfort; for
awhile you do live with your discomfort more
and more. Chronic pain, as I have suggested
before, becomes acute in many areas in your
life as you get to know yourself. This
gradual increase can take place over a period
of minutes--or years, depending on the nature
of what it is that you are tuning in to.

You are seldom surprised by what you find
inside-- no matter how successfully you may
have masked it over, nor for how long. Once
released from the blinding effect of the fear
and pain, you are able to see in retrospect
that the sources of your fear and pain have
always been there, haunting you, threatening
to destroy your life, from the wings.

This section is aimed at providing some
ideas, methods and tools to enable you to
begin to bring in to fuller awareness the
stresses and strains that interfere with your
health and your sense of personal fulfillment
and well being.

Before we look at ways to enhance your
ability to tune in, it is important to
realize that this process can be precipitated
spontaneously, "against your will," so to
speak, in a number of ways. Among the most
common that I have identified are:

• Simply reaching the breaking point
after a prolonged period of stress, becoming
vulnerable to the slightest increase in
• A strong stimulating event, such as
losing a friend or relative, or losing a
source of income;
• A breakdown/failure in one or more of
your relationships;
• A breakdown/failure of your body
functions, leading to illness or disease;
• A breakdown/failure in your ability
to care for yourself and/or
• Encountering a new idea that carries
with it new possibilities, new alternatives—
such as the idea that it is possible to learn
to harness your creative energies and bring
positive change into your life—no matter who
you are or how old you are.

As a model for the process of "reaching the
breaking point," consider the slow bending of
a twig. The more the twig is bent (stress)
the greater the build up of forces within the
twig (strain). At some point the twig snaps
abruptly, violently, releasing itself from
the strain. According to yogic philosophy the
phenomenon of the snapping is inseparable
from the build up of strain within the twig,
which is inseparable from the stress inducing
the strain, namely, the force exerted on the
twig to break it. When applying this model to
humans we must apply it to the entire human
system—including physical, emotional and
intellectual realms. Thus we have what is
referred to as a “physical breakdown," in
which the physical body begins to fail to
perform its basic, vegetative functions, and
a "nervous breakdown," which is more
difficult to define because of the use of the
term "nervous." It appears to me that what is
generally meant by this term is a break down
primarily in the emotional and intellectual
realms. Such break downs are, I believe,
safety valves which have evolved in the human
system, perhaps along with tears. If related
to in the proper way, the outcomes can indeed
be beneficial. Even a broken twig can mend
itself after relieving itself of stress,
given the right circumstances for healing.

For most of us, under ordinary circumstances,
the tension we feel within our beings--which
is comparable with the stress within the
bending twig--creates enough pain and
apprehension that we are moved to find and
remove, if possible, the source of the
stress--thus preventing any kind of
breakdown. It is only when we ignore the
distress too long and continue to subject
ourselves to stress that we are subject to
such breakdowns.

Rather than discussing these spontaneous
processes in detail, I will focus here on
ways to help you to tune in in a more
gradual, less traumatic way--thus, hopefully,
avoiding such a massive, rapid breakdown as
those described above.
Waking Up Inside
It is not possible to engage in emotionally
intelligent activities if you are not fully
awake--inside and outside. Most of us in
Western society are more awake in the outer
realm than we are in the inner. For some of
us, the first step in waking up inside is the
realization that we've spent much of our
lives asleep, or at least partially asleep.

Exercises in observing the placement of your
attention can be useful in heightening inside
awareness and distinguishing inside from
outside activities. (It may be useful to re-
read my discussions about channels of
reception on pages 129 and 136-7.) For
example, practice saying aloud from time to
time, for a period of five minutes or more,
whatever comes into your awareness,
deliberately shifting back and forth between
inner and outer impressions. When tuning in
to the outer world pay particular attention
to your senses of vision, hearing, touch,
pressure, smell, taste and temperature. When
tuning in to the inner world pay particular
attention to such things as inner visions
(images), physical sensations, physical
differences between the left and right sides
of your body, areas of physical tension,
distress, fear, physical distortions,
orientations in time, thoughts, arguments,
emotional energy, physical and emotional
pain, pleasure, desire and lust--to name but
a few possibilities.

Distinguishing Between Stress and Strain
How you interpret a problem determines the
way in which you go about trying to solve it.
Since both stress and strain can be
experienced as discomfort of one sort or
another, it is easy to confuse the two, as
suggested in chapter 3 (see pages 41-43 and
70-71). Failure to distinguish between stress
and strain in forming your interpretation of
the problem can, however, result in ignorance
and confusion that renders you helpless to
resolve the problem. What often happens is
that you end up dealing only with the strain,
often masking its effects. When this is done,
the strain simply manifests itself in yet
another form, in yet another area of your
life. Take the common "tension headache," for
example. Your failure to consider such a
headache to be a strain induced by some
stress--whether physical, emotional,
intellectual or visual--results in your
taking medication to mask the pain of the
headache and doing little, if anything, to
understand and relieve the stress that is
inducing the headache--such as unresolved
tension in a relationship, or a job not
suited to you, or poor nutrition.

Locating the Problem
Where does the problem lie? Within you or
outside of you? In other words, is this a
problem that you are creating (or, at least,
contributing to), or is it something imposed
strictly from without? Your approach to the
problem, the way you choose to relate to the
problem, will be directly affected by your
interpretation of this issue.
Imagining and Visualizing
Imagination and visualization are powerful
tools in the process of tuning in. Indeed, so
much can be said about it, it would be beyond
the scope of this work to cover in any detail
the possible applications for these tools.
Shakti Gawain's (1978) book, Creative
Visualization is the best text I have found
on the nature of the visualization process
and how it can be used creatively to solve
problems, overcome obstacles and achieve
personal goals. Her presentation is clear,
simple, pragmatic and nonreligious--which is
rare--and I find it be very much in harmony
with the paradigm presented here.
I've been observing my own imagination and
visualization at work and recording my
observations and related experiences for
about eight years. I've also been reviewing
what others have written. I have not yet
completed my analysis of the data I've
collected, nor have I organized my findings
thus far. I'm saving this for future work.
Observing and Adjusting Your "Scope of
In chapter 6, I introduced a model of
consciousness in which awareness is seen to
behave in much the same manner as a scope,
such as on a camera, and I discussed briefly
the idea of one's scope of awareness. I have
found this concept to be extremely useful in
bringing one's inner world of experience into
focus. Perhaps the best description I could
offer of some of the ways it can be applied
comes from my journal notes at the time I was
discovering them for myself:
October 2, 1976, 13:30

I want to go back and re-examine the
experience I described earlier, in which I
became aware (for the first time focally) of
some of the activities of my scope of
awareness." I just saw another capability of
the scope that I want to add. . . . I just
realized that I haven't yet drawn the visions
I had in this experience. Perhaps that's
where I should start. I will describe it
again, this time with pictures and
modifications incorporated. Here we go!

I just had a strange, frightening
experience. I'm not sure I can describe it.
After I wrote that I would describe it again,
I found myself looking at the reality that I
can proceed from here long two paths in time:
I could describe my original perception of
this vision, and simply tack on the new
capability I see, or I could describe my
present perception, which has changed in
subtle ways I can't yet define.
The really interesting thing about this
experience was that I found, for an instant,
before I got too scared, that I was somehow
perceiving myself actually to be in that past
time frame. In other words, I didn't
experience looking at my original perception
in the way that I experience looking at a
memory. I was there! And I had the same
limitations of awareness the first time
through. The scary part is that I feel
confused about the nature of time now. For a
moment I didn't know which time frame I was
in, the then or the now. It felt about the
way fantasize it would feel to be in the
midst of being transported by the Transporter
on the Enterprise of Star Trek. I felt
completely disoriented for an instant.
Perhaps this is how time regression is
experienced? I don't feel at all like this is
a space I want to explore right now. It
fascinates the hell out of me, but there is
too much I have yet to do before I will feel
secure enough to pursue that any further. For
one thing, I have to let this experience
settle in. I'm still tumbling a little. Take
a break. . . .
I've had some time to assimilate what
happened just before I took a break. I also
talked to Neal about it, and that helped a
lot. It appears probable to me now that what
I experienced was my first direct experience
at moving back through time with full focal
awareness --the thing I’ve been speculating
about intellectually for months. At least
this is the first time I've accepted it for
what it probably is--a real excursion into my
past. While I was talking to Neal about this
experience I flashed back on the terror I
experienced the first time I took my
awareness into thoughtless space, then into
timeless space--now moving back and forth
through time. Each time I felt like I was
totally losing control over my awareness and
got afraid that I would get stuck there,
never ever finding a way to regain control.
All I can say about that is that I've never
ever experienced that or see any real
evidence that that is going to happen to me.
I immediately felt calmer once I identified
this fear as being a fear of the unknown.
I've felt that fear many times and am
beginning to feel more comfortable with it.
It really does help to know what it is I'm
afraid of. . . .

Okay. I want to run through my resent version
of the visions I referred to earlier. Perhaps
this sequence of visions will describe the
dimensions along which I see the scope of
awareness able to vary--so far:

Figure 20. Field and content of focal

In figure 20, A represents the field or scope
of my focal awareness; i.e., all that I am
able to encompass in one conceptual gulp, all
that I am focally aware of falls within A. B
represents the contents of my field of focal
awareness. In the instance of figure 20, the
content is a view of the "river" of my
awareness--moving so fast I can't make out
any of the details. I have some peripheral
awareness of a larger thing happening beyond
the limits of my field of focal awareness.
Again, figure 20 is my view of the river with
my eyes only inches from the surface of the
water. When I became aware of this situation,
I wrote about my vision, this vision. In
seeing there is movement! That is, there was
no "decision" to change anything. The very
act of seeing clearly that I was "too close"
to make out any details was all it took for
me to shift my viewpoint. My second viewpoint
revealed a vision as shown in figure 21:

Figure 21. Increasing altitude of viewpoint
with respect to the content of the field of
This viewpoint, of course, is the result of
using the "zoom lens" on my scope of
awareness. C represents the new view I see of
the changes occurring in my life over the few
hours immediately proceeding that moment and
following it. D represents the limited view I
had from my close-up vision in figure 20. I
still, at this moment, have no words to
describe the content of figure 21. But I do
have some kind of understanding that I didn't
have before about where I am in life. I
"recognized" this as being an accurate
pictorial representation of my life. . . .
Once I reached this point I "knew"
instantaneously where I needed to place my
scope and in what position I needed to place
it to bring this experience into clear focus.
This position is represented in figure 22 by
E. The instant I "knew" where and how to
place my awareness, my experience
spontaneously shifted from a mode of seeing
visions of where I was to experiencing
directly where I was. My visions gave way to
a flow of emotion.
This whole sequence of visions and
experiences suggests that once I saw where I
needed to place my attention, and where and
how to place the scope of my awareness, I
jumped into the river of my emotion at a
critical point in its path and allowed the
energy of that river to flow through my scope
of focal awareness. It is at times such as
these that words seem to flow spontaneously
as one is swept along by the river. This is
also when the pain--and ultimate euphoria--
come, if they come.

Figure 22. Shifting viewpoint from that of
observer to that of experiencer.

Maintaining Present Awareness
Far different things happen depending on
whether you place your attention on the past,
the present or the future. If your attention
is on the past, you are examining and
reprocessing memories of past events in view
of more recent events, and you will feel
those emotions appropriate to each event as
you fill the scope of your awareness with it
from your memory banks. If your attention is
on the future, you are engaging your
imagination and visualization in the creation
of fantasy events, and like past events, you
will feel those emotions appropriate to each
event as you fill the scope of your awareness
with it.

It is only when you place your attention on
the present (at least in part) that you can
feel emotion-- because you can only feel now.
That is, it is necessary to place your
attention on how you feel right now if you
are to feel anything. All activities that rob
you of attention to your present experience,
therefore, interfere with your ability to
feel emotion. Indeed, as I suggested in
chapter 3, placement of attention is a
primary determinant in the suppression of
It is possible, as we have seen in the
examples of time regression, to go back in
time and feel emotion appropriate to past
situations you remember yourself to be in,
but you do this only by staying with the
experience of your emotion in the present as
you journey back through the archives of your
life. It is often this return journey into
your past--this the with emotional channels
engaged--that liberates you from your
personal prison.
Paying Attention to How You Feel
It seems almost too apparent to mention, but
it is of the utmost importance to pay
attention to how you feel --about all aspects
of your life. Again, if you have neglected
your feelings for a long time you build up a
backlog of distress to deal with whenever you
do choose to face what's inside. Many of us
have an entire lifetime of distress to face.
Others of us are more fortunate. Tuning in to
how you feel, then, may involve dealing with
a significant amount of distress--over a
period of several years for many people--
before relief and emotional freedom is
achieved to any extent. On the other hand,
what are the alternatives?

To bring a vague cloud of distress into
focus, it is necessary as well to bring into
full awareness the associated fear, pain and
desire. This can be misinterpreted by the
uninitiated as being destructive--especially
those of us who grew up under the influence
of the belief that any increase in pain is a
priori undesirable and to be avoided. This
belief is one of the most common--and perhaps
the most powerful--sentinels stationed at the
exits from the trap.
Connecting with Desire
Relating constructively, creatively to
obstructed desire is at the core of emotional
intelligence--and this is precisely the area
where many of us are the least prepared. By
connecting with desire, I mean reopening
those channels of awareness that have to do
with desire. This is perhaps one of the most
challenging and dangerous tasks to be faced
in the process of self-integration. This is
discussed more fully in chapter 15.
Identifying Internal Fragmentation and
Many of us, if not most, learn to manage
relationships by sharing only limited aspects
of our lives with each friend or relative--
those aspects which tend to create the most
harmony and the least friction in each
relationship. One severe problem with this
way of managing relationships is that it
partitions or compartmentalizes your life,
your friends, and your "personality" into
mutually exclusive parts. You thus develop
multiple personalities, and associated with
each personality is a unique paradigm. You
choose, with meta-awareness, which
personality to present depending on the
situation you find yourself in and the
individuals with whom you are relating and

If you find that you share certain aspects of
your life with only certain individuals,
concealing them from all others, you may be
fragmenting yourself. Especially if you have
a pattern of sharing different aspects of
yourself with different people. In the
tuning-in process, this awareness can help
you to identify your secrets and whom you
keep them from. Coming to understand why you
withhold specific information from specific
individuals helps you to throw light on the
issues you avoid with each person, in each
relationship, and why. The next step, of
course, is to tell each person what you have
discovered about your relationship them him
or her. But this is part of the coming
out/letting go process and will be discussed
in the next section.

Observing Duplicity within Yourself
The Random House dictionary defines duplicity
as "1. deceitfulness in speech or conduct;
speaking or acting in two different ways
concerning the same matter with intent to
deceive; double-dealing. 2. a twofold or
double state or quality." I need to modify
this definition somewhat to reflect what I
mean: by duplicity I mean presenting an outer
expression that is different from one's inner
experience, with intent to deceive--with or
without full awareness. When duplicity is
absent we have sincerity and integrity.

It is possible to go through life presenting
an image--or various images to different
circles of people-- so affirmatively, for so
long, that you become confused and come to
believe that you are the image(s) you've been
presenting. Indeed, few of us are free of the
grips of this confusion, which enables us to
maintain the illusion that we feel a certain
way--or that we feel nothing.
It is important to observe your own duplicity
with meta-awareness. It is also important to
do this with as much tenderness and love for
yourself as you can muster, withholding your
judgment of yourself, if possible. Simply
observe when and how you misrepresent
yourself in your everyday life--at home, at
work, at play; in private and in public; with
your family, your friends, your lovers, your
co-workers and your bosses. Following the
advice of Joel Kramer, you might say to
yourself, "Isn't it interesting how deceitful
I can be!" Rather than condemning yourself
for this behavior, it is much more productive
to search for the reasons, the motivation,
behind it. I am convinced that, without
exception, if you search deeply enough within
yourself, you will find that your primary
motivation for doing all that you do--
including misrepresenting yourself--springs
from very common human needs and, as such, is
quite understandable and forgivable.
Observing your own duplicity has a powerful
effect on you. Once you accept that there are
situations in which you deliberately
misrepresent yourself, you are drawn to look
more closely at what it is that you are
hiding--and from whom. This natural curiosity
opens doors, revealing things to you that you
were hiding even from yourself! And the more
you become aware of the difference between
what's going on inside and what you present
to the world, the less willing you are to
continue this dual existence; the price
you're paying for it becomes all too clear.
The next step to freedom, of course, is to
reveal to others what you have discovered
about yourself.
Accepting Feedback from Others
Fortunate .are those of us who have friends
who will tell us the truth about what they
see in us that disturbs them. Straight,
honest feedback from friends, relatives and
lovers is a very effective and efficient way
to tune in. One open, sincere, emotionally
intelligent friend can cut through in minutes
what could take years of therapy to achieve.
This requires that you let your guard down
and really listen to what you are being told;
and if you are to learn from what you hear,
you must accept the possibility that this
person may indeed be able to help you to see
a noxious habit that stands between you and
everybody else, or a self-defeating attitude
you have. This, of course, can be a very
painful experience. From my journal:
February 5, 1982, 8:28
I'm in tremendous pain. It took all the
strength I had to make my way to the
typewriter, I feel disoriented and confused.
As I type, each finger complains at having to
put out the effort to strike the key,
lamenting, "What's the use in this, anyway?"
Once more, Neal is confronting me with
something strange and apparently repulsive
about the way I relate to the world. I am
unable to see this quality in myself that is
so obnoxious. I hate this! I feel like an
ugly monster that looks in the mirror and,
through his own blindness, sees a regular
I do have some slight glimmer of awareness of
what Neal is talking about. The way it comes
to me is when I perceive people to turn off
to me. Whenever that happens I ask myself
what did it. Not that I would necessarily
change anything if I knew. . . . Whatever it
is, it causes me and the people I relate with
a great deal of discomfort, to say the least.
I want not to do whatever it is that turns
people off--if I can see any other moral path
to take or way to be.
This kind of confrontation and response can
lead very quickly to the core of the pain
that lies within that manifests itself by
moving you to behave in ways that are
destructive to interpersonal relationships.
When you do finally see clearly what it is
that your friend(s) have been trying to tell
you, after all the pain and suffering, when
you get to the very heart of it, you are
often amused by the simplicity of it all--and
feel a little embarrassed for not having seen
it earlier.

Searching for Remote Causes
As suggested in the last chapter, it is
important in the process of tuning in to
clarify as much as possible the distinction
between immediate and remote causes of the
discomfort that you feel. Using the example
of the strain induced by suppressing emotion,
the immediate cause of the strain is the
stress induced by the force of the
suppression of emotion. The remote cause may
be simply the belief that it is necessary to
suppress emotion. Remove the remote cause in
this instance and (as in all instances) both
stress and strain are removed as well. This
is an example, incidentally, of how an
alteration in your belief system, which lies
in the realm of your intellect, can affect
both the emotional and physical realms of
your being.

One difficulty we all face in identifying
remote causes of physical and emotional
problems is the variability in the time
between the event of the remote cause and the
event of the manifestation of the effect (the
problem). We simply don't know the length of
time between the cause(s) and the
manifestation of many of our problems.

If your life were so simplified that only one
thing happened at a time, which, of course,
is impossible, it would still be difficult to
determine which effects were the result of
which causes--again, because we don't know
how long it takes for most problems to show
themselves. How much mare complex it is in
reality when you consider that your life is
not this simple, that many things are going
on at the same time, all of the time, in the
lives of every one of us.

It is these factors, I believe, that obstruct
us in our attempts to understand and "cure"
the common headache. It can be from so many
different remote causes, each with its own
time delay between cause and effect, that it
has been difficult to isolate the variables
involved. It was discovered only recently,
for example, that some habitual coffee
drinkers are prone to suffer severe headaches
approximately 18 hours after their last cup
of coffee, should they go without it.

Fasting is one way to simplify your life to
an extent so that you have less variables to
observe. I use the term fasting here in a
very broad sense: simply going without--
whether that be food, cigarettes, alcohol,
sex, television, or whatever. Further, we
sometimes must eliminate something from our
lives before we can become aware of its
effects and the problems it creates for us.

Playing the Edge
My first exposure to the idea of ''playing
the edge" was in a Yoga workshop led by Joel
Kramer in the early '70's. Kramer talks about
this idea in describing the practice of Hatha
and Jnana Yoga:
Yoga is a living process. The heart of Yoga
does not lie in visible attainments; it lies
in learning and exploring. Learning is a
process, a movement, while attainments are
static. One is internally learning about the
whole field of life using the energy systems
of one's mind and body to find out how one
works and how universal patterns express
themselves through individuals. Yoga also
involves the process of freeing one's energy,
moving out of the blocks and binds that limit
one both physically and mentally. Freeing
oneself is part of the process of self-
knowledge for one's binds limit the nature of
the exploration, just as releasing them
permits learning to occur. . . .
Yoga is the process by which I find out the
nature of my binds and keep in touch with
those aspects of life that limit freedom. I
have found that a synthesis of two
traditional approaches of Yoga is the most
direct route to this exploration. Hatha, the
physical Yoga, and Jnana, the mental Yoga,
both deal with discovering the limits that
conditioning imposes. No conditioning is just
physical or just mental. How we think is a
part of how we feel and, of course, how we
feel influences the thought process. The term
"conditioning" here refers to habits of the
mind and body which are programmed in through
experience. This includes genetic
conditioning which is also programmed in
through experience, although the experience
is of a different order.
Yoga then is the exploration of one's total
conditioning, Hatha Yoga using the body as
the doorway, and Jnana Yoga using the mind. .
. .
Yoga is a process of opening, of moving
beyond the physical and conceptual limits of
conditioning. Experience by its nature
conditions, so that moving out of it is an
endless process. There is no mastery of Yoga
since one can only master that which has an
A key to the process of opening that keeps
you truly opened is what I call "playing the
edge." The body's edge in Yoga is the place
just before the pain, but not pain itself.
Pain tells you where the limits of physical
conditioning lie. Since the edge moves from
day to day and from breath to breath (not
always forward), in order to be right there,
moving with its often subtle changes, you
must be very alert. This quality of alertness
which is a meditative state is at the heart
of Yoga. . . .
Just as the mind is more elusive than the
body, so the edge in Jnana Yoga is not as
obvious as in Hatha. The habits of mind that
have accumulated over time continually
reinforce themselves. Habits of mind are
repetitive ways of thinking about things and
of structuring the world in such mental
patterns as beliefs, values, fears, hopes,
ambitions, self images, images of others and
of the universe itself. . . .
How does one play the edge of thought? In
Hatha Yoga, the Yoga is in the quality of
attention to the physical system so that one
learns to listen to what the messages of the
body are saying. The muscles, tendons,
nerves, glands, and organ systems have their
own intelligence and information processing
networks that can be tuned into and learned
from. Playing on the edge physically sharpens
the ability of the total organism to
interpret and integrate this information.
Thought also manifests in systems which are
set ways of thinking about a particular
segment of one's life. These systems are
sometimes in harmony with each other but
often not. Each role or pattern in one's life
has a thought structure or system that gives
life to and perpetuates the behavior.
Hatha Yoga stretches and strengthens one
physically so that one has a stronger and
more flexible body. Similarly Jnana Yoga
stretches and strengthens one mentally so
that one can use the structures that thought
builds creatively and harmoniously, and yet
not be bound by the limits that thought
places on life.
Mental edges are similar to physical edges in
that they are marked by resistance to
movement and opening. In the mind, fear is
the indicator of resistance as pain is in the
body. . . .
In Hatha Yoga, as you awarely play the edge
of what is physically possible, your edge
moves. What is possible has changed--you have
changed. There is more flexibility, more
openness in the tissue, and correspondingly
more energy. As Jnana Yoga plays the edges of
mental resistance, the very doing of this
moves the edge, enlarging the limits of what
is possible. This is really what expanding
consciousness is all about.
A major difficulty in Jnana Yoga is that
since your mental edges define the way you
perceive, the very perception of where your
edges or conditionings are is limited by your
present perception: if I try to look at the
way that I look at things, the way I do it is
the way that I look at things. How I look at
things at any given moment is me. Another
problem of Jnana Yoga is that there is no set
body of techniques corresponding to asanas to
use to play your mental edges. In Hatha Yoga
the asanas are necessary because in living
you rarely challenge or even reach your
physical edges. You are, however, confronting
your mental edges on a day to day basis
whether you want to or not, so that
mechanical technique is not necessary.
In Hatha Yoga the demands of a given posture,
the immediacy of the feedback of physical
pain, the possibility of injury through
carelessness, the proper use of breath, can
aid in bringing forth the necessary
attention. In Jnana Yoga, attention is also
the key. To find out how thought works, it is
necessary to pay attention to the forms it
takes: words, sentences, images. It is also
very important to be aware of where your
attention is at any given moment. Your
attention at any moment is what you are at
that moment and this directly reveals your
conditioning. (1977)
"Playing the edge" has become a household
phrase with me. As I use this phrase,
however, it has an expanded meaning, due
primarily to the fact that I analyze "mental"
into its component parts: intellectual,
emotional and visual. The principles of Jnana
Yoga then apply to each of these three
realms. Thus, when I talk about playing the
edge, this may be in any or all of the realms
of existence identified in chapter 5.
I do take issue with Kramer, however, when he
says "you are confronting your mental edges
on a day-to-day basis whether you want to or
not." Again, confusion arises over the use of
the term "mental." If mental is used to mean
"intellectual," then I would agree that many
of us --although by no means all--are
confronting our mental edges on a daily
basis. If, however, mental is used to mean
"emotional," then I would argue that far too
many of us stay well away from the edge by
hiding our feelings from one another.
I Ching teaches us that life is dangerous.
Danger cannot be escaped. To live one's life
resisting and avoiding danger is to atrophy
and ultimately collapse. Is it possible that
danger is inherent in all growth? I'm not
sure I'm ready to say that. But I can say
with great assurance that much growth cannot
realized without facing danger.

All living beings have a basic need to
grow--and to continue growing throughout
their lives. It is this need that sometimes
manifests itself in the form of risk-taking,
facing unnecessary (or so it may seem to an
outsider) danger, such as skydiving. One
sometimes feels the need to take a particular
risk long before one understands why.
Sometimes the need cannot be understood until
the risk is taken.
There is no way to find your own limits
without playing the edge of your potential
from time to time. For this reason I suggest
that you go to your limits--any of them that
draw you. But go with attention, affection
and caution--and be fully awake when you do.

"Trying" is a form of playing the edge. Fritz
Perls convinced many of us that it was wrong
(or impossible or ridiculous) to "try” to do
anything. Either one does or one does not do
something, Perls would say. There's no such
thing as trying, he would Say. While this did
serve the function of helping people to take
risks by forcing them to choose to do
something they've been avoiding, it also
closed doors for others and gave them an
excuse to quit trying. I consider trying to
be an extremely valid, necessary way to
grow/expand. Indeed, many things are not
achievable unless one is willing to try--over
and over and over again, stretching a little
further each time. Trying is definitely doing
if you succeed!

Identifying the edges you need to play is an
important part of tuning in. For example, you
may be a person who rarely leaves your house;
you stay at home, your spouse does most of
the shopping; you have your own laundromat in
the garage. At the same time you're feeling
isolated, lonely and unfulfilled. Maybe
you've never put the two together. By
focusing on your felt sense of isolation and
loneliness, you can identify the need to play
the edge of leaving the house more often. You
might decide to start doing the shopping
yourself--especially if you're frightened of

Or you may feel bored. There is never an
excuse to be bored. Boredom is always a
distortion of reality, in the sense that life
need never be boring. Perhaps what you need
if you're feeling bored is to expand the
scope and variety of your experiences a
bit--and this necessarily involves playing
the edge of fear, pain and desire. One
approach to this is to take Maude's advice to
her young lover, Harold, in the film, Harold
and Maude: "Do at least one thing every day
that you've never done before." Pursued long
enough you will eventually expose yourself to
something or someone that will bring you out
of your boredom.
Journal Writing
Journal writing is an excellent way to tune
in to yourself. It induces you to take a hard
look at your life and to ask yourself how you
really feel about things. It helps you to
bring clarity out of inner chaos. Writing
also enables you to explore and say things
that you might feel too shy or embarrassed to
explore or say in the presence of others.

If you have never kept a journal you may
wonder what to write about. In a sense, it
doesn’t matter, If you practice writing--
either longhand, at the typewriter or word
processor--you will eventually get into
meaningful material. What do I mean by
meaningful? You'll recognize it when you find
it; it will have meaning; you will value it.
I've analyzed my own journal writing over the
past nine years and have found the majority
of it to consist of one or more of the
following: (1) my present awareness, whatever
that might be, with special emphasis on
emotional awareness; (2) my mood and attitude
swings; (3) discoveries about myself and the
world around me; (4) ideas about the nature
of things; (5) my activities, recording
events much like a conventional diary; (6)
grocery lists; and (7) anything else I may
want to remember.
Writing in my journal is different in very
significant ways from all other writing that
I do. With my journal there is no audience at
the time I'm writing; I may choose to share
it with someone later, There is only me and
the typewriter. Little else exists; I am a
closed system within myself; I am alone. I
can say anything I want to say and not worry
about being judged or misunderstood. Being
understood is not an issue in journal
writing. All that matters is my own
understanding of myself, my life processes,
and my relationship with the world around me.

I suggest that you record your crises, how
you get through them, and what you learn in
the process. Even if you don't resolve a
crisis during the writing process, expressing
your sense of desperation can alleviate much
of the fear and pain and clarify the nature
of the crisis for you. Consider, for example,
the following excerpt from my journal:
June 15, 1980, 17:15
I'm feeling a heavy flow of fear--
increasingly over the past few hours. Fear of
the kind I sometimes describe as a heavy,
electrifying sensation; energy radiating in
the area of my solar plexus. And a growing
sense of dread. Dread of . . . I don't know.
. . I
just heard footsteps of someone coming into
my room, pausing behind me as if reading over
my shoulder, then leaving again. The
footsteps were so loud and vivid that I left
the room as soon as I finished writing in
search of whoever it was that had come in. No
one was there! Lynn is the only other person
here and he's fast asleep. . . . Back to my
fear. I can feel the intensity of it amplify
gently when I turn my attention to it again.
I still don't know what it is I'm afraid of,
and am considering the possibility that I am
generating all of this crazy energy myself,
through imagination; that it has no bearing
on the world outside myself; that I really
have nothing to worry about--if I only knew
I just now remembered looking at something a
few hours ago, before all this heavy fear and
dread started; something that was very
frightening to me at the time. . . My being
is vibrating with fear right now as I turn my
attention to it. . . . Okay. This is a big
part of it: I'm feeling totally vulnerable in
a dangerous world! I'm really beginning to
worry about the violence on the streets here
in the Mission. Eight months since I was
mugged in front of my house, and it seems
that violence has been on the increase ever
Okay. Back to this thing I was looking at a
few hours ago that was so frightening. There
was a television special a couple of nights
ago on one of the maximum security sections
of the Illinois State prison system. It was a
series of interviews with inmates in there
for 150 to 500 years, most of them serving
time for murder. Eighty-two percent black.
One young white man said he had to change
himself. He had to learn how to "talk black."
And worst of all, he had to learn to hide any
feelings of kindness from the other inmates.
Kindness is viewed as a weakness. Those who
express such weakness get stamped out.

I’m beginning to sort out my fears now. I
feel an immediate fear for the welfare of my
friends, Christine, Marcy and Carlo, who went
for a walk here in the Mission several hours
ago and haven't returned. I had the
impression they were going for a short walk
and expected them to be back in time to tear
into the hot bread. The bread came out of the
oven over two hours ago. . . So I tell
myself, "Look, Wayne, they decided to go to
Land's End. Or a thousand other places.
They're probably having a wonderful time." .
. . So, trusting in that to some extent, I am
able to set that fear aside for now. And what
do I find immediately in its stead but
another fear: my relationships with all my
committee members! I really have no idea
where I stand with any of then! I feel a
dread that something horrible is afoot! God,
I hope it's an old-fashioned case of

I see three sources of these fears. First, of
course, is the stage set by waiting for my
friends to return from their walk in the
Mission, them being unexpectedly delayed.
Second, I obviously haven't fully recovered
from the beating I got when I was mugged.
While its effects are diminishing with time,
I wonder at times like this if I will ever
reach the point where I can walk around
without fear of being grabbed from behind
with a choke hold. I can feel the muscles in
my throat go into a slight spasm as I write
about this. Third, I'm feeling generally
vulnerable for not having finished my
doctoral program yet. Feeling like a failure
for having taken so long. Feeling guilty for
having brought so much pain into the lives of
those who need my financial support.
Guess that pretty much covers all the fears I
can identify. . . . There seem to be no
others. . . . Looking beyond these fears, my
life feels incredibly beautiful and positive.
Back to work!
This kind of writing often begins in
confusion. Often there are so many issues
entangled in your fear and pain that you are
unable to sort them out. When you try, your
attention skips from one issue to another so
fast that you never have the opportunity to
resolve any of them. Writing is an effective
way to slow your thought processes down and
bring them under control. In this way you
have the opportunity to examine each issue
long enough to come to understand its nature
and to see what must happen for the
associated distress to be resolved. Wading
through this initial confusion, as in the
above example, can be compared with walking
through your inner terrain, studying the
ground beneath you and examining in detail
whatever you encounter, writing about your
findings and your experiences along the way.
Beyond some point you begin to form an inner
image of the contour and layout of the whole
terrain--because of the familiarity you have
developed from your wanderings at surface
level. As this image begins to materialize
you "gain altitude" in your vantage point and
begin to see with meta-awareness how the
different ideas and/or feelings are
interrelated--and how they are generated.
I encourage you to take risks in your
writing. Dare to allow yourself to write
things you would feel embarrassed about if
anyone were to read over your shoulder as you
write. If you find yourself trembling while
you're writing, you're starting to get
somewhere, Once tapped, you can use your fear
as a guide in your writing and, consequently,
in the placement of your attention. One of
the distinct advantages of writing into your
fear is that you are in control of how
frightened you allow yourself to become. If
it gets too intense you can put it down and
go wash dishes or go for a walk or talk with
someone or watch television. Away from paper
and pencil or typewriter. The more mundane
and/or ritualistic the activity, the better
it serves as a means of relief from such edge
playing. You need to know you have the
freedom to scramble back to the center, to
the security of the known, when you come too
close to the edge--or go over it! Writing
into your fear in this way, backing off as
you feel the need, helps you also to learn to
be more comfortable with your own fears--
which is necessarily a major objective for
any of us who choose to develop our emotional
Examining the Relationships between Moods,
Attitudes and Beliefs
Your mood is the general theme of your inner
landscape; it is the emotional flavor of your
general experience. It shapes all that you do
and all that you experience. In terms of a
painting, we could say that mood is
comparable to the initial wash of color, the
color that floods the background and sets the
stage. Emotion, by way of contrast, would
correspond to the more vivid, dynamic,
brightly colored forms that constitute the
main substance or expression of the painting.
I thus see mood and emotion as being made up
of the same stuff, so to speak; and they very
strongly interact with one another. In
chapter 4, I suggested that a relationship
exists between mood and attitude. Namely, in
holographic terms, your attitude--which is
the synthesis of all your beliefs--can be
compared to the holographic film; your vital
energy compared to the reference beam that
shines on the film; and your mood compared to
the holographic image that is created.

If you understand this profound relationship
between mood, attitude and beliefs, it is
possible to trace and identify many of your
beliefs that distort your reality and limit
you in your ability to solve emotional
problems. To do this you must pay attention
to your moods, take them seriously, try to
understand them. Look both for immediate and
remote causes. There is always a reason for
your undesirable, distressful moods.

Given the model described above, it is always
possible to expand your awareness through
meta-awareness to be able to see the attitude
and corresponding belief(s) that generate
your mood. Once you see clearly the structure
of your beliefs--around the issues under
examination-- you are then in a position to
re-evaluate the beliefs as to whether they
continue to be a true and accurate reflection
of reality.

To participate in this kind of mood
examination, that is, to do it successfully,
you must be ready to discover that some of
your discomfort is based on illusion; that at
the center of the discomfort, generating the
discomfort, is an interpretation of yourself
and/or the world you live in that is not in
accordance with ultimate reality. When this
happens, your idea of the world is wrong. It
is never pleasant discovering that you are
wrong in the way you've put things together.
But once you make it through the
embarrassment and humiliation you end up
being right! Discovering that you were
clinging to illusion, you finally let go of
your old paradigm and let in the new.
I have found two further sources of mood
problems beyond attitude and beliefs:
physical sources and resonance. Sometimes you
experience an undesirable mood, say
depression, because of purely physical
reasons. Improper nutrition, for one. Lack of
exercise, for another. Many examples can be
found in which improper nutrition and
insufficient exercise are prime contributors
to depression. Or a chemical imbalance.

What do I mean by resonance? We have all
experienced the contagious effect of moods.
When those around you are depressed, sitting
around staring into their laps hopelessly, it
is very easy to slip into depression
yourself. (There are, incidentally,
safeguards one can take against this.) On the
other hand, people with cheerful, optimistic
attitudes tend to lift your spirits. I refer
to this kind of contagion as resonance. It
tends to occur most strongly among those
individuals who are part of an emotional
communication network, such as a family. The
closer, more intimate you are in your
relationship with a particular person, the
more likely you will be influenced by each
other's moods through this kind of
vibrational interaction.

Identifying and Evaluating Functional
Sometimes your first awareness of stress is
when you begin to suffer functional
breakdowns--that is, break-downs in your
ability to function in the world. These
breakdowns can manifest in a multitude of
ways in each realm--physical, emotional,
intellectual and visual.
Chapter 2 describes some of the many
functional breakdowns that commonly occur
where emotion has been suppressed over a
period of time, Many of these breakdowns can
be the result of either physical or emotional
stress (or trauma), and it is often not
apparent at the outset which it is. I
suggest, in those situations where your
breakdowns are severe enough to warrant it,
that you eliminate first all possible
physical (organic) causes of the symptoms
under question. Once these causes have been
eliminated, you can focus your attention on
delving into possible emotional sources.

Once you have determined to your satisfaction
that your physical ailments have no physical
basis, you are then freer to trust the
process of focusing on your pain and allowing
it to amplify, as described in the next
chapter--which is the approach I would
recommend in such a situation.

Recording and Examining Dreams
Most of us tend to disregard the importance
of dreams. We can learn much about ourselves
if we take them seriously. In order to glean
all that we can from our dreams, however, we
must be ready to accept aspects of reality,
especially the sleep state; that are not
explainable in terms of the reality we face
in the awake state.

I see three kinds of dreams. In the first, we
actually transcend time and space, as we know
it in the awake state, and are able to travel
into the past and into the future. This kind
of dream is often referred to as "prophetic,"
because we sometimes see and remember things
happening in our dreams before they become
manifest in physical reality; I suggest this
is because we have more direct access to the
frequency domain in the sleep state.

The second kind of dream involves direct
communication and interaction with other
living entities--either other humans in their
dream state, or disembodied beings in some
other form. We can learn from these beings;
they often take the form of teachers. From my
March 3, 1981, 8:40
I had a dream last night. In this dream I was
talking with a man who was leaning casually
against a door frame. It seems that he is a
person I know in my waking state, but I can't
bring his face into focus. He was relatively
tall, dark brown hair. Whenever I try to pull
in the details of his face I see my high
school Vice Principal. I'm sure it wasn't
him. It could have been John Welwood, but
that doesn't feel right either,

In my conversation with this person I was
being helped to bring my writing into
perspective. My dissertation was clearer than
I've ever seen it--at least that was my
experience at the time.
This was another dream where I woke up in the
dream. Almost. It would be more accurate to
say I woke up on the edge of the dream. My
first realization that I had awakened in a
dream was while I was musing over the
conversation I had just had with a man; it
occurred to me that the experience I had just
had was actually a dream. At first I shrugged
it off. "I'm awake, am I not? I know what it
feels like to be awake. And I was just as
'awake’ when I was talking with him a minute
ago. But, . . . if it wasn't a dream, where
were we standing? And where is he now?" . . .
I realized at that moment that I was not
standing at all, that my body was in fact in
bed. How did I get here? I had no memory of
going to bed between the time I stood talking
with him and when I ended up in bed. Through
this kind of intellectual reasoning process I
concluded that this man was indeed talking to
me in a dream. . . , In the sense that I
never experienced "waking up" from the dream
state, I did wake up in the dream. This is, I
believe, the third time this has happened to
.. .
Once I concluded that it had been a dream, it
occurred to me to get up and write what I had
learned. But I felt so confident that I could
never forget something as important as that,
I simply went back to sleep. And now I have
no idea what the dream was about. What did
this man say to me? And who was he? And will
I remember what I learned when the time
The third kind of dream is that of a
laboratory, a safe testing ground for new
experiences--especially emotional
experiences. You can, for example, allow
yourself to experience new situations and new
emotions; anything you can imagine can be
experienced in the dream state. A dream
experience can also demonstrate to you an
aspect of human potential you never knew
existed because you had never personally
"been there." I have observed a number of
people, for example, discovering the value of
crying in the dream state when they had been
unable to cry in the awake state.

Practicing Hatha Yoga
A tight-rope walker, out of sheer necessity,
lets go of all pretentions if he looses his
balance. He will assume whatever inane
position is necessary to save his life. In
such a crisis, all external awareness--all
awareness of how the self appears from the
outside, to another person--takes a back seat
to one's present situation and the conditions
of the crisis. I know this because I used to
set up a tight rope between our house and the
barn with my father's fence puller. I was
preparing myself to join the circus.

Fortunately, we don't all have to become
tight-rope walkers to learn to play the edge
and, accordingly, to experience the universe
from our centers (compare this with the idea
in transpersonal psychology of "dissolving
the center"). Hatha Yoga offers us a
relatively safe laboratory where we can
slowly, quietly, with no distractions, creep
up to the edge under controlled conditions.
And this happens in a very simple, pragmatic
way. Whenever you play the edge, it becomes
truly dangerous the closer you come to the
edge. Allow your attention to wander for a
moment, or become too impatient or ambitious,
and you go over the edge and injure yourself.
It is interesting to note, in this context,
that injury is not to be viewed as failure;
it is to be viewed as acquired information
about the nature of the edge. The learning we
acquire in Hatha Yoga is transferable to many
other situations in life, because the
experience is much the same when one is at
the edge, no matter which edge it is.
Although the processes of coming out and
letting go are inseparable, like two sides of
a coin, we can examine each of them
separately, just as we can examine each side
of a coin separately. In this section we will
look at further characteristics of the coming
out process; in the next we will look at
letting go.

Coming out and letting go is a natural
extension or consequence of the process of
tuning in. That is, where you play the edge
in tuning in, you choose to go over the edge
in coming out and letting go. And when you
do, it actually changes your nature: the very
process of expressing what you're feeling
changes you. It changes your perception and
interpretation of yourself and the universe.
Accordingly, it changes how you feel about
yourself and how you relate to the world
around you. It also changes how others feel
about you. And this kind of change is
irreversible. Once expressed, the truth can
never be retrieved and can no longer be
concealed within yourself. It is the ultimate
form of burning bridges.

Coming out can be a rational act or an act of
freedom. As a rational act, there is some
basis for it within the realm of the
intellect, a basis that is understandable and
usually communicable. Hiding, however, which
is the nascent state of the coming out
process, has its basis in the realm of
emotion, beyond the intellect. That is, we
hid for emotional reasons. Because of this,
people often have no awareness or
understanding of their reasons for hiding--
other than a sense of preventing something
horrible from happening.
As an act of freedom, the basis for coming
out lies within the realm of emotion; and
whatever form coming out takes, you are
saying to the world, in effect, "I am not the
person I have led you to believe I am. I've
been pretending up until now. I've been
hiding this part of me from you. I can't
pretend any longer! It's costing me too
much!" Your being is no longer willing to
live a life that is wrong for you--even
though you helped to create the situation
yourself. You realize you've got to correct
these things in your life or die.
It's hard to trust the coming out process in
the beginning. If you grew up in an
emotionally suppressed environment, coming
out will simply feel wrong; you may feel
self-indulgent, like you're demanding more
attention than you deserve; you may feel
embarrassed; you may even feel like you're
committing a sin, particularly if you come
from a strong Judaic-Christian background. In
short, you will feel precisely the way you've
been taught to feel when you've tried to
express what you felt in the past. If you are
ever to find your way out of this prison, you
must be prepared to experience these feelings
without being directed by them, that is,
without using these feelings as justification
for continuing to suppress whatever it is
that you need to come out and express.

Coming out becomes even mare difficult when
you are surrounded by people who tell you in
many various ways-- some subtle, some not so
subtle--that you are wrong to be so open with
your feelings. One of the most difficult
aspects of the coming out process for most of
us has to do with the expectations of others.
Coming out necessarily involves changing the
expectations of significant others around you
to be more in accord with your inner
realities. Sometimes a "friend" is unable to
accept new expectations of you and your
"friendship” comes to an end. The only
alternative is, of course, to go on meeting
the stifling expectations of others,
pretending to be what they want you to be and
behaving in ways they want you to behave. In
the extreme, you become a slave to the
expectations of others and lose touch
altogether with what you want.
The most dangerous expectation you can feel
coerced to meet is the expectation that you
suppress what you feel and present a false
image to the world--no matter what it is that
you feel.

Coming out could also be described as letting
go of secrets. To this extent, secrets play
an important role in the coming out process.
The most difficult secrets to tell --and the
most important--are secrets you keep from
others about how you feel about them,
particularly negative feelings.

The secrets that perhaps give you the most
trouble are those that you keep from
yourself. How do you go about keeping a
secret from yourself? You use the same
mechanisms for keeping a secret from yourself
that you use to suppress emotion. The most
common among these is the control of the
placement of your attention, thus enabling
you simply to "forget" what you choose to
keep from yourself. One major problem with
keeping secrets from yourself is that you
must be constantly on guard, with faculties
of meta-awareness, to ensure that you don't
forget to forget. This takes a constant
expenditure of energy--of which you are, of
course, totally unaware. If you knew you were
deceiving yourself the whole scheme would
fall apart.

Behind every secret--without exception--lies
a facade you are trying to present to others.
Behind that facade, if you look deeply
enough, you know who you really are and how
you really feel.

As long as you have a painful secret you are
keeping from the world, it will continue to
haunt you from time to time. The only way to
free yourself from this hell, once and for
all, is to reveal it. To the world.

As you become more integrated, your
expression becomes a truer reflection of what
you are experiencing inside; you become less
fragmented. You are freer to allow your
friends to be intimate with each other; none
of them knows anything about you that needs
to be kept secret from the others. Indeed,
you encourage such interaction because they
can get to know you better as they exchange
impressions and feelings about you; and as
they get to know you better, they can help
you to get to know yourself better. Your
friends know many things about you that they
don't express to you because they don't want
to make you feel bad. You can confirm this
yourself. Look around you at all your
friends; you will likely identify
characteristics each of them have that are
offensive to most everyone around. The only
person unable to see it is the person
possessing the offensive characteristic--like
the skunk being unaware of his smell. I
question whether ignoring your friends’
annoying habits is truly a “friendly” way to
relate to your friends. You may be doing them
a disservice by ignoring the discomfort you
feel around them in order to remain friends.


Much of the pain we humans suffer is the
direct result of problems in the domain of
interpersonal communication: having blocked
the expression of emotion throughout our
lives, most of us have learned very little
about communicating with each other where
emotion is concerned. Interpersonal
communication--both verbal and nonverbal--
becomes a primary tool in the coming out

We need a model of effective communication to
look to when problems in communication arise.
Krishnamurti presents a model of
communication that is quite adaptable to the
realm of emotion, although he excludes
emotion from the investigative process in his
own work:
. . . We are not indulging in any theory, in
any philosophy, or bringing from the East
some exotic ideas. What we are going to do
together, is to examine the facts as they
are, very closely, objectively, non-
sentimentally, unemotionally. . . (1973, p.
He uses an example of two scientists looking
through a microscope and seeing exactly the
same thing:
. . . If you are a scientist in the
laboratory using a microscope, you must show
what you see to another scientist, so that
both of you see exactly what is. And that is
what we are going to do. There is not your
microscope, or the speaker's: there is only
one precision instrument through which we are
going to observe and learn in the
observation--not learn according to your
temperament, your conditioning, or to your
particular form of belief, but merely observe
what actually is, and thereby learn . . .
If this is clear, that you and the speaker,
being free from our prejudices, from our
beliefs, from our particular conditioning and
knowledge, are free to examine, then we can
proceed; bearing in mind that we are using a
precision instrument--the microscope--and
that you and the speaker must see the same
thing; otherwise it will not be possible to
communicate. As this is a very serious
matter, you must not only be free to examine
it but free to apply it, free to test it out
in daily life; not keep it merely as a theory
or as a principle towards which you are
working. (1973, pp 11-12)

If the object of our investigation is a form
of physical matter than can be viewed through
a microscope, and if the microscope has the
ability to reveal the characteristics of the
matter under consideration, then the issues
are relatively straightforward: our
conflicts, our misunderstandings, concern
tangible manifestations of "what is." Applied
to the realm of emotion, the ultimate
challenge is the same: both of us must reach
the point where each of us sees exactly the
same thing before true communication is

There are very significant differences
between the application of this model in the
physical and emotional realms, however. In
emotional communication, the facts we examine
together are not limited to the physical
world; the truth of how we feel, what we
experience emotionally, become the facts that
we examine together. It would be ludicrous to
suggest that we examine these facts
"objectively, nonsentimentaliy,

Another difference: in the case of physical
matter, the object of investigation is
outside both observers. In the case of
emotion, the object of investigation is
within each observer. This interesting fact
raises the issue of sincerity. Since we have
not yet developed an instrument that can
"see" emotion the way a microscope can see
physical matter, the only precision
instruments we have at our disposal are: (1)
the awareness each of us has of our inner and
outer experiences; and (2) communication.
Accordingly, if either of us conceals our
emotional state from the other, or
misrepresents ourselves by presenting an
outward expression that is not a true
reflection of what we're experiencing
emotionally, then we are not examining the
same facts and there is no hope of either of
us coming to see exactly "what is" in the
realm of emotion. Any attempt at
communication under these circumstances is a
I presented arguments in part 1 supporting
both the suppression and the expression of
emotion, as well as evidence that the chronic
suppression of emotion is hazardous to your
health and welfare and robs you of personal

I now wish to make a further distinction
between the suppression of emotion and the
suppression of the expression of emotion. In
the first instance, you suppress not only the
expression of emotion but the experience as
well (at least partially). In the second, you
allow yourself to experience the emotion
while, at the same time, resisting its
outward expression; you choose instead to
present an image that reflects a different
emotional state. An example would be choosing
to "put on a happy face” when you are feeling
sad or hurt.
In this section I will discuss very briefly
some of the issues that come to bear in
determining when it is appropriate to
withhold expressing what you feel
emotionally. This, by the way, is not an easy
determination to make in many everyday
situations. Indeed, one of the most difficult
challenges facing each of us today is to
learn how and when to express emotion in a
society that neither understands nor approves
of such behavior.

It would be naive to suggest that anyone
should go around expressing everything he or
she experiences throughout the day. To begin
with, if everyone's consciousness were in an
expressive, transmitting mode, there would be
no one in a listening, receiving mode,
Without both transmission and reception there
can be no interpersonal communication.
Furthermore, if one's consciousness is filled
with expressing things, there is no time
left--literally-- for doing anything else,
such as tuning in to the effects of your
transmissions upon those around you.
Sometimes, therefore, you must withhold
expressing what you feel simply because it's
time for something else to happen!

Sometimes you must withhold expressing your
feelings because you lack the personal
power--at that moment-- to deal with the
issues that your communication would raise.
For example, it takes a great deal of energy
to confront someone with negative feelings
you have toward him or her when you are in a
dense, contracted state yourself.
Unfortunately, this is the state we most
often get into before we are finally driven
to come out and express what we feel--
sometimes with a trembling voice.

There are other times when you must keep your
feelings to yourself simply because you (or
the other person) don't have the time.
Emotional communication can take a lot of
time, depending on what comes to the surface
of awareness during the exchange. In this
fast-paced world of appointments and
deadlines, we often don't have the time it
would take to express what we're feeling; and
a partial explanation that leads to confusion
and misunderstanding can do more damage than

Sometimes you withhold your feelings because
the setting is inappropriate, You sense, for
example, that the person you need to express
your feelings to will suffer extended pain in
response to what you have to say; so you
choose to wait until you get through the
supermarket checkout stand and into the car
before getting into it. Cars, incidentally,
are a wonderful place to work things out.
Parked cars, that is!

You sometimes need to withhold expressing
your feelings in situations where you would
precipitate others into despair and
hopelessness at times when they need all
their strength to make it through whatever it
is they are struggling with in life. Such
situations, in my experience, are rare.
Rather, we tend to underestimate each others'
strengths and abilities to deal with honest
emotional confrontation--even where it has
not gone on before in the persons' lives.

And lastly, when you are dealing with
individuals who lack the emotional
intelligence and sophistication to relate
positively and constructively to your
openness, you must sometimes assume the
stance of a warrior, as described by Don
Juan, and become inaccessible to those who
would bring you harm by concealing your
emotional state and presenting an image that
serves to disarm the enemy.

In this section we will be looking more
closely at some of the general
characteristics of the letting go process, as
well as the personal transformation that
accompanies it. I will begin by presenting a
conceptual model that will hopefully throw
light on the dynamics of this process--
particularly in its relationships with the
processes of tuning in and coming out.
I Ching offers a conceptualization of
movement and change that provides a framework
within which we can talk about the dynamic
relationships that exist between the
processes of tuning, coming out and letting
go. According to the I Ching paradigm, there
are three basic stages in all movement: a
beginning, a middle and an end. These stages
are represented symbolically by the three
"light" trigrams, respectively:

One can learn much about these three stages
by observing them as they occur in the
natural movement of water. For example,
imagine two large ponds--an upper pond and a
lower pond--connected by a white-water
rapids, as shown in figure 23. The upper pond
represents your imprisoned state of being
during the tuning-in process. The tuning-in
process could be compared to the act of
paddling around this pond in a canoe,
familiarizing yourself with the landscape
(your inner landscape), looking for possible
exists. Once you have explored the pond
(i.e., your fear, pain and desire) to your
satisfaction, you see clearly there is only
one way out--and that way involves navigating
the rapids.

Sometimes you hover around the exit for a
long time before making the commitment to
make that final move. It is clear to you that
you must not come too close to the exit
before you're ready to leave the pond; there
is a point beyond which you cannot turn back.
Figure 23. Running the rapids.
Depending on the difficulty of the situation,
you may need to convince yourself over and
over that you have no alternative, that to be
free you have no choice. You may need to
weigh, over and over, the pain of confinement
against the fear, danger and further pain you
may risk by running the rapids.

The act of making that final move, taking
that final step, is what I refer to as coming
out, and is represented by the trigram, Chen,
as shown in figure 23.

Once entered, the rapids takes over. Your
choices are few along the way, and they must
be made quickly. The movement during this
stage can be so dynamic, so overpowering,
that all you can do is keep your canoe from
smashing on the rocks jutting out of the
water. Should your canoe break up, you have
no choice but to hang on to whatever debris
might be floating nearby and hope for the
best. There is no time for decisions. There
is little opportunity for cause, because
there is an overabundance of effect. There is
always a degree of fear, because there is
always danger. There is always a degree of
excitement, too, because there is always
opportunity: you could end up floating into a
calm pond at the end of the rapids more
beautiful than you could have imagined with
your limited experience.
Running the rapids demands that you give your
full attention to your immediate, present
surroundings. There is no time to watch the
passing shoreline. Nor is there time to
question where you're going to end up. You
sense that taking your attention away from
your immediate surroundings could be

For example, when you are in the midst of
intense grief, your awareness of others
around you diminishes (contracts). What
others feel about you, as they stand on the
shoreline, outside the thrust of the river of
your emotional energy, becomes far less
important than otherwise. At the same time,
their presence there can mean a great deal!

Subjectively, the sensation of letting go can
be compared to that moment, at the very apex
of the initial climb in a roller-coaster,
just as the car begins to respond to the pull
of gravity. I see three differences, however,
between the rapids and that moment of letting
go. Generally, although not always, the
roller-coaster experience is more intense.
Qualitatively, the sensation is much the
same, just not as intense. Second, the
roller-coaster experience lasts but a few
seconds at a time. The experience of letting
go can last anywhere from a few minutes to a
few days. And third, most of us who ride
roller-coasters do so because we enjoy the
experience. Sometimes you enjoy letting go;
at the same time, it can be a very painful
experience--not something you would choose to
do if you had any choice.

The integration process is a transformative
one; the experiences that accompany it change
who you are in very significant ways: they
alter your paradigm; they change the way you
feel about yourself and others. I've
described these changes in detail throughout
this text. Here I want to look at the role
the letting go process plays in this
transformative process.

Of the two processes, coming out and letting
go, it appears that the bulk of the personal
transformation occurs during the letting go
stage. I suggest this for a couple of
reasons. First, the coming out process is
always, by nature, a brief event, usually
lasting no more than a few seconds. How long
does it take, after all, to tell a secret, or
to express what you're feeling? The personal
transformation associated with the
integration process unfolds quite slowly; on
the other hand, usually over a period of time
ranging from hours to months—even years—after
the act of coming out. So, certainly in terms
of time, the transformative process occurs
primarily in association with letting go.

Second, on a deeper level, the transformative
process is an integral part of the letting-go
process. That is, not only do they occur
concurrently, they are interrelated. I see
two ways in which the letting go process
changes the structure of your being directly,
thus altering the quality of your life
experiences. First, each time you come out,
you let go of a secret. And each time you let
go of a secret--once your life has absorbed
the full impact of your coming out--you are
free of that secret forever. And depending on
the nature of the secret, freedom from its
influence can be a euphoric experience beyond
description. Second, each time you come out,
you let go of an attachment to something,
whether it is a job, a relationship, an image
of yourself, material wealth, security--
whatever. All attachments either bring
pleasure or enable you to avoid (or reduce)
pain. Every attachment also brings pain,
Perhaps one valid measure of the
appropriateness of any attachment is the
relative strength of the pleasure vs. the
pain and/or destruction it brings with it. In
any event, once you let go, once a particular
attachment is severed, you are free of the
limitations imposed by that attachment. This,
again, alters the structure of your being and
influences the quality of your life
experiences. Strangely enough, it is always
difficult to imagine what life would be like
without a particular attachment before
letting go of it. The very presence of the
attachment limits your experience and blinds
you to realities beyond this attachment--many
of which may be eminently more appealing to
you than that to which you are attached, if
only you could see them.

I see two kinds of letting go: voluntary and
involuntary. Involuntary letting go is
perhaps the easiest to understand. The death
of someone you love is an excellent example;
being fired from your job is another. Letting
go, when someone or something is taken from
you involuntarily, means accepting things
exactly as they are, with no illusions that
you continue to have something that, in
reality, you no longer have. Unfortunately,
many of us have real difficulty letting go in
situations involving loss. The grief process
is a natural method of accepting change
associated with contraction or loss of any
kind. If, in the Stoic-Judaic-Christian
tradition, you believe that the expression of
pain is inappropriate for any reason, it is
possible--through sheer self-control--for you
to abort the grief process at any point in
its natural flow. The consequences of this,
of course, can be very serious. It is
definitely advisable, as soon as
circumstances permit it, to let go and
surrender to the grief.

The voluntary act of letting go comes to bear
when it becomes clear to you that you are
attached to something or someone that brings
you not only pleasure and security but, like
two sides of a coin, also pain and
destruction. This kind of letting go is often
more difficult than involuntary letting go--
mostly because it is easier to ignore the
whole issue. The final release in such a
situation can only happen when the balance
shifts to where the pain of the attachment
outweighs the pleasure. When this happens you
move spontaneously. Again, in seeing there is
If you want to remain open to the realm of
emotion, you cannot change how you feel at
this moment. If you are to feel anything, you
will feel whatever is natural for you to
feel, given such variables as your genetic
and experiential background, the placement of
your attention, and your unique
interpretation of your present situation. The
many variables that go into shaping your
emotional state are discussed in detail in
chapter 12.

If you have feelings that you don't want to
have, you cannot simply change them by direct
force. You may not be able to change them at
all. Maybe the problem is not having the
feelings, but how you feel about having those
feelings. It is within your power to change
how you feel about specific feelings--but not
until you come to understand the source of
these feelings-about-feelings. Once you free
yourself from the belief that there are
certain feelings you must not allow yourself
to experience, you are able to see truly
"what is" emotionally without resistance.
This increases your emotional intelligence

Similarly, if others have feelings that you
don't want them to have, such as feeling
anger or lust toward you, you cannot change
them either through direct force. Surely, you
can control others emotionally by
intimidating them in one way or another,
causing them to stifle themselves out of
fear--the traditional model for parental
guidance in our society. You can also talk
things out and thereby influence them in a
positive way, if you are skillful at
emotional communication. But you cannot by
any means suppress or eliminate any specific
emotion within another person--any more than
you can within yourself. And I would not want
it to be otherwise.

To be sure, you affect everyone you relate to
emotionally to some extent, whether you want
to or not. But you have no control over how
they will react to you emotionally. Not only
is it futile to try; the very attempt to
control another person's emotional state
distorts the world (pollutes the
holomovement) and creates unspeakable pain
for everyone involved. Parents would be well
advised to pay heed to this fact in relating
to their children, as would teachers in
relating to their students.

A marvelous thing happens when you let go of
trying to control emotion. Energy that
formerly went into resisting and waging war
with various emotional states you encounter
within yourself and others (binding energy--
see pages 283-286) is now available to do
other things, such as setting about creating
an environment that will nurture the
healthier, more rewarding, more pleasurable
and/or more fulfilling emotional states that
you desire.

Letting go of controlling emotion is
necessarily a frightening, painful process.
The quality of fear and pain is significantly
less distressful, less unbearable, however,
for a person who voluntarily chooses to
follow a path of letting go. The pain even
feels "good" in some indescribable way.

What is the experience of self-integration
like? That is, what is it like to develop
emotional intelligence in this way? In a very
real sense, everyone's experience is unique;
no two people have exactly the same set of
issues and problems to deal with. There are,
however, some generalizations that can be

Beyond some point your priorities begin to
shift. The more you experience the
consequences of being sincere emotionally,
the less sense it makes to suppress and hide
your feelings--except in those situations
described earlier (pages 378-381). More and
more your emotional state comes to bear on
the choices you make in your daily life--with
awareness. You become less able to predict
what you will be experiencing in the next
instant or what you will want to be doing at
some point in the future--which sometimes
makes it difficult to get together with your
friends. Accordingly, you become less willing
to become involved in contracts with others,
commitments to be somewhere, doing something,
in the future; you don't know how you will
feel about it when the time comes. You begin
to make allowances for this in the way you
relate to friends and lovers, which brings an
element of spontaneity into all your
relationships. It becomes necessary to
educate your friends about your new
priorities sometimes--and friends don't let
go of old patterns of interaction easily. You
may even lose some friends who are unable to
accept this change in you. The more you clear
yourself of the pain lingering within you
from your past, however, the less
unpredictable you become. Because, until you
do extricate yourself from your painful past,
you are subject to painful memories being
triggered spontaneously by the most
unsuspecting stimulating events--events that
may well have gone unnoticed before you
opened yourself more fully to your inner

So you continue to tune in and come out and
let go. Each new discovery you make as you
tune in compels you to come out of hiding,
express what you feel, and let go of the
security you felt in hiding; and each time
you come out and express what your true
feelings are, you affect the frequency
domain, which makes it necessary for you to
go back and tune in again and assess the
change you brought about by coming out. And
each time you let go of anything, you find
yourself in a new reality that must be tuned
into again. These three activities thus
interact to create continual movement and

It is always traumatic to let go of a belief,
which is a two-stage process. First comes the
intellectual realization that the belief is a
distortion of how things really are; that you
have been living your life according to a
mistaken idea, an unworkable paradigm. Then
comes the process of actually letting go of
the belief.

This experience is intensified when the
belief is of the nature of an injunction
against a particular act; it always feels
wrong--indeed, immoral--at the outset to do
whatever it is that the belief forbids.
Expressing grief or fear in public, for
example. You get really scared sometimes. But
you are moving! You can feel the movement,
and it feels good! But where are you headed
with this movement? One of the real
difficulties in this process is that you
don't know. Indeed, this is the source of
much of your fear. As bad as things are, you
know they could always get worse. But they
just keep getting better, and that is what
motivates you to stay on the path of
integrity. It's much like walking down a path
backwards. You can see only what you're
moving away from, what you're rejecting and
letting go of. Once the movement comes to a
rest you are able to look around and see
where it has taken you.

Each time you do this and come out feeling
better for having done it, the more committed
you become to doing it.
There are surprises and discoveries in your
life almost every day--discoveries about
yourself, other people and the universe. This
precipitates movement that is, as I said
before, unpredictable, spontaneous. It feels
natural and right for you. You are freer to
follow your attractions wherever they take

Unlike the Hollywood version of life,
subjective change--personality change--
usually comes very slowly. While we do make
quantum leaps in understanding our emotional
distress from time to time, these leaps
seldom encompass all that we need to know to
be free of a particular problem. Moreover, we
often must discover the same truths over and
over before we are free of the associated
problems. Not understanding this facet of
human nature can lead to a profound
depression when we begin to draw the
conclusion--after making the same mistakes
over and over-- that we will never learn how
to avoid making them in the future.

We have a great deal to learn about how to
relate to the experiences of fear, pain and
desire. Literature in these areas is very
sparse in the West, outside that of the major
religions. I have found none that throw light
on these pressing issues. As one would
expect, where there is little literature,
there is no education. Rather than looking at
how to relate positively to these basic
experiences, the focus in the West has been
on extremely "objective” (stoical) research
that is limited almost exclusively to their
physiological and behavioral manifestations.
Furthermore, most eastern philosophies appear
to be no less stoical than the Judaic-
Christian philosophies of the West. We, who
choose to search for non-stoical ways to
relate to the experiences of fear, pain and
desire, are left with no place to turn for
enlightenment or advice. We are forced to
fall back on our own resources, i.e., our own
inner truths.

Having explored firsthand the experiences of
fear, pain and desire for nearly two
decades--within myself and many others--I
want to pass on to you as much as time will
allow what I've learned about these problem
states and how to relate to-them in
emotionally intelligent ways, I've already
written about many facets of this throughout
this text. However, ignorance in these areas
creates so much stress in the lives of most
of us that they warrant further discussion.

The issue of how to relate to fear raises a
number of interesting questions. For example,
what is the role and function of fear in our
lives? Are there different kinds of fear?
Some to be avoided and others to be
confronted and fully experienced? How do we
learn to recognize fear in its early stages?
Is it possible to learn to relate to fear in
such a way that we become less fearful? Is it
possible to transcend fear altogether? To
address these and other related questions,
let us examine further the nature of fear and
how to relate to it.
The physiological aspects of fear are
discussed in chapter 10. Here I wish to focus
on those aspects that have special relevance
to the question of how to relate to it.

J. Krishnamurti talks openly about fear and
our need to come to terms with it. While my
paradigm is significantly different from his
in this area, he does ask many of the same
questions and his answers stimulate me to
clarify my own conceptualization of fear.
Krishnamurti sees no redeeming value in fear.
He holds that "unless the mind is absolutely
free from fear, every form of action brings
about more mischief, more misery, more
confusion." This, to me is sheer nonsense. If
it were true, it would be futile to try to
resolve problems while in a state of acute
fear. On the contrary, the process of self-
integration necessitates passing through
barrier after barrier of fear. Those who lack
the sophistication to see value in facing and
fully experiencing certain fears have a
tremendous handicap; their fear of fear
prevents them from taking whatever action is
required to free themselves from prison.

Krishnamurti makes a distinction between what
he calls "hysterical fear," which he
describes as a manifestation of intelligence,
and "psychological fear," which he contends
is created by thought:
So there is physical fear, like seeing a
precipice, meeting a wild animal. Is the
response to meeting such a danger, physical
fear, or is it intelligence? You meet a
snake, and you respond immediately. That
response is the past conditioning which says
"be careful" and your whole psychosomatic
response is immediate, though conditioned; it
is the result of the past, for you were told
that the animal is dangerous. In meeting any
form of physical danger, is there fear? Or is
it the response of intelligence to the
necessity of self-preservation?

Then there is the fear of having again a
previous physical pain or illness. What takes
place there? Is that intelligence? Or is it
an action of thought, which is the response
of memory, fearing that the pain which one
had in the past might happen again? Is this
clear, that thought produces fear? There are
also the various forms of psychological fears
– fear of death, fear of society, fear of not
being respectable, fear of what people might
say, fear of darkness and so on. (1973, pp.

This passage raises a number of interesting
issues. To begin with, physical fear, as
Krishnamurti uses the term, necessarily
involves one's interpretation of the
precipice or wild animal as being dangerous
(see chapter 12). I raise the question: would
the physical fear that Krishnamurti describes
be "intelligence responding to the necessity
of self-preservation" if one's interpretation
were in error, i.e., based on incomplete or
distorted data? Suppose, for example, that
you respond immediately to meeting a snake
with physical fear; is this truly
intelligence operating--even if the "snake"
turns out to be a weathered branch lying
across the path?

"Psychological fear," on the other hand, is
held by Krishnamurti to be a hodgepodge of
things people are often afraid of: death,
society, not being respectable, of what
people might say, darkness and so on. Given
his definition of "physical fear," it is
apparent that Krishnamurti values physical
fear--to the extent that he values
intelligent action. It is also apparent that
he disvalues "psychological fear," to the
extent that he sees it as nonintelligent
action. This is an issue over which
Krishnamurti and I disagree strongly. Not all
"physical fear" is a manifestation of
intelligence; nor is all “psychological fear"
a manifestation of nonintelligence. On the
contrary, feeling fear is only as intelligent
as the organism's interpretation and
evaluation which lead to the response of
fear--whether "physical” or “psychological"
in Krishnamurti's terms.

When one looks at the examples Krishnamurti
gives of both physical and psychological
fear, it becomes apparent that he uses
physical fear to denote fear associated with
anticipating an event that may be physically
painful or harmful; he sees this fear as
being natural to the organism, a self-
protective response. On the other hand, he
uses psychological fear to denote fear
associated with anticipating an event that
may be emotionally painful or harmful; he
sees this fear as being unnatural. It is
absurd, to me, to suggest that it is
acceptable to be afraid of physical trauma,
while it is not acceptable to be afraid of
emotional trauma. To do so is to deny
altogether the importance of emotion in our
lives--which, of course, is, again, the
classic Stoical position.

Krishnamurti speaks more in terms of "getting
rid of" fear than resolving it. And his
suggested methods for getting rid of fear
stand as further testimony to his Stoical
position with respect to emotion. He insists
that analysis is not the way to get rid of
fear. The analyzer, he says, is a part of
yourself, part of your "mind" that proposes
to be able to examine the other parts--the
center from which you do the examining of the
other parts. That center, he insists, has no
redeeming value and is to be eliminated:
"That center," he says, "is a center of fear,
anxiety, greed, pleasure, despair, hope,
dependency, ambition, comparison--it is that
from which we think and act.”66 What he is
talking about, "that center from which we
think and act," is emotion. On this basis, I
propose that Krishnamurti is advocating that
you suppress emotion in the name of
transcending fear. I have presented, I
believe, a convincing argument that it is not
necessary--nor is it desirable--to suppress
emotion ("that center") in order to be able
to come to terms with feelings such as “fear,
anxiety, greed, pleasure, despair, hope,
dependency, ambition, and comparison"--as
well as any other feelings you might
encounter in your daily life.

Krishnamurti holds that thought is totally
responsible for your fear. I agree that
thought can and does create fear--and
sometimes unnecessarily so. However, thought
is only one of many faculties of
consciousness capable of generating fear. A
vision, an inner image, a smell, or a
physical sensation can do the same; words
need not be present. (It is argued that
Krishnamurti uses the term "thought" to
include ordinary thought plus vision, inner,
image, smell and physical sensation. I find
this to be an unfortunate choice of words,
because this is not what one generally
attributes to the term thought. This, to me,
is an example of combining two or more ideas
without awareness, as discussed on pages 67-

What must be present for you to experience
fear (assuming no organic pathology is
present) is an interpretation of your present
situation that leads you to feel apprehension
about possible undesirable future events.
Indeed, any of the means of generating
emotion described in chapter 12 apply as well
in the generation of fear--which is, after
all, emotion. While insisting that thought is
the source of your fears, Krishnamurti also
holds that it would not be possible to
function in the world without engaging

Thought not only breeds and sustains fear and
pleasure, but thought is also necessary to
function, to act, efficiently. See how
difficult it becomes: thought must be
employed completely, objectively, when you
function technologically, when you do
anything, and thought also breeds fear and
pleasure and therefore pain. . . . Where is
the border-line between where thought must be
employed completely and where it must not
interfere? . . So we have a very subtle
problem, which is: one sees the danger of
thought which brings about fear--fear
destroys, perverts, makes the mind live in
darkness, in misery--yet one sees that
thought must be used efficiently,
objectively, without emotion [italics mine]
(1973, pp. 29-30).

What Krishnamurti is saying here is that
thought always creates fear--unless you think
without emotion. Again, the fundamental
position of Stoicism. I consider this to be
extremely poor advice to give anyone, In my
observations of severely disturbed
individuals in mental hospital and community
mental health center settings, the split
between thought and emotion is one of the
most disturbing and difficult forms of
emotional problems to deal with and, in my
estimation, at the root of most forms of
psychosis--especially schizophrenia and
manic-depressive psychoses.

Krishnamurti and I disagree strongly on the
issue of the time it takes to transcend fear,
as well as the nature of the process by which
we do so. He argues that
. . . there is no such thing as gradually
getting rid of fear. Either you are
completely free of it, or not at all; there
is no gradualness, which implies time--time
not only in the chronological sense of that
word, but also in the psychological sense.
Time is of the very essence of fear. (1973,
p. 24)
While I agree that time is of the very
essence of fear, disagree that there can be
no gradualness in "getting rid of" fear. It
simply does not fit my own experiences with
fear--nor does it fit my observations of the
experiences of others in transcending their
I would suggest that the reason we differ on
this issue is because we are looking at
different dynamics altogether. If we talk
about eliminating your "center" as the means
of eliminating your fear, then, for sure,
Krishnamurti is right: it is possible to
transcend fear altogether in an instant if
you do it by an act of massive suppression.
But if we talk about transcending your
particular fears through insight and
understanding, leaving yourself open to all
emotional experiences along the way--which is
what we're talking about in the process of
self-integration--then Krishnamurtils words
become meaningless, because this does take a
great deal of time. Probably more than a
lifetime for most of us.

Krishnamurti acknowledges that there are both
conscious, recognizable fears and hidden
fears. How does he suggest that you expose
your hidden fears? Again, not through
analysis, seeking their cause. Nor through
dreams, either. Dreams, which are nothing
more than the continuation of the activity of
waking hours, he says, have no value. Nor can
your hidden fears be uncovered through will
power. The only way to expose hidden fears,
according to Krishnamurti, is to eliminate
your "me," your "center," which is "created
by thought." He talks about looking at your
fear "without the center, . . . without
naming it." The moment you name it "fear," it
is already in the past, he says. More about
this later.
I make no distinction between what
Krishnamurti calls physical and psychological
fears. Rather, I find it more useful to look
at fear in terms of whether it is based on
reality or illusion. If I can learn to
identify which of my fears are reflections of
what's really happening in my world and which
are generated by my imagination and,
accordingly, based on illusion (self-
deception), then I can begin to pay attention
to--and respect those fears which, like my
fear of staying in a burning house, or my
fear of environmental pollution, are based on
reality, are self-protective, and need to be
considered in guiding my actions. At the same
time, I can begin to destroy those fears
which are based on illusion and are self-
destructive. This, of course, is much easier
said than done. But it is definitely
Given this breakdown of fear, then, how do
you go about learning which of your fears are
appropriate for your self-preservation and
which are self-limiting and self-destructive?
The only way I know is to face, them, any of
them that you have doubts about; at least
edge closer to whatever it is that generates
them. At some point you will come to see
clearly whether each particular fear is
generated by reality or imagination--and
respond to the situation accordingly.

There is always danger involved anytime you
play the edge in this way, but the
alternative is not very appealing. If you
never allow yourself to experience your fear,
always avoiding situations that might trigger
it, you never fully realize what it is that
you're afraid of. And that is a tremendous
handicap. It's like living in a prison
camp--only worse. To avoid facing the reality
that you are imprisoned, you never allow
yourself to approach--or even to look in the
direction of--the fences that surround you.
You are able to achieve this unnatural,
controlled state only by convincing yourself
that freedom is not a possibility for you;
and you convince yourself further that you
are not really interested in looking at the
fences or what lies beyond them anyway.

Picture yourself standing in a small clearing
in the middle of a forest. Each tree
represents a specific fear that you have--
more accurately, something that you are
afraid of. You approach each tree, one by
one. With each tree you chop down, you
transcend the associated fear. As time
unfolds, your clearing gets bigger and
bigger. Your freedom of movement becomes
wider and wider; you become more able to
relate to a wider range of experiences. Which
means you will be able to develop yourself
better. Which means there will also be more
in life for you than if you had never
ventured out of the center of the clearing.
One very effective way to face your fear is
to name it. Indeed, naming your fear as fear
is often the first step onto a path toward
transcending your fear. In relating to fear
in this way, however, you do not lose your
"center." On the contrary, your center is
clarified and strengthened--as it ought to be
if you are to live a self-directed life in a
world where emotion is valued and expressed.
In actual practice, the moment you name your
fear as "fear", you bring the reality of your
fear blazing into awareness--and it becomes
immediately the center of your attention in
the present, as in running the rapids. (This
phenomenon would appear to contradict
Krishnamurti's contention that the moment you
name fear "fear", it is already in the past.)
This, by definition, is a frightening
experience, so it's something you're not
generally inclined to do voluntarily--unless
you have a very good reason, such as having
no choice.
Fear is often experienced at the outset as a
simple chill: you feel cold; you get
goosebumps; your teeth can chatter out of
control; your body begins to vibrate. This
can all happen with no sensation of the
emotion of fear. Only after a number of such
experiences do you begin to interpret the
physical phenomena of vibrations and feeling
cold as emanating from growing fear. Once it
is recognized and named, you pass through the
vibrations rather quickly, moving directly
into the experience of fear. The emotional
experience of fear lasts but seconds--minutes
at the most. It fades as insight into the
source of the fear grows. This insight comes
in the form of the realization/experience of
the pain hidden behind the fear--as well as
its source.

As you let go, the raw pain of the blocked
emotional energy begins to flow out into full
bodily expression. This raw pain has an
unusual quality: it always feels good, in
some way. Part of this is because this time
it comes with insight into its origin.
Another part is that you've already survived
the event that brought the pain in the first
place. It didn't destroy you after all!
Knowing it didn't destroy you at the time,
and discovering that allowing yourself to
experience the full energy of the associated
pain didn't destroy you either, you feel
released--permanently-- from that part of
your hidden pain.
Most people lose their fear of being
overwhelmed by fear simply through
experience; this happens relatively early in
the self-integration process. Each time you
face a fear and live through it--and come out
of it better off for having done it--it loses
a little more of its grip on you. The further
you progress into your fears and overcome
them, the more self-directed you become,
because your course in life is controlled
less and less by fear of fear.

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that
encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break,
that its heart may stand in the sun, so must
you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at
the daily miracles of your life, your pain
would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your
heart, even as you have always accepted the
seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the
winters of your grief.
Much of your pain is self-chosen.
It is the bitter potion by which the
physician within you heals your sick self.
Therefore trust the physician, and drink his
remedy in silence and tranquility:
For his hand, though heavy and hard, is
guided by the tender hand of the unseen,
And the cup he brings, though it burn your
lips, has been fashioned of the clay which
the potter has moistened with his own sacred
--Kahlil Gibran The Prophet
Seeing no value in pain, it has become the
American way of life to pursue pleasure and
eradicate pain--at any cost--either by
avoiding pain in the first place (by staying
within the boundaries of one's prison) or, if
it can't be avoided, by deadening one's
awareness of its influence (by anesthetizing
oneself). This attitude, generated by
distorted beliefs about the nature of pain
and its role in our lives, is at the core of
many emotional problems that we experience in
our everyday lives. Solving these problems,
then, will necessarily involve forming a new
idea of the nature of pain and how to relate
to it.
In accordance with this way of life, the
emphasis in Western medicine throughout its
history has been upon the relief of pain and
distress, overpowering the unwanted symptoms
by direct force--often with little or no
regard for the long-term consequences. In
terms of stress and strain, this means the
focus has been on ways to eliminate the
manifestation of strain by any effective
means available, disregarding altogether the
underlying stress. This, of course, solves
nothing; it only buries the problem ' deeper,
setting the stage for the stress to manifest
in yet another form of strain, perhaps in yet
another form of physical illness or disease,
or behavior that is destructive to self or
others. This emphasis has created a society
of people who are essentially ignorant about
how to heal themselves by natural means.

I am presenting another view of pain. Rather
than counteracting or overpowering the
symptoms of pain, it is sometimes necessary,
if you want to solve the problem that
generates the pain, to focus your attention
on the pain, allowing it to come more clearly
into focus. This amplifies your experience of
the pain, makes it something real in your
life, and motivates you to do something about
it-- as much as seeing a tree falling on you
motivates you to move. For this to happen,
you must first realize that pain and distress
are natural for anyone to experience when in
a problem state--whether that problem is
physical or emotional; and that physical
manifestations of emotional stress are
natural phenomena. To label these
manifestations as illness or disease or
pathology is a distortion of reality. It
tempts us to look for ways to eliminate these
"unnatural” symptoms.

Along this positive vein, I suggest that pain
serves two basic functions in life: that of
bodyguard, and that of healer.
Two different kinds of pain are involved in
the bodyguard function--phasic and tonic--
with each serving different functions,
transmitting different kinds of information
to the brain, and involving different
neurological systems.

Phasic pain is immediate and acute. It
transmits information to your brain about
well-defined perceptions of physical trauma
(such as a burned finger) which has a sudden
onset; thus it warns you of events which
threaten actual tissue damage unless you
react quickly to avert the damage.
Physiologically, phasic pain is mediated by
three rapidly conducting neurological
systems: the dorsal-column post-synaptic
system (DCPS), the spino-cervical tract
(SCT), and the neospinothalamic tract (nSTT).

Tonic pain is the deeply unpleasant and
diffuse pain that lingers after the initial
phasic pain has left. It serves as a reminder
to pay attention to an injured grea to insure
that it is not injured further and is allowed
to heal. Neurologically, it is mediated by
two slow-conducting systems: the spino-
reticular tract (SRT) and the
paleospinothalamic tract (pSTT). 68

Thus the dorsal-cord pathways and the nSTT
appear to be eminently suited for rapid
transmission of phasic information, such as
the threat or onset of injury, or sudden
changes in a damaged area, while the other
ventral pathways seem best adapted to carry
tonic information on your overall condition.
In addition, these slower systems contribute
to the longer-lasting, motivational-affective
(emotional) dimensions of pain, i.e., the
physical pain associated with emotional pain.
These slower systems may also affect the
switching mechanisms which operate on the
fast systems, "setting the bias” on the DCPS,
SCT and nSTT systems, influencing them toward
the selection of information from a damaged
area. 69


Two opposing systems of medical treatment
provide for us a framework within which we
can talk about the nature of healing pain:
allopathy and homeopathy.
Allopathy and Homeopathy
Allopathy is the basis of Western medicine.
It involves the introduction of agents or
chemicals into an organism which produce
effects that are opposite to, or alleviate,
the symptoms of the physical condition being
treated. It is, in a sense, a brute-force
method of overpowering the organism's natural
responses to being in a problem state. Taking
an aspirin for a headache is an example. Most
of us do this will little consideration given
to the cause of the headache. All that
matters is to be free of the pain. Besides,
everybody gets headaches; it's nothing to be
concerned about.

Homeopathy, on the other hand, involves the
introduction into an organism of chemicals in
minute doses which, in a healthy organism,
produce symptoms similar to the symptoms of
the physical condition being treated.
Desensitization of allergies by the
administration of minute doses of the
substance to which one is allergic is an
example. For a time, the symptoms are
slightly enhanced.
I would suggest that neither homeopathy nor
allopathy is the treatment of choice in every
situation. I see an interesting parallel
between allopathy and homeopathy on the one
hand, and the suppression and expression of
emotion on the other. Certainly this is true:
neither mode is always the way to deal with
distress--whether physical or emotional.

Allopathy makes more sense intuitively to
most of us than does homeopathy. This is
perhaps because it involves the kind of
linear, cause-and-effect conceptualization of
the universe that we in the West grew up
with. It is quite compatible with the
American Dream that anything is possible
given enough financial backing to develop the
needed technology.

Homeopathy is more difficult to understand.
How does it happen that a method which
increases your symptoms of illness can
ultimately eliminate them? As far as I have
been able to determine, no one has ventured
to guess. I offer the following
interpretation as an hypothesis:
The Ratchet Effect of Healing Pain
My observations of the physical healing
process have led me to the following
hypothesis: a slight amplification of the
discomfort associated with the underlying
problem brings your body's full attention to
the problem and engages your physical
intelligence in solving the underlying
problems. Once engaged in the problem, your
body "knows" what needs to be done and
proceeds to do it. Your brain immediately
begins sending healing instructions
throughout your body--through the central and
peripheral nervous systems, the autonomic
nervous system, and the endocrine systems--
instructing each organ and system involved in
the healing process to shift into a healing
mode of operation. A symbolic representation
of this process, in terms of the intensity of
pain experienced, is shown in figure 24. In
this model, pain functions similarly to a
standard window shade. In order to raise a
window shade, you must begin the movement by
pulling the shade a little further closed;
this movement engages the mechanisms involved
in releasing the shade from its closed
position. Figure 24. The ratchet effect of
healing pain.
It is noteworthy that I arrived at my
interpretation of this characteristic of
healing pain long before I ever heard of
homeopathy. What I learned about the healing
quality of pain was first learned in the
realm of emotion, later being transferred to
the physical realm. That is, I sensed a kind
of resonance or isomorphism in the physical
realm of what I had been doing in the
emotional realm. I began to experiment, first
on myself, then on my children, my closest
friends and two cats. I found that the
methods I had been using to relate to my
emotional pain (such as facing my fears),
abstracted from the emotional realm and
applied to the physical realm, were equally
as healing in the physical realm. My later
discovery of the principles of homeopathy
served as confirmation to me of this basic
law of nature.
It thus appears that in the process of
resolving problems of suffering--whether
emotional or physical--there are situations
in which the resolution of suffering is truly
achieved--as opposed to masking the
problem--by playing the edge of bringing the
pain into sharper focus with slight
intensification, rather than manipulating the
organism, physically or otherwise, to
eliminate or overpower the symptom.
The problem, existing in the form of a cloud
of confusion, misunderstanding, fear and
pain, is brought more clearly into focus;
this involves clarification and
intensification of the pain in some instances
(when the problem- to-be-solved involves
pain!), and the solution comes into focus
along with the problem and stands out as a
figure against the background of the problem.
If pain is the problem-to-be-solved, then
solving the problem involves going into the
pain to find what is at the center of it,
generating it, before it can be eliminated.

Athletes, dancers, and those convalescing
from a serious illness, such as cancer, know
well the meaning and value of healing pain.
Mark Caso, for example, winner of four
gymnastics medals at the National Sports
Festival in New York in 1981, tells the story
of his comeback after being paralyzed from
the neck down in a gymnastics accident a
year-and-a-half earlier. Caso said the pain
he endured had made him a more compassionate
person. "I was lying there, and the pain was
so bad I didn't think I could stand it," he
said. "Finally, I decided I'd just let it go
and I started to cry. I cried and cried and
it felt a thousand percent better. I cry all
the time now, and I'm not embarrassed."70 One
theme is almost invariable in these
remarkable recoveries: the person has a very
strong determination to recover, and he or
she is willing to cry when the pain becomes
The challenge facing most of us in learning
to relate to pain is: not only must we learn
how to relate to the experience of pain in
intelligent ways; we need also to release an
overwhelming amount of pain that has been
blocked from expression as a result of a
lifelong tendency to suppress it.

One of the most difficult aspects of learning
to relate to pain is coming to trust the
validity in allowing yourself to experience
your pain to its fullest extent. Fortunately,
this does not have to be learned all at once.
Playing the edge of pain--both experientially
and by observing other people experiencing
their pain--allows you to come to trust it
over a period of time. It helps to observe
others as they move through their pain and
come out the other side, expanding and freer
as a result of the experience.

You do not free yourself from pain instantly.
Nor in one act alone. To free yourself from a
long-standing, repressed pain usually
requires facing the same pain over and over,
burning your way through the problem a little
further each time, until you reach and
destroy the source.

This cyclic nature of emotional problem-
solving, where pain is involved, is difficult
in yet another way. Those around you--and
sometimes you, yourself--often doubt that any
progress is being made. After you have dealt
with the same problem over and over,
sometimes over a period of years, everybody
begins to doubt that you will ever solve the
problem. This, in turn, has the effect of
weakening your hope for resolution which, in
turn, can give you the inclination to give up
trying to solve it altogether.

Friends can be cruel a t these times out of
ignorance and reinforce the impression that
you are accomplishing nothing, or that your
goal of being free of the problem is
unreachable. At these times it is of the
utmost importance to fall back on your own
inner sense of the path that you are
following and remind yourself of the fact
that you can see and feel the changes within
yourself, even though those around you only
see you spinning wheels.

Your relationship to pain tends to change in
very significant ways as you work toward
clearing yourself of repressed pain. Here is
a brief list of some of the common changes
I've observed in myself and in others:
• Beyond some point, which varies
widely from person to person, depending upon
the extent of repressed emotion, pain seems
to come less and less often.
• The intensity of the pain depends on
the nature of the beliefs involved rather
than on how long you've been pursuing self-
integration. For example, beliefs about
yourself from early childhood, such as, "I'm
unworthy of love," involve much more pain in
the self-integrative process than beliefs
about evolution.

• The duration of the pain, in its
acute stages, shrinks from periods of
months--even y e a r s--to period of minutes
and hours.
• Your attitude about pain changes
drastically; you tend less to see pain as
something to be avoided in every situation.
Sometimes you even feel a sense of excitement
about it; you sense that you will discover
something new as you break through it--just
as you have done over and over in your recent
• In between your bouts with pain, your
life gets better and better.

You can't always get what you want.
You can't always get what you want;
But, if you try, sometimes,
You just might find
You get what you need.

--The Rolling Stones
Desire is one of the most difficult of the
emotional states to come to terms with and
learn to relate to--for several reasons:
desire is at the very core of the human
experience; it is controversial, and the
issues surrounding it are heated; and many of
us, having suppressed desire throughout most
of our lives, lack experience with it.
Discussions about desire can also stir up
feelings within the participants that can
cause fear and distress. Yet, reckon with it
we must. It is the force behind every kind of
creative act, including the creation of life
itself. It is also the force behind every
kind of destructive act.

Desire is but one of many different names
used in the literature to refer to the same
basic phenomenon. Others are: will, will
power, motive, motivation, central motive
state, lust, passion, hunger, thirst,
craving, appetite, urge, longing, wanting. I
prefer to use the term desire to represent
the umbrella concept, with ail the other
terms representing specific forms or aspects
of desire, some of which will be discussed

It would be beyond the scope of this book to
examine the nature of desire in all its
aspects. Rather, I will focus here on some
characteristics of desire that have
particular relevance for learning how to
relate to it. Beginning with a look at the
role and function of desire, I introduce
three kinds of desire, each requiring
different handling within yourself if you are
to remain open to desire without being
consumed by it. We then look at the
relationship between desire and will power,
and I make a distinction between natural will
and altered will. This section ends with a
discussion about how to relate to desire,
given its nature.
When I was about 18 years old I became
involved with the Assembly of God, a spinoff
of Southern Baptists who had followed closely
the teachings of the Moody Institute, an
extremely fundamentalist organization. I was
converted to a born-again Christian and, for
about a year, was an avid evangelist.
Following the teachings of the Assembly of
God, I became very critical of my parents
(with whom I was still living) for watching
television, swearing, playing cards,
listening to popular music and dancing. I was
disgusted with my mother for wearing lipstick
and enjoying Elvis Presley. "But look how he
moves his hips, Mom!" became a bigoted
moralist, spreading prejudice, intolerance
and hatred in the name of love. It took me a
full year to recover from this psychotic

The Assembly of God and the Moody institute
rely heavily on the following passage from
the Sermon on the Mount as justification for
the stoical lifestyle they advocate :
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old
time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on
a woman to lust after her hath committed
adultery with her already in his heart.
And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it
out, and cast it from thee: for it is
profitable for thee that one of thy members
should perish, and not that thy whole body
should be cast into hell.
And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it
off, and cast it from thee: for it is
profitable for thee that one of thy members
should perish, and not that thy whole body
should be cast into hell.
--Jesus Christ (St. Matthew 5: 24-30)

The message here is quite clear. It is a sin,
that is, it is immoral, to allow yourself to
experience lust (sexual desire). Indeed, this
sin is so unforgivable that God will condemn
you to burn in hell for the rest of eternity
if you dare to indulge in such feelings. You
would be better off to blind yourself to
avoid visual stimulation and/or cut off your
hands to avoid tactile stimulation, if that
is what it takes for you to avoid the
experience of lust!
The above beliefs about the role and function
of desire form the cornerstone of the
fundamentalist Christian movement, as well as
the Catholic Church under the leadership of
Pope John Paul II. As we have seen, this
attitude toward desire has been passed down
to us directly from the Stoics--virtually
unchanged. What Christ added was the threat
of eternal hell for those who reject this
The Christian effort to suppress desire,
especially sexual desire, has been so
powerful that few, if any of' us, have
escaped its influence altogether, no matter
what our background. As a result, most of us
humans have never come to terms with desire
and how to relate to it, except by means of
suppressing it.

The time has come for us to abandon the myths
surrounding desire. They have already
destroyed the lives of too many people. One
grave difficulty here, of course, is that
Christians are, by and large, unable to
accept the possibility that Christ could have
handed out advice that has turned out,
ultimately, to be destructive to humans.
Particularly those fundamentalists who
strongly believe that the Bible is an
infallible record of historical events and a
true reflection of the word of God in matters
of morals.

There is another reason for accepting desire
into your life. Without desire, you lack
proper self-direction. You're not playing
with a full deck. Your decisions are
intellectual decisions and lack the clarity
and force of those made with all your
faculties engaged.
A number of writers and researchers suggest
that desire, motivation and emotion are
inseparable, if not one and the same
phenomenon. For example, Leeper (1948, 1962a,
1965, 1970) asserts that emotion, motivation
and perception are aspects of one inseparable
process. He sees emotion as an active force
involving motivation and perception which
directs, organizes, motivates and sustains
the organism, thus pervading all behavior.
Similarly, Arnold (1960) defines emotion as
"the felt tendency toward anything appraised
as good (beneficial), or away from anything
intuitively appraised as bad (harmful)." This
comes very close to how I would define desire
or motivation.
Bindra (1968, 1969) and Duffy (1934, 1941)
hypothesize the existence of a single
construct, with a single set of processes
underlying and accounting for both emotion
and desire. Bindra calls this central
construct the central motive state (CMS).
Duffy deals with it by suggesting that we
eliminate the use of the term emotion in the
and refer only to the motivational aspects of
the phenomenon.
It matters not, for our purposes here,
whether emotion and desire are one and the
same. What is important is to realize and
accept that desire and emotion are
inseparable. And to realize further that to
be open to emotion, you are going to be open
to all your desires as they play upon your
being, pulling you to and fro. To feel is to
want. Indeed, one of the greatest challenges
facing you in your quest for emotional
intelligence will be the challenge of living
with unfulfilled desire without being swept
away by it.
Three Kinds of Desire
There are many different kinds of desire.
More accurately, one can desire many
different kinds of things. Indeed, given the
creative imagination of us humans, it seems
we are capable of desiring almost anything.
If one examines the whole field of desire,
however, at any given moment, for any given
person, the field can be divided into three
kinds: (1) desire of the first kind, which
are those desires for which immediate
fulfillment is possible; (2) desires of the
second kind, which are those not capable of
immediate fulfillment because time stands in
the way; ultimate fulfillment is possible
only after a period of time during which you
may or may not need to achieve certain
objectives or accomplish certain tasks; and
(3) desires of the third kind, which can
never be fulfilled under any circumstances.
In the first category we might find desire
for things such as food, water, alcohol,
nicotine or sexual intimacy, depending upon
the circumstances. In the second, we have
desire for good health, a sense of well-
being, or freedom from an addiction. In the
third we have, for example, desire for
immortality, or desire to control the desires
of others.

Many of the desires of the first and second
kind have a mutually exclusive relationship,
in that the act of fulfilling a particular
desire of the first kind precludes the
fulfillment of a particular desire of the
second kind, and vice-versa. Examples of such
mutually exclusive relationships are: craving
junk food and wanting a trim, healthy body;
or wanting a cigarette and wanting to be rid
of the pain, ill health and limitations
associated with smoking.
Desire, Will and Will Power (Self-control)
We find much confusion in the literature, and
in everyday usage, over the use of the terms
desire, will and will power. It is apparent
that they all have some kind of
relationship--but what is it?

To enable myself to be clearer in talking
about desire, I've made the somewhat
arbitrary decision to equate the terms desire
and will, and I've used them interchangeably
throughout this text.

But what is will power? As it is commonly
used, particularly in the Stoic paradigm,
will power is pitted against desire as a
means of self-control. This model is an
example of the kind of thinking that created
our system of Western medicine. If one
examines the concept of will power very
closely, it becomes immediately apparent that
will power is a form of desire. In other
words, if I choose not to have a cigarette
this time, through "will power," do so
because I desire not to have a cigarette at
this moment more than I desire to have one--
for whatever reasons. In terms of the model
of desire presented here, I suggest that will
power is simply a desire of the second kind
which has a mutually exclusive relationship
with a particular desire of the first kind--
which it overpowers, if it is (and remains)
Natural Will vs. Altered Will
A visual representation of the process of
self-integration--in terms of what I call
natural will and altered will--is shown in
figure 25. Inherent in this model is the idea
that desire can be represented roughly as a
vector. Borrowing from mathematics, one can
conceive of desire as

Figure 25. A visual representation of the
process of self-integration in terms of
natural will and altered will.

an emotional force acting upon the organism
in much the same manner that a physical force
acts upon mass, albeit much more complex: the
"direction" could be indicated by placing the
vector so that it points toward what is
desired (This must be done symbolically,
since much that one desires cannot be
"located in space" like physical mass); the
magnitude of the desire might even be
indicated by the length of the vector.

Using such a vector model a s a framework,
path A in figure 25 represents the path you
take when you are guided by an altered will,
i.e., desire that has been molded into its
present form (value system) by others--most
often by family, church and school. In
following this path you have allowed your
desire for pleasure, approval, and avoidance
of fear and pain to blind you to other,
equally important desires--those springing
from your natural will.

Vector B represents the path you take as you
release your natural will, i.e., as you tune
in to the reality that you've gotten off
course by ignoring your own feelings and
desires and begin to take them into account
in the decisions that you make and the
actions that you take. Your natural will is
the resultant vector of all your unfettered
desires (of all three kinds) at any given
moment in time. It is a constantly changing
force, flowing and fluctuating in response to
all stimulating events, including activities
in the realms of memory and imagination. And,
contrary to commonly held beliefs, one's
natural will matures into one of the most
beautiful, creative, benevolent forces in the
universe if allowed freedom of expression.
By following an altered will: which led you
down path A, you were guided more by the
needs and desires of others around you than
by your own. In so doing, you gave
responsibility to others for making decisions
for you; and you continue no doubt to blame
these others for the way your life has turned

Pursuing goals generated by an altered will
is intrinsically unnatural for you. Continued
long enough, you begin to show signs of
strain. As time passes, the chronic stress in
your system grows until you become dulled;
you anesthetize yourself to the pain and it
all blends together, as I suggested earlier,
into a background of "white noise." Sometimes
you even lose track of the source of your
pain. In this context, tuning in means paying
attention to the white noise and, in
Pribram’s terms, beginning to unpack it. The
starting point is when you admit to yourself
that you're not living the life you want to
be living, that it could change in this-and-
this-and-that way. It means admitting to
yourself, "I'm not happy! I'm not being
fulfilled! This is not how I wanted it to
I would suggest that altered will is involved
in all forms of addiction. Unable to fulfill
one's natural will, alternative forms of
fulfillment are found--such as cigarettes,
alcohol or compulsive eating, for example.
Conversely, one's natural will--one's natural
state--is free of all addictions and
obsessions in its ideal, unfettered state.

No matter how far you've gotten off course--
as long as you can still feel yourself to be
off course--it is always possible to awaken
your natural will and work toward following
it. Right up until the day you die. Granted,
there are some activities you may have to
forego, beyond some point of neglect. You
may, for example, never become a classical
ballet dancer if you wait until you are sixty
to realize that you've always wanted to be a
dancer. You can, nonetheless, move in that
direction--as much as the time you have left
on this earth will allow. And the movement in
and of itself feels so good and is so
fulfilling, that you don't care any more
whether you ever reach your goal. The path
itself becomes enjoyable--no matter how
difficult it is--if you are following a path
of your own free will and design.
Furthermore, you may find a new goal that is
more in harmony with the reality of your
present limitations. You may, in this
example, discover a new concept of dancing
that older people can participate in--
perhaps even professionally--far beyond the
limitations of today's dancers, most of whom
retire in their '40's and '50's.

I am suggesting that the real problem around
desire is not desire itself; it is how one
relates to the frustrations and discomfort
associated with the lack of fulfillment of
desire. We humans, especially we Americans,
are an impatient bunch. We want instant
gratification. We have come to believe that
unfulfilled desire is so painful that its
presence is sufficient justification to
pursue whatever it is that one desires. We've
lost the ability to endure the pain of
wanting something we don't have--or should
not have, for our own health and well-being.

It should be apparent that suppressing desire
is not always the answer. We must find some
way to harness human desire and use this
force creatively--individually and socially.
This involves learning to balance or
orchestrate our desires of the first and
second kind, suffocating those of the third
kind, If we don't come to terms with these
issues we are doomed to destroy ourselves and
everything on this planet.

We simply must learn to live with desire.
Until we learn to live with deprivation,
however, we must either live devoid of desire
(and, consequently, all emotion), or suffer
the pain of wanting. Much of our pain is the
direct result of a belief that it is somehow
wrong to be in a state of desire, that the
situation must be corrected immediately.

The issue of how to relate to desire is
twofold. First, how do you open yourself to
the experience of desire more fully? Second,
once you have awakened your desire, how do
you live with it?
Opening to Desire
Desire is emotion. All the methods described
in this text to help you to realize and
surrender to your emotional experiences come
to bear on opening yourself to desire,
especially the material on tuning in and
letting go.

There are times when all desire seems to fade
away. You dry up, so to speak; you feel half
dead. This is very common when you are
depressed. Actually, loss of desire is a
natural aspect of depression. This loss can
last for weeks or months--even years--at a
time. It can be frightening; you can begin to
worry whether you will ever want anything
again. In my observations I've found that
there is no need to worry about being trapped
in this state. There is always a way out of
depression--no matter how long it has
So, what is to be done when you lose your
desire, your passion for life? The first step
is to accept that you do still operate from
desire--even when you lock your awareness
away from it, giving you the illusion that
you want nothing. If your lack of desire is
associated with depression, it is quite
likely that your depression is the result, in
part, of (1) your having wanted something so
much earlier in life, that it seemed that
life could have no meaning without it, and
(2) subsequently losing it. It could be a
special relationship, or a career
opportunity, or any numb.er of things to
which you might have become strongly
Sometimes things look so bleak that there are
problems everywhere you look. All you can see
are the things in your life that you don't
want; you have no sense of anything you do
want. I've found it useful in those
situations to sit down in the middle of your
path, so to speak, and begin to itemize the
things in your life that you don't want.
Write them down. Then examine each item in
terms of what you do want. For example, “I
don't want to go to work today," might unfold
through this process as follows: “I don’t
want to go to work today. I want to stay away
from the office today. I want to avoid
another confrontation with my boss today. I
want my life to change! I want to work in a
less stressful situation." This, of course,
is an idealized, oversimplified scenario. The
point is, by pursuing this line of
investigation you can shift your point of
view from that of a depressed, confused,
helpless person who wants nothing to where
you see clearly what you do want. If it turns
out that you want it badly enough you will
feel motivated to bring about the needed
change in your life. In the above example, it
may mean preparing yourself to have that
needed confrontation with your boss, risking
further alienation. If that fails, it may
mean looking for another job.
Another way to find your natural will is to
stop doing the things that you don't want to
do, once you've identified them. Again, this
is one way of acknowledging and respecting
what you do want. This, of course, means
giving up the security you felt doing those
things. It also means being thrown into a
frightening, confusing, seemingly meaningless
void for awhile, as you frantically search
for what you really want to do. Soon, as you
come to trust your own inner truth, the
vector of your natural will begins to come
into focus and you know (feel) what you must
do. You are, at that moment, free; you have
no choice but to follow your own inner truth.
Dealing with Attachments, Addictions and
There are three states you can be in with
respect to desire: (1) you can be desireless,
due either to recent fulfillment of all
desire or to suppression of emotion; (2) you
can be experiencing a particular desire
without actively pursuing its fulfillment,
due either to an act of self-control or to
circumstances; and (3) you can be
experiencing particular desires and actively
pursuing their fulfillment. Each of these
involves a different energy state within you;
and each state feels qualitatively different
from the others. With a little reflection you
can confirm this within yourself. Few of us
have any difficulty dealing with desire in
either the first or third states. It is the
second state that gives us so much trouble,
and it is this state I wish to focus on here.

In my observations, some of us are much more
sensitive to unfulfilled desire or
deprivation than others. That is, some of us
appear to experience much more discomfort
than others when we are denied something--
anything-- we want. Others of us seem to be
able to deny ourselves most anything, at
least for periods of time, with seemingly
little regard for the absence of fulfillment.
Furthermore, and I fall back on my own
experiences here along with my observations
of others, I find that each of us varies from
moment-to-moment, month-to-month, and year-
to-year, on the degree of our sensitivity to
deprivation. Sometimes I can fast on water
alone for extended periods and hardly be
aware that I'm not eating; other times I
panic at the thought of making it through the
night without milk in the refrigerator. It
appears that the more contracted one is at
any given moment, the greater the felt
discomfort associated with deprivation.
People heavily addicted to alcohol or heroin
have consistently reported to me that it is
their impression that they experience much
more discomfort in this deprived state than
do their friends, relatives and acquaintances
who are not addicted.

It appears that at least part of the severe
discomfort some of us experience with
deprivation is the result of a distorted
paradigm about the meaning of deprivation, as
well as the function of pain in our lives.
Consider physical pain. Much of the quality
and intensity of the pain that you experience
is a function of your interpretation of the
significance of the pain. Furthermore, your
behavioral responses to pain appear to be
strongly influenced by the behavior of the
cultural group to which you belong. Kenneth
Craig, pain researcher at the University of
British Columbia, describes these phenomena:
It is generally understood that cognitive
processes critically determine the nature of
the pain experience. The individual in pain
tends to interpret its source and personal
meaning in terms of the immediate
environment, his or her past history, and the
future implications of an injury or disease.
Information of critical interest to the
person experiencing or anticipating pain may
be acquired through observational learning.
The experiences of others become particularly
important when the individual is in distress
or at risk of similar problems. . . .
While the origins of differences in pain
behavior among cultural and ethnic groups are
not well-under- stood, the consistencies
within groups suggest that other members of
the group i-iodel normative standards for
both the degree to which suffering should be
freely expressed or inhibited and the
appropriate form for expressing complaints. .
. . Sternbach and Tursky (1965) concluded
that attitudinal differences among
subcultures in the United States accounted
for major differences in psychophysical and
psychophysiological reaction patterns to
experimental pain. (1978, pp. 78-79)
I suggest that emotional pain is at least as
subject to such influences as physical
pain--and probably more. I hypothesize that
those of us who tend to have difficulty with
the discomfort of deprivation may do so
because of the way our families customarily
reacted to states of deprivation during
childhood. If, for example, a mother makes a
terrible fuss whenever one of her children is
faced with going without something--and this
tends to happen in poor families in which the
parents feel guilty for not being able to
provide all they want for their children--
then the child learns early on that
deprivation is something horrible, to be
avoided at any cost. In such cases, the
obvious solution to the problem is for the
overly sensitive person to learn to live with
the experience of deprivation --and it can be
learned. Through repeated exposure to desire,
you can learn gradually to live with it
without having to fulfill every desire that
comes your way.
Suffocating Desire by Selective Suppression
Given that desire is a necessary component in
the human experience, how do you go about
shaping and molding your desire into that
which enriches your life (by enhancing your
health, productivity, creativity, compassion
and self-direction) rather than destroying it
through addictions and obsessions?

Desire can be compared to a bed of hot coals
in which the glowing embers represent desire
in various states of excitation. One can even
imagine the surface of the coals as having a
1-1 mapping correspondence with the field of
things we are capable of desiring that I
described in connection with the three kinds
of desire.

Some of the coals glow brightly; some have
nearly burned out. A gust of air hits the
surface somewhere (a stimulating event) and
the embers ignite and burst into

By observing very closely the consequences of
fulfilling each desire, you can determine for
yourself which of your desires lead to health
and fulfillment, and which of them lead to
illness and self-destruction. Once you
determine which desires move you toward your
goals and which debilitate you and stand
between you and your goals, you can set about
nurturing those desires you find to be
compatible with your lifestyle and goals and
suffocating those you wish to destroy.
Visualizing your desires as a bed of coals,
you can imagine suffocating those
embers/desires you want to die. It is
possible in this manner to extinguish certain
specific, destructive desires while remaining
open to the world of emotion. If the embers
are deprived long enough of energy (vital
energy), eventually the energy level lowers
to where the ember cannot be reignited. I
would be remiss if I failed to point out that
this process involves facing pain and takes
time to accomplish, depending on the nature
of the desire being suffocated.

No desire of the first kind can truly be
suffocated until you reach the point where
you see with perfect clarity the adverse
long-term effects of repeatedly giving the
desire free reign, allowing it to be
fulfilled. With desires of the third kind,
you must first see clearly that fulfillment
is simply not--and never will be--a
possibility before you can successfully
suffocate it.

Playing the Extremes of Conflicting Desires
When you find yourself in a situation of
conflicting desires of the first and second
kind, it is helpful to focus on--and
surrender to--each of them, one at a time,
allowing yourself the fullest possible
expression and fulfillment of each desire as
you do. This enables you to see clearly the
consequences of pursuing each desire to the
extreme. When you merely nibble at forbidden
fruit, however, you manage to avoid seeing
just what the effects of this indulgence has
upon your being; you are thus able to go on
indulging in destructive activities forever.

This method is particularly useful in
transcending an addiction to cigarette
smoking. By playing the extremes, that is, by
prolonging your periods without cigarettes as
long as possible, and then by smoking until
you become ill when you do smoke, your brain
begins to make the necessary connections
between the two activities of smoking and
non- smoking on the one hand with illness and
health on the other. Repeated long enough and
often enough, this cycling will eventually
take you to the point of clarity about what
cigarettes do to you where you gleefully let
go of them. This worked for me. I smoked very
heavily for more than 25 years. When I let go
of cigarettes, more than six years more ago,
I was heavily addicted, having smoked two-
to-three packs a day during most of my
smoking career. I've never wanted to smoke
since the day I let them go. And I never

Emotion has been denigrated for generations
by those who would associate it with
romanticism, sentimentalism, egotism, self-
indulgence and immature behavior. There are
few cultures throughout the world in which
emotional energy is freely experienced and
openly expressed. At the same time, it is
unnatural for living beings to resist
chronically the flow of emotional energy or
its expression. The consequences are
ultimately fatal--for the individual and for
Let's face it. Emotion is here to stay. It
has survived the civilization of humans thus
far and it will continue to do so. Where
there is life, there will be emotion.

Indeed, I see humankind embarking on THE AGE
OF EMOTION, in which it is recognized that
emotion is a valid, necessary component in
the decision-making processes, at both the
individual level and the socio-political
level. Unless we let down our guards and
usher in this new age, we are doomed to die
and take with us all living creatures
inhabiting this planet.

If we are to move ahead with emotional
intelligence, there are a number of issues we
must face--socially and individually. At the
social level, for example:
We must bring emotional education into our
public schools. This will be no easy task,
politically, because parents will, by and
large, resist it. By comparison, it will make
the new math introduced in the '60's seem
easy, in terms of the social unrest it will
likely create. But we must come to terms with
this or continue to raise generations of
adults who behave in emotionally ignorant--
and, therefore, destructive--ways.

Governments must become more responsive to
the needs of the individual, particularly the
emotional needs. For example, in a recent
interview with Poland's Prime Minister,
General Wojciech Jaruzelski, he was asked by
reporter, Barbara Walters, if he knew how his
constituency felt about him. He was clearly
surprised, amused and bemused by this
question. With the only expression of warmth
throughout the interview, he smiled and said,
"This has never occurred to me. This is a
question only a woman would ask." How people
feel about him, in his paradigm, is
irrelevant to his job of governing them. I
have observed this attitude throughout all
forms of government based on Marxist
philosophy. For this reason alone I hold that
such forms of communism can never produce a
stable government. How people feel cannot be
disregarded in any natural, appropriate form
of government.

We have produced a violent society, a society
in which many people believe that expressions
of love and tenderness are signs of
weakness--even immorality. I'm still trying
to unravel the puzzle of how we got here. But
we must find our way out! This is something
we must all work to resolve, no matter what
our station in life, because the future of
every one of us is at stake here, to say
nothing about our children.

I see two very powerful ways in which our
society remains imprisoned in violence: the
dramatic portrayal of violence on television;
and homophobia. We simply must diminish the
focus on violence on television, despite what
the “experts” say about the lack of evidence
of a relationship between violence on
television and violence in the streets.
Violence is, in part, a learned response to
the experience of rage. We must teach love,
compassion and cooperation on television,
offering constructive ways to relate to rage,
if we are to produce loving, cooperative, and
intelligent future generations.

We must also, somehow, make it okay for
people of the same sex to love each other--in
any way they see fit. I'm not suggesting that
we mold people into yet another form. I'm
suggesting that we work toward removing the
social restrictions that stand in the way of
the expression of love, affection and
gentleness between men and between women. We
have put up barriers to this for thousands of
years, all out of fear. There is nothing to
fear about love, no matter what expression it

Drug addiction is a direct result of the mass
suppression of emotion. If one examines the
subjective experience of the most common
drugs to which people become addicted, such
as cigarettes, alcohol, heroin, PCP (angel
dust), barbiturates, and minor tranquilizers,
they all have one thing in common: they all
either (1) release one's inhibitions and
facilitate the experience and/or expression
of emotion; and/or (2) alleviate one's fear
of the experience and/or expression of
emotion. If we could but provide for these
human necessities in the fabric of our
society, by allowing the open expression of
emotion, we could begin to help people to
express themselves emotionally without the
crutch of drugs, thereby curing them of their
addictions. This kind of solution, if it were
to take hold, could spread like wildfire.

And you, the individual, are faced with some
very difficult choices as well. For example:

Do you go on concealing your feelings, hiding
them, like genitals, from public view? Or do
you take the risk of accepting what you
really feel inside and expressing it with
your family, your friends, your lovers, and
your colleagues? And suffer the consequences?
Do you go on struggling with a job that
doesn't fit you, a job that ties your stomach
into a burning knot and causes you to clench
your teeth? Or do you take a risk and accept
that you have worth and value as a human
being, and that you will find a way to
express that worth that will support you
financially, if you let go of that job? Or at
least face the possibility of losing it in
your efforts to resolve the problems that
make the job so painful. As I've said before,
there is real danger involved in taking the
risks associated with developing emotional
intelligence. We're not playing parlor games

Do you go on pretending that you are not
attracted to others outside your marriage? Or
do you talk with each other about these
outside attractions and try to solve the
puzzle of how to live with and relate to
these disturbing, exciting attractions?

Do you go on molding your children into
beings who are afraid to express what they
feel, afraid to cry, and afraid to say no? Or
do you take the risk of accepting that they
are perfect beings who, if allowed, if
exposed openly to your emotional responses to
their actions: and guided by their natural
wills, will grow naturally into beautiful
human beings, free of prejudice and hate, and
full of love and compassion for their fellow
human beings?

And do you go on praying to God for help? Or
do you take responsibility for what has
happened in your life, as well as for what is
going to happen in the future, without
appealing to some omnipotent being outside
yourself to solve your problems? Do you go on
turning to your religion for your answers? Or
do you look inside yourself for truth?

Should you choose to try any of the ideas,
methods or tools suggested here for
developing emotional intelligence, I want to
remind you that you do so at your own risk.
Not because I declare it so, but because it
is not possible to engage emotional
intelligence without assuming such
responsibility for yourself.
I wish you good fortune on your journey!


1. San Francisco Chronicle, November 30,
2. see, for example, Frey (1980), Le
Shan (1977), Shock (1950) and Wolff (1950).
3. San Francisco Chronicle, June 16,
4. Kirschmann (1979), pp. 149-150.
5. Mathew Tekulsky and Lynn Asinof
6. Richard Wilhelm (1967), pp. 265-267.
7. Marilyn Ferguson (1978b) .
8. Lecture-discussion with Arthur
Gladman, Alamo, California, June 25, 1976.
9. Marilyn Ferguson (1978b)
10. Ibid.
11. KPIX TV, In Search of, March 8, 1981.
12. San Francisco Chronicle, September 9,
13. San Francisco Chronicle, October 14,
14. Cherry (1980)
15. Kapit & Elson (1977), plate 123
16. Ibid.
17. Stanley-Jones(1970), p. 26
18. Ibid.
19. Kapit & Elson (1977), plate 134
20. Gray (1974) p.798
21. Kapit & Elson (1977), plate 135.
22. Ibid.
23. Ibid.
24. Ibid.
25. Ibid.
26. Kety(1970), p.64
27. Kapit & Elson (1977), plate 110
29. Stanley-Jones (1970), pp.25-28.
30. Kety (1970), p.64
31. Stanley-Jones (1970), pp.25-
28.MacLean (1970), pp. 133-135; Kapit & Elson
(1977); and Kety (1970), pp. 62-63
32. Kapit & Elson (1977), plate 136
33. Ibid
34. Ibid
35. Ibid
36. Ibid
37. Ibid
38. Ibid
39. Ibid
40. Ibid
41. San Francisco Chronicle, June 9,
42. Kapit& Elson (1977), plate 106
43. Kapit & Elson (1977), plate 107
44. Kapit & Elson (1977), plate 107.
45. Kapit & Elson (1977), plate 108.
46. Kapit & Elson (1977), plate 109.
47. Kapit & Elson (1977), plate 123
48. Kapit & Elson (1977), plate 110
49. Kapit & Elson (1977), plate. 106.
50. Kety (1970), pp. 61-62
51. Ibid
52. Frey (1980)
53. Seliger (1981)
54. Frey (1980)
55. Ibid
56. Ibid
57. Seliger (1981)
58. Ibid
59. Ibid
60. Sandbach (1975), p.66
61. Richard Wilhelm (1967), pp. 126-127.
62. Charles McCabe, San Francisco
Chronicle, September 17, 1976.
63. Ibid
64. Doctor Lobsang Dolma in a lecture
during a conference on Tibetan and Holistic
Health in San Francisco, June 15-16, 1978.
65. Krishnamurti (1973), p.24
66. Krishnamurti (1973), p.27
67. Melzack and Dennis (1978), pp. 12-16.
68. Melzack and Dennis (1978), pp. 12-16.
69. Ibid
70. San Francisco Chronicle, July 29,


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