Robert Augustus Masters, PhD announces his new book Emotional Intimacy: A Comprehensive Guide for Connecting with the Power of Your Emotions. I haven’t read it, but it has won some powerful endorsements from some folks who have. It is time for an integrally-informed book about emotional intelligence.
To be alive is to feel, and to feel is to experience emotion. Whether our emotions are overwhelming or subtle, fiery or chilling, dark or light, they are always present, finding expression in an extraordinary number of ways. Our emotions are ever-moving wonders, bringing together physiology, feeling, cognition, and conditioning, allowing us to connect and communicate in more ways than we can imagine. The more deeply we know our emotions, the deeper and more fulfilling our lives will be.
However anatomically complex our emotions are, they are simple in their felt immediacy, providing us with the opportunity to participate more fully and more consciously in them so that we might make as wise as possible use of them. For all too many of us, emotions remain a largely untapped source of strength, freedom, and connection. They are so much a part of us that we tend to take them for granted, losing touch with their sheer mystery and with the marvelously varied ways they transmit our inner workings, facially and otherwise.
How well do you know your emotions? To what degree are you at home with them? How do you view them—are they more ally or foe? Do you distance yourself from them, or get lost in them? Do you keep them tightly reined, or do you let yourself get carried away by them? Or do you cultivate intimacy with them, however dark or unpleasant or disturbing they may be?
Whatever we are doing with our emotions will not be clear until we know them well. We simply won’t be close enough to them to see what directions we may be channeling them into. For example, we might not recognize that hostility is not something that simply arises in us, but is something that we are doing with our anger. The more intimate we are with our anger—which is far more about being close to it than about controlling it!—the more easily we can see the choices we are making with it.
The capacity for emotional intimacy—a greatly undervalued capacity—is essential not only to truly fulfilling relationships, but to having an uncommonly vital life, in which awareness, passion, love, action, and integrity function as one. What I mean by emotional intimacy is twofold: (1) becoming intimate with our emotions, including their arising, expression, historical roots, and relational functioning; and (2) becoming intimate in our relationships with significant others through how we express and share our emotions.
To be intimate with our emotions is no small undertaking; doing so requires far more than simply being able to openly express and talk about them.
Being intimate with our fear, for example, means getting close enough to it to see it clearly—and in detail—in its mental, psychological, and physical dimensions, but not so close that we fuse with our fear or get lost in it. So we remain slightly separated from our fear even as we openly feel and closely connect with it, maintaining just enough distance to keep it in focus.
To take this example further, cultivating intimacy with our fear doesn’t necessarily lessen it, but does put us in a position where we are neither identified with it nor disconnected from it. We see our fear for what it is, we sense its location and coursings in our body, we recognize its impact on our thinking processes, we become more aware of our history with it, we register its degree and quality of contractedness. As such, we become increasingly capable of working with it and skillfully sharing it. As we become more intimate with our fear, we lessen our fear of it and eventually adopt a nonproblematic orientation toward it.
The more intimate we are with our emotions, the more adept we’ll be in both containing and expressing them, so that their presence serves rather than hinders us and those with whom we’re in contact. In this sense, there are no unwholesome or negative emotions—only unwholesome or negative things we do with them. Emotional intimacy allows us to make the best possible use of all our emotions—and it enhances relationship.
Read the full excerpt on http://robertmasters.com/.
Robert is a psychospiritual guide (with a doctorate in Psychology), relationship expert, and spiritual teacher whose work blends the psychological and physical/emotional with the spiritual.