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[stbpro id=”download” caption=”1. The Exercise” image=”null” collapsing=”true” collapsed=”true”]
Learning to master the expression of your own feelings so completely that only those are expressed outwardly which you yourself determine, or none at all.
What needs to be done
To prepare this exercise you will need to draw up a list of your own expressions of feelings – without at first relating them to each other in any way. Things which might, for example, appear on this list are: sharp words, angry looks, impatient gestures and words, grimaces, raised voice, cold or damp or shaking hands, blushing, tears, being lost for words, swearing, grumbling or moaning, chattering away uncontrollably, sighing, a red face, explosive laughter, stomach ache – all of which are involuntary. Then you can start to distinguish between the forms of expression, which are more ‘inner’ from those which are more ‘outward’. The list can be extended with feelings themselves: sorrow and joy, pleasure and suffering, despondency and exuberance, recklessness and courage, sympathy and hatred, etc.
Since we do not usually notice all our expressions of feeling, you can ask good friends to draw them to your attention, and describe them, acting as a kind of mirror.
Notice especially how and in what way you exaggerate your own expressions of feeling. In the same way, if you see that certain expressions are held back and subdued, try to practice reinvigorating them.
It is vital to observe yourself with the scrupulous, unsparing honesty.
What should be avoided
Justifying and excusing your own expressions of feeling – rationalizing in other words
Deceiving yourself through dishonest self-observation, deluding yourself
Rejecting the help of others, because you want to find out for yourself how your express things
Repressing the feelings themselves instead of their expression
What is important
To develop a rich feeling life, without however being compelled to any involuntary show of emotion – feeling without compulsively expressing it.
It can be helpful to imagine the different feelings in terms of colour and form, and also to try to draw or paint them. This helps to grasp them in a much more concrete kind of way, and to influence them more easily.
[stbpro id=”info” caption=”- A Typical Practice” image=”null” collapsing=”true” collapsed=”true” ccolor=”2e7cb9″]
First strive to become quite familiar with your own feelings, particularly the way these are expressed in your face. For this purpose, find a peaceful period, at least 15 minutes each day, and dwell as thoroughly as possible upon the usual expressions of your feeling-life. Only then should you begin with the exercise proper.
It will often be too difficult to immediately trace all your feeling impulses and the way they are expressed; so you can just practice the exercise for a while with what you have discovered, and then extend it to explore further kinds of feeling and their outward form.
This exercise takes place in three stages spread over three days:
During a quite period of at least 15 minutes, choose a few expressions of emotion, ones that you know belong to your daily ‘repertoire’, and undertake to change these during the next day: to moderate them if they are too overbearing; to bring them more strongly to expression if they are too weak or do not appear at all on your face or ‘body language’. The idea is to arrive at a balanced, middle level of expression. Once you have mastered these manifestations of emotion to a great enough extent, you can decide to prevent them finding expression at all.
In a second step, you can try, during the next day, to put into effect what you have undertaken to do, that is change the modes of expression of various feelings, though not the feelings themselves.
The third step involves first reviewing, in the daily quite period what you have practiced, and then in the light of the review deciding on the course your practice should take the following day.
So you structure this exercise in such a way that the first and third parts of it take place in the daily quite period – the first part on one day, the second on the following – while the second part is practiced throughout the whole day.
Above all, if subtle attentiveness is maintained, an inner tranquillity in the body will one day become more noticeable; as in the two previous exercises, we pour this feeling into the body, letting it stream from the heart towards the hands, the feet and finally the head.
Once every day, at least, this inner tranquillity should be called upon and then the exercise of pouring it out from the heart should proceed.
This gives a feeling of peace, which one allows to stream out from the heart through the arms and the hands. This radiates out from the hands into ones deeds. Then one lets it stream down to the feet, and lastly to the head.
This peaceful composure makes itself felt as an inner warmth. As you concentrate on the heart, it radiates from there into the hands, then the feet and then into the head. This experience of the etheric stream can conclude your daily quiet time exercise.
[stbpro id=”download” caption=”3. The Effect of these Exercises” image=”null” collapsing=”true” collapsed=”true”]
The aim of this exercise is to develop a rich, fluid, unhampered feeling life, and at the same time to become master of its heights and depths – in other words you learn to occupy the middle ground in which expressions of sympathy and antipathy balance each other, and in whose free space your feeling life can live most intensely. For you can only have a broad, harmonious register of feelings when they are not limited by a lack of expressive possibilities.