Listening for emotion
So now that we’re exercising physical awareness muscles regarding our external surroundings, we’re ready to listen for any emotions that these external stimuli elicit.
For example, when sitting quietly in my home office with the door closed, I might hear a leaf blower coming from the direction of my neighbour’s house. This occurs to me as a noxious stimulus and elicits a negative emotional response, like anger. I want to hurl abuse at him and tell him to use a broom. It’s interesting that the simple sound of a leaf blower can throw me so easily off balance.
Exercise (video at end)
Sit as before, in a comfortable position and regulate your breathing. Engage your physical senses to become aware of the goings on around you. I smell the cake baking in the kitchen. Delightful.
Again, you needn’t do anything with it. Just observe and take note of the emotion that it brought up for you. Note the excitement that you feel and that the emotional response was automatic as it shifted your mood. So just sit back and observe. When you’re using all your senses in your physical, external environment, just identify what emotions rise in the face of whatever it was that you’re observing.
Again, there’s nothing to do. There’s no right, there’s no wrong. It’s just becoming aware that these physical, external cues do elicit emotional responses. These physical cues, unless you become aware of them, are automatic or subconscious. They’re causing emotional reactions, which are then impacting your decision making and general experience in the world. So often you’ll find your moods are shifting and it will be because of some external physical stimulus that you’re not even consciously aware of.
This exercise will add to your awareness. It will help you to realise that what you feel is influenced by several things outside of your typical awareness. The more of these exercises you practice, the less judgement you will apply to what you’re experiencing. Generally, we are quick to judge what we do not understand. As we increase our awareness, we gently increase our understanding. And so it follows, that with this understanding, we become more accepting and less judgmental.