We live on feelings, our life experience is a journey through emotions in order to experiment and integrate them, turn them into a real path of personal, collective and spiritual growth. But we also have a lot of memories of events in which emotions are connected to a perception of “failure” and suffering. It happened also with “love”: probably most of us feel that on some occasions our love was “wrong” because it produced a lot of pain and suffering.
The idea that the goal of our lives is joy would probably sound odd to most people. In the vision of many religions, unhappiness is not a coincidence, but the inevitable result of sins or karma. Still joy is achievable even in the difficulties of life, but the skills required to achieve happiness need to be learnt. We accept that we need training in natural sciences, history, culture or business, but it remains difficult to accept that it might be necessary to be educated in our own emotional functioning. It means that we need to learn how to choose relationships or complete mourning or to make ourselves understood by a partner, rather than just know.
Our task is therefore to acquire a set of emotional skills that could contribute to our ‘emotional intelligence’. We are normally referring to intelligence as something totally rational, without considering the value of a very distinctive sort of intelligence. If we are clever and successful in our profession but our personal life is a mess, we probably have a deficit in emotional intelligence, that skill that enables us to focus on the core issues in our relationships with ourselves, with others and with the world. Emotional intelligence is what makes the difference between being crushed by failure and learning to build resiliency from challenging tasks and moments.
An emotional education is a crucial task, ideally starting in our family with our birth. But most of the times, especially if we are over 40-50, the education we received at home was repressive and patriarchal, with a very rigid definition of what was “right” and what was “wrong” and very little acceptance for anything more personal or creative that would defy the limits. A more reduced number of people received the opposite education: no limits, total freedom of expressing any emotions the way I feel like, myself as the only important human being at the centre of the world and no attention to others. Two opposite visions that often used each other to legitimate themselves.
The possibility of emotional development
is present throughout life and a capacity
for emotional development is constantly available to us.
Learning emotional skills starts from learning to look at oneself with attention, curiosity and no judgement. We want to learn how we function, which are the automatic mechanisms moving us in every different occasion. It means becoming progressively responsible for our emotions and especially for what we do with them. It means getting out of the automatisms to learn progressively to give a proactive and original response to the impulses of reality.
On an ideal path of emotional development, there should be steps to identify the acquisition of crucial insights, such as admitting that we might not know ourselves, or might not always be right or to celebrate that we developed the skill of apologizing and so on. It seems as if when it comes to our inner lives, we find it hard to identify and tell a developmental story. Ideally, emotional development should attract at least the same kind of interest and importance that normally attaches to career or money or studies.
Adults should see themselves as in need of
continuing education of an emotional kind.
A path of emotional development is a
journey of inner silence, meditation and focused attention.
That’s why emotional education is so important: individually, in group work, in counselling sessions, we need an active learning helping us become more “emotionally mature”. The opposite condition, that of emotional immaturity, is our natural state, the way we are born and remain unless we do something or something happens to us. Normally, the reasons why we are happy or sad, excited or angry is not a daily worry, uncomfortable feelings are pushed into the darkness, we fail to process them and so they give us symptoms. We have the same difficulties interpreting others, their behaviour and we easily view them as cruel rather than traumatized, or intentionally bad rather than suffering.
The main challenges of emotional life have to do with relationships, for they require us to find an accommodation between our more authentic selves and the demands and the expectations of the others. Understanding how we function help us notice all incongruences in our behaviour, and the very awareness will help us drop the unhealthy ones, step by step, in acceptance and compassion, rather than trying to impose change with will and rationality. I learn to tell my inner voice from the dozens of voices that conditioned me in the past: mother, father, family, teachers, religion, society, army, political beliefs, etc. The systemic approach of Family Constellations and psychogenealogy is a very powerful tool, especially when it’s integrated with the body-oriented trauma models. This approach allows us to acknowledge, integrate and effectively get through the conditionings of the past, in order to move on.
The idea of emotional maturity is not a vague concept, but a path of coherent steps and insights that can move us beyond our natural state. To develop emotionally involves learning to understand and accept oneself and the system/s we belong to, to really communicate with others and understand them beyond just words, to acknowledge reality cleaning our distorted vision, to accept our limits and need for help, to achieve trust and confidence in ourselves, in others, in life. Most important, to know that such an inner journey exists and to have a sense of its different steps will give us focus and meaning.
Being “emotionally mature” is the crucial prerequisite
for finding balance and joy in life and in relationships.
I am offering Counselling sessions specifically devoted to emotional education following a systemic journey through your family tree or independently from that. We will observe which emotions rule your life and how they work, how they are expressed or repressed. We will learn to find the healthy way of living with emotions, not expressing them unconditionally against the others nor repressing them, avoiding the serious and unpleasant consequences on our health and our relationships. Emotional education is learning to know oneself, accept oneself and allow the most authentic expression of oneself.
LEARNING UNIVERSAL HUMAN VALUES
I got to know the Universal Human Values Project during my stay in Latin America, where I learnt it from the Brazilian psychotherapist Raissa Cavalcanti. She traduced in lay words the teachings of spiritual Indian masters who underlined the urgency for a real emotional education that could deal with the concrete problems arising in a globalized world. She created a study group to search, discuss and promote universal human values that could be shared regardless of culture, religious belief, ethnic origins or political views. Raissa created a lay path, detached from every possible religious contamination, to help teachers, therapists, counsellors and social workers.
WORKSHOPS ARE OFFERED ON A VOLUNTARY BASIS.
We share the vision expressed by prominent public figures and leaders of this world, starting from H.H. the Dalai Lama, who consider the education provided worldwide as incomplete, if not totally misleading to meet the challenges of a complex reality in which emotional education and awareness are essential. We believe there is not just the need for in improvement in teaching methods and subjects taught, but mainly an urgency to orient pupils to new values. Young generations of a globalized world need to learn how to live together and respect one another in harmony with the environment. Teaching universally valid human values is a priority task that women and men of responsibility have to pursue.
The structure of the Educational Project in Universal Human Values is based on a series of meetings (normally from 8 to10) to be adapted to the school level, in order to introduce and promote a new vision of life as human beings of the Third Millennium, respectful of universal human values – such as love, peace, non-violence, truth and appropriate action – and the way to implement them.
The entire workshop is offered on a voluntary basis (with just the reimbursement of travel expenses). I’m the only person in Italy entitled to organize seminars based on this educational perspective in school of any level.
Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want more information or organize a program in your school
CLAUDIO NARANJO AND THE SAT SCHOOL
In my personal inner journey, meeting Claudio Naranjo and his teachings was a turning point. Anthropologist, psychotherapist and musician, among many other skills, Claudio is a free spirit who spent his entire life researching, studying, teaching, experimenting and putting his discoveries at the disposal of mankind, with loving kindness. Claudio has been repeatedly candidate to Nobel Price for peace.
The very heart of his search and interests is personal and collective growth. His accurate philosophical and ethical observations on the now inadequate social structures and the changes required for a responsible and harmonic growth are appreciated worldwide. The main and most urgent changes should concern education and social behaviour, both fields appearing totally inconsistent with the growing need for values supporting wellbeing and creative development of mankind.
His SAT School (“sat” is the Sanskrit word for truth, and also the acronym for Seekers after Truth) is a very powerful psycho-spiritual journey of personal growth. It’s a path touching all aspects of our experience, the instinctual, the emotional and the mental, with the goal of reaching harmonic integration and all the beauty of our spiritual nature.
My personal and professional path as a Counsellor is inspired to many of his teachings and tries to be coherent with them. My sincere hope is that more and more people could have the chance of getting to know his SAT Programme and could benefit of his teachings and of the high level of professional skill from all the therapists and psychotherapist working in his SAT Programme.
More info on his websites: www.satitalia.it