Exploring the Labyrinth of Repressed Emotions, Part 1
I’ve got a lot of exciting things cooking with the Self Salutation and the first thing I wanted to share with you is that I’ve just released a Newly Revised Version of the book! Let me share a bit about the main revision I’ve made…
As some readers may remember, my life as a monk ended after what I now lovingly refer to as the café fiasco. A café I started imploded and took my life with it. At the time, I knew the reason my café failed wasn’t that the gods were up in the heavens plotting against a poor monk in the East Village — but it sure felt like it!
Fortunately for all of us, the true cause of the fiasco was something in the earthly realm. The problem was that I had layers of unprocessed negative feelings buried in my subconscious, in hidden corners of my heart — and I needed to find a way to tend to them.
Burying unwanted feelings into a subconscious realm is a problem we all face, but being a monk exacerbated the issue. When you’re a monk there’s no release valve, no time off, no way to blow off steam. You’re supposed to be holy and whatnot — like, all the time.
The challenge of repressing emotions
My way of coping with that was repression. Mine might have been an extreme case but the problem is not special to monks. We all hate going through negative feelings and there’s not a lot of cultural knowledge about how to resolve them. So we suppress them.
But what happens to all those repressed emotions? Where do they go? What do they do?
In the original version of An Introduction to the Self Salutation, I gave a bit of shorthand for a lengthier process. I spoke simply about getting at the underlying core negative emotion that’s buried in the heart. In my revised version, I chalk out a map of the murky underworld where all our repressed feelings fester. It’s what I call the Labyrinth of Repressed Emotions.
In the coming weeks and months, I’ll share more about the Labyrinth in my blog and newsletter, but let me at least summarize the labyrinth here now.
A quick overview of the Labyrinth
At the center of the Labyrinth is the place of incredible healing and power, the Chamber of Your Greatest Pain and Potential. This is where all your earliest unprocessed wounds are buried. The pain in that chamber seeds the fears that grow in your Garden of Vulnerability. To protect you from this awful place, a Little Emperor has erected a fortress. This tiny monster is tameable but when he throws a tantrum it’s no joke. To prevent the world — and yourself — from seeing your Little Emperor, an Imposter Judge stands guard and keeps the Emperor’s tantrums muted and suppressed. As a result, we only see the shadow of those tantrums manifest in our conscious lives as seemingly unresolveable problems, which I call Syndromes of the Lost Self.
Whew! That’s a lot to unpack! And I didn’t even mention the dreaded Endless Loop — another peril of the labyrinth.
I look forward to sharing more about how the Self Salutation can help you sort your way through the labyrinth, heal your unprocessed pain, and unlock all of your buried potential in the coming weeks.
Simon is the author of An Introduction to the Self Salutation: How to resolve negative feelings through mindfulness meditation. He spent sixteen years as a Hindu monk and later earned a Masters Degree in Ethics from Yale. You can find out more at selfsalutation.com.