May 17 and the Days Preceding – with Manoj
The IITD training course is about understanding life. If one is able to assimilate the lessons, and make them work in his life, that will be a good start in his journey towards becoming an effective trainer.
Group discussions and role plays are very interesting ways of mastering the subject and internalizing them. Though Manoj had explained everything very well about emotional intelligence in his classes, it was in the process of reflections and discussions with a group of four that I actually came to grapple with the lessons.
On Friday, May 17, in our groups, we delved into 1) Enhancing Emotional Literacy and 2) Recognizing Emotional Patterns in order to Know Oneself.
Understanding the needs and emotions of Lolakutty, my beautiful pug is easier than understanding the various emotions that crop up in me day in and day out. If I learn to understand Lola’s physical and emotional needs well enough and respond adequately, she will remain a happy dog. Becoming aware of my emotions, naming them and understanding what they represent, will help me to respond to my inner emotional needs adequately. This will require a lot of observation and awareness, though.
If I am able to observe myself in total awareness accompanied with kindness to myself, I will be able to unearth the significance of various types of emotions, predominantly 7 of them – anger, joy, surprise, disgust, sadness, contempt and fear. Becoming aware of these 7 emotions along with hundreds of other variants linked to them, is what is involved in enhancing emotional literacy. One needs to observe the inter-play of these emotions, as they are, in a non-judgemental way, to come to grips with one’s emotional freedom.
It was in the context of understanding these 7 emotions and their many variations that we had group discussions where we named the various emotions linked to the 7 key emotions.
Through total awareness, we can even understand where these emotions manifest or are localized in the body. Some manifest anger in the form of tears and some manifest it in the form of breathlessness in the lung area. Similarly, other emotions such as joy, sadness, contempt etc., can be felt as a physical manifestation in different areas of the body.
It must have taken Manoj several days of painstaking studies and research to demonstrate the physical expressions on the face of people as they experience the 7 key emotions. The muscles in different parts of the face stretch and behave differently while involuntarily manifesting particularly the 7 key emotions. Clips from Enthiran, Black Swan etc., were shown to demonstrate the subtle nuances in the display of various emotions.
I think it was on last Wednesday we had a nice and interesting exercise where participants in pairs were asked to walk exactly like each other, with all mannerisms.
This role play showed that getting into the skin of a friend or acquaintance, or being in a state of total empathy, can induce a person to feel and act like his friend. Some thoughts that linger in my mind after the exercise are:
- A person with low energy can be energized in the company of someone energetic.
- A person with high energy can have his energy depleted by constant, empathetic interaction with people possessing low energy.
- If you fake your actions or body language signifying high level of energy, you tend to feel that way inside.
- There is a lot of scope for anyone to create his present and future by understanding and coming to terms with his emotions. That is a very nice feeling to nurture.
Recognizing the patterns created by various thoughts and emotions is the key to untangling ourselves from meaningless, repetitive habits.
We are slaves to the patterns created by our thinking, feeling and responses. These, by constant practice create neural pathways in our brains. While it is alright and often desirable to have such pathways in our brain, it also leads to conditioned responses to situations and people.
The habitual neural pathways also tend to make us prisoners of our past conditioning. If we do not live in awareness, such past conditioning tend to take the freshness out of our lives and leave us condemned to repeat senseless thoughts, actions and feelings.
I love this ad of Emirates Airline:
When was the last time you did something for the first time?
People who are unable to recognize patterns in their mental, emotional and behavioural pathways will forever keep repeating the same actions in their lives. Such lives will lack authenticity and a spirit of adventure.