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Mastering the Art of Containment


Being careful with causality.
Life is full of paradoxes. In fact the more we walk the path, we may realise each stone we tread, is in itself a grey area of multiple truths, yet each step with a distinct Right Action. Take for example expressing ones truth: many know how important this can be. If we don't express who we truly are and if we're not being authentic, then we're certainly going to limit our unfolding. Yet what if we feel frustration inside, anger, rage or at times even hatred? I've observed all such colours are painted in life's karmic artistry. Is it right to suppress such feelings or deny them if they are bubbling away within? Yet if we let this causality out, does that not then draw to us their reflective effects? Here's where we need to master the art of 'containment'. What exactly do I mean by this?...

Ancient light of the soul

There are many spiritual teachings that speak of spreading love and peace. It risks becoming an indoctrinated mantra in spiritual circles. What if you don't feel like spreading love and peace? What if at times you feel plain angry? Is it then right to override these feelings as many do? What impact do you imagine that has internally?

I can tell you that from observational direct experience, it builds a reality of illusion and denial. It constructs concealed frustration. And the more we heap upon it layers of false pleasantries, the further away from absolute truth and our true path we slide.

Our purpose here is to find an authentic expression and let it sing. And at the heart of any impulse, including anger, there is an ancient light of the soul at its core. Anger so often conceals passion for example - the commitment to a cause and the yearning to overcome embedded resistance in the flow. It sometimes takes a huge amount of expressed energy to break down the dam.

Flushing away the flotsam

So it's healthy to express, to stir up what is truly inside and to let it out. For only then will we see in the external mirror the internal layers of compacted silt and the soul gold buried within them. Only then can we stir up the sediment of life, flush away the flotsam and reintegrate these nuggets of beingness into our golden flow.

    There is nothing more painful then watching the wrythings
    of someone who is not being true to themselves,
    for they are not being true to you either.
    It is only by being truly honest,
    truly authentic about how we're feeling in the moment,
    whether good, bad or ugly,
    that the mirror reflects the possibility of a new unfolding.

But of course this leads to a dilemma. We all know that what we put out into our environment the universe reflects back. And surely have we not had enough anger and hatred already in this world? This is where mastering the art of containment is of profound value.

So what exactly is 'containment'?
Here are some important facets to mastering its art...

  1. The most important thing is not to deny what's bubbling under the surface, but rather to bring light to it by an honest exploration of what we're truly feeling.
  2. If we're feeling anger, rage or even hatred, of course there must be the recognition of the impact this could have when outwardly expressed.
  3. So recognise the building energy, honour it, but then hold it within your consciousness field. Don't be tempted to deny or suppress.
  4. Watch and feel the energy, but most importantly, know that it is not you. It does not define who you are at your core, which is pure presence, unperturbed by it all. This helps hold the energy.
  5. If things are getting too hot and beginning to bubble over, find an outlet through which to express. It could be shouting, screaming, strong physical exercise, beating a pillow or punch bag.
  6. Be careful not to direct the energy at people or other sentient life (unless invited as facilitation). It risks embedding judgment, negative feedback loops and karma which can be hard to remove.
  7. Watch for an empathic ear with whom to share and express.

A smoother ride

I've found that steps like these truly help people master the art of containment. It becomes possible to hold and experience all manner of potentially destructive expression, yet process in a positively productive way. The world on the outside is not negatively imprinted with unwelcome consequence.

    Furthermore, when we hold the energy, but without simply dumping it, then what I've so often found, is that the situation we're confronting can shift in a favourable way. A degree of internal agitation can dislodge the dam resisting our flow.

So next time you find your life suddenly wanting to bubble up with frustrated tension, explore holding the energy before immediately unleashing it on the world. Contain it, but look for positive channels of expression. Mastering the art of containment leads to a smoother ride through the frequently frothy turbulence of the flow.


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Trinity's picture

Expressing and projecting anger, frustration and pent up darkness can be incredibly destructive externally. Suppressing and denying can be equally destructive in other ways. I am so pleased to see this article offering some real and helpful inight on how to find a healthy expression and balance between the two. Masterful!

I think its synchronicity here as I woke up this morning feeling total anger towards an old situation from my previous life( self ). I did feel the anger and even meditated to find a release, but the feeling of the anger did not seem to go anywere. I found my mind kicking in more and more, In knew what was going on and felt that I wanted to project the anger towards a certain person as the energy built up. The patterns of the old me were welling up, but I knew I did not want to direct my negative feelings towards anyone as it was my ego at work not me. So it is great to read what you have written as I can express what I feel in a conscious way and also not to deny what I feel. Your right Trinity it is healthy. Sometimes I feel what is happening to me is very confusing so having your insight and support is BRILLIANT! Thankyou, Ruth

Open's picture

That's great Ruth,

Containment but then finding some kind of outlet.
I guess even writing about it and sharing helps.
Best wishes with it.


deepian's picture

What you are saying here resonates with my own experience. I was taught by spiritual teachers that self-centred emotion is "a sin", that should be "renounced". In practice this seemed to mean repression, and increasing frustration and coldness within the self. Subsequent life experiences have taught me the truth of what you are saying, that all our emotions and feelings must be expressed or otherwise processed, and not simply ignored or locked away in the psyche.

Repression is like a pressure cooker - a little pressure is good and helps the food cook faster, but too much pressure, with no release, will just result, sooner or later, in an eruption, and the food being sprayed all over the ceiling!

When we bury our negative emotions under a false layer of pleasantry, these emotions do not go away, but build up within our psyche. Over time we become increasingly disconnected from our true inner selves: separated by ever-growing layers of repressed negative energy. We become increasingly frustrated and unable to experience positive emotion or feelings.

As you say: "there is nothing more painful then watching the wrythings of someone who is not being true to themselves, for they are not being true to you either".

And: "explore holding the energy before immediately unleashing it on the world. Contain it, but look for positive channels of expression."

In doing this, we not only dissipate the negative energy, but also learn about the cause of it, so we can work on eliminating that cause (which will always be rooted in selfish ego).

Great work Chris (as per usual) Smile


Open's picture

Thanks Deepian,

Great you concur too. It seems there's few people talking about the need to fully express - there's too much repression goes on. So if we can spread the waves of self-honesty and openness, I think that would be a great thing.

Open Wink

There's often a great fear of exposure - it taps into how we were treated by our parents and other guardians when we were young. Is it safe to express? Is there punishment associated with revealing our inner world - either its energy or its content? Our guardians are our lifeline in early life. Will we be rejected? Deserted? Will we die as a result of our revealing what's going on inside? How did they respond to our laughing? Our crying? Our screaming? Our talking? Did we have a parent who was so invasive, so desperate to penetrate and own for themselves our soft and developing inner world so that they might control our direction in life, that we just couldn't help develop the habit of clamming right up as a default? It's no wonder that withholding and secret keeping are so rife. Self-defensive privacy ends up inevitably as secrecy and from there, habitual dishonesty. When one is dishonest with others, it's only a matter of time before one begins to delude one's self about the nature of things.

I'm sure that all of this is at the root of dementia and Alzheimer's in the elderly. I'd love to do a study.

Alexej's picture

i may just be upside down on this, but from my perspective containment actually is a strong catalyst.

when i manage to NOT express out of an impulse (mostly need / emotion driven) and yet fully be in the causing feelings and thoughts for me what this causes is a state similar to a pressure cooker.

if the energy can't go out and cause the usual commotion thus drawing and dragging focus and attention into the habitual pattern of action and reaction it will have to find an other way of transforming - internally. which will only be possible if change happens - inside!

so what i'm 'trying' to 'do' is being very aware of the circumstances that will spin off into the outside affectually and exactly then manage to drop into stillness yet fully dive into the internal eddy current and be feeling (in) it.

so containment in my perspective is a major tool for unraveling.

makes any sense (and which aspects don't?)?

thank you, my loves!

Open's picture

Alexej, this greatly makes sense and completely aligns with my personal experience: that when we truly contain a feeling or arising energy, but without suppressing it, then it can be an amazing catalyst for evolutionary growth.

What happens is, that you fill with the energy that wants to arise - any of the seven rays of soul impulse. And yes, it can feel kind of like being in a pressure cooker. Or perhaps more accurately, the pressure cooker is inside of you!

So what happens then? A useful way to imagine it is kind of like connecting and expanding a 'pipe' of energy. We're working always to infuse higher self by making higher self choices, by being totally authentic to who we truly are. As we do this, the higher soul consciousness keeps infusing. But it kind of has to 'squeeze' its way into this dense realm - squeeze its way carefully into our interactions with people.

So your 'down-pipe' is going to experience a good deal of internal stress. However - and here's the most important point - the more you can hold this energy, the more you can infuse it, then the more you will expand the pipe. That's why containment is so catalytic and so evolutionary.

When people begin to experience this, they don't always immediately recognise the benefit of what's going on. They'll either want to switch off, close down or dampen their feelings - comfort food is one example.

But if we can keep allowing the energy to be, to accept the feeling of having a pressure cooker within and keep working with it, then the down-pipe of consciousness will keep expanding and we will keep evolving.

Open Smile

Alexej's picture

it's the pressure cooker WITHIN

thanks for the important refinement


Réka's picture

This is great, thanks for the article and all these comments.
This is what I was trying to express recently to some of you/my friends, but here it's put really clearly.

What you are both saying here is exactly what I meant earlier by talking about "transpositioning energies" (like in music), or sometimes I named it as sacred alchemy, or a conscious harnessing of emotional energies. Or a "quantum leap" of emotions.
But good ol' pressure cooker and its pipes express all this far better ;-).

One little thought to add... what I also experienced some time ago in my life and recently as well, is that alongside with this "pressure cooker" effect there comes a continuous expansion (sometimes explosion :-P) followed by yet another contraction.
This is in fact a powerful, intensive pulsing... (with my doula background I quickly associate this with the movements of the womb at labour... sure enough, it is in essence a labouring of our own selves...)

So there are these periods of total openness (with no pressure whatsoever, on the contrary) when heart and all bodies are so huge and expanded that everything "fits" -- but then again, for all kinds of rhyme and reason (maybe this is what you call squeezing) contraction comes, finding yet another wave of pressure...

Surely, this ALWAYS happens, every single moment of our lives, so it is very much worth talking about it. But then there are these periods when real mastery is needed not to explode (especially not on others)...

Me personally find myself light years away from this mastery Biggrin
But I love the pulsing!! (which might be one way of mastering too...)

Just "huffing and puffing" here... Smile
Thanks anyway!