The Value of Emotional Intelligence Versus Personality Traits
We live in a sea of energy. Our bodies are moved by it, formed by it, and transformed by it. And, we can feel the movement of it through our bodies. It is why music, tone, and sound have such an effect on
us. Our body vibrates with tones in the same way that the body of a violin vibrates with the movement of its strings. When the vibrations of life fill us, we begin to sing the song of what we feel. Some days it may be an ode to joy, and on other days it may be the blues.
When we become aware of the connectedness and flow of energy through life, we become aware of the difference between truth and creative expression. The truth is what we feel. The creative expression is how we are moved to express it. This creative expression can become an earworm, a catchy piece of music that continually repeats through a person's mind after it is no longer playing. It can become the song of our life that we repeat over and over again long after the reason for that song has passed.
When we awaken to the fact that we are not the song or story of our life, that we are the authors and composers simply giving expression to what we feel, we realized that we are not even defined by the feeling itself. Feeling is only an experience of the energy we are open to.
I remember when a wise woman once said that “fear is excitement without breath.” She told us this to help manage the fear we were all feeling about a liturgy we were about to present. Sure enough, when we started breathing, we all felt the fear shift into a different feeling. One of grounded anticipation.
This moment of shifting feelings was an initiation for me into the nature of emotions. The more present I was to the feelings beneath the emotion rather than the reason for the emotion, the more I understood that the label we placed on the emotion blocked our ability to be present to the underlying feelings.
Personality traits are simply the stories about the energy we feel that give validity to our emotions. And that is something that we really need to sit with to understand. What MaDar and I have learned is that when people in session simply sit with what they feel, and breath into what they are feeling, their feelings and their story change. A black pit of depression can become an expansive, light space – feelings of density can relax and open to freer energy.
We often use personality traits to define a person. She has a positive attitude. She is a negative person. He is a sad person, or he holds a lot of grief and depression. We can create our own story about the energy we feel about them, or accept their own story of who they are. But it is important to realize that having knowledge about personality traits is different from gaining emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is gained through the experience of the nature of our feelings. It is important to realize that when we feel sad, irritated, angry, happy, or excited we are simply feeling the tone of the energy vibrating in our body.
When we get used to sitting with these energetic feelings, we gain the ability to manage both the receipt and the generation of these tones. For example, when I am feeling fear, I can remember to breathe into the sensations of fear in the body and the story that “I am afraid” becomes “I am breathing into the sensations of fear in my body and watching what happens.” When we are present to sensations in a neutral way, our nervous system is free to normalize itself.
When we get used to sitting with emotions in a neutral way, we gain another ability. We gain the ability to focus our awareness on whatever we wish. The emotion no longer captures our focus. We are free to breathe into fear and find the excitement that was being blocked. We are free to experience life in its wholeness without being imprisoned by emotional drama. We can experience the joy of being alive and being able to take the next breath, to no longer be victims to life, but co-creators of the next moment.