R - Resolution and more
The third step in the AER process is to allow the feeling that has been noticed and expressed to flow through and out of us. This is not about making the feeling go away nor is it about changing it. It is about allowing the feeling to flow, releasing it and any hold we may have on it, as well as any connection we might have with it. This releasing of stored feelings is a perfectly natural process, which under normal unaided circumstances could take some time ("Time heals all wounds"). With AER, this natural releasing happens much, much faster - typically in minutes instead of days or weeks.
And, once the feeling that we noticed has all been released, we achieve Resolution in relation to that issue.
When we have reached Resolution, we can revisit a situation/event which was painful and be at ease with it, like watching an old movie. Resolution also means we reach a state of equanimity with whatever it is that we are noticing. We end up with no emotional charge present - we can think about a situation and even imagine ourselves back in it, without any emotional response more than we might have about some film we saw a few weeks ago.
The interesting thing about resolution is that most of the systems for emotional well-being and healing do not aim to provide resolution. Instead, they offer relief, which is like a band-aid or pain-killer, providing a temporary feeling of things being better.
This is easy enough to understand, as it is human nature to shy away from that which is not comfortable. When we encounter something that triggers a heightened emotional response in us, our natural tendency is to move ourselves away, just like we move away from a growling dog.
As a result, most approaches to healing are designed to expose us only briefly to that which is uncomfortable, and to stop once we start to feel better. However, this means that we end up with many residues of feelings that have not been fully resolved.
Nature provides us with the mechanism to have feelings flow through us, but we’ve been trained by our culture to not feel all of our feelings and so many, many of them are only partially experienced and then stored inside us for later processing.
Because we find our intense emotions uncomfortable, we often use some sort of soothing to comfort ourselves as temporary relief - this includes medications, food, sports, etc. We can also distance ourselves from our feelings by disassociating from them or distracting ourselves.
AER is designed to provide Resolution
AER is about being fully present to our feelings, fully experiencing them and letting them flow through us and out of us. Because of this, you need to decide before you undertake an AER session
- if you are willing to experience as fully as you can your feelings and
- if you are willing to release those feelings.
If you have an emotional attachment to a feeling, or you think that your feelings are "you", if in other words you identify with your feelings, then it is natural that you will have some trouble releasing them, as that would be like letting go of part of yourself.
There are many sources of information on the fact that we are not our feelings, and you are encouraged to do some study of this concept. A quick search on the internet will show you thousands of articles which discuss this. Suffice to say at this point that while our feelings come and go, “we” remain. The same thing happens with our thoughts - they come and go, and “we” remain, able to observe them.
Since the intent of AER is to release feelings that no longer serve you, you need to be ready to do so.
And, since AER is about being fully aware of your feelings, you also need to be willing and ready to fully feel them. If you’ve never done that before, that just makes you a normal human, as most people do not fully feel their feelings.AER is designed to help you feel safe and comfortable as you relax into your feelings, allowing them to flow through you.
An interesting side-effect of using AER to facilitate the release of stored feelings is the possibility which arises to Re-examine situations from a place of clarity and peacefulness.