Spiritual Networks


Allow the surprise – and be ready for it!
What you feel is the value of your life. It’s worth a little work!

Exercises for Gathering Emotional Wisdom regarding
the seventh Cycle, Community

Here is a brief description of each Core Emotion, accompanied by its synonyms.

Peace is the receptive harmony of the Witness: pleasure in simply noticing the interconnectedness of all that is. All is well. There is an abundance in the world available to all. The whole is nourishing its parts. The parts are lifegiving to each other. Everything needed is available. I am a vibrant part of a bountiful whole. I am feeling the deep satisfaction of letting it all in.

Synonyms for Peace: contentment, satisfaction, calm, tranquility, harmony, serenity, stillness, shalom, love.

Mercy is the receptivity that overcomes disharmony. When I allow myself to feel Mercy, I find my place as a part of the greater whole that exists for the soothing and comforting of all its members. I experience Mercy toward others only to the extent that I have found it toward myself. The Mercy that flows to me flows through me. Mercy restores the wellbeing of the whole by gently holding each member in their moment of need. Mercy leaves no one alone in their distress. All of us are gently held together in the heart of the I that is We.

Synonyms for Mercy: compassion, sympathy, empathy, kindness, tenderness, commiseration, support, resonance, attunement, care, concern, gentleness, kindheartedness, loving-kindness, sensitivity, love.

Zeal is the expressive overcoming of disharmony. Zeal sustains investment over time, discovering an increasing clarity of purpose that feeds a relentless fountain of energy. Zeal focuses life purpose. It means wholehearted embodiment of the love I have found. I cannot turn away from whatever would diminish this love. I will not allow threats to the wellbeing of the whole to go unchallenged. Something must be changed! An old way must be ended, and a new more lifegiving way brought into being. This is not simply my doing. I am diving into the river that unites what has been separated. Together we are dedicated to making all well.

Synonyms for Zeal: dedication, devotion, perseverance, determination, ardor, commitment, urgency, firmness, resolve, purposefulness, brashness, forcefulness, strength, power, grit, dynamism, vigor, defiance, boldness, audacity, relentlessness, love.

Joy is the expressive harmony of the Provider. I am experiencing the exquisite pleasure of feeling my place in the flow giving life to all. The more I welcome all that is given to me at any moment, and allow myself to give it all away, the more I know the joy of being fully alive. I am no longer holding on to what I am afraid of losing. I am an open channel for the abundance of life to flow through. The more I receive, the more I give, the more joyful I am!

Synonyms for Joy: delight, pleasure, happiness, enchantment, satisfaction, bliss, exhilaration, ecstasy, fulfillment, love.

    This exercise invites you to explore your relative comfort with the Core Emotions in the Cycle of Community.

    1. Choose one Core Emotion at a time, peruse the definitions and synonyms provided above, and choose a specific word from the list, one that draws your curiosity at the moment. Reflect on specific experiences of this feeling, and, using the following chart, identify the degree of your Emotional Availability. Repeat for as many feelings and variations as draw your curiosity.




      about past experience

      Feel now
      within my body

      to another while
      feeling it now

      (don’t acknowledge:
      Invalidate the feeling)





      (feel it, validate the feeling, though challenging to do so)






      (feel it with natural, flowing ease)









    2. Gather your Emotional Wisdom: summarize what you learn about yourself with regard to each particular Core Emotion.
    3. How satisfied are you with the degree of your Emotional Availability? If you’d like to increase your emotional comfort zone, proceed to the next exercise.

    This exercise gives you a way to explore the history of your experience with any given emotion. The more you appreciate the roots of a feeling, the more you can make yourself at home with it, the more it can become a source of wisdom for ever better choices.

      I use a meditation exercise to get my awareness centered (5 minutes).  How am I feeling now, as I begin?
    2. FOCUS
      I browse through the list of feelings, carefully sensing which feeling word holds energy for me. Which stirs my curiosity, draws me into further exploration?

        I search my memory for my recollection of my most recent experience of the emotion which I wish to explore.  I let my memory and imagination recreate the event which generated the emotion.  Factual recall is not necessary. I let myself imagine the event vividly, as if it were happening now.  I allow myself to notice all the elements of my experience (Reason, Imagine, Feel, Sense).  When the Experience is complete, I identify its important elements on a blank page, perhaps even writing a comprehensive narrative of the event.
        I let my awareness regress through time to explore other past events which generated this emotion.  I stop at two or three which stand out with some clarity.  I allow myself, as in part a), above, to vividly process each event.  Upon completion of each recollection, I note its elements in the same manner as used in part a).
        I let go of all of the above awareness and imagine I am traveling further back in time.  I let images of experience roll by until I am at my earliest recollection of the emotion of interest.  I allow myself to vividly process the event where this emotion was first generated (as far as I know at this time).  I attend to each element of the experience as though to a sacred revelation.  Finally, I note significant elements of this experience as above.
      Now I review the fruits of my reflection.  I allow myself to really 'get a feel' for this emotion.  I imagine myself in a future event, experiencing the emotion.  What is the storyline?  What might be a core image or metaphor?  How might I artistically represent this image?  What physical positioning or movement seems to belong with this image?  Finally, I put my body into the imagined position, allowing the energy to move and sound to be made until I am more fully appreciating the embodied wonder of this emotion.
      What have I learned about myself with regard to this feeling?  What patterns do I notice?  How have some patterns changed across time?  To what extent do I allow my inner awareness and/or outer expression of this feeling?  What ways do I have in my body or mind of avoiding it? What new choices am I making now about relational challenges in my life?  What few words hold the core of my learning?  How might I use this mantra/belief/affirmation to deepen my access to this emotion?
      What might you add to, or notice in your experience of, each of the above steps, that would support your awareness of your relationship with the divine?

      **NOTE: If I am unable to find sufficient memories (clarity or number), I can simply allow my imagination to create events as if they once happened or are now happening.  This will still inform me as to where I am with the emotion.  I can also consider vicarious experience, where I witnessed someone else's experience in a way that affected me.

  3. CORE EMOTIONS: further reflection

    1. PEACE: I am a vibrant part of a bountiful whole.

      • If I track my feelings for a week, how often and for how long do I find myself feeling Peace? How often and for how long do I allow myself to contemplatively appreciate the interconnected abundance of all that is?
      • What are the beliefs (self-talk) that get in the way of my feeling Peace? How do I talk myself out of staying tuned in to whatever is simply given to nourish me? Do I automatically tell myself I should be more productive? What negative judgments do I have about what it costs me to waste time simply marveling at all that is given?
      • When I am having a moment of Peace, if I pay attention to my body, where do I notice tension that is not getting released? If I listen to this tension, what does it tell me about changes that I need to make?
      • How intentional am I about noticing and tracking my experiences of Peace? How might I gather or honor them in way that allows them to continue to nurture me?
    2. MERCY: I am passing on the comfort I have received.

      • How willing am I to listen to the pull of Mercy when I am feeling it? To allow it to take me close to another, and to my own pain? Might I try just sitting, breathing with, and allowing myself to be held in Mercy in my pain? Might this help me offer it to others? What belief needs to change if I am to be comfortable with Mercy?
      • How quick am I to get overly self-protective, clinging to old ways of avoiding the experience of pain? How much do I distrust my own resilience? What ways do I have of escaping the pain I do not want to feel, and do not trust will heal?
      • How convinced am I that pain is just an unwanted vulnerability, something that diminishes my power to keep everything under control? How much do I consider suffering to be shameful, even humiliating, proving and exposing in some way that there is something wrong with me?
      • How automatically do I refuse to acknowledge pain in another? What judgments do I hold against them that provide me with a well excused distance from their pain – and my own?
      • If I pay attention to myself when I am experiencing Mercy, how much do I notice myself tensing up against it, not wanting to allow myself to feel it? What might such avoidance be costing me? What moments of potential growth have I shut down because I was avoiding Mercy?
      • What experiences have I had of a Merciful other, someone willing and able to be with me when I felt alone with pain, in a way that helped it to pass? Who do I have in my life at this time to whom I can turn to talk through my unresolved need to receive and offer Mercy? If no one comes to mind, might I need to seek out such a resource so that I can discover how to learn and grow by experiencing Mercy?
    3. ZEAL: I am joining the movement to unite what has been divided.

      • If I pay attention to my experiences for a week, how often am I in situations where the interconnected harmony of us all feels threatened? How willing am I to notice and speak up when the Disharmony is evidently destructive to the wellbeing of all? How much do I allow Disharmony to continue rather than engage my own Zeal?
      • If I look back over moments when Harmony seemed threatened, even imagine that I am in the experience again at this moment, what energy do I notice moving in my body? What impulses am I aware of? If I didn’t restrain the emotional energy, what do I imagine myself doing? If I think responsibly about this event, and my feelings, what might I choose to do if it happens again? If I rehearse, how can I learn to trust my Zeal?
      • What experiences have I had that have led me to distrust my own Zeal? How convinced am I that my Zeal is presumptuous, overbearing, or grandiose? How afraid am I of this energy in myself? In others? How passive or competitive do I become in the face of another’s Zeal?
    4. JOY: I want you to know how special you are to me.

      • How do I cultivate experiences where I have opportunity to joyfully give from the abundance of what I have received? How important is this kind of pleasure to me?
      • If I pay attention to my experiences for a week or two, how frequent and how long lasting are the times when I am feeling Joy, and allowing it to be expressed in my actions?
      • How comfortable am I with spontaneous Joy? If I pay attention when the opportunity arises, how much do I allow myself to go with it? How much do I find a way to dampen the energy, to mute it, or bring it to an end?
      • How willing am I to join in with others when they have initiated a joyful interchange? What self-talk goes on inside me that tells me to distrust it, that finds a way to negatively judge it, to find something wrong with it?
      • How much am I afraid of initiating joyful interchange? How much do I expect that in some way hurt will come from it? What other beliefs do I have that hold me back?

    Now that you have given yourself some familiarity with the Core Emotions of Faith, you are in a better position to give daily attention to these feelings. In our complex and fast paced lives, so much happens so fast that some of the feelings go unattended. The way to grow in Faith is to make a commitment to regularly noticing, experiencing, and processing these feelings.

      Use a meditation exercise to get your awareness centered. Bodyscan, Following the Breath, or Mindfulness can be useful here. The point is to become conscious of your embodied presence in the moment.
      Then spend time breathing while remembering the events of the day. Allow your awareness to sift slowly through your experiences as seen through the lens of the bonds you have experienced. Recall as many of the details as help each event to become real once again. Watch for any forms of these feelings: Hope, Sadness, Rage, Desire. Pause to acknowledge and honor your feelings, one at a time.
    3. Let yourself be present to each feeling as if the event were happening now. This means breathing with awareness of the energy of the feeling in your body, as well as thinking through the value that is highlighted by this feeling. If there is a particular feeling that is challenging for you to allow yourself to fully experience, review and use the Breathing a Feeling method from exercises in the Introductory chapter.
      As you acknowledge the meaning of each feeling, listen with care to what this feeling has to tell you about yourself, your relationships, and the ebb and flow or your bonds with others. Gather your learning, if you wish, in a journal.
      Many days you may notice an incompleteness to some experiences.

      • What has come into your awareness that requires further attention? What intention can you identify? What will you do to realize this intention? Perhaps the following exercise, Processing a Feeling, would help you to fill this out.
      • Perhaps your feelings tell you that something in one of your relationships requires further attention. Following the next exercise is another called Relational Review. It will help you process specific interpersonal experiences, and clarify where you go from here.

    A step by step method for clarifying the meaning of a feeling so as to make a well informed choice what to do with its energy. Awareness + Choice = Personal Power.

    EXPERIENCE ------------- UNDERSTAND -------------------- CHOOSE
    What’s happening?          What does it mean to me?          What do I do?

    Choose any feeling from the synonyms provided earlier, and reflect upon a specific experience of this feeling.

    1. Body: What am I aware of inside my body? How is the energy moving?
    2. Impulse: What do I feel like doing? If no thought held me back, what do I imagine myself doing?
    3. Meaning: What does my feeling tell me about what’s at stake for me? How is my relationship to what I care about affected?
    4. Options: What are the ways I might choose to express this feeling? What words and/or actions would identify the meaning of this feeling for me?
    5. Intention: What do I want to have happen as a result of my choice of expression of this feeling?
    6. Choice: I decide how to express (or keep private) the feeling.
    7. Learning: What happens as a result of my choice? How is my relationship to whatever I care about affected? What do I learn? What would I do differently next time?

    This exercise helps you explore specific relationships in terms of the interactive experience of the Community therein. There is much of value to be learned by following these steps with regard to significant relationships within groups during formative years (family, school, sports, friendship groups, etc.), as well as through the passage of time up to the present.

    Choose one specific group and reflect on your experience of it using the following questions. Repeat with regard to any relationship that has been important to you.

    1. Bless:
      In what way was the ability to make all well for each other, to comfort pain and sustain pleasure, important during the course of your time together? How much did you allow yourself to notice and value the ways you blessed each other?
    2. Balance of Harmony and Disharmony:
      Identify specific events where your experience of the dynamic in the group supported the Harmony in your interaction with each other. Do the same with regard to Disharmony.

      • What do you learn about the impact of your experiences of Harmony and Disharmony upon your ability to sustain Community with the other? What supported or prevented the ongoing blessing of each other?
      • What patterns do you notice in the group over time? Did Harmony or Disharmony predominate at certain times, or even throughout most of your time together?
      • What other relational experiences, in your personal history, have led to the patterns you are noticing in this group?
      • What do you learn about yourself in terms of how attentive you are to Harmony, and what you might do to cultivate more of it?
      • What do you learn about yourself in terms of how attentive and responsive you are to Disharmony? How might you more productively engage with it so that it becomes even more helpful in communing with this person and significant others?
    3. Balance of Gather and Give:
      Identify specific events where your experience of the group allowed you to Gather an understanding of the feelings and needs calling for response. Do the same with regard to ways that you were able to Give what was needed in order for all to be well (pleasure lasting, pain passing) within the group.

      • How did you allow yourself to be attentive to the inner world of any of the others? How did this receptivity support making all well within the group? How much did what you received from others become a part of who you are?
      • When and how were you able to Give something valuable to the wellbeing of members of the group? How did this nurture your shared experience of Community?
      • How did your clarity about Gathering and Giving help to keep the boundary clear as to what was you and what was the others? How is a clear boundary important to supporting your participation in an ongoing Community?
      • What do you learn about how comfortable you are in allowing yourself to slow down enough to let in from others whatever might needs and feelings are arising? How does trying to make things better too fast interfere with your growth into Community?
      • What do you learn about how comfortable you are in allowing your energy to quicken in order to take the risk of offering your contribution to the Community? How does slowing yourself down and holding yourself back too much block your initiative to risk making available what you have to give?
    4. Unfinished Business:
      Now take time to reflect on what there is in this communal dynamic that requires further attention.

      • What is the overall impact of your experiences in this group upon your ability to continue being open to finding and creating Community with others?
      • What patterns do you notice that you would like to change? Are these changes specific to this group, or related to how you are in many groups? How will you go about making the changes?
      • Would it help to talk this through within this specific group? Is there someone else with whom you might consult?
      • What else occurs to you that, if you followed through on it, would deepen your ability to enter the experience of Community with others?

    A way to stay current with what is happening for me in any significant relationship, to learn about myself, and to take what I’ve learned back into the relationship.

    I use a meditation exercise to get my awareness centered. Then I spend time remembering what happened in recent memory. I choose one specific experience that involves my relationship with another person in Community, an experience where further reflection might help me to learn about myself.


      I write a description of the relational event I have chosen, identifying what actually happened, in terms of what I observed outside myself (Sensing), as well as what happened inside me (Thinking and Feeling). I write this as a story, including all the information that has value in understanding what happened.
    2. REFLECT

      • How am I feeling right now, as I begin to write this review? How do I understand this feeling?
      • How does the interpersonal event described above represent a pattern in my way of relating? (Situation … Organism … Response … Consequences).
      • What are the roots of this pattern? Where does it come from in my history?
      • What else have I learned about myself?
      • How do I understand myself in relationship to the significant other in the current interpersonal event?
      • What impressions have I formed about the other? What have I come to notice in terms of their personality, personal characteristics, behavior patterns?
      • How am I feeling toward this other as a result of this event?
    3. DECIDE

      • How do I take what I've learned here back into the relationship? What is my intention? What will I actually do?
      • How am I feeling now as I end this review? How do I understand this feeling?

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