What is The Johal Method
The Johal Method is something I've been working on for the last 10 years. To be more exact it is been in the making for the last 7000 years. This idea is based on thousands of years of eastern medicine and the modern idea of the releasing of emotions.
Emotions are an energy which color the way we see the world. If we are allowed to have them and they move through us, we can see situations clearer. Emotions are meant to be felt and then let go of. If we observe young children, they usually will have a feeling, let it go, and come back to the present. What happens over time is that we get taught how to stuff our feelings in. This is a learned process whereby a natural tool that we come with, that enables us to come back to the present, is taken away. So instead of releasing feelings we hoard thoughts. If we're allowed to move these feelings our mind clears again. Most of us can recognize this after a good cry.
Our society has lead us to suppress our natural feelings and it is difficult for some of us to even have a feeling anymore. Different peoples can usually feel certain feelings and not others. For example one of the misconceptions that keeps sexism in place is the idea that women are weaker and therefore "allowed" to cry. As for men, the misconception of being the "stronger sex" are never allowed to show a feeling except for anger. What this has done is stagnated most of us to only show the "societally accepted" feelings and suppress the others.
It is vital for humans to regain back this natural ability to release these feelings. I'm not in any way advocating a society where everyone is allowed to just have their feelings everywhere. I think that would be very confusing for everyone. Feelings are meant to be felt and then let go of. Feelings are not a good basis for action, our intelligence is. The reality is that to get to our true intelligence we must move through our feelings. I think in any situation the quicker we can have the feeling the better. The faster and deeper we can move through any feeling the clearer we'll be. One day we might get to a point where it may be just a blink, and the feeling or the obstruction moves right through our being.
How did the Johal Method begin?
A few years back I was in India and went to a park early in the morning with my uncle. He would meet with this group every morning and this day he brought me. We all gathered into a circle. I thought we were going to do some yoga or other type of physical exercise. But to my surprise, on the leaders count of 5, they all exploded into a fit of laughter. It is hard not to laugh when everyone else is. I jumped right in and kept laughing with everyone. It was great. This would go on for a few minutes and then we would restart the laughing. It seems I had arrived at what is called a laughing circle.
This was created by a doctor in India. The reasoning is simple, that laughter releases endorphins and allows the natural healing mechanisms of the body to work as well as increase our immune system function. There are several thousand laughter clubs around the world now. It was a great experience to have the permission to laugh so fully.
At the time, I was taking one of the many different counselling courses I have taken. In these courses the common theme was to learn the ability to regain access to our emotions. I thought to myself wouldn't it be terrific to have not just a laughter circle but a sad circle or anger circle. Might sound a little silly but throughout time peoples have had grieving circles when people pass or anger circles when going into battle. It seems it's just easier to access our feelings that way.
In Chinese Medicine the belief is that there are 5 basic feelings: worry, sadness, fear, anger and joy. These feelings are all associated to different organs in our body. For example: worry is related to our spleen and stomach, which can begin to weaken and not function properly if continually plagued by this feeling. Sometimes when people worry too much they can begin to have digestive problems and even stomach ulcers.
The emotion anger is related to our liver and gall bladder. If we get stuck in our anger and suppress it, the liver becomes damaged. Chinese medicine also believes in the smooth movement of all emotions so the body does not stagnant physically. When feelings are suppressed or become stuck it is the beginning of a disease. Not just disease of our body but our awareness. The more we suppress or stagnate the more we start going into our heads and move out of the present. Most of our thoughts that continue to busy our mind are remnants from feelings that weren't felt and let go of.
Our intention with this exercise is to help people regain this natural healing tool that we have. Not just to regain a sense of being able to feel but to regain it in a sense where we have clarity on events in our life that have confused us into stirring up that certain feeling. Remember, this natural healing tool is here for us to clear that blockage inside so we can become more present. But as we do this work we will begin to find that the events that once stirred up a feeling are just another event in life, and won't have the emotional trigger they once had.
The Johal Method Theory
The steps are to become aware of the feeling, then feel it fully, and then let it go. Sounds easy enough. There's an old Hindu saying that 'a wise man will drink when he's thirsty and eat when he's hungry'. Makes sense but it may be the most difficult thing to do. We've been trained not to trust our inner most instincts. We've had to give them up to fit in a society which is dependent on certain beliefs. This dependency has confused us about our most basic instincts that we follow guides on how much water we should drink in one day, what time we should eat and when we should sleep.
It is time we unlearn these rigidities that we've acquired. The beginning is to regain this emotional tool. It is time that we move quickly and efficiently through our feelings so we can be present. As we do this, other functions of our body will return. Our senses will begin to become sharper. Our eyes will begin to see colors that we've forgotten. Our ear's will learn to listen. We'll begin to smell the freshness of every new day. We'll begin to taste the explosion of nourishment in the food we eat and begin to touch and notice that we are not alone.
The Johal Method is a very simple tool that can be used by all -from the very young to the old. I will be teaching workshops on how to go deeper into every feeling so it can move it easier but you can start by doing this now. It only takes 5 minutes and each minute is given to one feeling.
How to practice the Johal Method:
Minute One: For the first minute we move the emotion of worry. How we do this is by yawning. For the first of our five minutes, we spend the whole minute yawning. You can think of just relaxed knowing that all is well. You'll find hard to worry when yawning.
Minute Two: The next minute we move the emotion of grief. This is moved by crying. This may seem difficult but with time it will become easier. In the beginning, you may just want to think of something sad and see if that brings tears. If not don't fret just fake it. Go through the act of crying. It seems the body will still open energetically as you go through the motions. Over time it will become easier.
Minute Three: The third minute the feeling we are moving is fear. How humans do this is by quivering or shaking. Again, if we look at a young child after they've cried for a while they begin to release the fear by quivering. This may seem difficult in the beginning but just shake and think of something that you might be fearful of.
Minute Four: The fourth minute is the feeling of anger. This is released by shouting. So, go ahead and have a tantrum and release these stagnant feelings of anger. Remember what we're doing here is regaining a natural tool that we are born with. it may seem difficult in the beginning but your body will remember over time.
Minute Five: The fifth minute is about moving the feeling of joy. You might think this one's easy but not necessarily. Many of us have forgotten what it is like to feel true joy. This has been suppressed in all of us just like the other feelings. Joy is released by laughter as in a good belly laugh. For this minute go ahead and just laugh. You may even laugh at this exercise, or how those other feelings have gotten to you. Simply laugh and know that life is good.
This may seem like a very basic exercise but there are many levels to this. I invite all of you just to begin with the basics of what is here.
-Dr. Jagdeep Johal, TCMD