The first letter of AER stands for Awareness.
The first step is to become Aware of what we are feeling at any time. Not what we are thinking, but what we are feeling. In this modern age of constant avoidance of feelings other than those which seem pleasurable, it is not surprising that many people have to stop and concentrate to notice what they are feeling. There are many practices which can help with this, often called mindfulness. The key is to notice without judging or evaluating what you are noticing.
“The highest form of human intelligence is to observe yourself without judgement.”
– J. Krishnamurti
AER is a process which involves becoming fully aware of whatever is going on with us, particularly our feelings. This Awareness means we pay close but neutral attention to our “BETIS”
- Body Sensations
- Images (mental images)
- Sounds (what we hear in our head – such as songs that play over and over)
These are all ways in which we communicate with ourselves.
Other very important concepts that also start with the letter A include Acceptance, Acknowledgment, and Allowing.
For the AER process to work properly to assist us in releasing stored feelings, we need to Accept what we notice, without judging it, or engaging in analysis.
If you feel anger, you accept that you feel anger. Nothing more and nothing less. It is what it is.
When we Acknowledge what is there, we take the first step towards that acceptance, by actively noticing whatever it is and paying attention to it.
When we Allow what is there to be, we start the process of allowing what is there to go.
Many philosophies and spiritual practices teach that we are not our thoughts or feelings and that these come and go. AER is about enabling and facilitating that natural flow, that natural release of that which no longer serves us.
If it is our intention to allow any feelings which no longer serve us to freely flow out of us, then AER will facilitate that happening in a timely fashion.