A woman wakes up to find her kitchen full of water.

She gets a bucket and starts bailing out water.

And bailing and bailing and bailing.

Finally, there’s no water.

She breathes a big sigh of relief.

The next day, she wakes up and finds her kitchen full of water again.

She bails until it is gone.

The next day, she wakes up to find more water in the kitchen.

You can see where this is headed.

Avoiding the Issues

On the spiritual path, there are some people who learn to be with emotions and have emotional releases, but they never deal with the attachments causing the emotions.

This creates an endless and miserable cycle of upset emotions.

It’s not healthy.

It’s not processing.

After a Spiritual Awakening Unleashes All Your Emotions

Unfortunately, the culture around how humans process emotions is still maturing in understanding in the West. We’re still recovering from generations of emotional denial culture, which is still around today.

You’ve probably heard people speak from this culture. It sounds like this:

“Get over it.”

“Don’t be a cry baby.”

“I just have to move on and keep moving forward.”

Those are phrases of emotional denialism. What this does is to trap all kinds of emotional dis-ease in someone and creates more and more suffering.

On the total other end of the spectrum, experiencing emotions isn’t inherently processing them, and avoiding looking at the root causes of them, only means that they’ll regenerate


Avoiding Parts of Your Spiritual Work

The Way Out Is Through

I had it relayed to me from a student that their therapist said that the only way out of trauma is through it.

For emotions, in general, the only way through them is ALL THE WAY THROUGH.

Unfortunately, some people try to go partially through. They’re not wallowing in emotions–that’s a whole other problem. Some people like to wallow in their sadness, anxiety, and/or anger. Wallowers turn emotions into ego identities.

Instead, the emotional Bailers learn to stop fueling emotions. They can watch them from awareness, but again, they don’t want to go to the source problem.

Bailing water does no good if you don’t find the leaking pipes.

When you find the pipes that are leaking, you now have to accept the reality. This is typically the problem for the Bailers. These people almost always know what it is, but it is so upsetting and they are so attached that they refuse to deal with it. This is very common with:

  • Serious problems in a marriage/romantic relationship
  • Unresolved trauma
  • Deep issues with a family member
  • Powerful scarcity fears that prevent a person from seeing the nature of their job

Until the person is willing to look at the real problem, issues compound.

Calming Upset Emotions

Choosing to Face the True Cause

It takes courage to face the true cause.

How do we earn courage?

By doing the thing and seeing the things that scare us. That’s how it goes. Courage arises in the presence of fear, not the absence.

Later on, courage disappears as fear disappears.

Looking at issues and root causes isn’t as scary for the more intermediate spiritual people because they have done it before. They can describe past issues and attachments and how they got through them. They can be completely be vulnerable, open, and honest about what the issues were. There is no longer any need to hide from themselves, and the further someone advances on the spiritual path

there is no door inside of themselves that they won’t open.

Need Help?

There’s a lot more to say here, but I’ve written about processing a lot since 2010. This is one of the essential pieces of letting go of our attachments. So feel free to peruse my website or my YouTube channel to find more help.

Jim Tolles YouTube Channel

As you go, rmember that our attachments and issues are made up of neurons and synapses, hormones and neurotransmitters, muscle and breath responses, and more. They are physiological responses that take time, sincerity, and dedication to resolve.

But they do resolve!

When they do, you no longer need to bail water, and you open more fully to yourself and the present moment.

For more help, check out the following links:

The Process of Releasing Pain


I'm a spiritual teacher who helps people find freedom from suffering.


  1. Great article, I agree so much with it!
    It’s really a great skill to be able to face and confront the root!

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