You might not realize it, but all the time you’re emitting real energy through your thoughts and feelings, and other people respond to this energy.
This is something I’m very lucky to have learned a lot about through my many years of training and working as an actress. A lot of the exercises we would do in class were about learning to tap into different feelings and then projecting them outwards, not just by using our facial expressions and body language, but also by BEAMING emotional energy out as we would perform monologues and scenes with acting partners.
A good actor is easily recognizable. I remember being blown away by a lot of my fellow students and cast members over the years. You’d watch someone do a scene, and even if you had heard the script a hundred times and knew every word of the play by heart, certain performers would just GO THERE and tap into emotional energies so powerful, so hilarious, or so moving that it took your breath away. As an audience member watching a great actor or actress do their thing, you quickly learn to perceive emotional energy as a very real, tangible force that can be projected out at others. A good actor envelops his audience in the emotion he’s trying to convey onstage. It’s all a fascinating process, and theater teachers and coaches almost have it down to a science in how they teach their students to do this.
The problem is, you have to be very comfortable accessing what I call the complete “palette” of your own emotions to be a good actor. (Think of an artist’s palette, consisting of all the colors of the rainbow. An actor needs to be able to access a full range of “colors” or emotions to portray a convincing character onstage, just as an artist needs to master working with a complete range of colors when he paints.)
Accessing a full range of emotions is pretty easy when we’re young, but when we’re older, we get more secretive. We don’t want to get in touch with our real emotions because we learn to repress them and stuff them in order to get through the day and present our best face to others. So what if we just broke up with our girlfriend, our dog just died, or we got into yet another fight over the phone with our mother? It’s time to go to work, and on the job, nobody wants to hear you bitching or see you crying, even if that’s where your emotions are centered that day. So we learn to become these cold and repressed robots.
When you do an acting scene or monologue, that all goes out the window. You will absolutely suck as a performer if you don’t tap into real emotions and let them spill out onstage. And you need to get so good at this that you can do it over and over again, for eight performances a week sometimes, for weeks or even months at a time. It can be daunting stuff. When you’re doing a very dark or serious play the emotional heaviness of what you’re tapping into each night onstage can really bleed into your personal life, making it hard to maintain relationships and friendships since a part of you is always thinking about those dark and depressing scenes you have to play each night. This is why I admire what stage actors do so much, because I know the sacrifices they have to make to be good at what they do and I understand the discipline and the bravery involved with exposing yourself so much onstage.
I learned during my years as an actress that most good actors are natural empaths. They have a type of psychic ability that isn’t talked about very much, which is the ability to tap into emotions in an intuitive way and pick up on the emotions of other people very quickly and intuitively. And they are also something I call “telempaths.” A telempath can also PROJECT emotional energy, for example, at a large group of people who are audience members for a show.
I learned to access both abilities as a performer. I knew my telempathic abilities were really kicking in when I’d do an emotional scene onstage where my character was required to cry or experience some huge, dramatic moment, and people in the audience were really WITH me, often crying themselves. I remember playing a Scarlett O’Hara type of character, a Southern heroine during the Civil War, in a summer stock production down in North Carolina. There was a powerful and haunting scene toward the end of the second act when my character, who had been hoping that her fiance, a soldier in the war, would make it home alive, and she hears some men singing “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again,” off in the distance. In that moment, she knows that some surviving soldiers have succeeded in making the long walk home from the front, and she is filled with fear and hope. She almost doesn’t want to know if her fiance survived, because dealing with the thought of him NOT making it home is too horrible to think about. Yet she’s desperate to know if he is one of the survivors.
The scene just consisted of me having a conversation with someone onstage, and then we stop as we hear the voices of these men off in the distance. And the scene is all me standing there and REACTING, going through a full gamut of emotions, until we finally see the soldiers march in. I worked very hard to project that full range of fear, hope, dread, ecstasy, uncertainty, and so on that a real woman would have been going through in those few seconds. And when I got it right, you could feel this wave of intense emotional angst go through the theater, wrapping everybody up in those feelings of excitement. (Fortunately, my character’s fiance did make it home from the front, and there were happy endings all around. It was actually based on the real history of some of the settlers of that part of North Carolina, so I was playing a real person.)
I was a good actress — not a great one, but a good one, and this is why I usually had leading roles in all the shows I did. You need a strong telempath to lead a show and make everything work as you pool your collective energy to craft a fictitious yet believable “world” with a play or musical. You need the lead to steer the ship, emotionally, as you move through different scenes of a play.
I believe more people need to be taking acting classes, especially in their teens and twenties, because it can help you so much spiritually. You learn how to summon up certain emotional states on command, which is critical if you’re using a metaphysical technique like affirmations or “power prayer” or applied faith. When you’re setting energies into motion and projecting your creative intentions out into the Universe, like when you’re doing affirmations or self-healing or any type of “magic” (what prayer really is, when it boils down to it,) you need to be able to summon up extremely positive emotions and strong energy while you’re doing it. You can’t do it half-assed. You have to make it BIG and make it feel REAL in your heart.
Learning how to tap into emotions on demand really helps you do this, but the only place I’ve ever seen which teaches people how to do this in any real way is the world of live theater. Learning to act for TV or movies isn’t really the same because in those situations everything has to be very small, very minute, and you actually need to learn to do LESS if you’re going to act on TV or in movies. But learning how to project energy and fill up an empty stage and theater simply with the power of your emotional energy is an amazing, life-altering thing, and once you learn how to do it, it never really leaves you. You are learning how to do real magic.
Most spiritual practice misses out on the magic part. You’re just sitting in church saying an occasional prayer and sending out some positive wishes to people while the man in the dress does all the heavy lifting, invoking whichever god you believe in on your behalf. The Native American traditions are much better because they usually involve people dancing, drumming, singing, and really raising a lot of energy together as a group. Live theater is like this, too. It’s quite a thing, for example, performing as a cast member in a large musical production. You become a living cell, part of this huge, dynamic, pulsating, emotionally intense and joyful entity, while you’re in a show. You become a part of something much larger and greater than yourself, and everybody is contributing emotional energy and mental intent and love energy to make it all flow. This is what we should all be doing, ideally, as part of our spiritual or magical practice, where we raise very positive and strong energy together and send it out into the world to create a kinder, gentler, happier reality for everyone.
But you have to get down into your emotions and summon up the right frequencies to do this. And sometimes, to learn to access an emotion like joy or a feeling like confidence or self-love, you also need to become familiar with its opposite “pole” — learning how sorrow or shame or self-hatred feel, too. You can’t really get good at accessing one pole without also needing to process and encounter your own “darkness” or shadow, which is nothing to be afraid of, it’s just another part of the rich tapestry of life as a self-aware and emotional being.
Acting classes, acting training, and working in live theater can really help you access these things in a safe and supportive way, where others around you are doing similar work and create an atmosphere that feels nurturing and fun.
But if taking acting classes or performing isn’t for you, please realize that in order to make your own spiritual practice more vibrant, and your ability to manifest things like financial abundance more successful, you will have to get comfortable with your emotions and learn how to tap into the right feelings at the right time to create the right effect. Be patient with yourself if this is unusual territory for you, as it will take some time to map out this unfamiliar terrain. Because for many people, emotions are still the undiscovered country, the part of themselves that they deny, repress, and fear. And it takes a while to push through those barriers and open up to a more comfortable flow of emotions in your life.
(By the way, there is a therapy technique called psychodrama which can be very helpful in this regard, and finding a therapist trained in psychodrama therapy might be a way to bridge the gap from never allowing yourself to explore your emotions to doing so in a safe and protected environment with a healer on hand to guide you.)