Here are some of my recent posts from Facebook page relating to the value of emotional/psychological work (my account is http://www.facebook.com/tomdas.nd)
I think there is a relationship between self-development and realisation of freedom, although they are certainly not the same thing.
Developing a peaceful, happy and emotionally intelligent mind can aid realisation. It is also often a side effect of realisation.
Far from being new age gibberish, this is the received wisdom of most genuine traditions aiming at liberation
When I first started teaching I tended towards just direct pointing. I quickly realised there are a whole host of reasons why people were not getting it, or if they were ‘getting it’, they quickly ‘lost it’.
I began to understand the value of emotional work, of heart opening, of regular spiritual practices, of becoming more sattvic – ie. the value of the progressive path (as well as the negatives too, eg. the reinforcement of a sense of doership/ego).
Remember that consciousness/awareness, if you want to use that concept, doesn’t need any teachings. Freedom is already here, totally and completely. It is only the mind that needs teachings.
A relatively uncluttered mind in need of little emotional work may respond to direct pointing, whereas sometimes some decluttering needs to occur first.
The basic point is not to suppress/run away from/escape from emotions and feelings, but to allow them to come and go, and to understand any underlying false assumptions that may be present and fueling them.
Basically, there is usefulness and skill in feeling emotions without labels, but there is also a usefulness in labelling feelings too.
We need to learn to feel without labelling feelings, so we can genuinely contact our emotional reality.
We also need to be able to accurately label our feelings and understand what we are feeling and why.
We also need to see how all feelings come and go and do not define us.
Freedom is already present.
Emotional intelligence is a useful skill for the body-mind, both prior to and following realisation of freedom.
Awareness needs no teachings, only the body-mind caught in ignorance needs these corrective teachings.
These teachings are only for those who take themselves to be a doer-entity. If that is seen through, then the teachings are unnecessary.
Having said that, emotional intelligence is a useful skill for the body-mind regardless of whether Freedom has been realised or not.
Even when the doer-entiry is seen to be non-existent, old emotional patterns of responding may still persist due to their past momentum/habit.