Suppressed Emotion – The Effect of Spiritual Practice

25th April 2012

painAny type of Spiritual Practice has an effect on our energy system. The degree and nature of that effect will vary according to the type of practice, who we are, and what our intention is when using the practice. For example, working from the body up through Yoga has a different effect from working with Reiki which is more “outside in”, so to speak. By this mean I mean we are consciously bringing subtle energies into the physical body. Most forms of Yoga concentrate more on the union of mind and body through the practice of Asanas (postures). Postures are designed to stimulate particular energy centres and to mobilize the movement of energy within the body – this approach is more “inside out” than Reiki.

There are, of course, no rules as to which form of Spiritual Practice we use – we are drawn to whatever we need at the time: Reiki; Meditation; Yoga; Pranic Healing; Tai Chi; and so on……..

So as we progress with a Spiritual Practice we start to move energy around our system more consciously and proactively than before. This happens through the focus and intention of the practice – by paying attention to the “Spiritual” part of ourselves, we build our connection to it and its influence on our consciousness increases over time. This increased movement of energy also stimulates areas within our system where energy has been stuck or blocked. What are these blockages? Well, in the main they relate to suppressed emotional experience.

In the normal course of events we experience our emotions without difficulty. An external stimulus triggers a reaction within the nervous system. The stimulus can take any form, but here are some common examples: food; touch; art; music; relationships; thoughts (“I am angry / happy about….”); meditative state; chocolate etc.  As a result of a stimulus a chemical, called a peptide, is released throughout the body. The purpose of the peptide is to bind itself to a particular part of a cell – in doing so, the peptide changes the electrical charge of the cell and this creates a particular physical sensation. Our mind then interprets that sensation as an emotion of a particular type.

(To find out more about the science of emotions, I – and many others! – recommend Dr Candace Pert’s book “Molecules of Emotion”).

Now what happens when someone experiences trauma or extremes of emotional stress? The trauma is equivalent to an overload of information – our body produces too many peptides which the body cannot physically process and the mind cannot mentally process the experience. In order to protect ourselves, the body suppresses part or all of the experience – the peptides do not arrive at their destination, instead they are buried within the deep tissues of the body (this is because they are toxic and the denser tissue is less sensitive). Areas of deep tension and physical stress in the body are often connected to these sorts of suppressed energies.  The mental aspect of the experience is buried within the subconscious. Some analysts call these buried aspects of consciousness the “Shadow”. Healers and meditators who are sensitive to energy will feel these blockages in the body as areas of dense and stuck energy, as opposed to energy that moves smoothly and cleanly through the body.

How then are these blockages removed? Well, there are any number of ways and it often depends on the circumstances of an individual’s life. Many people who use a Spiritual Practice such as Reiki or meditation consciously address issues that they have buried or suppressed – they feel the issue coming up and work with it proactively. A good way to do this is to use a journal to write out what happened, what we feel about it and what we want to feel about it going forward (ie hold onto fear and anger, or forgive and move on). This allows the suppressed energy to be expressed and for it to start to move through us. Traditional counselling and therapy use talking to get to the same outcome. Energy healing is another approach and here the energy channelled by the healer gets the stuck emotion moving.

As old stuck emotions are released and expressed out of the body, there are often symptoms of “detox” as the physical component of the suppressed emotion (the peptides buried within the deep tissue) are removed by the body’s waste system. People may have stomach upsets, chest congestion or skin rashes as a result.

A final observation on the release of suppressed emotion and experience. When we deny a part of ourselves – albeit for good reasons at the time – because it is too difficult to deal with an experience, a part of our consciousness splinters off and is buried within our subconscious. Overtime, as we go through the ups and downs of life, this Shadow aspect of our subconscious becomes stronger and more animate. We hive off part of our power to keep these experiences – collectively the “Shadow” – in check and under wraps. This power is considerable and when released it often brings tremendous creativity and drive into our lives. If you ever stand on the precipice of personal transformation and wonder whether it is worth it, consider how much of yourself there is to gain from the experience. You are worth the trouble so jump in!

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