By Monica Byrne
If we could allow ourselves to move for a few moments outside of our ordinary way of thinking, we might just glimpse a sense of Inner Being, or Light Force or Spirit that is really our Life. We are more than physical beings. We are physical and emotional and intellectual, with a deep heart, or centre, which holds all of our experiences, both joyful and painful. We have the ability to express or communicate our inner and outer life, as well as the power to touch into wisdom, and have insight and intuition into what is somehow hidden from ordinary physical experience.
If this is possible, one might then ask why so few people experience life at this deeper, meaningful, integrated level? The answer, I believe, is that our painful experiences have caused us to lose contact with other levels, leaving no space for understanding the truth of our spiritual selves. We have exchanged freedom of spirit for denial and repression of emotional experience. To contact and release these emotions it is necessary to create safety and trust. Also, the amount of energy used unconsciously to hold down these emotions depletes the energy needed to release them. Emotion is about motion, movement, flow. In denial we live with the brakes on. The way forward is to raise our energy levels in order to achieve release rather than repression.
Energy and Life Force
We are all energy or channels of light/life force. In awareness we can draw in more energy from the earth and atmosphere by breath and movement. Then, through our hands and voices, with reverence, respect and acceptance, we can allow another to access their repressed emotions in safety and trust. How do our emotions become repressed and blocked? Fear is one of the great destroyers of life. It separates us from ourselves and from each other. It does not allow us to have and hold the image of our perfection. Fear takes our power and belief in ourselves and we live a false image of who we are by burying our feelings and emotions, denying ourselves expression and giving authority to another or others.
Fear of Not Being Loved
None of us have been loved and cared for perfectly as children, or in the womb state, or in our adult lives. We don’t even love and care for ourselves. Our parents are ordinary people with their own repressed emotions. Like them we picked up patterns to live by and still live out of, because fear has separated us from fullness of our real experiences. Fear of not being accepted, loved, allowed. Fear of being judged, accused, denied. What is not accepted or allowed to have life is still an experience felt, buried maybe, but having power over us by its need for expression and life. What is not loved or allowed will force its way into life for existence. Emotions and feelings are alive, not dead. Bury something alive and it gathers energy, life force and grows into something else, as a snowdrop bulb grows into a flower, perhaps a monster in the case of feelings! Bury emotions, anger, sadness, grief, rejection, fear and they will grow too, into destructive behaviour, depression, disease, despair and even death by suicide.
How can we access these buried emotions without causing harm to ourselves and others? Blaming another will not result in their integration. But when experienced in the body, these emotions are allowed life and expression. We heal and grow by connecting in our bodies what we have separated from in our minds. The body holds and knows our story. Every experience has left an impression in the system of each one of us. Every experience has affected us, be it joy or sorrow, freedom or pain. We know in our hearts, our centre, but fear blocks the flow of Life. When we are accepted, not judged, can trust and be cared for, somehow we connect to our fear. We take off some of the masks and in so doing allow movement of the buried emotions through our bodies. We connect by re-experiencing the repressed feeling, not as something apart from us, or separate from us that we observe, but by allowing it to be felt in the body in whatever way the body experiences it. This may be by movement – shaking, kicking, banging fists – or with sound – shouting, screaming, crying, laughing. The body will do what it was not allowed to do in the past. It may begin to experience by twitching, jumping or some spontaneous movement, perhaps slight to begin with, but gaining in power until the whole body becomes one: letting go to the energy or life force to claim life again.
Need for Acceptance of Self
When the body has experienced enough, it will relax or quieten, but be filled with a sense of aliveness or realness. a togetherness. Often the person may have indulged in excessive activity for years, in order to hide fear. Where this is the case, the body may now experience real tiredness for the first time. It may know the peace or stillness of not having to be on the alert, of not watching what it says. There is a sense of joy, perhaps, or deep sadness. There is a knowing of the extremities of the body and a recognition of the greatness of the self. This acceptance of self has the potential to grow into reverence for the sacredness self, and for all other living things, people, animals and plants.
When the emotion is experienced and released, it does not have the same power to destroy the self or others. It is part of us, no longer apart or capable of acting on its own without reason or logic, without love and compassion, without truth and aw awareness, without wisdom and insight. This release experience is on-going. It is not magic, or a once-off trip. There needs to be continuous expression of emotions because we, as human beings, are made up of depths of wonder and awe. Life and its painful experiences have dulled our awareness so, by degrees, we awaken to who we are through our bodies. We come to know in our hearts and souls, with wisdom and insight, as body people, that we are spirit beings expressing in body form on earth the nature and abundance of the goodness of life.
The Therapist’s Role
The therapist’s work is in allowing the body to relax and in supporting without fear, with voice and energy, to create a safe atmosphere for the client to let go so that body can express its blocked emotion. Extra energy, like jump leads to a low battery, flows through the hands of the therapist to the feeling centre of the body at the abdomen where the gut feelings are held.
This energy is not the energy of the therapist, but the energy of life drawn into the body of the therapist by breath in awareness of the energy, and allowing it to flow up through the system and out through the hands. It is sometimes experienced by the client as a slight vibration or pleasant warmth, as if awakening the life force to move into the action of expressing the blocked emotion.
We often spend our lives holding ourselves together for fear of falling apart, or having a nervous breakdown, or depression or fear that we might destroy with anger. Our repressed rage may not destroy others, but will destroy ourselves in body and spirit. Rage keeps our bodies rigid or is experienced as a lack of ease in ourselves. This blocks the flow of life and often results in disease. We know no other way than to withhold, because there was/is no one strong enough to allow us and to hold us in our true feeling. We have buried our real selves for so long that it seems difficult to be any other way. We may be aware that we are not alright, but we do not know what is wrong.
Compassion and Love
Supporting with energy, care, safety and strength is the key to opening our hearts to ourselves. Releasing the repressed feeling energy creates space within us for who we really are.
This form of therapy or bodywork is a way of releasing this energy. The fruit of the work is not that there are no problems in life but that we are more real, more accepting, less judgmental of ourselves. The growth in real awareness of who we are is achieved through compassion for ourselves and compassion for others. Another word is Love.
Monica Byrne has worked in spiritual development for many years. She works as a counsellor/therapist on an individual basis and with groups, facilitating retreats and workshops.