Resistance versus Openness
I picked up a book from Sounds True not long ago, and this morning I read,
"Regardless of how much pain or pleasure the moment brings you, the truth is that you are openness. When you resist any aspect of the moment, when you close to an emotion, a person, or a situation, then you deny the openness you are. You create separateness and suffering—you do separateness and suffering—even though you may be sitting in a hot tub with a beautiful lover eating grapes. … Chronic dissatisfaction is how you sense you are living this [the tense lie of closure] lie. No matter how much pleasure or pain comes your way, dissatisfaction means you are resisting the openness of the moment, the openness who you are, the truth."
David Deida, Blue Truth, 12-13
If you have read my book, This Endless Moment, you'll know that I am a "presence" junkie. I admit it. Being present is, I believe, the only authentic goal for living. And by presence I mean the intention and practice of being open, clear and aware of each moment, no matter what the contents of the moment.
To make that a bit more clear, let me offer the following concept, taken from Chinese medicine:
Everything in the world is a dynamic shifting between yin and yang.
Each thing we know, we know because of its opposite. And for me, the key dynamic is between open and closed.
Ben Wong once said, "All illness is the result of the tightness of the closed box." The closed box is shorthand for what we do to our bodies, minds and spirits when we tighten and amour our bodies in an (always failed) attempt to keep pain away. In a sense, we learn as children to tighten down and clamp down, to repress our emotions, and to run from things we assume are painful.
Acceptance is nothing more than physical and mental openness to the reality of the present moment.
Most people are "painfully unaware" of their holding patterns.
We are conditioned to make ourselves oblivious to pain. In other words, we numb ourselves to the physical experience of the tightened and blocked places, and because of this, it is neigh to impossible to "feel" our way into releasing what is blocked beneath the pain. We feel the pain at an unconscious level, but block our awareness of it.
The Chinese Medicine system of meridians and blocked chi has, for millennia, thought that emotions exist in specific organs. For instance, the "wood" meridians of the gall bladder and liver have "anger" as their emotion. This system is actually saying what western Bodyworkers say – there is an inter-relation between the body, the mind, the emotions, and the spirit.
I received an e-mail yesterday, and a follow-up this morning, from a person requesting a referral to a Bodyworker in Vancouver. The writer is experiencing depression, and is determined to use Bodywork to break through the block – indicating that talk therapy has only gone so far.
I suggested downloading my booklet on dealing with depression through a mental process I call The Watcher. This process requires lots of breath and presence. I would then couple that with Bodywork.
I'll quote my e-mail in a second, but I want to remind you of one really important point. People resist letting go of past trauma. Part of the fear is, as I said above, that if they let go, the feeling and the repressed situations will "take them over." Another reason they resist is that to let go is also to let go of blaming, which means one has to accept that what is happening internally is "mine."
I subscribe to a daily health e-zine called, "Daily Health News." On Tuesday, the article concerned how fibroids are thought by some to be the result of repressed trauma and emotions. I couldn't find a link to the article online. You can go here to subscribe, but here are a few paragraphs:
FIBROIDS MAY BE IN YOUR HEART
Fibroids can be a real pain both literally and figuratively for many women. Sometimes they cause no problems at all, but in other cases fibroids lead to uncomfortable symptoms such as heavy menstrual periods and pelvic pain. Although there are now many alternative approaches -- from myomectomy (surgical removal of fibroids without removing the uterus) to ultrasound to simply waiting them out -- many women still have hysterectomies (surgical removal of the uterus) in an effort to just "be done with them."
Why do some women develop fibroids while others remain fibroid free? One school of thought links fibroids with emotions, in that unresolved emotional issues get "stuck" in the uterus, the woman's center of creativity. The implication: If emotional issues can get the fibroids there, then resolving emotional issues may be able to help them go away.
THE WEIGHT OF HISTORY AND EXPECTATIONS
While no one claims that emotions alone cause fibroids, research indicates that these tumors are more common in women with unresolved issues and traumas, such as relationship problems, concerns about sexuality or a history of sexual or physical abuse. There may be troubling questions about childbearing, which vary from woman to woman. Are you expected to have children, but are not sure you are ready? Do you have more or fewer children than you wanted? Do you harbor a fear of childbirth? Or has childbearing prevented you from pursuing the career you wanted?
I wrote a long e-mail to the person looking for a Bodyworker:
As to your depression, I do believe there is a genetic proclivity to certain emotional states (ala Candace Pert - trusting you have watched "What the Bleep") The message is that the hard-wiring of the neuro-addiction to a particular emotional state can be changed, and takes approximately 25 days - the normal period for changing a bad habit or addiction.
Bodywork allows us to access the places in the body that have tightened around the blocked expression of some emotion or emotional state. We hold on because we fear letting go - typically, "If I don't keep my self under control I'll fall into (fill in the blank) and never get out."
Carolyn Myss suggests emotional and developmental issues are paralleled in the Chakras. I would thereby locate depression between 3 and 4 - the interface between the physical and spiritual. In other words, If I do not have my
1) Root Chakra - Maslow's baseline survival needs, as well as a feeling of groundedness,
2) 2nd Chakra - relationships, sex, and relatedness, and
3) 3rd Chakra - self-esteem
worked through, it is impossible to then move further. Moving further requires dropping the grip one has on "identity" - the ego (the first 3 Chakras) Most people "hang up" on working these areas through, and the depression is a cellular reaction to the tension of "non-acceptance."
The key element, we believe, is to own up to our resistance to letting go of our ego, our pain, our stories, our blaming, and even letting go of our sounds.
Surrendering and opening in Bodywork is all about letting down the walls that we have built up, letting sound out, so that the old, tight, repressed, meaningless stories that bind us can be released. In this process, we begin to see how often we tighten and close, out of some strange desire to protect ourselves. And all we gain is pain and more and more isolation.
For us, the key to becoming present is to allow oneself to open - on command, so to speak, and the command comes from me. I seek to be open and free, and to offer the possibility of this to others.
From a Chakra perspective, this requires feeling grounded and worthwhile, (Chakra 1), able and willing to maintain deep and intimate relationship and full and passionate sexuality (Chakra 2) and full, open and accepting self-esteem. (Chakra 3.) And then, we are half way there.
The next step is holding on to all I have just learned, while at the same time releasing my sense of ego pride, and arrogance, and my need for praise and acknowledgement. Chakra 4 is all about agape (self-less love) – a love that is about unconditional, unquestioning giving of one's essence, one's true self. This is only possible from an ego-less state of open giving.