The Emotional Component of Physical Issues
by Amanda García
edited by Mary Li
What is behind
chronic pain? Why do some injuries heal
immediately and others seem to be here to stay? What is behind anxiety? And depression? Why does an event that seems
insignificant irritate us so much? Why do some issues from the
past persist in us, wasting our energies, and seem so difficult to release?
Most of the time, the answer to all these questions can be found in our emotional world. Our emotional body is inseparable from the physical body and its energy is not as solidly tangible as body structures. But like matter itself, it also possesses different densities-- a certain extension and intensity of vibration, and a direct effect on our physical body and our well-being... in other words, our ability to enjoy life.
For example, let us imagine that Peter is having a good time when he suddenly slips and falls over; his body is flexible and free to receive the impact, and it can disperse the vibration; in this case the physical injury might be completely healed in less than a month. Now let us imagine that Peter is paralyzed by fear just before slipping. His body is holding his tense emotions, and will not have all its resources available to receive and effectively disperse the impact; in this case, the result of a fall otherwise identical to the first one, is an injury that will continue to cause discomfort or pain for months or even years after the accident. We see examples of this type of trauma with intense emotion in whiplash, accidents, incidents of violence, the aftermath of childbirth, sport injuries and many other situations.
Sometimes emotions operate in a more subtle way (with discretion and perseverance, so to speak). For example, the fear of failure, the anger of feeling misunderstood, or financial worries, may generate an ongoing vibration that could have an effect on the normal mobility of, for example, our kidneys, thereby immobilizing certain areas of the renal fascia, which in turn exert a continuous strain on the pelvic joints, eventually causing a chronic hip pain, a tailbone disorder or sciatic pain. These are emotions that many times we do not want to see or know, but this lack of awareness does not prevent their impact on the body; on the contrary, everything that operates below our consciousness has much more power than whatever I can see, understand and eventually master. Therefore, anything I cannot remember, I do not see, or I dare not even feel has more influence on me and my health than those things I am aware of and can bring easily to the surface.
We can all transform our vicious circles into benign circles, it is just a matter of gathering a lot of self-honesty, a bit of courage and loads of patience. There are many ways of seeking self-knowledge-- it is good that each person chooses their own. The one I always have at hand is active meditation; I will write about it in more detail, but it is about calming down our mental dialogue at any given moment in order to bring our attention to our physical and emotional bodies and beyond: acknowledging my turbulence until it reveals where it comes from and finding out which false beliefs my turbulence is based upon. When this happens, the storm gives way to a serene clarity. The whole process depends on us, but it is always good to find some guidance and/or support in certain moments and stages of our personal work. Many times we will need the Other as a mirror if we truly want to see our blind spots; and also, the act of opening our heart to another human being always brings a reward. There are many effective ways of giving and receiving support. My favorite is the one I ultimately chose as my art and craft, CranioSacral Therapy with SomatoEmotional Release, a soft and deep manual technique that allows me to feel which physical areas host tensions and unresolved emotional conflicts, in order to help us both identify, clarify, and eventually release. In SomatoEmotional Release the therapist uses dialogue and, as the person speaks, we listen to what their body tissue has to say. Their body will guide us to the spot that is most significant for that person at that moment, thus facilitating what most of the time is a revealing journey throughout the depths of their emotional world. It is the magic of listening when we take it far beyond words.
It is good to remember that we are not our unresolved conflicts, but we cannot ignore that they are a part of us. It is good to go through them with courage and to get profoundly familiar with them, without ever losing sight of the fact that they are, temporarily, part of the team, but that they are not the whole. Our Essence, i.e., what really makes us unique and valuable, is always present. Sometimes we cannot feel it because our hidden problems draw much of our attention and energy; but the Essence is there, quietly, patiently, lovingly and of course, joyfully waiting for us to reconnect with it. There is no way to lose it, no matter what, and there are few experiences as liberating as the act of becoming truly, profoundly aware of this truth. Nobody is perfect, but we are all unique.