Separating Physical Pain from Emotional Pain
When we suppress emotional energy, it lands in the energy system for the physical body, generating or exacerbating pain, illness and disease.
Years ago a client was diagnosed with a degenerative condition affecting her spine and pelvis. She had surgery to provide her with greater stability and range of motion. The surgery was intensive and the recovery was quite complex including rehab and physical therapy, and ongoing stretches and exercise. After consulting with her doctors, she understood that she would always experience some physical pain and discomfort, and that pain management strategies to ease her symptoms would be appropriate.
This client had a fair amount of trauma in her childhood and early adult years. She’d received therapy, understood the implications that her experience had on her emotional well-being. One of her ongoing issues is suppressing emotion, particularly anxiety and fear. As she evolved her energy, she became increasingly conscious of the amount of anxiety she experienced, and how little of it she was able to manage and tolerate. The moment anxiety or fear would arise, she would squelch it; the suppressed emotional energy would leave her emotional body and migrate into the energy system of her physical body, known as the Etheric body. This conscious connection helped her realize that her physical pain became more acute when she suppressed her anxiety and fear.
In his seminal book, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma, Bessel Van Der Kolk shares the connection between mindfulness and relieving trauma symptoms.
‘Mindfulness has been shown to have a positive effect on numerous psychiatric, psychosomatic, and stress-related symptoms, including depression and chronic pain.’
When we suppress emotional energy, it lands in the energy system for the physical body, generating or exacerbating pain, illness and disease. This is known as somatization.
We all somatize. If you’ve ever had to give a speech or perform publicly and felt those tingly sensations in your belly, you’ve experienced somatized anxiety!
The benefit of mindfulness for my client was two-fold.
- Through neutral self-observation she became conscious of the amount of anxiety and fear she was suppressing.
- She began to do active clearing meditations to resolve rather than suppress her anxiety and fear, releasing it in her emotional awareness. She also learned to clear somatized emotion from her Etheric body.
Working with a triad of therapeutic consultation, emotional energy clearing and clearing somatized emotion (psychosomatic) yielded results. Her body was not pain-free, she still had a debilitating condition that she managed with exercise, anti-inflammatory foods and appropriate pain medication. Yet, she was able to identify the anxiety and fear triggers, do the work of allowing and acknowledging her emotions, and then clearing energy to free herself from habituated patterns and minimize somatization. Her physical pain was much more manageable, and she actually decreased her pain medications as she integrated this into her ongoing self-care.
The saying, ‘what we resist persists’ is a common one in therapeutic and spiritual circles. It’s a pretty true statement. One of the ways that we resist emotions is through suppression and somatization. We may not realize the full implications of somatization until an illness or disease emerges in the body.
However, we can become quite facile at mindfully observing what emotions we allow and which ones we find uncomfortable and avoid. What we avoid, we’re likely suppressing.
Sit quietly and ask yourself:
- What emotions do I avoid because they make me uncomfortable? (ex: anger, fear, anxiety, rage, grief, sadness, etc.)
Tune in to your body and ask it:
- Do I suppress the uncomfortable emotional energy (ex: anger, fear, anxiety, rage, grief, sadness) into my physical body?
- Does it contribute to the issue I have with [digestion, elimination, joint pain, chest colds, auto-immune, other disease, illness or syndrome]?
Set an intention:
- I invite, allow and acknowledge all my emotions as valid information about my experiences
- I easily release emotional energy, leaving my body’s energy system free to perform its tasks for my health and well-being
See if this gets you headed in a new direction. There are additional steps you can take to clear and release emotional and somatized energy. If you’re still feeling challenged, I’ll cover clearing and releasing emotional energy in a future article.