I was listening to a talk recently and the conversation was related to emotional awareness and emotional repression. The person doing the interviewing made a reflective statement and said "So it's as if there is one pipeline that supplies both pleasurable and painful experiences. If you shut down the painful emotions then you also shut down or block the pleasant, and delightful experiences. It is likely true that when we do not deal with or acknowledge painful experiences, it can have a detrimental impact on our life in many ways. There is typically a side effect of shutting down, blocking, or repressing unpleasant emotions. One common side effect is excessive anxiety. The particular anxiety is not the natural type of anxiety but is caused because we are trying to be something we are not, and denying our human experience. It is often is a warning sign that there is something wrong, and indicates that the natural flow of energy within us is being thwarted. This might be much like the signals on the dashboard of our car that indicates when something is wrong in the way our car is functioning. Often we misinterpret the signal because we lack knowledge of its purpose, and in the process begin to create more anxiety and possibly even depression. Blocking off the natural flow of energy often comes at a high cost because it impacts our body in several ways. We may not have the life force energy we need to live life fully, because we have blocked it off and we wonder why we are tired. (This is much like the concept of "chi" in Chinese medicine.) In addition as we create tension and anxiety in our bodies, we may suffer from the effects of excessive cortisol release, which leads to inflammation, muscle tension, and a variety of health related issues over time. It would be wonderful if there were two pipelines, one for unpleasant and painful emotions and one for pleasant, joyful and delightful experiences, unfortunately they all come through one channel or pipeline. It is just another one of those realities that often, we just don't want to believe. There is a difference between emotional repression and suppression. With suppression we make a conscious choice to allow the flow of energy, and choose if we want to contain it temporarily, or channel the flow in some manner. With repression we do not own the feeling and are in denial regarding the experience. We actually never really "own", an experience, (it is just energy) but we can accept that it is an experience that occurs within us. This is likely to be a bit confusing, but we can't really own energy that flows through us. We can at least acknowledge that it exists.
The Emotional Pipeline, Anxiety and Pleasure
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