The times we are living in continue to be stressful with so much turmoil in the world and so many of us being challenged by tremendously stressful life events. To that end over the next two weeks we will be posting some past articles that address dealing with difficult experiences in ways that help us move forward and leave behind nonproductive, unhealthy patterns.
Most people have an awareness of the fight/flight response that occurs under stress. Normally this is spoken of in biochemical or emotional terms. If we go deeper into our nature there is a way of understanding this dynamic energetically. The reason we may want to understand the phenomena in these terms is that it can provide us with more options for positive change and clear, simple interventions for change, health and growth.
When we are stressed or threatened the flow of energy that precedes the biochemical and emotional shifts is increased to prepare us for fight or flight –suitable options when we lived in the jungle! If neither of these choices is possible, we are apt to override the impulses. We then have an energetic contradiction of activation and inhibition. This becomes a problem as it tends to become an unconscious habitual pattern of response to stress over time. The influx of energy in such cases is a mechanism that helps us to survive and function in the short term. This dynamic is not meant to be a preferred or permanent management tool!
If trauma or stress is repeated over time with no safe place for release and discharge of the energy it becomes frozen. This condition of frozen intensity is known as tonic immobility or the freeze response. A portion of the energy gets locked in the trauma and free expression is inhibited. This certainly happens with overwhelming trauma, but can also occur as a result of chronic repetitive levels of stress. Damage to our energy can also occur through physical injury, emotional hurt, or lack of attention to a particular aspect of our being. A common example in our culture of the latter is the overdevelopment of the intellect to the detriment of emotional energy or a focus on the physical/material at the expense of spiritual or creative energies that add meaning, purpose and richness to life.
More common than the above examples is the damage to our energy through limited belief systems, conditioned responses, restrictive & exhausting habits. As we work to change these and rebalance the energy system, our reactive, conditioned responses and habits can more easily be released. The result is that energy is returned to the system and it becomes easier to develop new more powerful ways of approaching the challenges of life.
Next time: Managing Energy Disruptions