Path Through TunnelSo high, I can’t get over it
So low, I can’t get under it
So wide, I can’t get ’round it
I gotta go through the door

— Lyrics from the gospel hymn Rock My Soul

I have been thinking a lot lately about the deep problem of heavy, dark, difficult energy. The emotions of anger, sadness, despair, guilt, grief and fear. It fascinates me how we deal with them — or don’t. I recently heard the lovely Mario Martinez talk about his work with Tibeten lamas, refugees in living in India. Apparently, there is a high incidence of diabetes among the lamas. And it’s not the change in diet. Other Tibetan refugees don’t have the same problem. Mario explains it thus: Buddhism puts a lot of focus on forgiveness, and rightly so. But our body always knows the truth. And when we forgive without first allowing ourselves to be angry, the body has to deal with this knowledge. In effect, it says, ok, we are going to bypass anger, no problem. In order to do this for you, I’ll release endorphins. The cumulative effective of these endorphins is that is messes with our ability to deal with glucose effectively. Thus, repressed anger can lead to diabetes.

The Tibetan lamas have seen their country raped and pillaged by the Chinese. Their holiest temples have been burned. Of course they would be angry! But Buddhism says send love, so the anger gets repressed. And this is just one example. In Catholic priests and nuns, they have found a high incidence of cancer of the prostate and reproductive organs. Repression of natural human emotion once again.

Many of us on the spiritual path do this. We want so badly to be loving and accepting that we don’t even allow ourselves to feel what is there as part of our very human experience. It feels bad to be present to these human emotions, so we quickly bypass them for happier or “more appropriate” thoughts. It would be awfully nice if this worked, but it doesn’t. The body always knows, and will hold that energy for you if you don’t allow it to move.

In our experience at BEabove we have noticed two benefits to developing an ability to “go through the door.” One is an increase in health, as outlined above. The other, and perhaps even more important, is a spiritual deepening. The hardest thing there is to do is be present to your own emotional state, and yet doing so seems to be a critical factor in raising one’s vibration — or, in our language, level of effectiveness.

We realized years ago that people tend to do two things with their “below the line” emotions. They INDULGE in them by being victims or perpetrators, acting out, and ramping things up. Or they AVOID them by repressing the sensations in various ways. Distractions are a wonderful way to avoid (work, shopping, alcohol and other drugs, smoking) as is simply saying “I WILL be positive. Everything is ok.” Neither of these work, and the neuroscience proves it. Ramping up (INDULGING) replays the incident over and over and strengthens the neural pathways. Suppressing (AVOIDING) increases the blood pressure of the avoider and those around her. It also has the endorphin effect outlined above.

So what do you do? One thing–be present. Be aware of what is without judging it. Allow the emotion and be curious. And if you can’t be curious yourself or need some help staying out of AVOID-INDULGE then get a good coach or trusted friend who can help you simply notice. Noticing allows the energy to move. Vent your anger for a bit but don’t take it out on anyone, and notice how it feels to be angry. Notice your sadness and grief. Cry. But above all, be present to what is.

We avoid because we don’t want to become angry, sad, bitter people, and we don’t want to hurt anyone. We want to love. We indulge because we want to be honest and truthful. Our motivations are above the line. But it doesn’t work so we have to find a more powerful way, a middle path. And when we do, when we face our inner darkness boldly and lovingly, something moves. And when it moves, it heals, and we are never, ever the same. We can be present with all of ourselves and thus all of others as well, which makes us even more powerful healers, lovers, and friends.




when energy is allowed
to move as it desires
there is nothing
we can’t live with
and integrate into
an unfolding understanding
of ourselves

when energy is held back
repressed or limited
in its expression
it travel to our organs
and cells
using our willing bodies
to sing its song

I know this not from science
but from life
I know this from grieving
what did not come to pass
from allowing myself
to feel the exquisite pain
of unrequited love

I know this from noticing
anger bubble and boil
feeling the molten lava within
and letting it erupt
into poetry

I know this from
the fullness of joy as well
from watching my arms
move to embrace
those I love
without restraint
no matter what the culture
context or rule

I know
that what is
allowed to move
will heal
with astonishing
and grace

~Ann, December 2011