The Mind-Body Dualism or Cartesian split arose out of the 17th century from philosopher Rene Descartes who believed that mind and body were fundamentally distinct and separate. In this way of seeing ourselves we prioritize and prefer our mind’s functioning, leaving the body behind. It’s the body (and the heart) from where we sense, and feel our way through the world. This is what gives us ‘connectivity’ to everything that surrounds us. In so many ways, this has been cast to the shadow across culture.
Repression & Suppression are similar, but not the same. It’s the difference between the conscious and subconscious mind. Repression is when we unconsciously (minimal awareness) block out certain thoughts or emotions, whereas suppression is the voluntary (with awareness) blocking of thoughts and emotions.
Whatever we resist, persists. But what we look at disappears. When we look at something, it becomes illuminated, and then it can be discovered, understood, owned, and integrated.
Our culture encourages the suppression & repression of certain emotions, and it has lead to a host of health and environmental problems. It shows up in how we parent, in how socialize each other, in how we make movies and pop culture media. It shows up everywhere. The mainstream idea is that showing certain emotions, especially at certain times, is weak.
The reality is, that not showing or expressing those emotions, is creating weakness in the entire population.
As we bring ourselves back into our bodies, we are forced to deal with what we have left behind, and rationalized away. Peter Levine states that ‘trauma is not what happens to us, but what we hold inside in the absence of an empathic witness’. Which is to say, we must have an embodied, empathic person to hold space for us, to fully resolve what’s lodged in our bodies.
According to Gabor Mate, people don’t get traumatized because they’re hurt, ‘They get traumatized because they’re alone with the hurt.’ Suppression leads to depression. This emotional suppression & repression manifests as disease, a disconnection from our true self, and our environment. It’s disharmony and blockage in the system. An imbalance of the masculine & feminine within us.
Stress and repressed emotions can manifest as the tightening of muscles, anxiety, depression, cancer, heart disease, low energy, decreased immune functioning, high blood pressure, and more. These mental and physical health problems can (and frequently do) lead to substance abuse, legal or not. As well increased medical bills, lower quality of life, and decreased disconnection from the people around us.
This is something that avoidantly attached (relational dynamic) people do well, is sweeping their real emotions under the rug, and disassociating. This is about 25% of the population, and it is subconscious repression. Anxiously attached individuals (20-25% of the population) do this as well, but in a completely different way. They experience their emotions more intensely, but are fearful of expressing it due to a lack of trust in others from childhood. This is conscious suppression. These are both manifestations of childhood trauma, that result in the repression, and suppression of our emotions.
It goes beyond attachment personality though, as there’s a lot of trauma that originates outside of childhood, and that the majority of our culture is somewhat fearful of true emotional expression, and therefore have a difficult time releasing and healing trauma.
That said, it’s changing rapidly as we become more conscious of trauma, and become more embodied.
As we become more aware, and attuned to the world around us, we also begin to acknowledge the connection and impact we’re having on people, and the Earth.
As we begin to uncover and release our emotional ‘baggage’, we come back to center and our true self. We become more in connection to our heart and intuition.
The Soul is Feeling.
The Soul is Feminine.