The Low Pressure Area of the Heart
"Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.” - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Consider the mighty and gentle whale. It roams endlessly across thousands of miles, the entire world or water is its home and playground. It is at home in the vast spaces of the deep.
Now take that same noble animal and put it in a swimming pool. Will it be happy? Will it feel alive? Will it feel fulfilled? No, of course it won't.
Do you think we humans are any different from that?
Any animal, removed from its natural environment and stuck in a cage to perform tricks or some lowly function, although not knowing the cause, will have a sense of alienation, of being out of place, of discontent. Its natural impulses squashed its energy will contract to the point of simply no longer caring. In short, even the great whale, having its nature suppressed will find its spirit to be depressed.
And what is the natural environment of the human being?
And so much more
What the oceans are to the whale the universe is to the human. But... does that list look like the world we have created for ourselves?
When the natural instincts, impulses, loves, passions and curiosity of the human being are suppressed or not given ample opportunity to develop and grow they wither. Depression is simply a state the human energy system gets into when it can find no mode of expression. Because of early traumas, cultural limitations and the pressure to conform, the natural instincts, constantly thwarted simply withdraw.
The pain of not being able to give free expression to our nature, or the receiving of shame or abuse when that nature is expressed causes the nervous system to put a lid on it. If the opportunity for self-expression is small or non-existent it simply shuts down all expression. The energy is drained before it can ever get going.
At first it is despair. But despair is so painful that it too needs to be dampened. And so we fall into a state of not feeling at all. This is depression.
So what is the cure?
As always, the answer lies in creating for the constricted heart a place of safety, a place where it is OK to be yourself. This is not easy. Long after the parent and caregivers who created the cage you dwelled in have gone, the culture that enforces that state of affairs remains. More importantly, we ourselves, unwittingly, have taken on the very same act of suppression, sustaining the environment of self-denial without knowing that we are.
The vast majority of you reading this will not be in the category of clinically depressed. We will not feel chronic hopelessness. Yet we are all whales in swimming pools. We have all, to some degree, suppressed our natural exuberance and are still keeping it under wraps.
In my ebook "Angels in the Basement" I outline the process I call the Yoga of Allowing. To give ourselves permission to soar, to explore our own personal universe, we must first give ourselves permission to feel.
To feel our feelings without judgement or restraint. This is not an easy practice. We have become such masters of suppression that we don't even know we are doing it.
But all it takes is a moment of putting you attention on your feelings and noticing how much resistance there is to simply feeling what you are feeling, you will see how deeply this runs. But take heart. The nature of the what IS the ocean. The nature of the human being IS the cosmos. It doesn't take much to open that inner door, And once you do, you will have taken that first step out of the cage and into the playground of stars which is your home.
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