Why Are People So Scared of Getting Mentally and Physically Healthy?

The force of growth is something we all experience but usually fail to understand. Each of us are immersed in a ‘river’ of constant change. If you think about it you have been carried, pushed, impelled by this current as you were moved through babyhood, childhood, teenage and adulthood. It is the current if Life. This current then carries us on, whether we like it or not, through old age and through the gates of death. All the time we are faced by decisions, and each decision directs us on a different path, helping to create our future. And this force of growth and change. and is fought like hell by many as we are afraid of such changes, especially getting old and facing death.

But this Force of Life is ignored by most of us, and they do not know how to harness its incredible power to heal them.

They are scared of getting healthy because people often avoid any change facing them, especially if it includes meeting themselves face to face.

As humans we tend to be afraid of almost anything. We see this in films where the dark suggests danger and fear, also we fear a hole into which we might fall, a shadowy figure, animals attacking us, especially snakes, other humans, ghosts and spirits, devils and demons, sexual feelings, and so on – but especially of death and our children dying. Often it is not just fear, but terror. But most of us have painful traumas we haven’t dealt with. I only began to uncover this when I started teaching relaxation/surrender. In huge yoga classes, back in the sixties and seventies. To help people I would wander around the class and lift an arm or leg of some of those lying quietly relaxed. I lifted the limb to let the person have an enhanced awareness of their relaxed condition. What amazed me was that often the arm or leg was so rigid with tension it was hard to move. If I let go the limb would remain suspended. On asking the person how they felt they would say, ‘Fine. Really relaxed.’ They didn’t know they were carrying enormous tensions. Later I helped people relax  those tensions they had been totally unaware of, and each one had at it base a childhood or adult traumatic incident.

I went on an almost fanatical search to find a non-medical drug way to deal with my misery.

In searching for relief from misery from depression and I tried many different things, relaxation, yoga, meditation , fasting, and diet among them. They promised to be helpful, but something was missing that I only began to uncover when I started teaching relaxation/surrender. Some of those classes I taught were huge back in the sixties and seventies. To help people I would wander around the class and lift an arm or leg of some of those lying quietly relaxed. I lifted the limb to let the person have an enhanced awareness of their relaxed condition. What amazed me was that often the arm or leg was so rigid with tension it was hard to move. If I let go the limb would remain suspended. On asking the person how they felt they would say, ‘Fine. Really relaxed.’ They didn’t know they were carrying enormous tensions.

Are you relaxing or suppressing?  

It took me a while to realise what that indicated. You could relax surface muscles and feelings, but a mass of tensions were unconscious. Later I learned that such tensions had often arisen from difficult or traumatic past experiences, still locked in the body and emotions. By using relaxation techniques such as dropping the tension of the voluntary muscles or meditating on positive things, those inner tensions were being pushed back into the unconscious – undealt with. When left at that point, relaxation and meditation were a method of suppression and control, not of healing.

With shock I realised this was true of many things that were supposed to be helpful, such as meditation and positive thinking. What they often did was to calm surface feelings by controlling thoughts and body. They did not deal with the real difficulties that had been pushed into the unconscious. Their purpose was to quieten the conscious mind and the voluntary movements of the body, not release unconscious tensions.

I went on an almost fanatical search for what could be done to change that – to release the unconscious problems. The clue was, as Richet said, “that ‘the slight instability is the necessary condition for the true stability of the organism.” That means we need to allow the Life Process to make fuller spontaneous movements – we make them all the time as our Life Process causes us to breath and our heart to beat, to name just a few, but we are capable of much more. For as Life begins to heal us making spontaneous movement we may experience vibrations or movements we did not make consciously. This cause most people to feel great fear and rush to the doctor to stop it. When I started shaking I too went to the doctor. He decided I was working too hard ad need to take a sedative – I didn’t take it because we have all heard of it in our religion as Christians – it all started when the disciples knew it as Pentecost, as Seitai in Japan, Shaktipat in India, Mesmer in Europe, Wilhelm Reich in modern times.

The frantic search led me to the release. What happened was incredible. My body and my emotions discharged the whole experience of having my tonsils out as a six year old. My head pulled back, my mouth clamped open, and my arms were in the position of being strapped to my side. Perhaps I had not been fully anaesthetised – I don’t know. What I do know is that I had carried that enormous tension and shock inside me from six until I was thirty five.

Up until that day I had experienced a powerful neck tension that I had tried again and again to ‘relax’ away. My being didn’t need to relax, it needed to discharge in powerful tension, physical struggles, and emotion. After this ’shaking’ experience there was never again a tension in my neck, a tension that had been caused by trying to pull away from the surgeon cutting my throat. However, it was not simply a physical tension it released. Powerful emotions were also discharged, ones that had created difficult responses to everyday life.

That was an amazing experience, and from there on I could allow the process to continue its work on me. Gradually it ‘discharged’ the other things from childhood, and another medical operation, that had thrown my body and mind out of balance. But it didn’t stop at clearing out difficult past experiences, its process went on to expansion of awareness and growth – it moved toward making me more than I had been. All of that came about by allowing my being to express spontaneously without my conscious intervention, by allowing spontaneous movement and sounds, by surrendering or offering my body, sexual self, me emotions and mind to the life that had brought me forth; to the unknown of myself and trusting it.

After using it for some time I named it LifeStream. Try using Letting things Happen – Opening to Life – Integration

A woman’s first experience of LifeStream

I was especially struck by the sentence, “Don’t enter LifeStream unless you are prepared to enter into it fully and are prepared to be part of the long process” I had undergone what at the time was a frightening experience for me – leaving my body – it was while I was very ill in hospital, so I had apprehensions that similar things might happen again.

I was reassured.  Indeed they might happen again but it would be in a position to learn from them rather than for them.  I pondered for a while.  I was in a fairly depressed state really.  I badly needed help.  More than anything I wanted to help myself.  I decided to give it a try.  It was a serious decision, not made lightly, and I was prepared to commit myself as fully as I was able at the time to the process but I felt very apprehensive.

My attitude to LS (LifeStream) then changed.  I thought, yes, this is it.  It can’t be faked.  It is possible for someone to pretend it’s happening but that they would know they were pretending.  I had been afraid I was acting and pretending.  But when it came it very definitely wasn’t that.

To people coming into LS I would say not to base their expectations on anything you have been told or read about it.  It is very individual.  It is easy to be discouraged if you have been with very noisy people, and your experiences are not noisy.  It would be easy thing to believe, ‘I’m not having the real thing.’ This may be linked with me because it happened when I had given up.  I stopped expecting anything to happen.  After three months of, to me, nothing happening, but my lying there for ninety minutes listening to other people making a noise.  But in the way a lot happened because my feelings and thoughts had changed considerably in those three months.  I had gone through fear, contempt, attempting to cut it down to size, saying it wasn’t a valid experience for those people.  I was very much the outsider for a long time.  Then, when I had given up any hope something happening, it happened to me.

Rita Expresses Herself

“I was in such pain, and words having failed me I was pumped full of Largactyl and put in a psychiatric ward on my own.  And I became terribly aggressive, which I am not really.

When I could release all this in SR, I stopped being frightened.  I wasn’t so primitive.  I never actually attacked anybody else but I was very frightened I would.  I was so full of aggression it was going in and trying to get out.  Yet it seemed it was a force which didn’t necessarily need to destroy me or anybody else if it was allowed to get out.  I didn’t really want to kill anybody or myself.  It was the pressure in this force which was held back.

When I first went to the SR group I thought everybody had gone completely mad.  I was still quite paranoid, I think, and the place where we did SR backs on to the hospital where I worked.  I was very frightened doctors or nurses would come over, recognise me and think I had flipped again and I would get carried off and put inside.  I was very frightened but it has gone now completely.  Then, I stopped thinking people were mad after time.  They were not mad because they came together again at the end of the session.  It was just noise, and the actual experience seemed identical to those I had seen and experienced in hospital.  Then I started to think people were hysterical, in the sense that they were all acting out, and it was all very self indulgent and it didn’t get them anywhere.

I didn’t understand it, and this kept on for three months.  I kept going.  I don’t really know why, but I did.  Then it was Easter, and I went on a diet.  The children were away and I was in the house on my own, and I thought, “I’ll try this self-regulating on my own.  Maybe it’s being with other people stopped it”.  I went straight into it for an hour and half and I became like a tiny baby.  It was a very real experience.  It was really happening.  I felt like a baby.  I was a baby.  The sounds coming out were those of a baby.  Yet there was this marvellous bit of me which was still completely in touch with what was happening outside of the experience.  It was watching, and I knew I would be all right, I knew I was going to come out of it.  For me it was a real big breakthrough.  I stopped being frightened.  Up until then I had been stuck.  I was very frightened of making a noise.  Then some time later I had, not one, but two of pneumatic drills outside my house and I had the really big session making a hell of a noise.

My attitude to SR then changed.  I thought, yes, this is it.  It can’t be faked.  It is possible for someone to pretend it’s happening, but they would know they were pretending.  I had been afraid I would start to play act and pretend.  But when it happened it very definitely wasn’t that.

To people coming into SR I would say not to base their expectations on anything they had been told or read about it.  It is very individual.  It is easy to be discouraged if you have been with very noisy people, and your experiences are not noisy.  It would be easy to think, ‘I’m not having the real thing.’ May be with me it happened when I had given up.  I stopped expecting anything to happen.  After three months of, to me, nothing happening except by lying there for 90 minutes listening to other people making a noise.  Yet in a way a lot happened because my feelings and thoughts had changed considerably in those three months.  I had gone through fear, contempt, attempting to cut it down to size, saying he wasn’t a valid experience for those people.  I was very much the outsider for a long time.  Then, when I had given up any hope of something happening, it happened to me.

What SR has done for me, or what change it has made is a very major thing.  In a very real sense it had saved my life.  I had thought about nothing but suicide for three years, and that hasn’t happened since; but once, and I have been in some very sticky situations.  I have been very mad but I haven’t been what I call depressed or beyond hope.  I don’t hate myself as much now.  I didn’t have any self respect.  I have respect for myself now and I am a lot more choosy about relationships because of that.  I don’t feel people are doing me a favour any more by liking me.  I think I am a lot stronger.  People at work say I am alive, and friends have seen a big change in me.”

Example: I had a dream about two purple snakes, coming from different directions, one from the left and the other from the right. These started going after me, however I kept running and running from the centre, at times they would seem like they want to come together in the middle and attack me and I kept running. (Strange that nothing can hurt you in your dreams, for dream take place in, as in computer games, so remember that dreams are just like computer games in which you get very involved and face monsters and kill or be killed and nothing has actually happened – you are still alive and unhurt. But that is exactly what this wonderfully alive virtual reality of your dreams is, for we are all playing the game of life – the game we play in which we face or run away from the things that scare us; in which we explore the depths of our existence, develop the speed of our reactions, or learn how to love – or simply meet a reflection of our own weakness, terror and of course the wonder of your inner genius.)

Vomiting takes place because we have an inbuilt defence system that does its best when our body is attacked, poisoned or injured to deal with, repair or to balance what caused the difficulty. The process is called homeostasis – meaning any self-regulating process by which biological systems tend to maintain stability while adjusting to conditions that are optimal for survival. Or, if we put something harmful in us the process vomits it out again.

We are all subject to the forces of growth – it is one of the main functions of life. But because growth is a push toward change, change that we do not want to face, we often resist it, often without realising we are doing so. Psychiatrist say we have resistances to meeting the uncomfortable aspects of our self. A young woman who was anorexic dreamt of cutting off her breasts, suggesting trying to cut out the living process that was moving her into being a full woman. So such resistance can also relate to how we try to dissociate from our own process of growth and ageing.

The human personality – the You that you call yourself, with a name, is only a tiny thing. It is moved and tossed around by all manner of drives, ambitions, emotions, fears, temptations, worries, love and desire with its pains and hopes; it is something we take so seriously and get carried away into awful situations; we take many sorts of pain killers to deal with ourselves. Things such as alcohol, coffee, medical drugs and street drugs, and yet we are still prone to break down, as can be seen by the number of people who need antidepressants or are totally lost in themselves. Look around at the number of people who have to take anti depressant, or who have to use alcohol every day, or smoke or take other drugs – all means of not facing the difficulty of meeting self awareness.

Paul Levy writing about this says: “This process can be so extreme, so radical, that the ego experiences it as death …. This experience is related to the shaman’s descent to the underworld as well as the archetypal journey of the wounded healer. See Programmed

But we have to remember that having a personality with self awareness is a very new thing and has only existed for a short time. Before that we were like animals that lived only in the Life Will – what we usually call instincts. So the development of self awareness was an immense step, and left us very vulnerable, and still does.

Many people as their awareness reaches beyond what they feel is their normal self feel scared. Such resistances cause us to create awful dreams and fears as a means of avoiding our own inner world and its wonders. We feel that we will be swallowed up and we will die. It is important to say that when we meet the experience of powerlessness through becoming aware of the hugeness of your Life, which we are usually unaware if, it feels like something alien or attacking, and it is a shock.

When we begin to meet the Hugeness that we are, we often react to it in our dreams or in waking with fear or panic. So we dream of being attacked by aliens or frightening creatures; or being swallowed by a whale or something huge, a tsunami, or even possessed by evil entities.

But textbooks seldom mention that the process is also active psychologically and is often called self-regulation. Jung, Hadfield, and people like Caldwell and Wilhelm Reich, have often written about self-regulation active in the mind and emotions.  Hadfield in his book writes, “Dreams are compensatory or ‘self-regulatory’. Hadfield says of this, “There is in the psyche an automatic movement toward readjustment, towards an equilibrium, toward a restoration of the balance of our personality. This automatic adaptation of the organism is one of the main functions of the dream as indeed it is of bodily functions and of the personality as a whole. This idea need not cause us much concern for this automatic self-regulating process is a well-known phenomenon in Physics and Physiology. The function of compensation which Jung has emphasised appears to be one of the means by which this automatic adaptation takes place, for the expression of repressed tendencies has the effect of getting rid of conflict in the personality. For the time being, it is true, the release may make the conflict more acute as the repressed emotions emerge, and we have violent dreams from which we wake with a start. But by this means, the balance of our personality is restored.”  See Self-regulation

Nightmares are an excellent example of Psychological Vomiting. for dreams are a process of self-regulation, and they push traumatic experiences that have caused us great emotional disturbance into our awareness as nightmares. But because we have an enormous tendency to pull away from pain we refuse to feel the fear or pain and so repress the nightmare.

Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved