Chiu-Nan Lai, Ph.D.
Many years ago, a wise teacher said: “Cancer is the tear that one couldn’t cry out.” A simple sentence, but one that articulates the essence of many years of medical research. Repressed emotions can cause cancer, while explosive emotional outbreaks can cause heart diseases. Appropriate release and expression of emotions is the key to good health. Emotions naturally arise, and if they are not appropriately expressed, they can interfere with our health and be hindrances to opening our hearts. They may even destroy harmonious relationships among people. Suppressed emotional pains can lead people to numb their feelings by watching television programmes, working hard, and even be addicted to food and sensual pleasures. Long-term emotional suppression can cause one to feel numb.
Our ways of expressing our emotions are conditioned by how we were brought up. When we felt hurt, wronged, sad, or frustrated, did our parents allow us to release our emotions? Or did they stop our crying and tantrums by distracting our attention, threatening us, beating us, scolding us, shaming us, or bluffing us? In doing so, our emotional hurt is buried deep within us.
These unreleased emotional pain that are stored inside our body can create problems. In general, boys are not supposed to cry, and girls are not supposed to express anger. As a result, many men have sorrows kept deep within them, and many women have repressed anger. The ways we are taught to suppress our emotions during our youths are passed on to the next generation. However, these unreleased emotions can be easily provoked and activated – it takes a simple sentence or event to cause one to plunge into sadness or fly into a rage. Once activated, these accumulated emotions can overflow like flood water, hurting ourselves and others.
When children express their emotions, what are our reactions? How do we release our emotions, and how do we teach children to do so?
Pam Leo is an expert in child psychology, and is also a childcare centre teacher. When children cry, she reminds herself that “crying is the healing and not the hurt”. Her experience is that children can release their emotions only under attention. This is particularly so for children who are crying or fussing. The following are two examples.
A little girl was crying in the car just before it reached the childcare centre. This was because when she left her home, she had left behind at the doorway some dolls and doll clothes that she had intended to bring to the childcare centre. By the time she realized this, the car was approaching the childcare centre. Pam held the crying girl and asked her what she had forgotten. The girl replied: “Dolls.” “What else?” “The doll’s blue skirt.” “What else?” “The red dress.” “What else?” The little girl cried as she spoke, and ten minutes later, after she had exhausted her tears under the watchful care and attention of Pam, she said, “I am going to play now”. Another girl had been told the day before that her parents were going to divorce. At that time, she had no emotional response. Her parents were worried that she might react at the childcare centre, and warned Pam to be on the lookout. When the children started playing with clay, this girl grabbed all of them and refused to let any other children play with it. Pam said: “This is for everyone to use”. After she said that, the girl started to cry loudly. Pam hugged her and asked her if she was sad about anything. As the girl cried, she said that her parents were going to divorce. She didn’t want daddy to move out, and wanted him to stay at home.
When a child is naughty, this is generally because of hurt and pain. If he beats other children, this may be because he has been beaten, or that he is hurting inside. Helping children to release their emotions is the right way to handle the situation.
Not only do children need care and attention to release their emotions, but so do adults. Pouring out one’s heart to another person is a most effective method, and the listener must try to listen and not express opinions.
It has been said that the pain from the loss of a loved one requires about 200 hours of care and attention from a companion before the tears can dry up. Everyone has accumulated pain and hurt, and once someone begins to talk heart to heart with us, we are eager to share our experiences and feelings. People who can sit quietly and listen to others have the most friends. Emotional responses are best felt when the mind is quiet. They are not felt when one is busy. This may be why many people are afraid to quiet down, and are always on the lookout for activities. A busy mind is unable to feel the emotions from within. If these emotions are not released, our energy will be stuck. Once we are able to release these emotions, our bodies and hearts will feel light and relaxed, and every aspect of our lives will improve.
Our eyes are closely related to our emotions. When we relax our eyes, we also relax our emotions. People with poor eyesight especially need to release their suppressed feelings. The following are some methods to relax our eyes and release our emotions.
Find a place and time where you will not be disturbed. Sit at the table, and rub your palms till they are warm. Place your elbows on the table. Cover your eyes with your palms, letting the finger tips cover the forehead. Relax the whole body, and visualize black colour. When the body is completely relaxed, it may shake, generate heat, or feel tingling. These are responses from emotional release. To release the experiences for the day, recall in reverse order the scenes of the day. In particular, for those that are involve intense emotions, let the body respond and move naturally. If you have time, recall events from the past week, month, year, or life, including the nine months in the womb. The memories stored by the body need to be slowly released. Keeping a diary, drawing, and exercise will also help in emotional release. The Peace Pilgrim mentions a person who would mow the lawn or clean the house whenever he is angry.
Eyeball rotation or light tapping of the body can also help. For further details, refer to my books “Returning to the bliss of the body and mind” and “Dr. Chiu-Nan Lai’s Health Tips”.
Extracted from Lapis Lazuli Light Magazine 2004 Nov Issue
Translated by Lapis Lazuli Light Singapore