Thursday, 19 April 2012

#110 Armoring

     An “oasis (is) a gathering place where travelers rest, learn, and tell their stories. … where people can put down the burden of pretense and share what it really means to be human.”
     Lesser E. “Broken open. How difficult times can help us grow.” Villard, NY, 2005.

     Oases are too rare in our culture. We need quality time - alone with our loved ones; silent meditation retreats; clinical hypnosis courses; internal family systems (IFS) workshops; some weddings; some funerals. Otherwise, many of us are heavily armored.

     "Armoring ... is basically the physical component of repression as understood by Freud.
Armoring occurs when an impulse is halted at the muscular level. For example, it is natural for a child to cry when they are sad. However, a child who is punished for crying will find a way to inhibit this behavior. At first, this inhibition is conscious, and may include tensing the muscles of the eyes and face, holding the breath, or whatever else works that the child is capable of doing. Reich said that normally a child will cease the inhibition once the threat passes, but when a child is repeatedly subjected to the same kind of treatment, the inhibiting behavior becomes learned and integrated into the child's way of being, along with the accompanying muscular armoring. It becomes habitual and unconscious, and the person no longer notices they are 'doing' anything at all.
Reich viewed the purpose of this armoring as protecting the child from perceived threats, but the cost is the diminished freedom that comes fighting against constant muscular contraction as well the energy that is required to maintain this state of contraction.
You may be able to fight and win battles in a suit of armor, but when you're wearing one all of the time without knowing it, it becomes impossible to dance.”

Photo: Lou D'Entremont

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