This session dealt with all my issues related to social anxiety. Here I learned about “activation” the continuum of emotional activation or arousal. When people become overactivated they dissociate. It’s a neurological protective mechanism. People via traumatic experiences or any situation where the nervous system gets overloaded will go into high or over-activation (dissociation). People in an environment of continual high activation will see their baseline activation level rise. It becomes their new sense of normal.
Thus he said a lot of EMT’s, firemen, police, only feel alive while on the job, and then resort to drinking lots of alcohol afterwards, which causes dissociation, which is overactivation. These people actually feel uncomfortable in relaxed environments! Often people that are like this or are drama bound like my mother or sister, will create drama/emotional activation if the surroundings don’t give it to them. So I learned how to tune into my own personal activation “thermometer” so that I could become aware of it and learn to control it. Most people are oblivious to their emotional state and are reactionary, by having their activation on autopilot. And a lot of people just dissociate….they live in that state. You see the opposite of that state is a totally present relaxed state. This is a state I am trying to achieve as my baseline. Where your breathing deeply, totally in the present moment, and in control of activation keeping it from going too high or into overactivation. Extreme emotional intensity or excitement is characteristic of high level activation. And dissociation goes beyond that. People who have a deadened blank stare are often over-activated.
As the base line level moves up the continuum of activation it creates a new normal for a person. Activation leads to opiate release in the brain, so the higher states of activation can become somewhat addictive. It’s why my therapist explained to me people who are in abusive relationships will continue to go from one abuser to another. It releases opiates; it’s their brain/nervous system sense of homeostasis. It is the most natural pathway in the brain to follow. This is really the law of attraction at work on the nervous system level. Like attracts like, for it is what is comfortable to the brain and nervous system.
This is why depressed people like being around depressed people. Misery loves company. This creates a self-reinforcing feedback loop wiring the brain and strengthening the neuron connections of the given activation state. This is why it’s positively unpleasant for unhappy people to be around happy people. Somatic-therapy works at rewiring the nervous system to create a new normal. This is what is so very cool about it! Once you become aware of activation you can learn to control it with certain techniques!
One thing my therapist told me, good friends are people that really gets you, really understands you, see you who for you are, and you don’t necessarily need to have common interests or values. I thought that was cool. In pickup you learn one of the fundamental human motivations or needs , is just plainly to be understood.
Then my therapist started telling me how LSD/psychedelics can be useful. It has to do with chaos. Out of chaos comes higher order, which begets more chaos which begets even higher order. The nervous system operates in a similar way. It is how traumatic like experiences can become grounds for personal growth. You learn from them, and then develop greater capabilities. (Unless you get stuck in a negative feedback loop…then its a downward spiral<-that’s my opinion)
He talked about how when he has undergraduate students come into his Somatic-therapy classes. He has to confuse them, (poke holes in their models) so that they are willing to try and learn something new. Those students that think they know everything are particularly tough to crack. Once they’ve gone onto do masters/PhD, then they begin to learn about all the holes, which creates confusion which is good. These people become easier to teach something new.
Having your entire belief system up-rooted once in a while can be a valuable thing. Order and Chaos are like the yin and yang, going around in a circle. Each time you go around you evolve and learn a bit more. Psychedelics he said can be a great start to create some initial confusion, it does overload the nervous system however, and it has an interesting effect on peoples need to control, in that your are forced not to control unless you want a bad trip, lol.
However after a while he said psychedelics as tool outgrow their usefulness and then it’s time to move onto something else. Repeating a certain kind of experience only nets you so much confusion/knowledge and then you reach a limit to growth. What to move on after that, I’m not sure, he didn’t say, but I am incredibly curious to find out!
This for me was a “mind blown” session. The last little philosophical part really helped me create perspective on what I have been learning in terms of emotional awareness, control and ability. I also realized that how Ed teaches his new students, I try do the same to others. I try to poke holes in their models….confusion… so that they can step out of their limitations and adopt more expansive ones and create a new order.
My therapist talking to my gf explained to her that everyone has blind spots, areas of personal perception that they subconsciously and woefully neglect. A certain inner like hypocrisy that they can’t see. I am curious now, what blind spots do I have?? I’ll have to ask him tomorrow if there are any he can detect. If any of you dear readers think I have some, please point them out, by all means!!!
When it comes to dreams it’s not so much the content that is important, but what the emotional states are.
Shame without redemption is humiliation. This is why Napolean Dynamite was such a popular movie. The main character was constantly being shamed throughout the movie, along with pedro, they lived lives of shame at school. However at the end of the movie they were able to redeem themselves and thus people watching the film also felt a certain sense of redemption by watching the film. In this way films can be somewhat healing and cathartic. And they teach valuable emotional lessons in a very subtle way. Good comedians know how to make use of this knowledge so that by inducing laughter from the audience, they are also inducing a certain amount of emotional release as well. If you think about it, the Christ story really is an archetypal story of shame and redemption. Jesus was shamed into death, and then was resurrected to redeem humanity. The archetype of redemption/resurrection is very old and universal. It is the process by which confusion leads to order! A universal primordial archetype present in all natural systems.
As said before my therapist was one of the interviewers for the Med school application process. What he would do when applicants came to him is tell them he was tired of interviewing applicants and that they should just have some fun and play ping pong. He said you really can get a sense about a person by how they PLAY, much more than if they are sitting them down and asking them questions which they are answering often only the way you want to hear it, rather than revealing their true self. During play the true self comes out more. It’s closer to flow state.