The Sequence of Separation
An excerpt from my book, “Born to Heal”:
Emotion is a compass that points to your heart. Your heart connects you to the Universe. Suppressed emotions result in feeling separate from Universal Love. Separation from your heart is perpetuated by suppression of your emotions. Suppression perpetuates the myth that you are separate from the Universe. It’s hard to remember that you are part of the One, when you feel angry, lonely, afraid, sad, bored, jealous, or _______(insert your most habituated reactive emotional response here).
Suppression impacts your health, and if left unchecked, impacts organ function. I call this progression the “Sequence of Separation” because the act of suppression separates you from the insight of your heart. The Sequence of Separation is based on an ancient Chinese medicine theory of disease. It is a long lineage that transcends history and geography. In a way, the sequence is a barometer for how well we navigate our life lessons.
Suppression is defined as a conscious intentional exclusion from consciousness of a thought or feeling. Repression is a mental process by which distressing thoughts, memories, or impulses that may give rise to anxiety are excluded from consciousness and left to operate in the unconscious.
Suppression requires a conscious moment of acknowledgment to make something become unconscious. In order to suppress something in a wakeful moment, you dismiss it from your awareness. To take suppression a step further—to go unconscious—you have to create a reason, a belief, or make up a story to convince yourself to suppress your truth. The big problem is this: if the thing you want to suppress is something that the Universe wants you to face and heal, you’re paddling against the current. Eventually you will have to return to this scene and act with awareness. Everything you do to suppress your truth is only a temporary warding off; you’re building a wall you will need to take apart later, stone by stone.
Universal Love only wants your freedom. It will not stop for the preferences of your small self. So be careful about being too picky with how and when you’re willing to learn your life lessons. God takes custom orders for spiritual growth, but you don’t always get exactly what you want: You get what you need in order to grow, whether you think you are ready or not. Grace fills in the gaps. Or as my wife Emily says, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.”
Suppression says to the Universe, “I’m gonna put off learning this particular life lesson. I’ll deal with this issue someday if I have to, but for now, I’ll put it on the back burner.” One of my mentors shared with me that people build their lives around avoiding three things: loss, anxiety, and death. The only problem is that loss, anxiety, and death are the three things you are guaranteed to face in life. Loss, anxiety, and death will imprint a pattern of anxiety and distress upon your body and mind if you have not cultivated the capacity to be present when these experiences arise.
Suppression is built into the fabric of society. For most people, in order to start a business, get an education, or buy a house, you have to take on some debt, in the form of a loan or a credit card. If you’re not crystal clear about the interest rates and the time it may to take to repay the loan given current and future employment, you are completely suppressed around money and the exchange between what you want and what it really costs you. If you are super aware of what you’re getting into financially, then kudos to you. I didn’t have a clue about debt when I was twenty-three and started graduate school. I thought, “Free money. Cool!” Years later, as I applied my education professionally, and understood that nature of variable and fixed interest rates, I felt good about paying back student loans.
Not dealing with your lessons works the same way, except the interest you’re going to pay will come out of your body, not your bank account.
Another area of collective suppression is food consumption. Food is a major hot button issue of suppression. Sugar, alcohol, bread, dairy, chips, and dips are the engines of suppression. How do you get rid of your guilt, shame and blame? You eat. Eat. Eat. Eat. Eat until you’re full, and then you eat some more. You stuff yourself full, so you don’t have to feel. Some of us love chocolate, others salt. But it’s rare to find the person who turns to salad when they’ve been told something they don’t want to hear, gets turned down for a promotion, or goes through a break-up. When I have a rough day at work, I get home and pound the corn chips. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. Without stopping to take a breath unless my wife catches me and slows me down. Thank God for her.
Ancient Taoist healers from China discerned the Sequence of Separation from observing the patterns of nature thousands of years ago. They perceived how suppressed emotions affect the body physically as disease progresses from one organ system to the next. Though the Universe uses emotions to physically grab your attention, emotions are not the root of disease. The root of illness is the way you suppress them.
Universal Love operates out of its own infinite intelligence. Our job is to learn to trust the Universe’s communication. My intention is that you will become more aware of how the Sequence of Separation works in you. The only person who can really know the unique beauty and gifts that the Universe has for you is you. If I’ve done my job, by the end of this book, you will have a clearer sense of where you can be more responsible for your wellbeing and teach others to do the same.