Merigian Studios


Spelunking anyone?

Can a relationship cause someone to become ill? It depends on the definition of ill. Ill commonly refers to sick, but it also could mean evil, unfortunate, bad, or adverse. So, could a relationship cause illness? Absolutely!

For a moment, think about your past relationships. I believe that we bump into people like atoms bump into each other to form molecules. Yes, there are times when some mystical, or biological, force arranges atoms in order to form a particular molecule; but I am more concerned about our Westernized social habits than those typically witnessed in the more Traditional societies. In our world, we usually have the right to choose what (or who) we consider "good" for us. In Traditional worlds, those who have been given the power to make choice, choose for all others. We are told we can choose who we marry -- not knowing the full impacts that befall us if we choose to divorce. In the Traditional societies, people are told who they are to marry; many times they do not even meet their future spouse until the moment of the marriage ritual. Arranged marriages happen in America. It's just less often, and less publicized.

So, we go about our lives bumping into people everywhere: grocery stores, Laundromats, college classes, work places, social gatherings of all kinds, family get-togethers, physician offices, court rooms, gyms, places we work-out, parks, weddings, funerals, memorials, graduations, stadiums, and the list goes on and on. For many, one of the most uncomfortable places is in closed crowded elevators. People are forced together in a small moving room, each individual briefly violating each other’s personal space. We all have felt that "elevator" feeling. God help us if someone starts a conversation, or even greets new people entering the stainless steel cage when the door opens. Yet, we manage to get through it without much harm to us, or complaints, as elevators continue to be installed in buildings all over America every day.

But what about bumping into a total stranger and having a sense of familiarity with them? Men and women who immediately seem to just "know" a person is someone who they wish to get to know better: As life unfolds in these situations, the deep caves of our unconscious mind open up to all sorts of disturbances. During our youthful unfoldment, a beautiful fountain is erected in the center of our unconscious mind; I refer to it as the Self in its totality. The fountain flows water that drains into two large dark caves that exist on each side of this beautiful, flowing source of energy. I refer to them as the caverns of the darkness of our personal self and biology. So, what attracts us to someone that we bump into?

It could be their physical shape; perhaps in our minds, they are perfectly sculpted and full of grace. Maybe they have a calming voice and clever wit. Then again, we might not know exactly; but the mysterious nature of the attraction does not deter us from pursuing the other person. Then something magical happens and we connect in a more intimate and open way. Many rituals are followed until one of the two believes that their relationship is exclusive. Sometimes both people exchange informal or formal vows to celebrate their exclusivity. Then the journey begins.

Each member in a relationship has unconscious caves of biology and personal self. These caves have some sort of deep intimate underground connection of their own. Each experience in a relationship elicits a feeling, and then a conscious thought is linked to that feeling. We are feeling machines that think, not thinking machines that feel. (Yes, I have said that line before, but one must absorb it until remembered.) The conscious mind is always slow to understand and label the feeling that promotes an instinctual or unconscious reaction. Sadness, frustration, anxiety, joy, happiness, and anger are all a part of our labeling system. We all have these feelings, but we do not all share our personal labeling system. Some label frustration as sadness, others label anger as depression. Our communication often falls below the shinning of things. Miscommunication is many times the root of all of our problems. However, it's not miscommunication with another person, it's the miscommunication about our self to our self. Remember that person we randomly bumped into and chose to pursue? He or she was actually not good for our true self: the fountain between the caves that is located in our unconscious mind. With miscommunication to ourselves, we poisoned the water. Relationships can be toxic, and unfortunately, they often are.

In the human animal, feelings trump everything -- anytime, anywhere. What's missing in most of our worldviews is that we fail to recognize and appreciate the depth of feeling we have in everything we do. And since our feelings are tied to our biology, when our feelings are being hurt over and over again, it is not long before our biology fails us. This is not a simple problem; it's complex and mysterious. The concept of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has emerged in our society as a public health concern of the first order. Soldiers returning from the war theater were the first to be considered as suffering from PTSD.

I see it in my office each and every day, mostly associated with poor personal relationships and the failure of people to hear themselves as they reveal the true nature of their illnesses. Sometimes our biologic gets disturbed before we feel the symptoms of disease. Other times, our personal unconscious self poisons the water because of too much emotional trauma in one way or another. Stress disorders affect reproduction, the immune function, pain, learning and memory, judgment and impulse control, sleep, aging, anxiety and mood. The bottom line is simple, if you're in a bad and unfulfilling relationship, or you have a poor relationship with your personal self, the weeds of illness will creep in, bloom in mass, and create an internal biological world of misery. Think about where you are and where you're going. Then think again until everything is clear.

At the very least, don't be afraid to go spelunking.

Posted by Katie Reed at 9:15 AM
Share |