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Lesson 7


EXPRESSION: Not Just a Throat Center Issue















In each of the lessons of this course, we have touched on recurring themes like grounding, mindfulness and centering that show up both in energywork and in everyday life. In this week’s lesson, we will go into another of these perennial themes of working in the realm of energy and consciousness, namely expression.


Before we get going with an exercise form that, for my money, is one of the most important ones I know, I would like to set the stage a bit by putting this issue of expression into its energetic context.


Expression and Your Sacral Center

Most people think of expression exclusively as a Throat Center function, but behind the scenes your Throat has a silent partner: your Sacral Center, which, as you recall, plays a major role in your grounding and reflects your “root situation” (see Lesson 5). These two centers have a natural resonance with each other, in the same way that middle C on the piano has a resonance with all the other C notes—they are like two octaves of the same note. Can you see how this puts your Throat Center into direct resonance with your root situation? Call to mind the kinds of issues this includes:

  • Your comfort in your own body;

  • Your connection to a home, a livelihood, a means of support, a sense of meaning and stability in your life;

  • Your sense of identity;

  • Your place and direction in this world.


If your root situation is hindered, for whatever reason, the rest of your world has to compensate, and one of the first casualties is your ability to express your deepest self through what you bring into this world.


With your work with grounding in Lesson 4, you already started working with one side of this partnership. Now, we’ll take up practices that involve us mainly with the Throat Center. Just know that every time you consciously engage your Throat Center, you are directly or indirectly also involving your Sacral Center and this issue of expression.


Three Energetic “Constipations”

As an energetic and psycho-spiritual theme, expression is about more than your ability to open your mouth and say what’s on your mind and in your heart. That is certainly part of it, but there is more. Often, a good way to grasp the importance of something is to look at what happens when it’s not working. In the case of expression, there are three dysfunctions that I call “The Three Constipations.” Here, I’m not referring to a Motown singing group that didn’t quite make it, but rather to three major areas of life—all interrelated—that suffer a certain kind of “constipation” when expression is blocked or withheld.


Constipation in Your Ability to Release Excess Energy

One important aspect of expression is your ability to release energy from your system. In a healthy, resilient person, most of the energy from the small shocks of daily living is released without leaving an accumulation.


Try this experiment: hold out one hand, palm down and give the back of your hand a good whack with two fingers. (Don’t hurt yourself; just give it enough so that you feel it.) When you do that, you are throwing a quantum of energy into the tissues of your hand. You’ll probably find that the mild stinging sensation gives way to a tingle and in thirty seconds or so, or with a little shake of your hand, it has probably vanished altogether. What you are witnessing is your body’s ability to release and disperse the energy of a mild shock.


But suppose you have an impact—it could be physical or emotional—that is more severe, so much so that it gets through your defenses. Examples would include being hit by a baseball flying at full speed, witnessing violence or taking in a cutting remark from someone close to you. In these situations, two things happen: first, the energy of the impact enters your system from outside, and second, you have your internal reaction to the impact. Taken together, this means that there is suddenly a bundle of extra energy to deal with in your body. 


Now suppose that instead of shouting out in pain or crying or shaking or any of the natural, spontaneous things we do to dissipate a shock to our systems, you stoically clamp down and hold it in. You may have all kinds of wonderful-sounding reasons for holding back—maybe you tell yourself that it’s unwise or unsafe to get angry at Aunt Harriet for her insensitive remarks, or you feel it would mean you were a wimp if you screamed out in pain when a brick falls on your foot—but, regardless of your reason for holding back, the fact is that all this excess energy has to go somewhere.


What normally would have come out is instead pushed down into your system, and in many cases winds up lodging in the tissues of your body. When you habitually hold on to the energies that would otherwise move through you in a release of some kind, you run the risk of a kind of energetic constipation. This often involves holding in your sound, which involves your Throat Center.


Constipation in Communication and Relationship

In its most basic terms, communication is about sending and receiving something. This might be in the form of words or gestures, even telepathy, but somehow something gets to move or vibrate in the space between us.


Among the very first things couples are asked to examine in therapy are their communication habits. To what degree are they each able to express to their partner what is truly in their hearts and minds? Do they feel heard? How well do they listen and really hear their partner? Does their relationship allow not only for their sound, as they communicate with each other, but also for their silence? With questions like these, they are undergoing a check up for the Throat Center of their relationship.


Basic honesty, saying what you need and want, speaking your truth are essential parts of living an authentic life. When there is a disconnect between your inner truth and what you bring out to the world—maybe by going incommunicado or communicating in a way that is false, exaggerated or empty—it’s easy to see how this can result in a kind of “relational constipation.”


Family and social rules play a big role in how we talk to one another. For example, families that no one would ever accuse of being dishonest might have strong unspoken taboos against saying out loud how you really feel if it would rock the boat or hurt someone’s feelings—“if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”  Families model a certain style of Throat Center behavior to its members, and in the case of families determined to remain “nice,” come hell or high water, a lot of authentic expression either has to be heavily edited, or held in and not expressed at all. With this kind of relational constipation, a good deal of vitality and spontaneity is lost as well.


Constipation in Expressing Your Calling

Another dimension of expression has to do with how your deeper qualities, your calling, manifest in this world through you. When the expression of your qualities is hindered, the result can be a stoppage of what might otherwise come into the world through you, a kind of spiritual constipation.



Now for some exercises to help you actively work with these three constipations.


Exercise: Calling Your Spirit Back to the Circulation of Expression


Energy-Active Positions used in this Exercise:

  • Sacral Center: middle of your sacrum

  • Throat Center: center of your throat, just below your Adam’s apple






Homework: Sneaking up on yourself when it comes to expression:

Here are some questions to reflect on:

  • How do I express myself?

  • How do I hold back on expression? What are examples of when I do that?

  • Congruity and honesty: How much or little does what I say match up with what I truly feel and believe within myself?

  • How does it feel to lie?


In next week’s lesson, we will look again at the big picture of the spiritual process of energywork.


See you next week!

A compassionate connection with life and other people allows energy to move into your Heart Center from areas of your energy field connected to your deep calling and out into the world.

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.

~Martha Graham


Click here for the "Circulation of Expression" Ex.:

Circulation of ExpressionJim Gilkeson
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