Somatic Experiencing as Spiritual Practice, continued

Kirby Moore (the author) offers Somatic Experiencing sessions over distance and in person. He also offers Craniosacral Therapy, Birth Process work and Asian Bodywork in person. In addition, he offers Trauma-informed Astrology interpretations, both in person and over distance. You can go to for more or click here to schedule a session:

Hello again Dear Readers,

BTW this material is copyrighted by M. Kirby Moore. Please ask permission before copying anything.

To continue a thread from earlier… go back and read the introduction to this piece if you haven’t already, also published today. Click here:

As I was saying, Raja Selvam, one of my advanced Somatic Experiencing (SE) faculty members, seeks to fill in the gaps of SE – providing better tools for working with emotional trauma. SE is an awesome modality – however, trauma is a huge topic and SE is especially beneficial for acute shock trauma (accidents, injuries, falls, surgeries, etc). To use SE to benefit early or developmental trauma typically requires additional training and tools.

Raja taught us how to expand a challenging (or even positive) emotion in the body. (I had been doing some of this work using different methods from my Craniosacral Therapy and Developmental Needs Meeting Strategy training. But Raja’s methods are so efficient!) Many people, due to trauma responses, tend to resist feeling big fear, or big grief, or big anger, etc. For most of us, there is often a category of emotions (like fear or grief) that is more muted. This can happen for many reasons. This leads to us often trying to think our way through emotions, rather than really owning them and embodying them more fully. Maybe there is another defense mechanism which shows up to prevent us from feeling the big emotion. This is very very common. If you notice this in yourself, be gentle. Be kind, it can change, but it usually requires working with a skillful practitioner. There is hope, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Just be patient and persist gently.

When we expand fear for example, we have to be aware that freeze (immobility response) often comes with it. So we need to know how to bring someone up out of freeze as well. However, when we are able to expand fear in the body, our capacity to tolerate it increases. Our container for fear literally gets larger.

In a nutshell, what this is doing is expanding our capacity to be with our own suffering. Can I tolerate suffering easier? Without big resistance and other defense mechanisms getting in the way. Whether it is fear, or grief, or shame, or rage, etc.

If I expand my capacity to be with my own suffering without too much resistance – that can also make it easier to be present to other people’s suffering. This is where I am going out on a limb as it were – from here on out, this is my own hypothesis. Bear with me for a second on a tangent…

In Chinese Medicine (Taoism), it is known that if we don’t have much access to a particular emotion – let’s take fear again – then I also don’t have much access to fear’s opposite emotions. When we can’t be present with fear, we also don’t have much access to courage or fearlessness. Fear is the shadow emotion of the water element, courage, bravery and fearlessness are the positive emotions.

Likewise, this is true for every other element. Wood element – if we resist feeling anger, then we also resist feeling happiness and joy (we might discuss depression as a result of Wood element issues). Metal element – if we resist feeling grief, then we also resist feeling inspired and creative. The whole channel is muted as it were – the shadow side and the blessing side of the emotional spectrum.

To continue this analogy above, if we are able to be more present to our own and other’s suffering, that means we probably develop more empathy, more compassion. And this is where we start talking about spiritual practice. A very skillful SE practitioner (I am getting there myself, having practiced working with nervous system repair since 2012) can assist someone to open up muted emotional channels. Where there was resistance to being present with fear, now there is easier access to fear along with more courage as well. Where there was a preponderance toward worry, melancholy and obsession (Earth element), now there are better boundaries, more centeredness, grounding and easier connection with others. I feel that working with the Earth element themes are some of the trickiest – as the Earth element holds all the rest of the emotions (and bodily structure) together. Sometimes we have to work with the peripheral emotions before going for these deeper ones.

In Buddhism, one of the main goals of the path is to increase our compassion. To be more skillful in helping to alleviate suffering. And what I am describing with advanced SE work can help to do just that! I am very grateful to my teachers and the teachings I have received to be able to benefit people easier.

In conclusion, if we increase our ability to tolerate suffering, then we can be present to our own suffering easier. Then this might make it easier to be present to other people’s suffering as well. At this point, we may notice greater empathy or compassion arising. And then we are definitely on the path to becoming better human beings – whether we use an established religious path or not. This is why I mention that SE can possibly have some benefits, similar to spiritual practice.

This ability to tolerate suffering may come in chunks – first I might learn to tolerate fear easier (also resulting in more courage). And then I might have to work with shame for a bit, gaining clarity and understanding around that. Next I might work with rage and issues around personal power for a while. Once I can tolerate them better, I might find myself becoming happier and able to smile easier. Who knows how the process will go? What is important is that we get started 🙂

Thank you for reading!

Kirby Moore

Published by Kirby Moore

Kirby Moore is a healing facilitator based in the beautiful rolling hills of Charlottesville, Virginia. He does sessions in-person and long distance via Skype and Zoom, working with Spiritual Astrology, Somatic Experiencing, Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy and Birth Process Work. His healing work is informed by fifteen years of meditation and Qigong practice. He works with client's intentions and deepest longings to attain clear, tangible results. Contact him for more info at (email): kirby [at] mkirbymoore [dot] com

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