By Anne Malatt and Paul Moses, Australia.
When someone walks into a room, we know how they are feeling.
We can feel it with our whole being, and we then confirm it with our five senses.
If they are angry, we feel it first. We then see it in their facial expression, in the way they hold themselves hard and the way they move and walk, we can hear it in the way they bang things down or stomp their feet, we can smell and taste it in the air we breathe and we can touch it if they come into contact with us, but most of all we just feel it.
And we can react or respond in different ways.
Most of us tend to tense up, contract, and go hard ourselves, in an effort to protect ourselves from what we can feel is coming at us. We may be on edge, ready to fight, or flee. It may bring up memories and feelings in us of when other people have been angry with us, and may even have hurt us, or those we love.
Whatever our reaction, it can be very challenging to stay open and loving with someone who is behaving in this way, no matter how much we may love them.
So, can this anger be contagious?
Can this force affect us physically, just as much as if it were a bacteria or a virus?
And can the way we react to it, the dis-ease it creates in us, in fact be the underlying cause of illness and disease?
Is it possible that if we harden or contract in the face of anger, our connective tissue, muscles and joints may stiffen up, leading to inflammation, fibromyalgia, or arthritis?
Could our blood vessel walls harden, leading to high blood pressure and heart disease?
And how about the ways we deal with anger? It is an uncomfortable emotion to feel, and we don’t like feeling uncomfortable. Most of us have developed ways of living that reduce or numb these emotions – like smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, or eating certain foods, particularly dairy, sugar or carbs. And could all the consequences of these behaviours stem from the fact that we did not want to feel uncomfortable in the face of anger or other emotions – be they our own or those of others?
It may be challenging to think of emotions as being contagious as any virus, but what if they are?
What if the diseases that we label as ‘random’, ‘bad luck’, or even ‘genetic’, are in fact a result of the dis-ease we experience, every day, day after day?
What if our way of dealing (or not dealing!) with the ill-at-ease we feel every day – and can never stop feeling, no matter how hard we try to numb ourselves – is in fact the underlying cause of our illness and disease?
Could this ill-at-ease be the tension we feel, that we label as stress in our lives?
We are living in a sea of emotions, all day every day, at home, at work, in relationships, in life. Try as we may to numb ourselves, we can never stop feeling, and if we do start to feel that the behaviours we are using to numb ourselves are hurting us, and try to stop them, all the uncomfortable feelings that we have been trying not to feel are there waiting for us. No wonder we have trouble giving things up and letting things go!
So how can these emotions that we feel, that we consider a normal part of everyday life, be the underlying cause of illness and disease?
1) Learning to observe and not absorb life
2) Emotions and feelings is there a difference?
3) Energetic integrity and energetic responsibility
675 thoughts on “Contagion – Part one: Contagion”
I can so relate to what you are sharing Anne
‘Most of us tend to tense up, contract, and go hard ourselves, in an effort to protect ourselves from what we can feel is coming at us. We may be on edge, ready to fight, or flee. It may bring up memories and feelings in us of when other people have been angry with us, and may even have hurt us, or those we love.’
As a child I was continuously tense and using nervous energy in an attempt to protect myself from the onslaught of family life, that feeling of being on the defensive against the attack of forces coming at me has never left and in my 60’s I’m only just coming to terms with the fact that I do not have to fight my corner anymore as a way of surviving.
At least when someone is angry we can all feel how horrible it is, but what about someone being ‘nice’? To me the energy of ‘nice’ is very slippery and inveigling we are hoodwinked by someone’s beguiling talk and to me this is pure evil because we are totally caught up in wanting to be ‘nice’ too and so we drop our discernment of what is true or not.
When we surrender to what we feel, we clearly know. As we are in a common sea of emotions, be it feeding or absorving them, it’s really healthy to be aware about what kind of energies surround us, to discern and be able to choose the energy we want to be in. In my case, the best tool I’ve found to do this is the Gentle Breath meditation (https://www.unimedliving.com/meditation/free).
Anne & Paul, thank you for reminding me of the emotions we are faced with on a day to day basis. These unfortunate emotions are with us every day and if we are not discerning, they affect us, whether we stuff our bodies to numb or harden it.
‘This force’ you speak about is palpable and contagious and I see many being affected especially where I work. And the casualities are left exhausted, disliking their jobs, reacting and firing like a fire cracker, the general mood is of, unease.
Once I was the symptom of this unease, and I knew if I continued, I don’t know where my body would have ended up. At a point in my life, I had to make the choice to support me and my body, to not be a part of this vortex of emotions.
It is without perfection that I choose to be with me more and more and less of being caught up with the calamities of life. It’s kind of like the Punch and Judy show, that will go on and on, till YOU make the decision to break this cycle.
There is another way to live, and for many it doesn’t happen over night, it begins with making the decision that you don’t want to part of the same old cycle, it ultimately begins with you.
I have read this article today as if I have never read it before and yet I know I have! I am looking out of a different body though and therefore what I am able to see, hear and understand has also changed. When we are more willing to be open to what we are feeling and therefore what we have chosen not to feel, the communication changes. What a freedom!
Lucy it is spot on, as we and our bodies change, we see, feel, hear and understand things from a different perspective. That understanding is important, as we don’t take it personally and then we don’t hold it against the person. It is truly freeing…
Me too Lucy, I have read this blog as if I have never read it before. From a completely different perspective. I have been more willing to see the energy behind the person or people and this has been a game changer. I have chosen not to feel what is going on in life and that has led to ill mental health because I was in total denial of what I could feel which put a huge strain on my body and to deal with the stress of this I withdrew from life which led to the mental health issues. We have not been taught from young how to understand energy and how we are surrounded by it and how when it passes through us it changes our molecular structure so that when we feel angry it is not actually us but the structure of the energy passing through us which as the authors of the article says is just like being infected with a bacteria or virus, just as contagious.
“Is it possible that if we harden or contract in the face of anger, our connective tissue, muscles and joints may stiffen up, leading to inflammation, fibromyalgia, or arthritis?” – I think it is very possible. We do physically feel our own reaction to situations – how we harden, or feel expanded and at ease etc., and if we are unable to let go of our reaction and stay stuck in the reaction as our pseudo-default posture, our body will have to make adjustment/compromise to accommodate that.
Yes very true, tension in the body contracts the muscles, there is less flow and this must have a consequence because it is not the natural state for the body. It is only when pain gets involved that we stop to hear and pay attention to what our body may well have been trying to tell us for a while.
It’s easy to just use a blanket term like stress and never get to understand what is actually happening to us and our bodies. This build up of ill-ease from the way we react or respond to life makes absolute sense and realising what’s going on we have the possibility to turn things around for ourselves…if we truly want to that is…and if we don’t isn’t it interesting to know why…and could this be the inspiration for our getting back on track.
I so get what you are saying about anger. I know my kids used to tell me I was angry before I knew I was angry! They would clock my passive aggressive comments when I thought I was being patient – it just shows patience can be a really unpleasant experience to be on the receiving end of if it is not true.
We can feel it if we allow ourselves to be affected by the emotions in someone else. In the cinema and theatre this is exactly what the production is aimed at, to stir up emotions and try to get the audience empathising with the image portrayed in the film or play. But these emotions are not yours but you may have absorbed them from others and been affected by the contagion.
Mary I know exactly what you mean and it is easier to feel our emotions changing when we are watching a film in the cinema or on television. The tension can be so heightened we actually stop breathing, can jump out of our skin so to say or end up crying as what we are watching is so emotionally charged. Is it possible that all of these emotions are intentional so that we are saturated with the contagion which like a virus then affects our bodies which makes us even more susceptible to more emotions that we carry around with us believing this is who we are. It is so freeing when we start to realise what is happening to us and can extract ourselves from these situations and feel the freedom that offers us in our bodies.
This is a really interesting way to look at the interplay between how we deal with what’s happening in life and how it affects the body. “What if our way of dealing (or not dealing!) with the ill-at-ease we feel every day – and can never stop feeling, no matter how hard we try to numb ourselves – is in fact the underlying cause of our illness and disease?” This is such a great line as to me it is about empowerment, that we can with support ascertain how situations are affecting us, let go of our reactions, and live more harmoniously inside ourselves allowing our body to return to its natural homeostasis.
Yes, just having a conversation about the interplay opens up the possibility to be more aware in everyday situations that we might well have brushed aside.
How often do we feel the emotional out play of another but over rule what we have felt and find ourself affected by it later. Observation is the key to not absorbing other people’s situations
We feel everything, and I suppose that doesn’t have to mean we catch and suffer from it all the time, but we do more often than not, and we often adjust our movement to minimize its impact, as well as the physiological reaction.
The saying ‘you can cut the air with a knife’ is quite apt for a lot of work situations when people are in reaction to each other and carry hurts about situations that have arisen. This work environment, unfortunately, is commonplace today and almost expected – the sad news is that sitting in it does affect us.
We harden our body or numb ourselves to not feel what is going on around us, having the idea this is needed as protection but we are hurting ourselves much more than when we would stay open and see how energy is playing with us, see how we are taken over by emotions and no longer ourselves.
I have recently heard someone say that they could feel their joints becoming inflamed and painful when they became angry and emotional. Although most people don’t make the connection between the emotion and the illness, or use the illness to blame the person who ‘made’ them angry, the link is there to be seen if we open our eyes and are willing to listen to our body.
We are feeling everything and trying our hardest not to feel – makes sense. In the attempt to harden and protect ourselves we hurt ourselves and cause illness in the body, and all the time we are feeling everything. What an illusion and what a waste – obviously this way of life is not working as illness and disease is rife and on the rise.
Julie great that you have mentioned that we are colluding in the illusion that we cannot feel and so we wonder why we get hurt by someone’s emotional behaviour. In a recent sales meeting it was so obvious that everyone on that call knew they were being affected by the energy of greed, but no one on the call was prepared to call it out… why? Because they fear if they did call it out they would get fired and the energy coming through the management team know this and so it smashes everyone. When we collude with the energy it gets its way like a spoilt child. It just takes one person to say no and that can change the dynamics of the meeting.
There are times in my life where people have blasted me with anger and I have felt this permeate throughout and affect my entire body so yes how we are with and in our emotions etc can absolutely affect others just as a bacteria could. I feel inspired to learn more about connective tissue now! More about the Universe ✨
“It may be challenging to think of emotions as being contagious as any virus, but what if they are?” A great question Anne and Paul. We can and all do feel how much someone in a ‘bad mood’ can pull other people down as there can be a tendency to tiptoe around to not upset that person anymore. Or if someone is scared, the fear can spread like wild fire throughout a crowd of people. Do we choose to stay connected to who we are in situations such as these and remain steady and calm, or do we take on the emotion that has been released and let that run our body and consequently how we feel and then respond?
Good question and I can picture the fear/anger racing through a crowd of people very easily. The person that does not absorb that emotion is often the leader that offers a path out, they have read the situation, they did not get swept up in it and therefore they can see more clearly what is needed to move through the situation.
Lucy when I read your comment I immediately thought of a sports stadium full of a crowd of people and how emotionally charged the stadium gets so that you could literally cut the atmosphere with a knife it can be so intense. What that force of energy is doing to the people is then reflected back to humanity in the amount of abuse that goes on within the household after a sports match. This has been very well documented but no one actually goes beyond the research to stop the abuse from occurring. Is it possible that allowing this shows that we love our sporting events more than we love our families?
It makes so much sense that “we harden or contract in the face of anger” as anger is actually totally foreign to our body’s natural makeup. And of course, the more we feel angry the harder we, and every particle of our body, become and this is what we reflect to all those around us. Is it contagious? As far as I am concerned, yes, it is.
All you have to do is watch a group of kids playing together contently and when another child joins the group in a demanding way and grabs the toys out of the hands of the others without asking it causes a ripple effect within the whole group and before you know it, they are all fighting and yelling at each other. The same goes for adults, but many times we are all too polite about how we feel and we then use all those techniques mentioned in this blog to not feel the hurt of someone acting in an angry or harsh way. The point is, that emotions are configurations of energy held within our bodies just like bacteria or viruses are configurations of molecules that enter the body. Just because the former is a nonphysical energy does not mean it does not have a direct effect on the body. Just look at how UV light can cause sunburn!
‘It may be challenging to think of emotions as being contagious as any virus, but what if they are?’ Great question, and I have noticed that if a parent has an illness or disease, the child of that parent suffers the same illness and disease not through genetics but through making the same choices.
It is as if the human psyche is an instrument laid bare for whoever so chooses to play out whatever it is they want to play out… Whether it be manipulation in the media, music scores from films that take us high and take us low… what we need is to be able to step back and feel our deep connection and the freedom that comes from this.
Fascinating. Indeed, if we see someone in anger, and sympathise or absorb what is going on in them, we would be definitely affected by it. And thanks to Universal Medicine, I know how observing instead of absorbing keeps me detached from what goes on outside while I stay with myself – this is very much a work in progress, but I know it to be true. So this makes me wonder – how can that ‘observe and not absorb’ be applied in physiological form? Maybe the answer is in its refinement. Who knows? I only need to keep trying.
Learning to be in the sea of emotions that swirl around us all the time without absorbing the impact of them is something that I found impossible until I attended Universal Medicine presentations and learnt I had a choice in whether I just observed the emotions in others or chose to absorb them with devastating effects on my mental and physical wellbeing. Working in an intense environment I am given multiple opportunities every day to go there or not and it is down to the choices I make from the moment I wake up whether I am able to stay with me and not get affected or not and also choosing to go Ooops when I make a non-loving choice and not wallow in the contagious emotions and choose to move in a way that reconnects me so that my body is supported through the rest of the day.
The fact that we may feel ill, as in ill-at-ease, is a clear indication that emotions can make us ill.
I have been reacting lately, and getting all emotional and the effect on my body has been intense. How do I know? Well it’s been a while since I have allowed myself to react, or I haven’t been triggered by hurts. Now that I have, I have a clear feeling in my body of what actually happens and it is very physical and very exhausting.
This contagiousness seems to be quite well understood. A few decades ago a New York mayor said ‘I don’t get ulcers, I give ulcers’ (Ed Koch), as an example.
When someone walks into a room we already know how they are feeling as we felt it long before our five sense came anywhere near them. That is the strength of our first sense – feeling.
This is the key to our health and vitality. If we don’t learn to deeply observe the world we have created – the good, the bad and the ugly – we will absorb it. It is this absorption that creates a dis-ease in our body that then leads to all illness and disease as we know it.
This makes perfect sense to me. Such contagions only enter through the door we leave open by virtue of our chosen blindness that the emotions of others are not having a physical and energetic effect on us. To seal the door and halt the absorption, we need only observe and give ourselves permission to ‘feel it all’ once more.
Yes, to feel the unpleasantness in full rather than shut our senses to it. Otherwise we get affected without noticing it.
There is a lot of proposed ways of dealing with emotions such as anger management or other ways, psychological solutions that numb, distract or manage the situation, yet none of those consider the impact of emotions on our health at such a refined level as in this article.
I love how simple you make it Anne and Paul.
When we talk contagion, we tend to concentrate on the end part of the story (conditions such as a cold, herpes, HIV, etc that are in one body and can get into another one). There is a part that flies under the radar. The emotional underpin of dis-ease.
Stunning questions that shine a spotlight on an area of medical understanding that is sorely overlooked –
that our emotional responses to our environment, particularly as prolonged patterns of behaviour, have every part to play in the advent of related dis-ease in the body which over time itself creates its own form of manifesting illness and disease.
Anne and Paul this blog is a great reminder to me of how often we disregard what we feel and know in our hearts is true for what is not true.