To break down the repression mechanism that is activated automatically, it is necessary to have an established level of presence in oneself, i.e., a certain level of awareness. Performing work of this sort is impossible unless you become a permanent witness of everything that is going on within and around you. The only way to make the mechanism of emotion repression stop functioning is to begin to express your emotions. We know that humans can act both reasonably and unreasonably. The general understanding is that reasonable and appropriate behavior is representative of the ability to execute self-control, while inappropriate behavior is interpreted as a lack of self-control. However, from the perspective of awareness, to be reasonable in any situation means to be self-aware, while being unreasonable disproportionate in response to an event/person is characteristic of an unconscious person. Thus, awareness is a must before one begins to practice expressing emotions, as the fear of losing self-control is an element of the repression mechanism. Awareness is required to prevent you from identifying with this fear and at the same time, to allow yourself to express, say, anger. Losing self-control often leads a person to engage in yelling, anger outbursts, and outrageous statements. A person will become calmer after a little while and feel embarrassed, realizing that he was acting unreasonably. However, the expression of anger becomes messy because the outburst is engendered not only by the immediate anger response, but by the total degree of amassed anger, and therefore, the entire situation tends to look absurd. That is what an unconscious person’s behavior looks like.
A person who possesses awareness communicates his displeasure in a manner that is respectful and comprehensible to the other party. The aware person does not identify with his emotions and remains the master of any given situation. This level of skill in self-expression is developed gradually, as a seeker slowly, but surely, learns to convey his feelings openly rather than responding with angry silence. He will need to be utterly sincere, but I have covered that already in my previous book.
Thus, self-expression disrupts the repression mechanism. Still, there are certain emotions, such as fear, which can be expressed only through immediate escape. In such cases, one should practice observing fear and anxiety to avoid repressing them. The skill in observation establishes a space between yourself and the emotion, guards against identification with it and allows you to hold fear within your attention, yet act as if it is not there. If not repressed, the energy of fear dissipates gradually and eventually the fear disappears; that is the beauty of working with emotions consciously rather than repressing them. As your fear disappears, you become liberated from it; it will no more precipitate in your unconsciousness, sending “friendly reminders” in the form of unwarranted anxiety spikes.
A space between Self, consciousness, and the lower bodies will expand as your awareness increases. This process is continuous, as is the process of overcoming the automatic habit of repressing emotions: It is a lengthy, gradual process to first substitute repression with expression and observation practices in part, and then progressively offset and eventually replace the repression mechanism altogether. In the end, awareness of your desires and conditioning will bring you to the point where there will be nothing left to repress.