When the autonomic nervous system is faced with a threat that it perceives to be unresolvable, the primary response that is hardwired into it is to "play dead" & descend into a state of helpless freeze, a sort of suspended animation what affects the entire organism.
Ironically, many young children who are not naturally aligned with the structure & discipline of public schools are indeed indoctrinated with this very mantra - that their natural impulses & expressions are irrelevant & non-compliant with the system they are immersed in every day. And over time, either they have the tenacity to act out & rebel against the system, or far worse in my view, we learn to comply. Even writing this sentence brings tears to my eyes at the very memory of it. In fact, public school systems were actually created with the intent of creating a docile work force meant to serve in the army of industrialism.
For years I have noticed within myself & in many of the people (especially women) with whom I have the honor to work, that the lower part of the body is often lacking sensation &, at least partly, dissociated from our conscious awareness. Along with this often comes the unconscious, conditioned tendency to relate relaxation with this sense of helpless immobility & accompanied by a judgement of laziness that must be overridden by an inner or outer directive of disciplined action.
We can even see this program beginning at a very early age by examining the traditional roles of the masculine & feminine in the conventional view of marriage. Even in very loving families one can often witness the stereotype that my parents exhibited of my mother loving to immerse herself in mystery novels & us sharing long luxurious conversations over steaming cups of coffee. That is until my father would walk through the room & with gentle sarcasm say something like "are you still sitting there?". For he had just finished mowing the lawn or some other disciplined activity. Now please understand that I was raised with copious amounts of genuine love, support & encouragement for my creative abilities. So this is not a case of abuse & neglect.
Yet still there was imprinted deep within me the tendency for my body & nervous system to vacillate between a sort of lethargic, sedentary stupor that felt to me like relaxation, which continually needed to be overridden by my internalized slave driver who admonished me for my laziness & ordered me to get up & do something. Then the activities of my life, even those which I found pleasant & desirable, tended to be executed by a nervous system that was in a state of at least subtle hyper-vigilance. And this pattern repeated itself for decades until the conditioned hypertonicity in my tissues & held energy in my nervous system no longer allowed me to drop into deep states of regenerative sleep allowing the organism to restore its natural state of ease & vitality. Eventually I was diagnosed with a disability that resulted from this tendency to be in a state of chronic hyper-vigilance that had devastating physical & emotional affects.
Many years later, after degrees, certificates, trainings & deep self-exploration I am now able to work with the underlying conditioned beliefs that set these patterns into this organism in the first place. The process is not over, but each exploration now reveals an amazing discovery in the liberation of my authentic self from the social, cultural & religious characteristics that were superimposed over who I really am. And with each layer of the excavation I find myself relaxing into life itself more & more all the time.
One of the deepest layers of this brain/body-washing is the vacillation between hyper-vigilant activity & helpless lethargy when confronted with the demands of a life in 3D reality. And in the metaphysical/spiritual world this can often express itself as the polarity between fantasy & reality, but that's a whole other story for another day.............