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Dr. Hanscom's Blog Waking up is Hard to Do

Discussion in 'Mindbody Blogs (was Practitioner's Corner)' started by Back In Control Blog, Oct 30, 2016.

  1. Back In Control Blog

    Back In Control Blog Well known member


    You cannot solve any problem unless you understand the nature of it. The more detailed the information, the higher the chance of finding a solution. Then you need the tools. There is an ageless adage, “A carpenter is no better than his tools.”

    The human body’s mission is survival and only the most fit survive. Having a good time is not part of this paradigm. The reason that animals and humans have a social nature is that the species who learned to cooperate had a higher chance of staying alive. Louis Cozolino, in his book, The Neuroscience of Human Relationships, succinctly points out that human consciousness/ language evolved by interacting with other humans.

    The end result is that your body and mind are not separate entities. Your body is simply a scaffold for your nervous system to process sensory input and take appropriate action to ensure safety. Your nervous system and other tissues are one unit. The concept of the mind is an effort to explain human consciousness, which is beyond human comprehension.

    Our bodies are infinitely beyond the complexity of any manmade machine. We are lean, mean fighting machines. The reaction that keeps us safe is the secretion of stress hormones and feeling anxious. It is a deep feeling that we will do anything to avoid. Humans have the additional problem that perceived stress in the form of thoughts creates the same chemical reaction that is similar to a real threat. Since you cannot escape your thoughts all humans experience sustained levels of stress hormones that tend to increase with age. There are deleterious physical effects your body, including increasing nerve conduction and pain. Sustained and unrelenting anxiety also becomes intolerable and one of the worst aspects of the human experience.

    Since this is our baseline state, these levels of stress hormones seem normal – and they are. Unless you are trying to live a happy and fulfilling life in the midst of this chemical monsoon. As the unconscious brain is about one million times stronger than your conscious brain you cannot control this these reactions – but you can direct them. Your brain will develop wherever you place its attention. If you are doing battle with these circuits, it only reinforces them.

    The only way to find this state of mind is to become aware of it and then work around it. That means you have to “wake up” and feel the full force of these survival emotions around anxiety and anger. Since we don’t like to feel anxious, we don’t. We suppress it – or we think we do. Your body will still physically respond with the stress hormone and a multitude of physical symptoms will occur. I had about 10 of them before the feeling of anxiety surfaced. I did not know where it came from or why it surfaced. I had completely suppressed it.

    External experiences or possessions will not help you outrun your mind. There are endless stories of high-profile people who had it all and destroyed themselves. You must be able to experience unpleasant emotions before you can train your brain to respond in a different manner. If you choose to suppress or ignore them, then you will continue to live your life wallowing in them without awareness. Here is part of a poem that encapsulates the issue.

    “Willing to experience aloneness,

    I discover connection everywhere;

    Turning to face my fear,

    I meet the warrior who lives within;

    Opening to my loss,

    I gain the embrace of the universe;

    Surrendering into emptiness,

    I find fullness without end.

    Each condition I flee from pursues me,

    Each condition I welcome transforms me

    And becomes itself transformed……”

    — Jennifer Welwood

    Waking up is hard to do because you will initially experience the full force of anxiety. However, in the big picture it is much easier than continuing to fight an unwinnable war. Everyone has the capacity to live a connected and enjoyable life based on becoming and remaining aware. It is also much more interesting.

    “Waking Up is Hard to Do” by The Laryngospasms



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