Living our daily lives especially in the age of Aquarius, juggling, work, family, friends and finances can be difficult at the best of times, but when challenges or crisis hits we can feel overwhelmed by pressure which can literally derail us and end up as a physical or emotional illness.
How we respond consciously or unconsciously to our environment, people and situations all depends on the strength of our nervous system. The nervous system consists of three parts: Central Nervous System (sensation & motor control), Peripheral Nervous System (connects nerves to organs and limbs) and Autonomic Nervous System (emergency response: Sympathetic- “gas pedal” & Parasympathetic- “brake pedal”). Nerve impulses from these 3 different systems communicate with our glands, muscles and organs via electrical and chemical signals to sense and respond, or sense and react.
Some of the benefits to having a strong nervous system are that you can manage stress, respond less automatically and process sensations and emotions so they do not create patterns/habits in our sub and unconscious mind.
Have you ever looked away during a scary movie or if you see something painful? It feels like you cannot bare to watch what is about to happen, anticipating something bad? This is what a weak nervous system is like. A person cannot contain the reality of an event and therefore avoids it altogether. It is as if your container, the nervous system, does not have the depth or inner resources to deal with the painful or difficult events and this governs the limit of the amount of stress or pain that can be withstood. Your nerves get frayed and the thalamus (an area at the back of your brain) filters sensations and decides which thoughts and sensations make it to the conscious mind or which go unnoticed and are pushed into the unconscious mind. These thoughts left unprocessed end up in nervous disorders.
When you develop a strong nervous system, it allows you to experience an event no matter how painful. You cannot control what is happening, but you can control whether you allow yourself to experience reality.
A strong nervous system is like a deep well, it gives you the ability to hold whatever situation comes into your life. A strong nervous system can allow you to experience and process painful events faster, as you can ALLOW the experience without avoiding it, process the feelings and not get attached. It can also reflect in your depth in meditation. With a strong nervous system you can meditate for hours without distracting pain. When the nervous system develops the capacity to hold pain, then your mind can bring awareness to it and then release it.
We have become a society that seeks pleasure and avoids pain at all costs. I am not saying that we should seek out pain, but the reality of life is that there are good times and bad times, this is just the polarity of existence. By consciously avoiding the tough times you are running away from reality. We all do it on some level, but the truth is that avoiding pain causes neurosis. It is important to have a strong nervous system to be graceful during tough times.
Practical tips – What does this all mean?
Practice soothing the nervous system, through yoga and meditation. Yoga increases the energy moving through particular nerve pathways. Breath of fire is great for this. This is why sometimes you feel light headed when practicing this breath, because it has moved a block, now energy can flow along that nerve pathway releasing toxins and giving you renewed vitality, which creates that sensation of dizziness.
Yoga also works on stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, your brake pedal in life, by increasing the parasympathetic response, so you do not get the feeling of being overwhelmed. You can ALLOW yourself to see the thought, or feel the emotion, bring conscious awareness to it and release it.
The neural pathways in people with chronic pain become hypersensitive so they feel pain much faster. Yoga decreased the pain sensation by increasing the amount of information travelling down a shared neural pathway, effectively diluting the pain information. This means you withstand more pain, once again bring conscious awareness to that area and heal it.
Meditation including mantra and eye focus actively stimulates the thalamus and changes how it deals with sensory information, once again allowing us to be in the moment without rejecting it.
Try meditation to “To Stabilize the State.” This meditation works with the armpits which Yogi Bhajan said, if the brain is the engine the armpits are the exhaust. By working the armpits, the connection to our central nervous system, we strengthen the whole nervous system.
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