Originally posted on TodaysTapping on FEBRUARY 17, 2014
Marriage of Mindfulness and Tapping is Made in Heaven
Mindfulness is a fantastic way of living and a tool for shifting our perceptions to ones that generate peace and inner harmony, allowing for more joy, connection with others and bliss!
Without awareness of our inner world, we live in ignorance of our true selves, tranced out by cultural, familial, political , religious dictates, and at the mercy of the distortions (pain and fear) we still carry inside. We are trapped in the machinations of stress, trauma, fear and the pressure to follow the dictates of the external influences in our lives.
So mindfulness frees us…perhaps this is it’s most important function.
Unless, of course, when it doesn’t…
Often it is suggested that if we just breathe deeply & consciously and quiet our minds that the upset that we are feeling will dissipate and we will find ourselves calm. Rarely does anyone say…well, it depends…
Depends on what? The intensity of the upset or charge or reaction one is having (once you know practices to center yourself).
If the intensity of the charge is too high, say even a 6 out of 10, mindfulness practices won’t work.
Or to say it another way: the higher the intensity of upset, the harder it is to intervene in the reaction (upsetting charge is always a reaction in the brain).
How many times have you tried affirmations, or deep breathing, relaxing your body, etc. when really upset, and it worked? My guess is that it wasn’t all that often. And when it didn’t work, what did you do? What did you think? “This stuff doesn’t work, why bother?” or “Why doesn’t this work? What am I doing wrong? What’s wrong with me? I’m a loser, I can’t even do this right!” You get the picture…
This digs you in deeper, and doesn’t free you at all.
It’s important to know a bit about how the brain works to know what’s happening inside of you when you are triggered, reactive, mad, scared, etc. It can help you understand yourself more so you can become more effective at navigating emotions.
It turns out that the limbic system, where the fight or flight or freeze or frenzy scale of reactions are activated is 4 million times faster than the frontal cortex where rationality is trying to decide what is happening and how to respond. 4 MILLION! That’s a lot faster to say the least. It is from the frontal cortex that you think, “what can I do, how can I respond, what’s the best thing for me to be doing for myself right now?” And when the limbic system is triggered, it takes over for most everyone, especially if triggered enough. When this happens, there’s no room inside for the frontal cortex to get a word in edgewise! The limbic system has already determined that threat exists and has shifted the whole brain and nervous system and heart, as well as the musculature, even all the cells, into reactive mode. So much of “you” is immersed in the reaction, that there’s little to no awareness left to recognize that you are having a reaction.
Now, if we can get away or fight back, the charge will dissipate with feelings of safety, but if we can’t, then we are ripe for post traumatic stress symptoms to develop and move deeper into more primitive physiologic defense strategies, freezing, much like a deer caught in headlights, or collapsing psychologically.
I’m sure you already have an idea of what I’m going to say about how to navigate this sticky wicket! But let me tell you why. My explanation is very simple, and yet, I suspect quite profound, for whenever I share it with people, both professionals and lay folks alike, I see a light bulb go off inside their heads.
Think of intensity and ability to choose as two vectors: intensity is the vertical vector and ability to choose the horizontal. The higher the intensity vector the shorter the choice vector. The shorter the intensity vector, the longer the choice vector.
The more we can bring down the intensity of a reaction the easier it is to intervene in it.
At first, when you are in the middle of a reaction, you are not going to stop and wonder what you could do instead, so as soon as you become aware again, then you begin to treat yourself by tapping (the best at home treatment for bringing down level of charge or upsetness). Download one of my podcasts from this site or use one of the millions of you tube videos on specific issues to help you, if you’d like, or, of course, for more significant assistance, come see me for some individual work.
One of the most exciting things about tapping, other than the feeling of release and relief you get, is that when you are able to bring the intensity level to 0, and have caught all the aspects of what is linked to the charge, you will not react to it, in fact, you will likely forget that it was an issue (over time)!
And as the reaction to the particular situation or person decreases, you will be much more able to choose mindfulness. As soon as you can step one foot outside of the emotions, you can begin to see what’s happening and you can begin to make another choice.
So know, that it’s most likely that when you are feeling strong upsetting emotions that you will likely not be able to intervene on your own behalf. Emotional healing is a gradual process of catching yourself in the reaction sooner, remembering to intervene more often, and then noticing the intensity decreasing. You begin to have more choice about what you feel, more ability to manage your emotions. You are not so controlled by your past and much more present and in your adult self through whatever the disturbance is.
Mindfulness and tapping are a marriage made in heaven if you ask me!