Updated: Nov 21
» How my nervous system shapes my core beliefs «
I watched a Mission Impossible movie recently with my partner; his choice. I haven’t watched a movie in ages, let alone an action one. Within the first few minutes of the opening scene, my nervous system got activated and my body started shaking.
The plot was interesting enough that I stuck out the movie for another hour, but by this time, my whole body was shaking uncontrollably and my teeth were chattering loudly. I couldn’t settle, even though I knew it was only a movie, and of course Tom Cruise wouldn’t die. And I knew of course; I wouldn’t die. So why was my nervous system so hijacked!
I left the movie (right when Tom Cruise had to jump from a motorbike onto a fast moving train) and went upstairs to shake out all the tension. Maaan! I thought; my nervous system is so broken! I’m so broken!
I spent ten or so minutes shaking and releasing all the pent up energy. As I did so, I could feel the matrix of fear peeling off me; like I had drunk some kind of toxin that my body was needing to discharge.
By the time I finished, I was left with a discontent of sadness. That was all.
It stayed with me; this discontent and this belief that I’m broken.
I shared my experience with a friend. When I’d finished relating my experience of watching the movie, she turned to me and said; that’s just like the kundalini awakening stuff that I’ve been going through.
She’d shared a lot about her nervous system erupting in many (inopportune) moments, and the confusion and disorientation she’d experienced as it increased over several months. She’d finally met with an energy worker who helped to release energetic blockages, which had eased and supported her process.
I felt an intuitive resonance with her sharing. It was familiar content as I'd worked a lot with Kara Leah and her body of work around supporting kundalini awakening. But somehow I hadn't even considered this for myself.
Now I’m not going to conclude whether my experience was trapped kundalini rising or not, for the point of this reflection, and what got me curious, was the belief pattern I was holding in relation to my experience at the time.
Because two days later, as I sat at the end of a Qi Gong class in meditation, I felt so completely whole and complete, and not in the least bit broken.
That's a biological marker that I am in my ventral vagus system. It's the "coming home to myself" state of my nervous system, and no surprises that Yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, and other embodiment practices of lineage are forever pointing our body-mind back to this state.
This is so fundamental to psychotherapy! If I continue to perceive my world from a state of fear and lack of safety, then my nervous system is going to send me all the triggers, cues, signals to ensure I am alert to any threat.
Which means I am reinforcing the beliefs born from my Sympathetic Nervous System - and in my case, my particular "I am not safe; I am not in control; I am broken" signals are designed to keep me small, quiet, compliant and 'certain' (as in, the opposite of 'curious').
While watching the movie, it was my activated state that set off a belief pattern of “I’m broken” (and annoyingly, my perception at that time regarded my partner as corroborating with that belief; commenting, with eyebrow raised, how ‘sensitive’ I was).
But after Qi Gong, this ‘I am broken’ belief felt less compelling. Less believable.
In the absence of ‘compelling evidence’ I had an opportunity to narrate my experience differently. After all, why not find a more uplifting way of relating to my experience?!
I shared with my partner an alternative way of relating to my experience; one that offered a multidimensional view of a kundalini awakening, where my energy is moving me towards wholeness.
Geeze, I got the eye roll.
Ah well, best not share my other interpretation; of how I could relate to it as transforming collective energy in the matrix. Baahaahaa, watch out Tom Cruise!!!