Our opportunity – life beyond stress

The only thing we should be majorly worrying about right now is stress, though therein lies the dichotomy…so the best thing we can do is work on reducing our stress as far as is possible (tips attached in this newsletter from “The Biology of Belief” author Dr Bruce Lipton, Think Beyond Your Genes). As described in that linked article, stress is the most powerful immunosuppressant and is opening far more people up to infection than any pandemic:

“As described in the Biology of Belief, stress hormones shut down the immune system when the body is in an adrenal-driven state of fight or flight. Stress hormones are so effective at inhibiting the immune system, surgeons therapeutically provide patients awaiting organ transplants with stress hormones so that their immune systems will not immediately reject the foreign tissue.

It is a scientific fact that positive and negative thinking have a profound effect on the function of the immune system. One of the leading fronts in immunologic research is the field of Psychoneuroimmunology. Broken down into its root words: immunology is the body’s system that protects against internal infections. Neuro-immunology is the study of how the brain controls the immune system. Psycho-neuroimmunology is the science of how consciousness shapes the brain’s control of the immune system.

Psychoneuroimmunology research clearly reveals that consciousness controls the function of the immune system. Positive consciousness is responsible for the Placebo Effect, wherein the mind can heal almost any disease, while stress and negative thinking create the Nocebo Effect, which can cause almost any disease. The fear of COVID-19 coupled with the resulting threats to survival profoundly inhibits the population’s immune system and further exacerbates the epidemic”.

A particular twist on the avoidance for stress for me, thus (by default, I assume) some of my audience, is that I find “grounded” life inherently stressful as a result of not feeling as though I fit into this world as it is (“wrong planet” syndrome). Call it autism, high-sensitivity, being an empath, INFJ personality traits or whatever but I have always tended to live in my head, outside of my body, the master of escapism. Then (as reflected by my widely variable state of physical health) when I make efforts to come back into that body and the physicality of three dimensions, this underlying state of stress is only made worse by having to crash land into a state of affairs that feels “all wrong” to me, which manifests as “symptoms”. This for many of us ungrounded types, of course, is only exacerbated further by the arrival of those physical health symptoms which, over the course of a lifetime, come to reflect this inner disjunct with being a physical being in a world full of other humans who behave very differently to yourself, your priorities or even your basic language of what life is all about.

So, the effect of this lockdown phase, for me, is two-fold. On the one hand, I am finding it very innate and “easy” to navigate, as time spent pulled back from the currents of outside life, with just my immediate family for company, and with even more peace and quiet at my disposal than ever where I live, comes as second nature, as does entertaining myself day after day with my own interests and thoughts. The other effect is that having to land back into so-called reality from time to time, where I am faced with the same logistical issues as everyone else, such as sourcing scarce food, avoiding physical contact with other people, walking my dog where there is anything less than a crowd of other people, managing my health with ever more scarce supplements and natural medicines, fending off fears and concerns about virus transferability give my physical vulnerabilities, then of course fears about finances and about the longer-term logistics of this entirely unknown set of circumstances, is as stressful for me and, perhaps in some ways, more so than for the next person. As the perpetual deep-thinker, I have plunged all of this territory with great thoroughness over recent weeks. Then, as a sensitive, I tend to pick up on collective stress and fear to the point that it profoundly affects me in my own physical body unless I work to transcend this; not a great incentive to come down to earth level (and, if I do, I need to work so diligently to ground myself in positive things to remain stable). This is all, I suspect, familiar turf for many a sensitive type. Yet the overall effect of these unprecedented times for one as broadly spread as me can also be fascinating: because, as I heard it put just the other day, there is scope to experience some extremely “high highs” amidst the really low lows right now…and that pricks my interest about the evolutionary potential of these times. That phrase “high highs” comes from Lee Harris, whose extremely useful April Energy Update is linked.

My natural inclination is to spend even more time outside the body, reading books, engaging in abstract thought, pursing my spiritual enquiries, meditating, doing the inner work that comes naturally to me, etc. I spent my weekend doing just that and it was wonderful, if somewhat ungrounding by the end of two day’s complete surrender to it.

Which is all good for the nervous system…extremely de-stressing, very innate and comforting, and so on.

But then comes the crash-land when practicalities, once again, come knocking.  Monday arrives as ever it does, so a different slipstream of thoughts come in, only the challenges are newer, harsher, less predictable in their outcomes, more existential seeming than they were a few weeks ago. The dichotomy between the blissed-out weekend and all this played out in my body manifests as almost instant sensations of turmoil, of a state of opposites vying for supremacy…but which is it to be, sublime transcendence or the plunge into overwhelm?

What I have come to realise through this experience of several weeks now, is that (as ever I realised, especially earlier this year, when I took some big steps to do this very thing) grounding is an essential ingredient for balance and thus physical health. When I sought to ground myself via “fun” outside involvements, such as singing in a choir, walking in a group, mingling with more people in a positive context, etc, I was on the right track but that was all child’s play compared to the “real” state of grounding my life is calling upon me to master right now. And by grounding I don’t mean plunging or hurling myself deep into the depths of the state of mass overwhelm, panic and fear that is so evidently “out there” right now…but tying my balloon to a low tree branch from time to time, to experience what is going on down there, as well as allowing myself to float off high above the tree tops.

Here lies the true challenge; the opportunity to ground myself like never before, by ceasing to shirk a reality that is, yes (for all of us) challenging, sometimes unpleasant and triggering in many ways…yet not plunging into abject fear, thus stress but working to integrate that reality as part of the bigger picture of everything else that sensitives like me, possible you, experience. In other words, allowing them to be whole; to be reconciled as aspects of the very same thing.

That part of me that sees the expansion, that experiences the far wider reality, that can so effortlessly operate multi-dimensionally, gleaning the overview from which viewing-point this entire turn of events has some higher purpose, some coherence and momentum to offer towards a far brighter future, is not wrong. But nor is the “real” world of daily involvements and exchanges with other human beings, such as those who work tirelessly to get food to my table, with neighbours and other pedestrians in the street, people whose stories jump out at me from social media, friends and family members caught up in fear and overwhelm, and so on. This is all valid, all part of the bigger picture, all “happening” simultaneously, and as I learn to seamlessly transfer myself between one end of the frequency spectrum and the other, without jarring, without a crash, I am doing far more for my long-term health than ever I did. In fact, I am perfecting a skillset I have long honed in relation to coping with pain over the years to become the master of being in more than one place at a time, which dramatically softens the effect of full-immersion in any overwhelming situation. Bi-location, tri-location and beyond is a technique that can alter everything…

From the physical point of view, which we must not (as I have been saying…) leave lagging far behind as we explore these flights of evolutionary fancy, the avoidance of stress part remains solid advice. Stress plays no useful part in any of it, as Dr Lipton so rightly points out, so if we feel as though we are being put through our paces regarding stress then perhaps we can start to see this as a major opportunity to evolve beyond it. This is the key; the master stroke, the point of it all…to be able to face up to a variety of realities, to experience a broad range of frequencies, and still stay out of the way of the tumble effect into sheer panic and hopelessness and entirely pointless worry about things that may never happen to us at all. At the higher levels, yes, we start to realise just how connected we all are at times like these but, at the individualised end of the experience scale, we owe it to ourselves to focus on our own particular experience, on what we can influence in our own domain, the ways we can affect outcomes by directing our thoughts and our focus through making calm and compassionate choices…all of which is, I have no doubt, contributing to the whole “picture” like never before. As a collective, this is one almighty opportunity to shift gear!

My genuine excitement over this potential enables me to summon up a vested interest in becoming more grounded in “what’s happening” as this feels like the start of the very shift I’ve always been waiting for (and see below for some more broad perspectives).

For dealing with stress, I have a phrase I’ve been using lately and, though it may seem too naive or simple to hold any power, its proving just so effective in the dead of night, or when a stray lower-vibe though comes floating in to crash my hard-won state of relaxation during the day. It is simply this: “It doesn’t matter”. Before the thought even gets a grip, I turn it away with these three words…and it works. Quite literally, without the thought-form feeding it any weight or substance, the potential worry-topic doesn’t even matter any more…as in, it has no matter, meaning it has no three-dimensional form (because this is how much sway our thoughts hold in the world of creating matter)…and so it floats away to somewhere else, out of my reach or concern.

I recommend it.

So for a far more balanced viewpoint on what is really the most challenging issue here, I refer you to Dr Bruce Lipton’s own response to this all-important topic of immunity and stress…and I continue on my way, doing my newly deepened balancing work; which is no longer all about pursuing escapism, day after day, but about mindful INTEGRATION of those “real” grounding factors that happen to intersect with my personal domain (knowing where that realm begins and ends, by setting information and other boundaries…is key but makes for a whole other topic); which is to make them part of the full experience of being human…without the stress-reaction. Acceptance is another key word here; but is to do with surrender, not victimhood. Stress born of lost control turns us into victims whereas acceptance is to reclaim personal sovereignty, from which place we always have a choice how to react. It’s amazing how different these two places feel, which then has a profound effect on how inherently “strong” we feel…on the inside.

One trend I am noticing amongst my contacts and friends is that we are deeply pondering the direction of our lives, what makes us joyful and, conversely, what tended to cause us so much unhappiness and stress as things were before the outbreak. So many of us seem to be considering ways we could eliminate some or all of that stress in the future by choosing different lifestyles altogether; or at least modifying the one we have to more closely fit our true priorities than before. Stress, we have started to realise, has been the modern pandemic since long before covid-19 came along, which is why so many people and systems have been wrong-footed by it; as a collective, we had got our priorities tightly bound-up around our necks for a very long time, with very little room left to breathe. The opportunity to work at home is prompting such a lot of people to question why they ever put up with the commute and other stresses of office-based work life and this, I think, will have a very profound effect on the way we all sculpt our lives, our work, the traffic on our roads and the shape of our urban centres, what and how much we consume when the trade off is so high, etc., going forwards. Meanwhile, if we are all doing this same kind of inner work right now, each in our way, then I hold out great hopes for a massive, healing, holistic, evolutionary leap for humankind; just imagine the collective effect of such a powerful leap into newly robust and balanced territory, together.

Here’s some broader outlooks on the pandemic and how to positively work with it as you, with your particular traits and foibles, your sensitivities and broad-brush way of looking at things. In fact, I like to think people like us were born for these times!

 


Think Beyond Your Genes – Dr Bruce Lipton

April Energy Update – Lee Harris

Coronovirus, staying at home and finding your life purpose – Elizabeth Peru

Coronavirus is the wake up call we need: How covid-19 can bring our species together – Greg Braden

and something lighthearted for those of us from Generation X

It Took a Global Pandemic, But Generation X is Finally Getting Love – Courtney Dabney

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