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Techniques for the Uninitiated on the Path to Consciousness

Stepping into a journey of self-discovery and heightened awareness is a transformative experience. For the uninitiated, seeking to become more conscious might be perceived as a daunting task, as the day-to-day experience can often seem like a looping rollercoaster of emotional, behavioural, or limbic reactivity with brief moments of peace and calm. One’s focus can easily turn to grasping for tools to bring more of that sense of peace and calm. 

Un·in·i·ti·at·ed : without special knowledge or experience.

Consciousness is becoming more aware of one’s inner state and how one’s perceptions colour the outside world. Tools to bring calm without consciousness can bring on momentary feelings of peace and calm, however, they will be as fleeting as the dips on a fast rollercoaster ride. 

Employing tools with consciousness can help bring awareness to reactivity, shift it, and allow for more room so that the rollercoaster experience may shift into a different kind of journey. 

This article is for those who may find themselves stuck in reactivity more often than not—be it emotional, behavioural, or limbic—which can impede embarking upon or staying with the process of self-exploration and discovery.  These tools may help acknowledge & quell reactivity so that a next step can be taken towards an experience of greater self-awareness, mindfulness, and ultimately, a sense of inner wholeness and the ability to live in the present.

Some easy signs you are in heightened reactivity:
  • You are often in fight-flight-freeze mode – panic, not feeling safe, trauma response may be engaged
  • Uncontrollable emotions are ever-present in your day-to-day – be it anger, frustration, or sadness
  • Worries and fears grip your whole being

The following techniques can help to disengage the survival limbic response/panic, which can then allow for the next step; inquiry as to what the mind's eye perceived as triggering the response and the underlying individual experience beyond the reaction.

Fear/Lack of Safety

Look away & at something else

For a moment of severe trauma, when the limbic response is very engaged, and one is not feeling safe:

  • Find an object in the room
  • Describe it out loud
  • Check in on your inner state/ experience. Was there a shift?
  • If not, find another object in the room and repeat as necessary until the fight or flight response has diminished.

Fear – Losing Balance 

Quick Grounding Technique

  • Place feet firmly on the floor, wiggle your toes, and feel the parts of the feet that are connecting with the surface below
  • Close your eyes or keep them open
  • Breathe, imagining the breath coming up from the ground, through the feet, up into your body
  • Do this as many times until a shift is felt

‘OM’ or MAOM Chanting, Humming, Singing, Gargling

The vagus nerve is connected to your vocal cords and the muscles at the back of your throat. Singing, humming, chanting, and gargling can activate these muscles and stimulate your vagus nerve. This has been shown to increase heart-rate variability and vagal tone. The most effective chant begins with humming with your mouth closed to create as much resonance as possible in the throat, followed by an open-mouthed “ah” sound opening the throat and resonating in the chest and throat, then the “o” sound. But simple humming or gargling can have a similar effect.

Cold Water Treatment

Caution: Very cold water decreases your heart rate. If you have any heart or medical condition, have a lowered base heart rate due to medications, are on a beta-blocker or are very sensitive to cold, do not use this technique before checking in with a healthcare professional.

To reduce extreme emotions fast. When you put your full face into cold water, or you put a zip-lock bag with cold water on your eyes and upper cheeks, and hold your breath, it tells your brain you are diving underwater. This causes the “dive response” to occur. (It may take 15-30 seconds to start.) Your heart slows down, blood flow to nonessential organs is reduced, and blood flow is redirected to the brain and heart. This can help regulate your emotions. This will be useful as a distress tolerance strategy when you are having a very strong, distressing emotion, or when you are having very strong urges to engage in dangerous behaviours. This strategy works best when you are sitting quietly-activity as a distraction may make it less effective.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

  • Place one hand on your stomach and the other hand on your chest.
  • As you breathe in, feel your stomach expand
  • and when you exhale, your stomach should go back down.
  • This is also known as “belly breathing.”  This lowers your heart rate and blood pressure.

Creating a Safe Space

If you are unable to concentrate, stay present, or follow a conversation, you are in fight or flight mode but not necessarily in full-on survival mode. Try to create a safe space for yourself:

  • Breathe slowly, in a soothing manner and prepare to go to a pleasant and safe place in your mind – a place that will give you a feeling of safety, well-being and calm.
  • Imagine looking around you, what do you see? It could be a beautiful forest where the branches of the trees dance gently in the breeze. It could be a beautiful beach where a shining blue sea stretches to the horizon to meet a crystal blue sky.
  • Now concentrate on what you feel – for example, feel the warmth of the sun on your face and the breeze caressing your hair. Or you could feel the white, soft and silky sand beneath your feet.
  • Focus on what you hear. You could hear the rustle of leaves, the chirping of birds, or waves crashing on the shore.
  • When you have the image of your safe place in your mind, let your body relax. Remember your facial expression and allow a sweet smile to light up your face.
  • Imagine that the place itself becomes more joyful with your presence. Explore the feelings that arise when you imagine that this place welcomes you and enjoys you being here.
  • Allow yourself to feel a sense of belonging to this place. Even if the feeling is only in your
    imagination, try to create an emotional connection with this place.

At MICH, we teach these techniques - as well as many other exercises - as part of our 3-Diploma program.

As MICH practitioners, we do not use these techniques as protocols; we individualize them for our clients.

After quelling any reactive limbic response, the choice is there to recognize that there is an opportunity to explore further what contributed to this response, either by yourself using inquiry or with the help of a trained MICH practitioner. Find some other articles to explore more about the mind-body connection, reactivity and path toward more awareness in the Links section below.

Our mission is to facilitate consciousness in our students and for our clients. Becoming more conscious (in whatever form)  is a journey of self-discovery that can lead to profound insights and transformation. By embracing curiosity, and developing emotional resilience through engagement in self-reflection, the uninitiated (and anyone!)  can embark on a path toward heightened awareness and a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them. 

The process of becoming more conscious can then pave the way for meaning, purpose, and connection to something greater than the self. This is the spiritual journey. Everyone’s journey looks different, but to seek something beyond ourselves, we must see through ourselves first.

If you feel that engaging in holistic health at a deep level is your calling, then don’t miss the opportunity to join our programs.

Apply here to get started or contact us directly by calling or texting (514) 486-2716, or email [email protected]. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have.

A meaningful career involves helping others

There is nothing more satisfying and meaningful than helping others on their journey

Come to MICH to apprentice the Healing Arts with the science that supports them. Study at your own pace, with the help of experienced mentor/teachers who accompany you for every step of your development. .

Apply now and get a free career counselling session to see which option is best for you or set up an exploration call, or text us at 514-486-2716 or email us at [email protected]

What our Students Tell Us

With each exercise and mentorship session, I continue to gain new insight regarding how I move through life. Collectively, these experiences have offered glimpses into what true acceptance feels like (pretty amazing). I am truly grateful to the entire MICH community for helping me to see that I was actually resisting sacredness through expectation. I am very much looking forward to continuing the journey with you all!

~ Jennifer Duncan (Level One)

Christiane Magee

About Christiane Magee, DHOM, N.D., DHP

Christiane discovered homeopathy in 2012 after attending a MICH open house and never looked back. Working previously in the world of digital marketing in corporate and agency environments for 20 years, she has experienced first-hand multiple burn-outs, and witnessed countless times in a multitude of ways how stress affects the whole individual – mind, body, and emotions – and can manifest itself into a myriad of health conditions and illnesses.

She is excited every day to help people suffering from burn-out, anxiety, depression, trauma, or any chronic issues that are stopping her clients from leading a full and enriching life.

Read her bio to find out more »

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