Wednesday, 29 August 2012 04:33

Connecting to Your Inner Animal

Written by  Study of Yoga Crew
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charge-siberian-tigerBirds play seamlessly amongst the clouds, cradled by the gusts of wind which carry them through the sky. Lemurs swing effortlessly from branch to branch, swiftly leaping over large boundaries of open space to land gracefully on their next perch in the trees. Yet the human, the most ‘sophisticated’ of all creatures has trapped himself in the fangs of conflict from which many unnatural and unusually inhibitive behaviours, thoughts, and personality traits have arise. Why is it that humans who are believed to be the most advanced living being on earth can be so disembodied and debilitated by the struggles of life?

The real conflict of human nature begins with the three level system of the human mind. Though thoughts as they present themselves to us in our conscious frame of mind appear to originate from a singular source, the truth is we are internally fractured. In successive levels of evolutionary value, the human mind is an expression of hundreds of millions of years of development, beginning with the most instinctual creatures of the earth, passing through the more sensitive and sociable layers of evolving life, and finally extending into the field of human reason, self-awareness, and orientation.

It is believed that the human mind is the offspring of three evolutionarily distinct natures: the primitive instinct, the emotional sensitivity, and the reasoning capacity of the neo cortex. From these three systems we find ourselves in all of our shapes and colors including the most simple of observations like the prick of a needle upon the skin to the most advanced contemplations of life, the universe, and existence.

Though the three level system has a number of advantages including the capacity to respond to some of the most complex and trying situations that life can present there is also the increased probability of error especially when the three systems come into conflict with one another. The instinctual mind is purely survival based and includes the most primitive of responses which have been blanketed under the flight, flight, and flee response. Morality is superficial and exists for the convenience of the self and therefore cannot be considered morality in the way we perceive it to be. Here the human being is avoiding death, and life is raw and superficial on this level of the mind.

Emotions fill the next field of human development, a greater sensitivity to others and the world around us. Community and relationships are appreciated beyond the individual, and there is a real effort to create communal support. At this level there is also greater sensitivity to changes within the environment which are reflected in emotional responses beyond just fear, anger, and satisfaction.

Reason, self-referential thought, and multidimensional thought processing is the highest level of the human mind. It is here that we are able to cognize our existence and its relationship to everything else. Higher human capacities like altruism, love, and wisdom are intellectualized. The greatest value of the cognitive mind, however, is its ability to change the fate of destiny. Whereas animals are victims of the fate they are given, humans have the unique ability to alter their fate by conscious intervention. Take for instance a broken leg. A wild dog that breaks its leg is destine to have a disability for life. A human, in contrast, knows that if a caste is applied to the injury and left on the wound for 6 weeks or so the injury will heal and they will have a health leg once again.

Although this ability to intervene in the course of fate has many advantages, it can also be the source of some of the greatest of human fallacies. A common psychological experience like depression is one such example where a human being has trapped themselves in a state of suffering by recycling negative thoughts that inhibit their growth and progression. Someone who is depressed has locked themselves into dark reality with the key to their freedom just outside of reach. Perversion, sadistic violence, and self mutilation are all examples of the higher powers of cognition gone astray.

As with any organic system, integration provides the most sustainable and productive environment for sustenance and progress.  Without clear expression of each level of the mind, or though conflicting ideas/experiences, the human being can become caught in a turbulent mental environment that becomes inescapably convoluted and annalistic. To come out of this mental trap we must learn how to integrate the total system so that conflicts are resolve through expression.

No living system is a closed system. What comes in must go out, and what goes out comes back in another form or creates a total alteration of form. Because human beings are in constant interaction with the outer environment the world is constantly affecting us, and likewise we are constantly affecting the world. Any effect from the outer environment creates an internal response, and depending upon the nature of this affect we respond through the faculties of mind available to us: instinct, emotions, and/or rationalization.

Because we are not closed systems, our responses to stimulation from the outer world can drastically alter the nature of our internal environment. The greatest harm manifests when an external stimuli effects conflicting layers of the mind, and unless this conflict is resolved its expression will manifest as a physical or psychological disorder. This is one of the little known secrets about human nature. One common example of this appears in conflict between two humans. A person of authority may become violently angry and begin to inflict verbal and/or physical abuse to another. The victim may have a whirl wind of responses including fighting back, walking away, and screaming but may remain trapped because their thoughts are inhibiting them: “He’s my father, I cannot escape,” “If I leave this situation it is only going to be worse in the future,” “I am just weak and cannot do anything.” Through the inner conflict there is no resolution, and what otherwise might have been a fleeting experience becomes a debilitation unresolved conflict that can last for many years.

There are many avenues by which we can resolve this inner conflict, but sometimes the most affective can be the most basic: a physical release of the disruptive energy. Today science has presented a whole arsenal of interventional techniques for removing disabling physical and psychological conflicts including psychotherapy, surgical intercession, and pharmacological administration.  Yet growing evidence supports the idea that a simple yet effective way to eliminate psychological or psychosomatic disorders can be to resort to instinctual releases of the reserved conflict from a traumatic event through bodily release.

One way that animals, including human beings, release the effects of trauma from the body is through the act of shivering, shaking, convulsion, or muscular spasms. This is a physiological response to the debilitation affects an over active sympathetic nerves system and can be highly effective in inducing resolve when the environmental conditions reinforce the return to homeostasis. While cognitive therapy, medication, and other advanced interventions can produce results there are also a large number of cases where neither psychotherapy nor surgery is sufficient in removing the internal conflict. This is because the retained tension is not resolved but rather displaced or suppressed.

The theory behind this practice is that since all stimulation enters the human being in a physical form (i.e. sound, touch, sight, etc.) a physical release would express a completion of the circle. This physical release can come in many forms, from convulsions resulting from extreme emotional discharge to subtle neuromuscular neutralization where chronic muscular tension is consciously resolved. In either case, the resolution is expressed on a very primitive level with nothing more than a conscious willingness to experience the release coupled with conscious awareness and participation in the experience.

Though this form of resolution has yet to be widely applied, many have experienced it effects on basic levels, including the liberation some people feel from exercise, a practice of yoga, or deep breathing. The level of release can be intensified to a resolve through specialized techniques accompanied by the conscious involvement with the intention to heal. Though the release is often physical, the effects seem to have comprehensive affects including the alleviation of depression and the release of chronic tension. Usually the process involves a number of sessions which support one another in the efforts towards a physically experienced release of the internal conflict.

Resolving the inner turmoil through our most basic level of mind seems to be the most effective because it operates on the instinctual level, a subconscious domain which includes many different elements of the total human being including the breath, heart rate, muscular tension, biochemical composition, and other autonomically designed systems. The power of the system, however, becomes effective when the release is guided by cognitive direction which becomes the powerful catalyst and participant in the resolution process. It thus becomes an instinctual and physiological release through the active participation of the mind.

Last modified on Wednesday, 29 August 2012 04:37