When I see my friend Evy on our way to the office and I ask: "How are you doing?", she knows it is a real question, and her answer might be something like: "Sufficiently challenged!
This year has most certainly brought sufficient challenges. Only one thing is certain these days: everything is changing -- the climate, society, technology, economy, and even the geomagnetic field of the planet. What I have learned and observed about the human psyche shows me that nothing is more frightening to our survival self than the unpredictable, the unknowable. A little bit is fun, like going on a rollercoaster ride. It releases just enough adrenaline to make us feel alive, tingling with exitement. But changing everything at once is frightening.
Albert Einstein mused, the most important question is: is the universe benign? In other words: can we feel safe in a rapidly changing world?
Feeling safe is at the core of our pain perception.
Pain is the expression of our desire for self-preservation. It indicates injury to our physical and psychological integrity. It tells us: damage has been done, don't do this again! Get away from the source of injury! Don't make things worse! Don't put weight on a broken bone! Don't use a muscle that is torn! Don't stick around when someone degrades you verbally! Get away from people who disrespect the essence of your being!
Injuries happen, and pain is part of human life as much as pleasure is. Pain becomes a problem when it goes beyond its function as alarm system for immediate damage. When we don't feel safe in the world we live in, our nervous system is constantly on high alert, and even a scratch or someone's grimace can lead to pain on a level of survival panic.
Picture the pain system as the fire station in town. Under normal circumstances, the First Responders are only called out when there is an actual fire or accident requiring trained personnel and heavy equipment to deal with the situation. But if the whole community lives under constant fear of death, the alarm may be triggered by a stray cat in someone's garage or a barbeque gone Cajun. Anything out of the ordinary will cause a full blown "Red Alert!" response. You can imagine that the Responders will eventually get overworked and burned out. Many of our chronic ailments and pains are the result of such burnout.
So how can we get back to feeling safe and sound? Ultimately, this is a spiritual question. However, on the physical level, we can retrain our nervous system to calm down a bit and raise the alarm threshold to more functional levels. Rational awareness helps. See, it's a cat, not a terrorist. But emotional responses are faster than thought and tend to bypass rationality. Fortunately, emotions and the physical body go hand in hand, and we can work on the physical body to help calm down the internal alarm system, so that rationality has a chance, eventually.
CranioSacral Therapy has a unique way of accessing the Central Nervous System (CNS) to not only tone down the alarm response, but also to clear out the chemical residue of our alarm response from the CNS. Furthermore, the Advanced form of CST training called Somato-Emotional Release (SER) gives us an opportunity to use our imagination, intuition, or Inner Wisdom, to experience profound connection to something bigger than our survival self.
In a deep state of calm, we can sense and know on a soul level that we are not alone in this adventure called life. The answers to our most urgent questions are present within us, waiting to be found in stillness. In stillness, our immune and self-repair systems can work at their best. In stillness, there is peace and safety. In stillness, we can let go of pain.
This is why some of us are so addicted to CST!