Truth be told….I’ve been trying to write this blog post for one full month.
It isn’t working.
It isn’t working because there is so much back story, theory, context, culture and then some to write about, that I don’t know where to start.
So this is where I’m going to start!
Number 1: All humans have something called an autonomic nervous system.
Because of this system there are a lot of things you don’t have to think about.
Your heart beating, digesting food, when to sweat, when to shiver, when to pull your leg away when you drop a very sharp knife etc. These things happen because you have an autonomic nervous system. Imagine having to pay attention to the change in temperature and then telling your body to start producing sweat, or start standing up your arms hairs to preserve heat? Imaging having to remind your heart to beat every second, or increase the beat when you start to move more? Or producing saliva to eat your crunchy toast in the morning? It would be a real pain in the butt don’t you think?
A side note: We in the biology and physiology world abbreviate the autonomic nervous system as the “ANS”.
Number 2: The ANS isn’t black and white.
It is complicated, magnificent, exquisite, intricate and then some. More on this in future blog posts – I promise!
Number 3: We’ve become seduced by higher consciousness thinking.
In our recent fascination and cultivation of non-autonomic body processes like higher consciousness, intentionality, higher brain function and so on, we’ve completely neglected this remarkable piece of our physiology, our autonomic physiology, that keeps us well and safe. This neglect has left us with a plethora of treatments and “solutions” for health problems that actually stem from the ANS being completely out of synchrony. If you have yet to check out my interview on Body Syndromes, this would be the time.
Now, I’m ALL FOR cultivating the higher body processes of intentionality and learning, that is what my practice in the works of Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais is for, but this other piece of the puzzle, the work that Dr. Peter Levine has brought to the playground, must take the stage for a while so we can learn to better self-regulate our biology, so we can be better at the higher consciousness stuff.
Number 4: We are animals. We are humans. We are both.
Realizing that we share common characteristics to reptiles and amphibians is hard for some. But it is true. That is why we can go into shock and not feel immense physical pain, or numb ourselves when emotional abuse hits hard. This is synonymous to the possum playing dead or the gecko freezing in stillness.
The other side of the coin is that as humans we have some pretty cool talents of our own. For example, we can communicate without having to speak be it with our own species (next time you see a baby, smile, and then make a funny face…you know you’ll get the same back), or towards another mammal (ever go out for a walk and you seem to smile more to the dogs than their owners?).
Humans have primitive pieces embedded in our physiology and we also have the most evolved pieces of planetary biology, and all these pieces need to work together. Thus far they haven’t been. We have separated them and kept them far apart. It’s time to integrate them. It’s time to honour ALL the pieces, not just the more recent evolved ones.
I’ve got a hunch that when we can evolve our primitive pieces and really understand and learn to use them, our higher functions are going to shine the way they were meant to.
This is a MASSIVE story.
I can’t tell it in one blog post so I wanted to wet your brains with some information and then keep writing about it.
to be continued….