Friday, January 10, 2014
Brain Retraining Visualizations
Brain Retraining is a new healing paradigm based on the science of brain elasticity. In this model, it is understood that the pathways created in the brain, through experience and learning, are not set in stone, so to speak, and are as malleable as grooves in clay - waiting to be shaped and molded according to our best intentions.
The key to retraining one's brain is to create as many strong impressions, through imagination, physical movements and verbal cues as possible in order to re-orient negative, unhealthy neural impulses into more positive, life-sustaining patterns. In my instance, I wanted to practice rewiring my brain on issues of health and vibrancy as a means to alleviate multiple chemical sensitivities. Armed with some insight garnered from Ashok Gupta's Amygdala Retraining free videos and some inspiration from my own book, I AM: You Power This Life, I set out to create my own personal classical conditoning-like experiment.
In the past, when exposed to a chemical odor, strong perfume or abrasive cleaning product, my instant response was frustration, upset and fear. These emotions almost always led to a physical reaction such as red eyes, burning nostrils and malaise. More negative emotions would follow these reactions until my entire thought process was centered around being assaulted by chemicals, made vulnerable by the toxic odors and a strong belief in the undermining of my body's health by environmental toxins.
With my intention set on brain retraining, I decided that, when faced with chemical exposure of any kind, I would alter my initial emotional response immediately. So, instead of letting fear take over after breathing in someone's perfume or encountering fresh paint, I would quickly link in to an emotionally satisfying memory like swimming in the clear blue sea in Spain one summer. I would conjure up the sun gleaming on my skin, the luscious warm crystalline water and the complete abundant surrender to the wonders of nature. This would be my first level of impressing upon my amygdala that I was safe, joyous and free of fear.
Next, I would move my my body in some repetitive fashion to distract my senses from the initial chemical stimuli and therefore, send new competing information to my brain. My favorite was to do simple hand movements, like tapping on EFT points on my wrist or doing eye exercises like shifting, ala natural vision improvement. While imagining my emotionally satisfying memory, I would steadily shift my glance to different points around the room and/or do tapping exercises. Sometimes in public, where movement was not possible, I would consistently repeat in my head, "No!," or "Cancel!," to any thought, emotion or sensation regarding the offensiveness of the chemical odor.
Another exercise that I loved to incorporate while outside of my comfort zone and my nose seemed to insist on acutely picking up on every chemical substance around, was something I call the "dimmer." In this I would imagine a dimmer switch inside my nasal passages and just play with turning it lower and lower until the questionable smell was no longer distinguishable. Often, just visualizing an off button in my mind, and decidedly clicking on it, would shut down the over-reactive response. Massaging the gamut point on my hand whilst doing this exercise boosted its effectiveness to nearly 100%.
The secret to successful brain retraining is to take a playful approach to the whole experience. Like a child, just let yourself "pretend" that these imaginary scenarios are real, powerful, and able to dilute the apparent reality. Don't take yourself too seriously and open up to allow for transformations to occur easily and effortlessly. Switch your mind over from focusing on the problem to attending to a blissful state in which all issues are solved. Remember, "there are truly no boundaries in life, all perceived boundaries are conceptual." Deepak Chopra
For an even deeper impression to enhance the emotional, physical aspects of brain redirection, I also incorporated a spiritual component. Since the smell of chemicals was my greatest challenge, and my nose, being acutely sensitive, felt like the door through which these toxins entered, I created a visualization of the Light of Christ in particle and atmospheric form entering my nostrils and spreading through my body via this route. I saw myself being filled with Christ Light as the pure, clear elements of the Divine were breathed in through my nostrils and up my nasal passages, into the back of my throat, up to my brain and down throughout my entire body, until my cells were alight with this clean, healthy, loving, healing, sweet-smelling, spiritual elixir. Then I would focus on one of my favorite affirmations from Catherine Ponder: I am surrounded by the pure white light of Christ into which nothing negative can penetrate and out of which only good shall come."
Finally, I would let this energy, this light, so magnify my inner body that it would spread in sunlight-like rays outward to surround my whole self in a cocoon of light. This last step was the amazing icing on the cake of the whole exercise. At first, my mind really fought it - with notions like, "how can this chemical smell be anything remotely connected to God.. But, in the end, every time I practiced, the old patterns of thought gave way and the new programming prevailed. Yes, my mind and then my body came to acknowledge that God is All and I am therefore safe, with no need for hyper-sensitization to chemicals in my environment.
This is an absolute and deeply healing experience, not just for chemical sensitivity, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and myelitis encephalitis, but for our mind's tendency to run its own negative programming which limits our ability to fully express our divinity and spiritual perfection while here on this material planet earth. We must retrain our brains according to our higher conciousness' wisdom and not let it dwell in the mass consciousness of fear, limitation and sickness. Namaste~
For more advanced "charging of your amygdala," go here.