Why we feel lighter

 

Why do we sometimes feel lighter? For instance, if something desirable happens, or we have a release through inquiry, Vortex Healing, TRE, or something else?

Stressful beliefs (identifications, trauma) come with muscle contractions. In order to believe a thought, the thought has to be associated with sensations, and these sensations give the thought a sense of substance and reality. The thought feels true. The easiest way to have these sensations readily available is through muscle contractions. So when the mind needs to believe a thought, it contracts associated muscles to provide sensations, and these in turn give the thoughts a sense of solidity and reality. These muscle contractions feel dense and heavy. We – almost literally – feel the weight of our stressful beliefs or identifications.

So when we are either distracted from these stressful beliefs, or they are released, there is a sense of lightness. The muscle contractions lighten up or go away, so we feel lighter.

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Body contractions as a component of trauma, anxiety, depression, addictions, low self-esteem and more

 

Body contractions are an important component of trauma, anxiety, depression, addiction, low self-esteem and more.

The mind needs sensations to give imagination a sense of solidity and reality and to give it a charge. So it tenses muscles to create these sensations.

They are sometimes temporarily amplified as needed in the situation. And if the mind wishes to create a more lasting experience of trauma etc., then the body contractions can be more lasting and chronic.

These contractions are somewhat individual and can be just about anywhere on the body, although they are often in the torso along the mid-line and also in the throat and head area. They can be on the skin or deeper in the body. (They can even sometimes be experienced as outside of the physical body, when imagination makes physical sensations appear in the space outside of the body.)

There are many ways to work with these contractions and what they are a component of. We can do inquiry on them and see how we relate to them and also what imaginations are connected with them.

Through inquiry, we get to see how we relate to the contractions and also what imaginations (memories, images, words) are connected to them.

We can tap on them, hold, massage.

Therapeutic tremoring (TRE) can help release the physical contraction. This will, in turn, take some of the charge out of what the contraction is a part of whether it’s trauma, anxiety, depression, addiction or something else.

We can use different forms of energy and/or bodywork to (a) shift how we relate to the contraction (befriend it), or (b) release the contraction.

Exploring the contraction both from the mind (inquiry) and the body side is often helpful and sometimes essential.

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Body contractions follow and make possible stressful beliefs

 

It’s easy to think of body contractions as an effect of stressful beliefs (Velcro, identifications), and that’s accurate enough. It does seem that stressful beliefs create bodily contractions, and persistent and persistently retriggered beliefs may create persistent and chronic body contractions.

And the reverse may be true too.

Body contractions fuel stressful beliefs, and with it unquestioned fears, deficient and inflated selves, reactivity, and compulsions. Without body contractions, it may not even be possible to believe a stressful thought.

As I have written about before (long before I got into the Living Inquiries), it seems that in order to believe a thought, it has to be associated with sensations. These sensations lends a charge, and sense of solidity and reality, to the thought, so it’s possible to hold it as real and true.

So in order to believe a thought, the body-mind tenses certain muscles to create sensations which in turn can be used to give charge and lend a sense of solidity and reality to the thought. That’s, at least, one way to look at it.

It’s really not easy to believe a thought, so tensing muscles is one way to make it easier and more possible. And when the stressful belief is persistent and recurrent, it tends to require a persistent and/or recurrent body contraction.

This is one reason it can be very helpful to work at this – stressful beliefs, anxiety, depression, compulsions, addictions – from both the mind and body sides. We can do inquiry, loving kindness, ho’oponopono, natural rest and more. And we can massage the contraction, release tension through therapeutic tremors (TRE), do yoga, receive bodywork, and more. These approaches go hand in hand, along with working with the larger social system if possible, spending time in nature, engage in physical activities, improving the diet, and whatever else is helpful.

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Even the strongest contraction happens within boundless space 

 

That’s it, really.

Even the strongest contraction happens within boundless space.

If I don’t notice that, attention may get absorbed into the contraction itself and the stories creating and reacting to it. I may experience my world becoming hard and small, and experience and act from that hard and small world.

When I do notice the boundless space it’s all happening within and as, something shifts. It’s all allowed to be as it is, and it feels less small, less contracted, perhaps even less real and solid. The qualities of the space I am noticing becomes my experience, and what I am. It always was and is what I am, and by noticing it there is a shift.

It’s pretty obvious. When all I notice is my contraction and contraction-inducing stories, that’s how I experience myself and my world. When I notice the boundless space it’s all happening within and as, that’s how I experience myself and my world.

Why is it boundless? How can I explore the boundlessness? The easiest is to notice that any boundary is imagined, it’s created by my own images and perhaps words, sometimes associated with sensations, and these too happen within space. Any boundary happens within space, so the space itself is boundless.

Self control vs seeing through 

 

A client mentioned a few times that he needs more self-control.

If we take our urges to be solid and real, then it seems we need self-control to deal with or oppose them. That’s stressful. It creates a sense of struggle, and we may even lose that struggle.

Fortunately, there is another way.

We can examine the urge. How is it created? What images, words, and sensations makes it up? Can I find the urge in any one of the images, words, and sensations? Do any of them tell me to do something? And if it does, what images, words, and sensations tells me it does?

As I explore this, and get to see the images, words, and sensations making up the urge, the urge itself may soften or fall away. And as it does, self-control is revealed as not needed. (Of course, self-control can be explored in a similar way. Can I actually find what self-control seems to refer to? What images, words, and sensations makes up what appears as self-control? What’s the threat if I don’t have or use self-control?)

I should also mention that urges are often connected to a persistent body contraction, and this may need more exploration and work. There may be more images and words connected to the contraction,  creating and reacting to it. Physical activities, including TRE, yoga, and massage, may help release the tension and the contraction. As the contraction soften and releases, the urge may too, since bodily contractions seem to fuel urges and compulsions.

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Taking stories as true, and bodily contractions

 

When I believe a story, it seems to come with a bodily contraction.

There are good reasons for this.

To believe a story, it seems that it has to be attached to sensations. Sensations associated with images and words gives them a charge, and lends them a sense of reality, solidity and truth. It seems that it may not be possible (?) to believe a story unless it’s attached to a sensation in this way.

And to create sensations, we need to tense up muscles. In other words, create a contraction.

As usual, there are different ways to explore this.

Rest with the sensations and any images and words that come up. Notice and allow.

Inquire into the associated images and words. See what’s there. See if they are a threat. See if they are X. (A deficient self or whatever the contraction seems connected with.)

Perhaps also meet it with kindness. See it’s there to protect, it comes from caring, from love.

Neurogenic tremors (TRE) can also be helpful, releasing the tension out of the body. (Of course, this tends to come back unless the stories creating the tension have been examined and perhaps loved.)

These contractions – and really the beliefs creating them – seem to fuel reactivity, anxiety, depression, compulsions, addictions and more. That’s why it can be very helpful to not only explore this from the belief (velcro, identification) side, but also the physical side.

What’s the mechanism that leads from beliefs to bodily contractions? One way to look at it is that beliefs often come from and create (unloved) fear, and that’s why the muscles tense up – in order to prepare us to flee or fight.

Scott Kiloby: Dissolving Inner Fists With Gentle Attention and Loving Kindness

 

Once these contractions were seen like little fists, just gently bringing thought-free attention to them in the moment they began to contract was very helpful, and very loving. For years, I was highly unconscious of these little fists. They were essentially ignored. I was in my head mostly. But bringing awareness to these little fists whenever they contracted was a loving gesture.

I remember spending hours each night, before sleep, resting attention very gently in those areas where contraction was felt. This felt like the most loving thing I had ever done – to care enough to pay attention to these little fists.

Paying attention, along with the Living Inquiries, conscious breathing, some Tong Ren and Acupuncture, was really all that was needed to dissolve these little fists.

It took time. Some contractions didn’t dissolve for months, or even years. Infinite patience was part of the love. To be infinitely patient is not to wait in time or forever, with the idea of some future moment when everything will dissolve. It is to rest right now with whatever is there.

To rest without expectation that anything will happen is truly a peaceful and loving way to work with these little fists. I often work with clients at the Center on these contractions. They want a quick fix. They want them to dissolve immediately. This is a natural inclination. We live in a culture where we are taught to look for quick fixes.

But these contractions were often formed long ago and solidified through years of unconsciousness. They usually don’t dissolve right away for that reason. And whenever we are applying pressure to the contractions as a way to dissolve them, they often just stay contracted. Infinite patience, loving kindness and paying attention directly is just the right medicine.

– Scott Kiloby, Contractions: Dissolving These Little Inner Fists With Gentle Attention and Loving Kindness

Throat contraction

 

Over the last year-and-a-half, I have noticed a body contraction that seems to move up.

It started with a strong contraction in the solar plexus. Then the heart. And now the throat. Each one has lasted for a few months, and it has corresponded with old wounds and traumas surfacing relating to each. For instance, with the heart contraction, there was a lot of wounds around being unlovable and unloved that came up…. to be seen, felt, loved, rested with.

Now, with the throat contraction, I find my voice sounding held back and contracted as well, and I cough quite a bit. There are also wounds (identifications, beliefs) surfacing relating to being visible in the world, being seen as an authority, taking more of a leadership role, communicating my truth, and more.

These movable contractions is in addition to a more persistent contraction in my shoulders, and some in my calves, which I also hold in presence when I remember.

Body contractions seem to come from identifications and beliefs at odds with the world (which beliefs necessarily are). And they also seem to fuel reactivity and compulsions, including the compulsion to go to ideas and identifications for (a sense of) safety.

When I explore images and words associated with these contractions, what comes up range from abstract images, to personal memories, to family and cultural patterns.

Compulsive seeking

 

Nothing new here, and it’s something I have noticed from myself and also seen in others.

Compulsive seeking comes from trying to escape from (or fix) an uncomfortable feeling. And behind that feeling is a body contraction.

The seeking can take any form….. a seeking of comfort, understanding, status, love, enlightenment, being saved, money, house, and anything else.

None of these are wrong. And even when the compulsive seeking finds rest, and the feelings are felt, and the contraction perhaps softens or dissolves, we will still aim for a good life, and do the “inner” and “outer” work needed. Although now from a different and more restful place.

Scott Kiloby: Body Contraction Exercise

 

1. Start by feeling the contracted energy as yourself, without thoughts.  Do not try to stand outside of it and witness it from awareness.  Feel it fully.  Without thoughts means without words on it or with a quiet mind. If your mind cannot quiet enough to feel that energy directly, use the Living Inquiries to relax some of the stories in the mind that are pulling your attention away from the contracted energy.

2. As you are feeling the contraction, look for any shapes or mental pictures on or near it. Sometimes there is a picture or shape on the energy itself. As you are looking at that shape or mental picture, continue resting as that sensation while looking at the shape or picture.  If there are no shapes or pictures on the energy, simply feel the contraction gently by itself.

3. As you are feeling the energy and noticing any shape or picture, say to the contraction, “Thank you for arising, I love you, stay as long as you like.”  This helps quiet the resistance to the contraction.  After saying this phrase, rest and let the energy and any pictures or shapes be as they are for a bit (10 to 30 seconds).

4. Tap seven times with the ends of two fingers in each of the following places in order: right between the eyebrows, right next to one eye where the eye meets the temple, right under the same eye at the top of that cheek bone, and then right at the base of the neck at the top of the collarbone.  Finally, tap seven times right where the contraction is.  For example, if the contraction is in the stomach, tap seven times there.

5. Grab one wrist with the other hand. Take a deep and long inhale and then a deep and long exhale.

6. Rest and be aware of the present space within and outside your body, as one space.  Do nothing at this point.  Just let the contraction merge with the space.

7. Notice how the contraction feels. Is it denser?  Has it relaxed?

8. Go back to the beginning and repeat steps 1 through 7 until the contraction has released or has substantially dissolved.

– Scott Kiloby from Tier One Body Contraction Exercise 1: Tapping

Read the full article at his website, and also related articles that gives some context. Also, feel free to contact me to explore this further. I am a certified Living Inquiry facilitator.

Body contractions

 

It seems that body contractions are created by beliefs, and also hold beliefs in place. There is a “mutual support” between identifications and unquestioned beliefs and fears, and body contractions. And these contractions and identifications also fuel compulsions and reactiveness, and create traumas and wounds.

This contraction-identification “knot” can be explored in different ways.

I can release the physical tension through, for instance, Tension & Trauma Release Exercises (TRE). This may also soften the identifications, although they will still be there as long as they are unquestioned.

I can explore the body contractions through the Living Inquiries, looking at the different words and images associated with a specific contraction, so the sensations can be felt as sensations.

I can examine and question the beliefs and identifications creating the contractions, through – for instance – the Living Inquiries or The Work.

There are also other options, such as…..

Exploring the beliefs and identifications as subpersonalities, through – for instance – Voice Dialog or the Big Mind Process.

Finding love for the identifications, fears and contractions, through loving kindness, tonglen, ho’oponopono, placing it in the heart flame or similar.

Holding Satsang with what’s there – any subpersonalities, beliefs, identities, fears, contractions.

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Things to do when there is contraction

 

I am in a phase again where there are occasional strong contractions. My mind contracts into beliefs (complaints, self-pity), my breath gets shallow, I resist the contraction and think I am doing it wrong, and when it goes far enough, I partly forget and partly don’t want to use any tools in my tool box. At this point, time is what seems to help the most.

Here are some reminders to myself of what I can do.

As the contraction starts

  • Notice the trigger, the situation and beliefs
  • Give mind/body over to the divine, including the contraction and resistance to the contraction
  • Drink water (herbal teas, beef broth), take Chulen
  • Use the body. Shake, neurogenic tremors / TRE + walk outdoors
  • Breathe and stay with the sensations/feelings
  • Rest, notice what’s here is already allowed

As it happens

  • Walk outdoors
  • Notice sensations, and beliefs about what they mean, take to gentle inquiry
    • Is it true this sensation means I am doomed?
    • Is it true this sensation means something terrible happened? Is it true it means something terrible will happen?
    • Do these sensation say anything about what’s real?
  • Breathe and stay with the sensations/feelings

When it’s lighter

  • Inquiry on triggers and the contraction itself
    • Some beliefs: I made a mistake, I lost what’s important to me, my life will be miserable
  • Set intention to remember these things when the contraction starts
  • Pray for guidance and support
  • Training stable attention (attention on the sensations at the nostrils)
  • Rest, allow what’s here + notice it’s already allowed
  • Bring attention to the heart flame, put mind/body in the flame, put contraction and resistance to it into the flame