We live in a time that many have identified as one of quickening. The impact of such fevered evolutionary activity on the central nervous system (CNS) is quite palpable in the form of heightened anxiety and quickened escalation to panic. The heart beats to this intensity of activation.
Underneath the energetic impact of our times is our innate temperament. The genetics which inform the inborn settings of our CNS greatly impact our innate resilience to stress. Thus, an inheritance of ancestral trauma can program our CNS to approach life with constant vigilance. The heart beats to this intensity of activation.
In addition to inheritance is the impact of many experiences post-conception that are regulated by the subconscious mind. To assure survival and balance the subconscious might split off and store these unprocessed experiences in the body and shadow regions of the psyche. These splintered complexes form autonomous mini-psyches that occasionally are triggered and disrupt ego functioning. The heart beats to the intensity of their activation.
Whether the source of activation be engrained habit or triggered complex is immaterial, the result manifests physically in the tempo of the beating heart. The challenge is to reset the CNS in order to find calm.
Psychopharmocology approaches this task with chemicals that both enhance or block the influence of hormones and neurotransmitters, whereby exerting regulation upon the CNS and the beating of the heart. This might be viewed as a material intervention to influence the physical body and, secondarily, the mind or spirit, which finds peace in a calmed body.
Heart centered breathing brings consciousness directly to the heart and can reset its rhythm to homogenize with the pace of the breath. Focus upon the breath also screens out activating thoughts through mindful presence with the heart center. Yogic pranayama breathing, as a regular practice, develops greater conscious control over the CNS.
When we breathe with awareness the mind shuts off thinking. Conscious breathing is the mind exerting direct influence over the CNS. Psychotherapy offers another integrated mind body approach to CNS regulation through the processing of complexes and strengthening of control of the mind over itself.
Meditation and neurofeedback address CNS regulation at the most subtle dimension. In the stillness of inner focus one encounters the impact of complexes and habits, each vying for attention with stories and feelings, and notices their impact upon the heart. Release of attachment to these stories and feelings, while traveling deeper into the quiet dimensions of the soul, brings the CNS to utter calm. Sustained practice affords everyday life a modicum of detachment from the storm and stress of life in human form.
Finally, repetitive mantra, prayer or intention directly instructs the subconscious, the mind body center that automatically controls the CNS.
With sustained practice these programs can be altered through conscious effort. Of course, deep resetting of the CNS will take time and may require a combination of the practices outlined above.
And though the heart will always beat to the intensity of its activation, activation can be greatly transformed through mental practice. And mind you, all mental practice issues from the province of the soul.