LACEWEB - HEALING THE MINDBODY
Embracing Ancient Indigenous Wisdoms and the Latest from the Neurosciences
Written 1997. Latest Update April 2014.
This paper allows you to wander among the very latest understanding in mindbody - for healing and peak experiences.
This paper is a synthesis following liberal borrowings from E Rossi, C Pert, and C Laughlin Jr. and following conversations with Dr Neville Yeomans and Dr Candice Pert. These conversations informed relating with indigenous and small oppressed minority people through the East Asia Oceania Australasia Region.
It may well be that a primary process of all healing work is change at the 'receptor' level - people become 'more receptive' - analogically and literally!
Our bodies are filled with trillions of receptors. Receptors, as the name implies, receive 'information' via neurochemicals. Receptors are a vital part of, and a primary process for, mind and body information transfer. All input through our senses pass through trillions of receptors.
Receptors are found:
in the structure called the synapse spread throughout the nervous system (post synaptic cleft)
on the cell wall of every cell in the body
in Cytoplasm, the material within the cell
in genetic material (DNA) within the cell
Two 'views' of receptors
As a static entity:
Using 'lock and key' descriptor, that is, assuming the receptor has a specific shape that only allows a specific molecule to 'enter'.
As a dynamic entity:
An extremely fast, vibratory, shimmer - of the same magic as light - is it a wave? A particle? - The 'dance of Shiva'! Molecules resonate, and when this resonance is compatible with the receptor's resonance, then the specific molecule is allowed to enter. As hinted at above, it may well be that one aspect of the healing way, is changing people so their receptors are more receptive.
Some receptors are a part of the cell wall. When a transmitter 'locks' into a cell-wall based receptor, it changes the wall's permeability to certain ions (sodium, potassium, calcium etc). These ionic changes alter the cell's electrical properties to promote activities characteristic of each cell.
Another way transmitters and receptors transmit information is via activating secondary messenger systems within the cell, which then initiate and energise the characteristic metabolism of each cell. Metabolism in simple terms is the sum of the chemical activity within a system. There are typically well over 1,000 chemicals in a cell and most of them are made in the cell.
These secondary messengers may also initiate action at the DNA level, activating particular genes to operate according to their particular template.
'Transduction' means conversion or transformation of energy or information from one form to another.
Windmill turning wind energy into mechanical energy to pump water
Electrically coded information along nerve fibre to chemically coded information via neurochemical affecting receptor
THE MINDBODY - A TRANSDUCING SYSTEM
The mindbody - note, it's one word – may be viewed as an all-embracing holistic system - pervasively inter-related and dynamic - also very 'juicy.'
Chemically, there are at least five interrelated systems:
The neuronal system - neurotransmitters; (including extero-receptors and intero-receptors - sensory information and somatic information (i.e. information from the body). Soma is the Greek word for 'body'.
The autonomic nervous system comprised of the sympathetic and the parasympathetic systems
The immune system (immunotransmitters)
The endocrinal system (endocrino-transmitters)
Neuro-peptides - messenger molecules that are formed when information is transduced from neural impulses of mind into hormones of the body (neuro-endocrinal information transduction). This neuro-peptide system is used by all the other systems to communicate within and between each other. Neuro-peptides travel throughout the body in many ways - therefore this system is incredibly pervasive and flexible.
This system located at the base of forebrain has a number of sub-parts. It only weighs a few grams.
It's suggested that the Limbic-hypothalamic LH 'system' is the most obvious anatomical candidate for mindbody transducing.
LH - major linking place
Limbic Hypothalamic system has rich links to the frontal cortex (some use term 'fronto-limbic system').
Suggestion: that the frontal lobes synthesize
the information received through the extero-receptors about the outside world with
the information about the internal states of the body via funnelling both through the cross-over potentials of the LH system.
This synthesizing process may be used for regulating body states, and modifying body systems.
Through LH processing, sensation and perception are being integrated with thought and behaviour, with balance and moving as foundational processes. Refer Flexibility and Habit.
Firstly, we can use our mind in ways that heal, change and enrich the body. Secondly, we can use our body in ways that heal, change and enrich our mind.
We can use both of the foregoing to transform the mindbody.
Suggestion: that hormones released by experience act to modulate the strength of the memory of the experience. This process takes place within a particular somatic chemical stew - hence the term 'state dependent memory' (discussed more fully later). This 'particular state' helps 'constitute' and ‘re-constitute’ that 'particular memory' within the LH system. For example constituting a visual memory with sensory submodalities of:
associated – as if look out own eyes
Distance – short - happening right in front
Direction - happening right in front
Size - larger than life
With habitual nerve system response of activating powerful aversive emotion (Visual-emotional synaesthesia)
Then habitual re-constituting that memory with that integrated habitual pattern
These same hormones interact with influences of the peripheral hormones.
The LH has links to the reticular activating system:
implicated in detecting the:
Reward/punishment areas are in the LH
LH also is the centre for emotions This places our 'emotional potential' at the very centre of all of this 'cross traffic' in the LH.
The various sensory centres link into the limbic-hypothalamic (LH)system:
vestibular (balance, acceleration)
kinaesthetic centres (inner senses of the body's parts in relation to other parts and the whole - that sense that allows us to find and touch our nose with our eyes shut
Sensory cross-over - sensory information is stored in the LH and integrated with LH areas that link different sensory modes and submodes - for example, 'see-feel' linking. I see my beloved and feel wonderful. I see the grey sky (colour as visual submode) and feel less colourful. These areas are called cross-modal association areas. The LH is the major area for integrating or blending all of the input we receive through all of our senses. For example, it is involved in the 'hear starter's gun' - 'start sprinting' of the Olympic sprinter and the 'hear drums' - 'move to the rhythm' of the dancer, and the 'eye' - 'hand' coordination of the artist and musician
Parts of LH have 'transmitter' links via receptors and 'juice releasers' to and from:
Some parts, (the anterior and posterior hypothalamus have links to all three systems).
The LH system is saturated with receptors for the transmitters used by these three systems.
The mind can have modulating effects on the endocrinal system, the immune system and the autonomic system through neuronal links from higher centres of frontal cortex through to the hypothalamus. These links in turn are activating for example:
'hormone releasing factors' via blood stream to anterior pituitary where hormones (e.g. prolactin) are released.
releasing of, and storage within the posterior pituitary of the hormones vasopressin and oxytocin; these are in turn released into the blood stream in times of stress to regulate kidneys and other organs.
These are examples of the mind's capacity to move molecules (transduction).
The LH transduces semantic (verbal) information into a form which is somatic (body) encodeable.
A vital aspect of 'Mindbody' is that it involves the following interlocking energy and information systems:
genetic (via receptors at the DNA level - after messenger juices have interacted with receptors in the respective cell walls and intercellular material)
Each of the above four 'systems' have their own 'codes' with transducing processes allowing codes of one system, e.g. neurotransmitter, to be translated to a code of another. For example, from mind via neurotransmitter to hormone, and then perhaps to interact with genetic codes via pathways to receptors on the cell wall, and ultimately to receptors at the DNA level within a cell. These in turn start say, healing processes according to the specific template or pattern laid down within genetic material.
The hypothalamus mediates mindbody communication within the nervous system, the immune system and the endocrinal. The LH system has many receptors for each of the transducing systems:
sympathetic/parasympathetic - neurotransmitters
neuropeptide (particularly used for 'cross-talk' between above chemical transmitters
Memory - there is a specific locus of a memory trace on molecule, cellular and synaptic levels and also simultaneously within the LH system. There is processing, encoding, and recall of the specific memory trace within the LH system. The memory may be also stored at other locations. It is this LH activity that engages memory, learning and behaviour with the subtle state dependent factors. An example of state dependent memory: people memorised a set of nonsense syllables while intoxicated with vodka. When sober, their memory of the set of syllables was very poor. Later when under the influence of vodka again they were able to remember the syllables. That is, the 'memory' 'worked' when the particular 'state' - in this case the presence of vodka - was present again. The memory of the nonsense syllables was 'state dependent'. Change states during the reconstituting of memory, and you have possibilities for change. Refer maps and representations in the Healing Ways page.
The fundamental nature of all phenomenological experience is 'state bound', that is, an extremely complex, and specific 'chemical stew' accompanies the information exchange, and is encoded within the LH system. Our everyday consciousness and awareness are habitual patterns of state-dependent memories, associations and behaviours. If something interrupts us whisky we may lose the thread of what we were saying. For example, perhaps the word 'whisky' earlier in the previous sentence created a momentary interrupt. To put it another way, we lose our 'state'. Mothers distract to stop the young child's crying. States that we habitually get into can still be fragile, easily interrupted - changed, especially by the nurturers - the healers among us.
Creative moments are breaks in these habitual patterns and correlate with critical change in the molecular structure of proteins associated with learning.
Memory depends on the relation of neuro-hormonal and hormonal states. Forms of conditioning are special cases, not vice versa.
Healers may create shifted 'states' in which the other(s) can re-associate and re-organize in accord with life experience. This can result in inner de-framing, re-framing and re-synthesis. Refer
'interrupt' in Healing Ways
Stuck in a groove? Learned limitations? Problematic behaviours? Perhaps we can activate the 'weird' detectors in the ascending reticular activating system and in turn activate the LH system. Simultaneously, we may add 'confusion' to 'break' or 'deframe' the state while adding 'pervasive curiosity' to maintain rapport! The following is a brief synopsis of Scenario Four in Transforming the Whole of It – Applying Brain Research.
'Meat axe in hand
Blind murderous rage in belly,
Spitting profanity into the healer's face;
And with sudden and unexpected move
The healer's whisper in his ear -
'Charlie! Do you know what I really like about you?'
Rage collapses - Eyes spin, glaze over;
Ergotropic collapse (see later).
'Yes Charlie! Even though you were mad as a meat-axe -
You have stopped! That's what I like about you - tremendous self-control'.
'Curious confusion' can be a wonderful state for interrupting old ways and for introducing healing transforming moments. States for symptoms, pains, and discomforts are 'very fragile', and can be easily interrupted - plenty of healing implications here!
Tracking someone into their lesser or least used sensory modes and submodes is by definition for them an altered state.
COGNITIVE, EMOTIONAL, SENSORY, PERCEPTUAL AND BEHAVIORAL SIGNS OF SIGNIFICANT INVOLVEMENT IN INNER WORK (TRANCE) AND STATE DEPENDENT PHENOMENA
Also refer listings of states associated with ergotropic and trophotropic systems (see later) The healer may use any of the following as subtle indicators of state dependent phenomena and significant involvement in inner work:
blushing or blanching of face
economy of movement
eyelid changes and closure
facial features relaxed
literalism 'Can you tell me the time? Yes!
movements slow or absent
retardation of blinking, startle and swallow reflexes
sensory, muscular, and body changes
spontaneous altered state phenomena
speech minimal or absent
time lag in motor or conceptual behaviour
UPON 'RETURN' FROM TRANCE
body shifts and stretching;
comments, for example, of been 'out', 'far away', 'in a trance', 'felt drugged, very heavy or hypnotized'.
for a time the world may seem flatter or deeper
loss or enhancement of the third dimension
increased clarity of vision, and everything seeming more colourful.
Finding: The effectiveness of the placebo is proportional to the apparent effectiveness of the active analgesic agent! Isn't this a weird result? Think about this.
One third of people using placebos (within control groups in double bind studies) have around 55% of the treatment effect.
If a particular treatment scores 95% in pain reduction, then in a third of the control group the placebo scores 55% of that 95% in pain reduction.
If a second treatment scores 75% in pain reduction, the placebo scores 55% of 75% in pain reduction in a third of this different control group.
The above suggests that part of the effect of any treatment is the placebo effect. To put it another way, instead of being the 'nuisance variable', the placebo response is a general ingredient in all clinical situations/treatments and suggests that there is a common underlying mechanism or process that accounts for mindbody communication and healing, regardless of the symptom or disease.
Research suggests that there is no correlation or relationship between suggestion/belief and placebo. Or may be placebos are operating via different processes or levels of response. However it seems that both 'suggestion' and 'placebos' are mediated by right brain processes.
The challenge - how can we activate right-brain processes to maximise the healing potential of 'placebo processes'?
Much of the placebo research relates to pain studies.
Placebos also work to effect change in the following systems:
implicating the autonomic nervous system:
implicating endocrine system:
adrenal gland secretion
implicating immune system:
rheumatoid arthritis; cancer
One study showed that one third of 17,000 prescriptions in the UK were not 'appropriate for ailment - massive use of placebo?
Healer as enabler and guide.
Using 'mindbody possibilities'.
One of Milton Erickson's clients had nausea every time she drank orange juice following one occasion of drinking the juice with some other medication. Milton knew his client had consumed orange juice at a picnic four weeks prior to drinking the 'offending' concoction. Milton had his client spend 20 minutes age-regressed back to relive that picnic. Upon coming out of the regression she could drink orange juice again.
A person (prisoner) had had a shutdown of facial-cranial nerves, speech motor production and seizure of neck-shoulder muscles. Perhaps his symptoms were 'frozen horror' in realizing he had killed a young person. Perhaps they were sustained by state dependent memory, learning and behaviour.
These neural conditions were still present in the client after he had served 42 years in jail - the first five years in solitary. He was then regressed to a time three years prior to his imprisonment and loss of nerve function. In this state he relived in detail a very pleasant overseas holiday that lasted three weeks. Upon returning from this regression the client had regained functionality in all the facial-cranial nerves and also functionality in speech motor production. In simple terms he could speak normally and his face worked. Twenty minutes of Feldenkrais restored his neck and shoulder function - all this after 42 years! He was granted parole six months later.
For more on this scenario refer:
The Laceweb model has healer's enabling others help themselves in actualizing healing. This is very different to manipulating, controlling and programming someone.
Healing may happen by simply accessing 'state dependent memory, learning, and behaviour systems in mindbody, and creating contexts where the encoded information becomes available for issue resolution (refer above 'prisoner and 'orange juice' examples).
Use client's world view, words and attitudes for healing change.
Brain function is active not passive.
Every memory or creative access is a reframe. Every memory is a re-construction. Because memory is always a constructive process, we actually synthesize a new subjective experience on each recall. It follows that there is scope for re-associating, re-organizing, reframing or deframing in ways that allows change towards re-solving. From a psycho-biological perspective, consciousness or mind is a process of 'self-reflective information transduction'.
The Mindbody is massively integrated. As an aid to understanding, people have named various 'systems' within the mindbody. For example, the endocrinal system, the digestive system and the cardio-vascular system. Each of these are systems embodying many other systems. Everything is pervasively interactive. The mindbody is so integrated that it makes sense and aids understanding to give names to meta-systems, that is, systems embracing a number of others systems. There is, for example, the integration of the autonomic system, some somatic systems and higher neural systems.
The mindbody system that 'controls' among other things the distribution and use of metabolic energy in the body may be conceived as being composed of two systems. One system is called the ergotropic system and the other the trophotropic system. Note that the word 'control' was in inverted commas. When everything tends to integrate with everything, the notion of control becomes slippery in many senses. As we will see, many aspects of the mindbody and outside stimuli may act as initiators or catalysts for system change.
The ergotropic system and the trophotropic system are sometimes characterised as antagonistic. That is, as one activates, the other tends to deactivate. The relationship between the two systems is better thought of as complementary. In some contexts both system may peak simultaneously.
The ergotropic system incorporates the functions of the following:
the sympathetic nervous system
certain endocrinal glands
portions of the reticular activating system in the brain stem
the posterior hypothalamus
potions of limbic system
the frontal cortex
The ergotropic system is activated when there is the possibility of responding to stimuli. The system may arouse the entire mindbody for action (especially threat) or arouse some portion of it. It may have extremely quick response times.
The ergotropic system's function:
The principal function is the control of short range, moment-by-moment adaptation to events in the world
It gears the mindbody to initiate and carry out action - often extremely quickly
It's particularly connected to fight/flight/avoidance behaviours
Blood flow cut to digestive system and directed to limbs
The systems activation shunts the body's metabolic energy away from long-range developmental activities
It enables the expenditure of vital resources
Bronchi are opened
It mediates stress relative to events in the world
Historically, it allows us to eat without been eaten
Organic indicators of ergotropic arousal:
paling of skin (constriction of surface veins and capillaries)
increased heart rate and blood pressure
increased muscle tension
expenditure of vital resources
dry mouth (decreased salivation)
endocrine system releases chemicals that increase effectiveness of muscles
constriction of throat
increased breathing rate with shallower breathing
erection of body hair (hair stands on end)
experiencing positive or aversive emotion
associated objects or events typically perceived as:
undesirable or desirable
attractive or repulsive
friendly or hostile
beautiful or ugly
Heightened ergotropic arousal may be easily linked to black and white (dichotomous) types of thinking. Either you're for us or against us - extreme polarisation. Historically, this may be traceable to the hunter and the hunted, the fight or flight, you're either with them or us. As well, heightened states of concentration may be experienced accompanied by dissociation from other aspects of the external and internal environment. This again allows for very specific functioning focused on the specific. And sometimes all this can allow us to save our lives and function highly effectively. It can also be problematic - for example, the child that is so focused on catching the cat that she runs in front of the bus.
The trophotropic system incorporates the functions of the following:
various endocrinal glands
portions of the reticular activating system
the anterior hypothalamus
portions of the limbic region
portions of the frontal cortex
The Trophotropic system's function:
system operates to maintain the optimum internal balance of bodily functions for continued good health and development of the mindbody
it controls the somatic functions responsible for the long term wellbeing
regulating all of the vegetative functions:
reconstruction and growth of cells
ORGANIC INDICATORS OF TROPHOTROPIC AROUSAL
Organic indicators of Trophotropic arousal:
production and storage of vital resources
digestion and distribution of nutriments
bronchi leading to lungs constricted and coated with mucous
blushing (due to release of sympathetic constriction of veins and capillaries)
constriction of the pupil
collection of waste products
deceased heart rate and blood pressure
relaxation of tension in the muscles
relaxation of the throat
slowing and deepening of respiration
erection of penis and clitoris
relaxation (reduced arousal)
disinterest in events in the environment, or with some dispassionate concentration upon some object
retreat into internal mental life
comfortable, warm, womb-like indifference to the environment
reconstructing and developing the mindbody
Each system is designed to inhibit the other in normal circumstances. This happens through reciprocal inhibitory pathways. The relationship between the two systems is better characterised as complementary rather than antagonistic. As mentioned, at times both systems may peak simultaneously.
Each serves the wellbeing of the mindbody.
The ergotropic system serves the short term wellbeing.
The trophotropic serves the long term.
The ergotropic system enables moment-to-moment adaptation.
The trophotropic system maintains homeostatic balance - the fine tuning of organs in relation to each other as the demands of internal maintenance shift and change. The system may activate one organ or body part, or it may turn on/off organ systems globally, for example turning off the whole skeletal musculature during dream sleep.
The ergotropic system is geared for short bursts.
The trophotropic system is geared for prolonged action for recuperation and growth.
Prolonged ergotropic reactivity may follow torture and trauma. This reactivity may cause depletion of vital resources stored by the trophotropic system in various organs. This in turn may lead to:
in extreme cases - death
It may well be that death by 'pointing the bone' in Australian Aboriginal culture may create sustained ergotropic-trophotropic relative balance level that profoundly shuts down metabolism while draining resources and skewing normal cognitive functioning. The system rapidly reaches system collapse and death.
The ergotropic-trophotropic relationship relative to any stimulus may be anchored. One aspect of how anchoring and reframing may be 'working' is that it sets up internal contexts containing a particular state of internal 'juices' (neuro, endocrinal and hormonal transmitters and peptides) and a changed set of associated meanings and emotions in the presence of a particular set of stimuli. That is, this appears to be another example of state dependent learning. This anchored ergotropic-trophotropic system relationship has been called 'tuning' - though at times the 'tune' may be problematical to say the least! Most of these tuning anchors tend to happen as part of our socialising or in a rather ad hoc way.
For example, some people 'get up tight' around people in 'authority'. This implies a discrete ergotropic-trophotropic 'mix' relative to those perceived to be in authority. For all those hanging out for a foot massage, this may be for them, anchored to another discrete tuning, in this case with the trophotropic system active relative to the ergotropic system. As soon as the massage, or even the thought of a foot massage, is under way, relaxation and all the other associated mindbody changes begin to occur.
It is possible to use reframing and anchoring to change the relative ergotropic-trophotropic balance that occurs in response to a particular set of stimuli. For example, people traumatised by war may go into ergotropic overload (check the body responses above) whenever they experience anything remotely associated with the military. Reframing and anchoring may allow these peoples' ergotropic-trophotropic balance to be tuned such that the ergotropic is 'set' at a much lower level in the presence of military stimuli. Upon intentional re-anchoring, state dependent learning may take place associating military stimuli with a different internal chemical state and a different ergotropic-trophotropic balance. Different meanings, somatic feelings, memories and emotions may also accompany the presence of the stimuli. The sensory elements of memory are also state dependent, including the submodes of the senses.
One or more submodes may be 'critical' for sustaining the memory, its meanings, and the associated emotions and shifts in body states and sensations. For example, some of the submodes of vision are location, direction, distance and colour. One or more of these may be critical for 'constituting' the 'potency' of memory as 'that memory'. For example, a memory may have an instantaneous 'see and feel awful' quality. That is, there is a strong visual-somatic link. The person may have for example, the image always larger than life (size submode) and in full colour (colour submode) with it all happening right in front of them (location submode). These submodes may set up the visual state in which the see-feel link is 'constituted'. Experience shows that it may be possible to interrupt the 'see-feel awful' nature of the memory by making a few visual submodality changes. Refer the Laceweb Page 'Healing Ways' for a discussion on 'Sensory Submodalities' as well as the section, 'Maps and Representations'.
Changing the relative balance levels of the ergotropic and trophotropic systems is called retuning. For example, in some cultures, over the centuries healers have met the returning hunting party well outside the communal camp. These healers would use rituals and ceremonies to retune the ergotropic excitement of the hunt to a more relaxed response (trophotropic reactivity). Note that in this case, the healer's retuning is shifting the relative systems-balance between various anchored states, without altering the anchoring.
It may well be that indigenous healers have been using ceremonies, rituals and other healing ways for the tuning and retuning of ergotropic and trophotropic relative balance levels. It may be that this is fundamental firstly, to virtually all their healing ways and secondly, to the evoking of various states of consciousness. Major and lasting healing change away from problematic mindbody states may come from reframing and anchoring during their healing and reconciliation ceremonies. For example, for centuries all members of a village would sit and wait for all of the villagers from another village visiting for a reconciliation ceremony. While the visitors are walking down the valley, the receiving village are slowly singing in local language the repeated line, ‘All we want is peace’ accompanied by a lilting drum beat. This sound travels up the valley and the visitors naturally start walking to the rhythm of the receiving village. This is an example of retuning and synchronising their ergotropic and trophotropic system relative balance levels within and between villages as an imbedded process of the total reconciliation process.
Retuning may take place from the top down and the bottom up. Top down retuning uses the 'higher' cortical systems before 'lower' limbic and autonomic-endocrinal systems follow suit. Bottom up retuning operates directly upon 'lower' autonomic-endocrine-somatic systems first, followed by higher system retuning.
Retuning may of course involve all manner of combinations of the bottom up and top down processes, so it’s not just linear vertical change. We are back to the matrix again! For example, a healer may set up a healing context and use reframing and somatic work to start introducing possibilities for change at many levels. It may be that the ergotropic- trophotropic system may have some ideal balance levels for specific healing. Milton Erickson would use the ultradian rhythm downtime (about 5 minutes of down time every 90 minutes) and the person's associated ergotropic-trophotropic system relative balance levels to do specific healing during the down time. Certain balance states may be ideal for beginning re-anchoring. Notice that the 90 minute tea or coffee break is typical - 9AM, 10:30AM, 12 noon etc.
Lower autonomic systems may be tuned and retuned directly by penetration from external stimuli without necessary intervention of higher ergotropic-trophotropic centres. These stimuli are called drivers and may take the form of repetitive stimuli such as drumming, flickering light, chanting, or sexual intercourse.
It is possible for both ergotropic and trophotropic systems to peak simultaneously, for example, during orgasm. Drivers are often used in ritual and ceremony to generate simultaneous discharge in both systems which may set the stage for a radical retuning of the systems relative to a particular stimuli (anchoring).
Such drivers are an example of symbolic penetration at the level of the autonomic nervous system having a flow-on effect on other centres. At the mind aspect of the mindbody, symbols may penetrate directly to unconscious intentionalities and processes. Far from being unlikely or impossible, symbolic penetration is common and characteristic of the on-going functioning of the nervous system (as in the song, drumming and walking mentioned above). Healers throughout time have used symbolic penetration as a healing way. Milton Erikson's, as well as Bandler and Grinder's healing processes make extensive use of symbolic penetration at the unconscious and conscious levels and throughout the mindbody.
Four categories of ergotropic-trophotropic events (and their sensorial simultaneous associated happenings) may occur during certain healings and extraordinary phases of consciousness.
Trophotropic activity may be tuned exceptionally high. This may result in an extraordinary state of relaxation. Paradoxically, it may happen during certain meditative stages accompanied by keen alertness and vigilance. In extreme form, hypertrophotropic tuning may be experienced as oceanic tranquillity and peace in which no thoughts, fantasies or bodily sensations intrude upon consciousness. It's sometimes described as floating on a waveless sea.
Here ergotropic activity is tuned exceptionally high, resulting in an extraordinary stage of unblocked arousal and excitation. This stage may occur where output of motor activity is continuous and rhythmical, as in:
prolonged dancing (e.g. corroborees)
long distance running
voluminous and continuous information processing where ego centred decision making would be disadvantageous, as in:
enabling healing while using heightened metaprocess awareness in large group contexts
extensive intuitive writing where words flow from internal silence
motor car racing
a pilot putting his jumbo airline into a controlled almost vertical dive to get rid of volcanic ash that had stalled all his engines. This happened over Indonesian some years back and it worked!)
The state may also be associated with keen alertness and concentration in the absence of superfluous thought and fantasy. The state may be experienced as the channelling of vast quantities of energy through consciousness.
Under certain circumstances both systems may discharge simultaneously. In this case a hypertrophotropic state is suddenly accompanied by an ergotropic surge. For example, a mediator may be in a state of oceanic bliss, and perhaps, by intensifying concentration upon some object, absorption into the object is experienced. This tends to be invariably be accompanied by a tremendous release of energy. One or other 'active blisses' may be experienced, as well as energy rushes and other movements and senses both within and without the body. Sometimes a profound energy flow arises, often very quickly, that merges the person with All, including the Devine.
Simultaneous arousal may occur via the opposite route. Here people may experience a trophotropic discharge in the midst of hyperergotropic tuning. This may come from enhanced concentration and trophotropic drivers such as rhythmical stimuli like chanting. The simultaneous state has been described as an orgasmic, rapturous, or as an ecstatic rush arising from a generalised sense of flow. This experience may flow from certain types of dancing and marathon running.
Both the ergotropic and trophotropic may be ‘driven’ directly, either from top down or from bottom up or some combination. Dancing is typically a bottom up driver operating initially upon the lowest level of ergotropic and trophotropic organisation. Another common bottom up driver is fasting. This practice often precedes or accompanies other more active ritual procedures. Fasting is known, not only to reduce caloric and other nutrients available to cells, but also to decrease the amount of important hormones in the blood, as well as their receptor-cell sensitivity! This may provide a probable mechanism of energy conservation at the cellular level. Fasting may well be a bottom up driver of trophotropic activity, due to its tranquilizing effect upon the body.
The two systems may also be driven from the top. This may be accomplished by concentrating on imagery which may increase or decrease somatic arousal depending on content. Sustained concentration on imagery may lead to hyper-trophotropic activity and then perhaps to an ergotropic discharge - perhaps a circumscribed discharge at one of the sympathetic plexuses, experienced perhaps as a surge at one or the other chakras in one tradition or 'the blessed heart of Jesus' within another tradition. A more global and complete discharge throughout the entire system may be experienced within one tradition say as 'Kundalini Awakening' and within another tradition as 'rapture'.
And it may be noted that this hints at the applicability of all this for meta-understandings (the understanding of 'understanding') between cultures. People from differing cultures and belief systems all have the same underlying mindbody processes and so healing ways may be passed on between cultures in potentially seamless ways. And the healing processes may easily nestle into differing cultures and belief systems including the all-embracing 'universe defining' belief systems called 'cosmologies'.
Cosmologies are culturally constructed, and psycho-socially constructing. They provide answers to all the 'big' questions' like 'what is the meaning of life?' and 'how did it all get here? We make cosmologies and then they 'make us'. Cosmologies embrace shared understandings of all the significant elements and relationships that go to make up the universe as well as the universe's origins and possible demise.
People of all cultures and cosmologies share the same mindbody-universe interaction processes that are being outlined in this paper. We share the same healing implications of this. We engage in some mindbody-stimulus interaction and get the same resulting experience. We may account for this experience from deep within our differing cosmologies and belief systems – it is Kundalini Awakening. It is rapture. It is possible to lift healing ways and understandings from one culture and cosmology and pass the healing ways on to people with a fundamentally different culture and cosmology. For example, traumatised people in Bougainville typically have a Christian cosmology and some simultaneously hold to earlier indigenous cosmologies. To offer support to trauma survivors and have this support depend on say, believing a South American Mayan cosmology, is to invite rejection. And it’s not necessary to have Mayan or any other 'belief' overlay! As said, the mindbody healing ways outlined in this paper are independent of culture, belief and cosmology. Hence the suggestion that they can be passed on in seamless ways. Put simply, we're all human and healing ways work for all people! Of course, different cultures and cosmologies may have differing meanings and ideas associated with life experience and this will give a particular 'flavour' to their use of the healing ways.
All the foregoing has rich implications for healers and enablers. We may use many processes to engender change within all parts of the mindbody. We may particularly engender change within the limbic-hypothalamic cross-over system and through this change may flow to all other parts of the mindbody. The following are being funnelled through the limbic hypothalamic system:
ideas and meanings
all our senses
all our emotions
all our body sensations
all our memories
all our imaginings
endocrinal input and output
autoimmune input and output
autonomic input and output
All the above are wellbeing change-points and have links extending to include every aspect of our mindbody. We have explored the ergotropic and trophotropic systems and have noted that these two system's primary role is our short term and long term wellbeing respectively. Hints on how to do this have been included. Throughout human experience healers have used many ways to introduce well being - to increase flexibility and choice. Perhaps this paper has given you ideas to use in your healing.
Here are some points to ponder:
How to use curiosity, confusion, surprise, intrigue, the novel, etc?
How are the above linked to state dependent learning?
How to devise processes to stimulate the ascending reticular activating system - to create heightened states of cortical activity to facilitate new learning?
How to sense the ergotropic and trophotropic states and their implications and functionings, and sense how they may be sustaining problematic happenings?
And how to ecologically and respectfully share understandings about tuning, retuning, driving, framing, reframing and anchoring ergotropic and trophotropic states and functionings?
How to help someone access psychological resource states that they have, but are not using, to resolve the presenting issue; how to, for example use visual imagery via the occipital, temporal, LH route? Or the Parietal, Amygdala, LH sensory-emotional cross over Route?
What combination of logical-verbal and analogical-metaphorical ways of information exchange would optimize left and right cerebral hemisphere integration for creative problem solving in a specific situation?
How can re integrate disconnected aspects? Refer Wellness Mantras
How would we usefully engage the fronto-limbic system of a youth in a quandary about life goals?
How do we use mind and the trophotropic system to help an exhausted immune system to take a short recovery break or mobilise itself and the wider defensive-healing-wellbeing processes to remove cancer?
How do we work with an ergotropic system that is locked on high gear following trauma with the result that the person is 'full on' but 'exhausted'?
How do we use mind links to neuro-peptides, the messengers between all systems, to heal in life threatening contexts?
How do we seamless link practical wellness action with the understandings of this paper and the following papers:
May there be a sharing of these things and the passing on to others those things that work. Now that we have a taste for this, perhaps we may spread the word, the vision and the feeling among the healers among and within us all - for the wellbeing of the world and all who reside here.
First released at ConFest March 1997.
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The Spiral Bookshop, 269 Smith Street, Fitzroy, Victoria.
Theosophical Bookshop, Russell Street, Melbourne, Victoria.
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