Symptoms as biofeedback

July 10, 2018

4 a.m. I’ve just experienced something that I actually interrupted in order to come upstairs and type it out. I wouldn’t ordinarily interrupt an experience, but this is different.

I woke up at 3:20 a.m. or so, congested and not really right. (For the past few days, the temperature has been in the 70s rather than in the 90s as it had been previously, and while that is pleasant in itself, the dip seems to have affected me in the way that the coming of Autumn does: For several days I have had to use the inhaler to stave off asthma.) So although I got up and got out my journal, I wasn’t really up to doing anything. I made a couple of notes, checked email, played a game.

In the course of listing what was going on with me – a song stuck in my head; nose and ears stuffed up; sniffles – I wrote, “It will be interesting to see if this keeps me from living in alpha,” which is my shorthand description of what I have been doing since discovering it in last month’s Discovery program. That is, maintaining an even, calm, eyes-open high alpha. And as I wrote that, I thought, do the waterfall.

(The waterfall meditation was given to Rita and me many years ago. It amounts to this: Envision yourself standing under a waterfall, with the waters – the waters of life and health – flowing not only over you, but through you. As they flow over and through you, the waters carry away detritus from your physical, mental and emotional life. That is, they wash away what is no longer serving you, and leave you refreshed and to that extent regenerated.)

So, I did the waterfall. And as I envisioned the waters flowing through me, I followed them, so to speak, watching (feeling, really) as they progressed from my head to my toes. As I did, I noticed as usual that they flowed easily through some places, and sort of stuck at others, and those other places were of course the areas needing help. It occurred to me, the way to use that bit of feedback was to split my attention, with one part following the waters smoothly and another part offering extra assistance, so to speak, to the places where the “stuck” spots indicated something needing help.

As I did:

(a) The tune in my head didn’t quite go away, but vastly reduced its volume, until it was only a scarcely noticed background presence. (It’s still annoying that I can’t get rid of it at the moment, but I’ll take “better,” any time.)

(b) My nose cleared up, and after a while one of my ears popped and most of the congestion was gone.

I take it that (b) may have been the result of the waterfall, but (a) is probably the result of the effort of moving into alpha. And then it occurred to me, we can use the reduction of symptoms as a feedback mechanism! Yes, we want the symptoms to go away, and even more so the causes, but at the same time, they may be useful in and of themselves, as biofeedback.

I got all excited at the idea of sharing that thought, so there it is. I hope it helps somebody. Symptoms as biofeedback.

4 thoughts on “Symptoms as biofeedback

  1. It’s the same thing I’ve been working on–living life calm, focused, open–so it was helpful to revisit the concept of the alpha state. The waterfall meditation seems particularly powerful, so I plan to give it a go. It’s so easy to fall into a victim-of-symptoms state, rather than believing we can do something about it. The session made me stop and think about all of the feedback our bodies are giving us, and how rarely I stop to acknowledge it, much less use it. Thanks for this.

  2. I awoke this AM with a kicker of a headache. I’ve been doing some detoxing, so I wasn’t surprised. But I don’t care for it to linger, either.

    Waterfall. Rushing sparkling energy dancing on light in the water. Moved into it, realized that resistance was indeed futile! That energy, like water, was pushing, rushing, washing the resistance; no detritus could hold on against that pressure. Surrender. Sigh. Relief.

    Eh. (shrug) We get distracted by 3D, forget what techniques give us relief. It’s good to have reminders. Thanks.

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