The nature of the mind – working with triggers, anxiety, fear & karma

In these testing challenging times  we go through ups and downs, sometimes feeling overwhelmed and overcome with our emotions and feelings. We can feel confused, lost and don’t know where to go next or how to transcend these difficult and uncomfortable situations. Ultimately, we must surrender to the journey which inevitably gives us opportunities to grow. It may not be easy, as we may often default to behaviors we have become accustomed too, like sadness, anger, frustration and even judgement of ourselves and others.

Fear, anxiety, stress and so on are energetic manifestations of what is stored deeply within our internal system and are somehow mechanisms of protection and soothing that the parts of our mind are creating in order for us to survive and move forward.

We may see situations, people and so on as threats because our internal system are trying to protect us. This is part of the natural inner workings of the mind that have become normal. This is how we perceive things, and our perception is something we can change.

Our thought processes, feeling states and/or behaviours form cycles that perpetuate each other and create more pain and suffering for us and those around us and this embeds these thought processes and belief systems further. We can get stuck in these cyclic loops and the feelings, emotions, behaviours and actions that arise become our default setting.

So how can we effectively navigate this and forge a path toward self-mastery?

We have an incredible system of internal protection, soothing and reaction that is managed by parts of our mind and body. Our mind is multiple, and where we may see the ego as a singular dominant energy, perhaps coming to see the mind as being multiple can help us to understand that we have different thought processes and belief systems held by the different parts of our mind that are often polorised.

Perhaps you’ve noticed when a situation occurs, for example, you’ve been invited to a party, you may have a part of you that is excited to go, but a part of you that is nervous about going, leaving us confused about what to do. This is an example of how we have these 2 differing parts within our mind that have different thought processes and belief systems. Learning to recognise these different parts, or entities and creating a dialogue with them is key to learning to overcome challenges with grace and ease.

The following article lays out a 6 step process toward creating a new internal relationship. There are videos to support this process.

Step #1 – Breathe

The breath has the power to dramatically shift our state of being in an instant through various mechanisms that are hardwired into our body and mind. Breathing consciously can bring:

  • A calming of the nervous system through activation of the parasympathetic nervous system – this is our ‘rest and digest’ mode that helps us relax, feel stable and promotes energy flow to the organs of the body like the digestive and reproductive systems.
  • More oxygen to the brain which gives us more clarity and space to think and come back to stability.
  • Help us focus on our stability and brings awareness to our sense of self and capacity to hold space for our self.
  • Energy as the breath itself is energy that can be used to replenish the system, especially when we feel anxious, burnt out or overwhelmed.
  • Space to be more aware of what is coming up which helps us deal with it.

Have a look at these videos that share some more wisdom on pranayama (breathwork) techniques and nervous system stabalising sets.

Nervous System Stabalising Breath Set 2

Nervous System Stabalising Breath Set 2

Step #2 – Notice From the Perspective of Self

Becoming consciously aware of how our inner world is working and what makes us tick is the important 1st step in being able to make corrections, adjustments or refinements to the mind. It starts with acknowledging and accepting how our mind works and how our parts are organised so that we can create a new kind of dialogue with our inner world that is evolutionary and helpful.

Too often we  suppress or push away uncomfortable feelings, emotions, thoughts or images we see and feel internally – this is saying to our inner world, specifically our parts – I don’t want to see/hear or feel this now – and this creates more distance between us and our inner world. If we want to overcome these difficulties, we must be able to sit with them, notice and acknowledge them so that we start to send the message that – this is important to me and I want to know more about this.

This step can often be the most difficult because we can easily forget to do this. Its all in the practice of conscious awareness that we grow this ability to notice. We may have to remind our self constantly to bring this awareness, attention and inner dialogue in, sometimes that in itself can bring up feelings or parts that are frustrated, but its a natural part of embedding this type of new awareness and dialogue.

When you bring awareness to your your internal world, specifically a part, take time to notice the different characteristics of it – how it feels, if there are any words or images associated with it, its appearance, perhaps its energy signature, where it is in the body and so on. This will help you recognise it in the future.

All this work is being done by our Self or Soul energy. This is the true essence of who we are. As a whole, we are also our parts – however, when we create this dialogue with our mind parts, we are doing it from Self energy. The practice is to keep remembering to come back into Self energy to create the dialogue with the parts from there.

Here’s a video about Triggers which speaks to the nature of triggers and sitting with them. Please start the video in at 6.41 to go straight to the content.

Step #3 – Acknowledge

As I’ve mentioned above, acknowledging goes hand in hand with noticing. We must do this explicitly with our voice, or internal self-talk where we literally send that message to those voices, visions, feelings or emotions we see and feel.

In this video, I talk about how we can reprogram our “anxiety” simply by changing the way we speak to ourselves about it. The labels we use and the very way we do this. Check it out.

We can say ‘I acknowledge this feeling’ or ‘I see you there’ or even ‘I understand how you feel’. Imagine you are speaking to a friend who has come to you to share how they are feeling, how would you respond to them? Speak in this way. Don’t try to jump in straight away with solutions  or fixits, just simply acknowledge and see what comes back. Give it time and space and watch how your internal system relaxes a little.

The following videos help to guide you through Steps #2 and #3.

Step #4 – Take Evolutionary Action

With clarity, space, energy and focus inward into our internal world, and having started a dialogue with our  mind, we can now take the action that’s needed to overcome the challenges that we face.

When we ask those parts of us that are triggered what they need, or how we can help, we can then negotiate with them and make committments to take the action that is required.

For example, if what’s needed is to take time out, then we can make a commitment to do that. If whats needed is to  contact someone for support, then we can do that too. The key is to listen carefully to what is coming up and take action on that.

Step #5 – Be Present to the Initial Trigger

If we are being present with the initial trigger that came up, for example, a part of us feels overburdened with our workload and we are sitting with that – another trigger may come up that demands our attention in that moment. So for example, a voice may some up saying ‘Just get on with it’ or a part of us may feel we are incapable. This is another part that is arising and it needs support too.

Often the secondary trigger that arises is an uncomfortable feeling, like a judgement or panic… And it’s natural for even a third part to arise that just wants to take us away – distract us or shut us off from all of this as its starting to become overwhelming. Seeing and feeling these parts as a separate parts is key.

In fact, these secondary and tertiary triggers can even take our attention away. This often creates a cascade of confusion, anxiety or overwhelm. Often then, we feel like we don’t know what to do and get stuck – paralysed.  This is EXACTLY where we need to do the work, because too often we miss that there is a second or third part of us being triggered.

We can use the same techniques as before, to acknowledge that trigger which is arising and give it space and time to be heard, seen and felt, so that it can be given the attention that it needs. That trigger can be worked with so that it relaxes and can give way for you to go back to the initial trigger and just be with that.

It’s this practice of untangling the different parts of us, or different energies in our system that all need attention and support.

Here are some videos that will guide you to stay present.

Step #6 – Release

In time, these practices will just become a natural part of who you are and how you engage with your internal world. You will remember more and more to fall back into this as your default setting – personal curious enquiry from Self.

Allow yourself to naturally flow with this new technique and find your own way with it. Your internal world will just be so happy you and tuning inward in a new way that you will make progress.

Integrating other holistic tools and practices is really important too to find your own way. Below are some videos that guide you to do this.

In time, your internal world will allow you to go deeper and deeper, the protective parts will relax and step aside and you will be able to get to the parts of you that carry karma (conditioned identity), samskara (the impressions of our past actions) and the burdens of trauma, and when the time is right, you will be able to let go of that. This is the process of release.

We are releasing, or unburdening all the time… Through the breath, meditation, movement, purging – there are lots of different ways. This spontaneously happens and then at some point, we realise something has shifted. Sometimes we don’t need for those stories or memories of what we are releasing to fully play out… Often the releasing happens on its own, without us even realising what it is or where it’s from. We don’t always need to know or analyse it.

This latter stage of releasing can also be facilitated through a therapist – for example an Internal Family Systems practitioner, a trauma-informed Energy Medicine or Reiki practitioner or other trauma-informed therapist. I would highly recommend that you seek this out – to be held – so that you can do deeper work when the time comes.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions or feedback. All your parts are welcome here.

Heres a video sharing 3 Simple Ways to Neutralise Anxiety & Come Out of Paralysis

This video speaks to integrating other holistic aspects to working with triggers.

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