Here's some stuff on the breakthrough we talked about. HELL week is designed to differentiate between the men who can control their autonomic nervous system (ANS) and those who can't.
Associate the sympathetic nervous response with a sweating, intense, loud, rash, quick colleague--fight or flight. He rejects and resists, this is a stress reaction. He is not effective because as part of the fight or flight response, all the blood has been diverted to his core (to reduce bleeding if he is struck or cut) and away from his brain. The pH of his blood changes. His heart rate elevates to an unsustainable level and he might lose his bowels. Ever heard of someone so scared they peed themselves? He fights using all of his energy up quickly then 'flys' by ringing the bell. Many sprint athletes function in this zone to improve their short distance performance--think of what an asshole most professional soccer or baseball players are. The sympathetic nervous system is linked to combat stress reaction which eventually causes PTSD. Remember seeing me after a particularly harrowing climb? For days my eyes were wide, I couldn't sleep, I didn't want to hear loud noise, I wasn't hungry, and I avoided contact with other people. This is low grade CSR. Thank the nervous response to fear and pressure.
The parasympathetic nervous system is thought of as the feminine response, tend and befriend. This is the response of integration, of shifting one's paradigm of acceptance to encompass all possibilities. It is the reaction I had when I got hypothermic on the Wonderland. OK, so it got dark and I'm hypothermic, what next? I suppose I'll stare at this beautiful moon awhile, circulate my breath fully, keep eating and drinking, and move. While in this state, your body is able to digest the food you put in it, you can urinate regularly, your heart rate is slower, your breathing is normal. In this state one can think clearly and accomodate stressors without breaking.
Fear is a reaction, an emotion. It is part of you so you control it. Tomorrow when the bombs are loud and someone yells while shooting a gun, pause and feel your emotions before reacting. Where does the tension sit? Perhaps there is a binding tightness behind the clavical or maybe you notice yourself suddenly squinting against the light or you feel your heart pounding in your throat. Set a logical and positive intention to your movements. Engender a feeling of detached curiosity about your situation. I do this when the pain in my legs is so intense and the sun is setting and I'm alone. The fear rises and I do not ignore it as ignoring it only makes me transition into the parasympathetic state. When we've talked before about associating with your experience, this is one reason why it works. Become your experience fully.
The gateway to the ANS is the breath and, in more advanced stages of meditation, the heart rate. Give this one a try tonight, if you are able. Put it on your headphones as it is twelve minutes long. This is a great way to sense the way you connect to your body and the rest of the universe. If you have less time, just sit with your eyes closed and hands folded in your lap for a few minutes noticing your breath.
Looking forward to talking once more before you go to sleep tonight. You will succeed because you know your mind.
I love you,