Leave a Comment

Learning the brake, gears and accelerator

If you purchased a machine as complex and as wonderful as yourself, you would demand a handbook from the manufacturer. Unfortunately, the universe, the planet, and the parents who brought you forth, do not supply such a helpful guide. Yet there are things about how you work that are incredibly useful to learn. For instance in some ways you can be likened to a car. You have a brake, a gas pedal, and a steering wheel. Most of the time these are applied unconsciously by external controls. Running, making love, drinking coffee or watching a powerful film, will cause your body and mind to become more excited. Your breathing and heart will speed up. This is like pressing the gas pedal. Drowsing in an armchair, drinking alcohol, is the opposite, and slows you down. This is the brake. As for the steering wheel, other people or events influence you and your direction.
However, you can learn to press your own pedal, apply your own brake, and take more control of the steering wheel. Learning to use your own controls instead of them being constantly activated by other people or events is a life changing skill. So, for a start, if you recognise that breathing reflects excitation or quietness, learning to direct your breathing is one way of taking control. So, for a few minutes try slowing your breathing. Do not hold your breath, but simply make it as slow and smooth as you can without having to gasp for air. It helps if you sit or lie quietly. You can count as you breathe to help regulate the cycle. Being aware of the slow passage of air at your nostrils aids the calmness. So there must be no gasping for breath because you are breathing too slowly. Find a rhythm that is slow but not making you out of breath, and over time lengthen the cycle.
Realise that you are gradually changing very deeply seated habits that have been with you a lifetime. Taking hold of the breath and controlling it is like taking hold of your nervous system, or body, and gradually altering the way it responds to events and thoughts. It is like gently taming a wild animal. There should be no force or conflict involved. Practising this for up to twenty five minutes each day for three months will change the way you respond to triggers that cause stressful responses.
Being at the driving wheel of your life means you are not swept away by emotions and urges such as anger and sex unless you want to be. Equally it means you can let yourself be spontaneous if you wish. It means you can direct your feelings, mind and body where you choose, not where fears or urges deny you access. In the realm of dreams this is vital, otherwise a scary dream can send you scurrying away from something that holds vital personal information, or from releasing frozen energy and potential that would add enormously to your effectiveness and physical health. 

Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved