Let’s flip our usual thinking for a moment: maybe this whole time of the corona virus is about getting stronger, not sicker? What if this time is truthfully a deeply needed push, urging us make changes that would otherwise be inconvenient or ignored? Most of the news we hear centers around masks, quarantines, social distancing and vaccine development. Those are all outside factors, which will only influence our health from outside. What about inside factors—can they make a difference? How does our soul state influence our health and our immunity?
A big theme of the last six months has been meeting repeated changes and challenges, on multiple levels, so that each of us is forced to ask: “Where is the good? What are the essential things that make us human? What nourishes our core being when there are so many unpredictabilities around us that if we only rely on them we will be lost?”
One helper is a gratitude intervention. Gratitude was already mentioned in last month’s newsletter. Here is research evidence, with functional MRI scans, to shows that it helps!
Effects of gratitude meditation on neural network functional connectivity and brain-heart coupling (click on the title to connect to a summary of the study).
Did you know that there is such a thing as brain-heart coupling? This is a somewhat technical article, but it shows that a “gratitude intervention” has healthy influences on both our mental (brain) activity, as seen on a functional MRI, as well as lowering our heart rate to a more relaxed state. These changes did not happen with a “resentment intervention.”
What to do? Don’t get stuck feeding on a diet of resentment. It is bad for both brain and heart!
A second helper: learning more about our inside conditions. Sometimes we have been stressed to the point that our inner physiology becomes imbalanced. Within anthroposophic medicine there is a teaching that different types of anxiety may relate to different organ systems. This might sound strange, that heart or kidney could influence our thinking. But when you find that worry has shifted to the place where your daily pattern is not so much that an outside condition creates anxiety, as that your anxiety (which has become pretty constant) searchs for an outside insecurity to latch onto, then you probably have in inward imbalance.
This understanding was developed and elaborated by the anthroposophic psychiatrist Rudolf Treichler:
- Body anxiety can be connected to the kidneys
- Environmental anxiety can be connected to the lungs
- Life anxiety can be connected to the liver
- Death anxiety can be connected to the heart.
These kinds of links are found in Chinese medicine and many other traditional healing streams as well. I fairly often hear from someone “gosh, that’s the same thing my acupuncturist told me…”
What to do? If you are stuck, find help. Get some acupuncture, see an anthroposophic nurse, do some eurythmy, speak to a doctor about finding a balancing remedy. This is a process where we need another person, we can’t do it all alone.
Find the next steps on your path to becoming spiritually stronger, more balanced, wiser in the process.