em-Wave to find Parasympathetic balance
In addition to the limbic system in the brain, the heart also plays an important function in autonomic nervous system (ANS) regulation and physical wellbeing. With over 25 years of research, the HeartMath Institute has provided evidence on just how powerful the human heart is. It was once believed the heart received messages from the brain, but their research shows the heart actually sends more, stronger messages to the brain. With this discovery and continued research there is a consensus heart activity has major effects on our emotions. A smooth stable heart rhythm creates positive feelings and emotional stability, and an erratic disorganized rhythm can lower cognitive function and induce stress responses.
In Stage 2 of the Limbic System Retraining Program, we utilize this research and HeartMath’s technology to learn more about your heart rhythm and measure your Heart Rate Variability (HRV). HRV is a measure of the beat to beat variability of your heart rate. We are not looking at variability between 60 and 100 beats per minute, rather we are looking at the millisecond differences between heart beats within your normal heart rate. This is a measure of your ANS. Low HRV is associated with sympathetic tone and poor health outcomes, high HRV is associated with parasympathetic tone and better health outcomes.
Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between our inner critic and our inner healer. This device will help you make that discernment. The inner critic is always active and always loud, but it is not compassionate. It arouses our fight or flight system. It inhibits healing and nurturing. Sometimes the healer must be critical, but it should also be healing. One is in healing mode when in Rest and Digest vs. Fight or Flight. Using HeartMath and the emWave is a science-based method used to understand the state of your autonomic nervous system (ANS), which as we discussed previously, is controlled by your limbic system. This process helps you to retrain yourself out of Fight or Flight into Rest and Digest. Let go of “should” (the inner critic) and embrace “Just Be” (the inner healer).
How does the emWave work?
The emWave is a hand-held device with two sensors, a finger sensor and another sensor that attaches painlessly to the earlobe. At first, for longer sessions of 20 minutes each, you will use the ear sensor. For shorter, intraday “tune ups,” you will use the finger sensor on the device (See instructions below under how to sit). Once connected, the emWave begins to read your HRV. The emWave will provide a light signal that you can synchronize your breathing to. This will help you create a state of coherence in which your HRV will become smooth and steady. In the state of coherence, the ANS and PNS will also synchronize, as well as the activity between your heart and your brain. This is a state of optimal function.
Thousands of people have shown positive mental and emotional outcomes in just 6-9 weeks of using HeartMath training and technology. HeartMath provides a breakdown of the statistics of their success:
“24% improvement in the ability to focus
30% improvement in sleep
38% improvement in calmness
46% drop in anxiety
48% drop in fatigue
56% drop in depression”
You can purchase the emWave device here.
How do I use the emWave in Stage 2?
We call these emWave sessions a Sit.
How to sit. You will do 2 sits per day of 20 minutes each. At first, it is best to use the ear clip to use your emWave. Get comfortable. Sit in a chair or on a cushion on the floor. Sit with good posture. Once you are set, you should not move. Having said that, this is a “Meditation,” not “masochism.” Do not hurt yourself. Learn the difference between discomfort and injury. DO NOT INJURE YOURSELF. When I say do not move I mean do not scratch your nose, wiggle or otherwise indulge your urges or discomfort. These are a part of your practice. These are fleeting sensations. These annoyances are a part of the training. It is a tool to develop focus. If your best friend was at the edge of a cliff, and the only thing holding them from certain death was you holding onto them, would you let go to scratch your nose? NO! Because it is life or death. This is also life or death. Your life is being robbed from you by this Limbic reactivity. We need this level of focus. Part of the exercise is to be aware of your thoughts and urges. If your mind wanders and you notice it, or if you wiggle or scratch that itch and realize it, you have actually been successful, and have not failed. Once you notice your mind wondering, the wiggle or the scratch, bring your mind gently back to the task at hand. Think of it no more. Extraneous thoughts and urges are very seductive. (In this context the word seductive is not necessarily of a sexual nature, it is anything that has a strong attraction. It may be your checkbook that needs balancing or that unpleasant conversation you feel the urge to revisit or anything else that is screaming for your attention.) They will call and demand your attention. This training is to learn to have control over our thoughts and urges rather than them controlling you.
During your sit, use the Mantra: Beatific Abyss (definition below). A mantra is a word or phrase you repeat to yourself to stay focused. Simply silently say these words to yourself without regard to pattern or rhythm.
Beatific Abyss is a description of the place we seek. You can choose other words to describe this. What is important is the idea, not the words.
You may find, at times you are in this state of Beatific Abyss and you are not saying your mantra, that is the goal. At other times you find your mind has wandered or you have a nearly (or absolutely) irresistible urge. That is the time to focus heavily on your mantra. Use the mantra to resist the urge to wonder, to engage in these seductive thoughts, and to resist the urges. The goal is not to chastise yourself for failing. It is to recognize the activity of your mind and slowly gain control of your thoughts and urges. This is the first step toward self-mastery. We will use these skills when we move on to the Insight Trainings.
Beatific (adjective) – Pronunciation; Bee a ‘Tifik
Meaning: Feeling or expressing blissful happiness, Imparting holy bliss
Synonyms: Joyful, ecstatic, seraphic, blissful, serene, rapturous, subline, heavenly divine, celestial, glorious.
Abyss (noun) – Pronunciation; A bis
Meaning: A dimensionless chasm. An unfathomable space. An infinite space. An immeasurable gulf or great space. This is a description of the enormity of the experience of deep meditation.
Synonyms: chasm, crevasse, depth, void, gulf, unfathomable
Below is a series of informative articles to help you learn more about our Limbic System Retraining Program:
Stage 1: Use of supplements to soothe and calm the Limbic system.
Stage 2: emWave device and Heart Math to teach you how to find Parasympathetic balance.
Stage 3: Sensory Soothing Kit is a rescue kit to help you when getting overstimulated.
Stage 4: Modifiable lifestyle factors help you build healthy healing habits.
Stage 5: AM and PM Ritual to deepen the practice of stage 2 and prepares you for stage 6.
Stage 6: Insight Training