Release and Regulation

Release and Regulation

Release by Audrey
Release by Audrey

I write a lot about emotional release in healing on this blog. But something I’ve not written much about is regulating the nervous system. That is, finding calm. The two go hand in hand when healing.

Regulation without healing will just revert to dysregulation again as the charges are still there. Healing without learning to bring the nervous system back into equilibrium (regulating) won’t complete the process.

In my case, I’ve been practising an effortless meditation for decades. Without thinking about it, this was my way of regulating. This served me very well but didn’t do it 100% as some bad habits remained. Some of that originated with unresolved childhood trauma.

Put another way, the charges and reactivity (vasanas) are largely resolved, but there were hidden habits of being (samskaras) that remained. The inside-out process has helped a lot, but the body may need some outside-in too.

To understand, we learn how to process stress and come back to equilibrium from our mothers before birth and during the first year of life. She shows us calming behaviours so we regulate and learn how to regulate ourselves. Yet many parents don’t have good regulating skills themselves. And we’re taught things like letting our kids cry it out on their own, for example. That teaches kids to shut down rather than calm. (No blame here – I’m a parent too.)

Even if we have a good example for us, a later traumatic experience that we don’t have the resources to process can throw us off. Prolonged high stress can have a similar effect. The nervous system as if forgets how to regulate when it’s left in overwhelm. The body doesn’t know the danger is over.

Our system will regulate itself again if we step into it. The body has the knowing and the process kicks in.

Further, our early traumas are often taken personally and thus become integrated with the identity. Ego doesn’t want us to feel bad, so it protects that sense of self and hides our contractions. This may be a good workaround when we’re overwhelmed. But later, when we’re ready, we need to make them conscious so we can process them. Then the key is finding a way for the body to feel safe so it can open.

Many healing modalities focus on one side or the other. But without both release and regulation, we don’t learn to sustain an even keel.

Many of us instead learn to disconnect. To not be in the body or to avoid experiencing how we feel. Or both. We resort to distractions of all types. Enjoyment can motivate popular activities or just a need to distract. If the latter, they can devolve into addiction to escape. People even use spirituality as a bypass.

For example, going for a walk can be a pleasant time that’s healthy. It can also give a meditative break to help process the day. But it can also be used to avoid what needs to be done or to escape what we find difficult.

All of this is natural. When we’re not comfortable, we seek resolution in what we know. We develop workarounds to deal with uncomfortable experiences when we don’t know how to process them.

But once we understand how to allow what we feel in a neutral space, we’re able to complete whatever experience arises. Then we can become more conscious of what’s driving our actions so we can make healthier choices.

Also, if you have enough presence, notice the narratives of the mind. Are we rehashing the same narratives over and over? Are we judging and making things wrong? Watch for resistance and grasping. These prevent us from experiencing what is here, now. Don’t try to control the mind – just notice.

It’s much healthier if we can learn to process those emotions and restore regulation. With both, we can come to a sustained healing.

PS – If you’d like some help with this process, you can explore practitioners here. Each has specializations and most offer their services online.

Last Updated on May 18, 2024 by Davidya

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  1. Randall


    You’ve explained how after Realization there are still future incarnations to allow full “embodiment” of the qualities of “pure divinity.”
    What happened to the teaching by MMY that if you die in Cosmic Consciousness you lose individuality and merge with the Absolute (similar to Buddhist teachings on nirvanic extinction)?
    An eternity of well-lit nothingness doesn’t seem that appealing. What’s your view?

    1. Hi Randall
      To be clear, those “further incarnations” after an established awakening are not generally in a physical body. As long as we wind down the karma and step off the wheel, the need to come back ends. That can take a bit of time after the shift but not a long time.

      Maharishi simplified some things to make them more understandable. From my perspective, there are a few options after this life post-awakening. There may be others I’m unaware of.

      One is merging with the absolute. In such a case we’d no longer be in any kind of form but would remain as a cosmic memory that can be referenced later.

      Another would be to continue evolving in one of the heavens. Which would depend on our nature and evolution.

      And another would be to take a form of some sort in service of the whole. The sages that administer our universe, for example.

      “An eternity of well-lit nothingness” isn’t one of the options I’m aware of. Merging with the absolute means our soul is no longer expressing and our point is dormant in this cycle of creation. Only the memory would remain.

      The only difference between a cosmic memory and living incarnations is our perspective of time. In one sense, we’ve only ever been That remembering itself. 🙂

  2. Carol Hancock

    I cannot thank you enough for this clear explanation of “ top down/bottom up” healing . As a yoga teacher trained by Kristine Kaoveri Weber in the Viniyoga lineage, I was taught tools for these modalities plus 50+years of meditation. ( TM) You have elaborated further and well . I will pass it along .

  3. Sharon

    For a very long time, I’ve wanted to find a way to deal with trauma in the moment. In other words,
    I wasn’t interested in trying to meditate my trauma away. (I actually don’t think extra meditation is ideal for most people with early childhood trauma.) AND, I really have wanted a way to regulate at the moment I’m being triggered. Once I even performed EFT tapping mentally and it worked well. These days I use Sanskrit phrases to fit the occasion. For example, there’s a specific phrase I use for social anxiety.
    I appreciate your distinction about working from inside and from outside. I agree that work is best done both on the inside and from the outside, such as body awareness. However you mention a few from-the-outside approaches that seem to come from New Age teachings that easily slide into spiritual bypassing. For example, issues of identification and ego, I think, are best handled spontaneously as a result of inner processes. Also the concepts of narratives and judgement seem better handled spontaneously from the inside rather than trying to manipulate our thinking.
    In general I think dealing from the outside, other than body awareness, is called for mainly in the case of behavior that’s destructive to ourselves or others.

    1. Hi Sharon
      Yes – regulation. Finding the calm when we’re agitated, etc. That feels better but also allows the experience to complete, which workarounds don’t tend to. Just be careful you’re not resisting or avoiding the experience. The optimum is to shift into calm and allow it to complete.

      The only outside-in approach I’m talking about is following the sensations in to see where they originate. In TM, this is basic General Points. This is true even for behavior. I was not intending to imply anything else, just observing what can come up.

      1. Sharon

        I think there are unhealthy and healthy workarounds. For example, isolating too much would be an unhealthy workaround for social anxiety. In my experience reciting Sanskrit phrases is a healthy workaround because it goes deeply into the entire system and is neither resisting nor avoiding.

        Well you suggested noticing the narratives. That seems more like an outside-in on the thinking level.

        1. Agreed, Sharon. But they’re still workarounds. If we can address the contraction itself, then workarounds are not needed. Of course, that’s easier said than done in some cases. 🙂

          Ah – I see your point. I wasn’t suggesting “watching your thoughts” as a practice. Trying to control the mind is pointless. It will settle as we settle. I just mean being aware of what your mind is dwelling on. But I suppose this is a once-presence-is-established kind of practice. I’ll update the article.

          1. Sharon

            As mentioned elsewhere, in my experience, Sanskrit is the workaround that not only soothes, but also regulates and heals and directly addresses the contraction itself. For example, using Sahanav avatu…for social anxiety.

  4. Celeste

    Papaji said that he has traveled to other realms and this earth is the only place to reach enlightenment. This makes me cautious to want to go to other places after death. Does anyone else teach about experiences in other realms?

    1. Hi Celeste
      I wouldn’t say “only” but it takes vastly longer in heavens. There is no motivation to culture it. A similar thing happens here during a golden age. The majority slack off so as the awake supporting the age pass on, the descent begins. It’s also why some some angels “descend” into a human path.

      I really wouldn’t concern yourself with going other places. Unless our karma is done, it will draw us back here to the souls we’re entangled with. Post-enlightenment we’d go to the best place for us. And we remain part of the same soul family, so we remain connected.

      What I didn’t mention above is there are some awake who stay here to support the collective. Those are more rare though. Most are happy to take a break from the heaviness.

      There are various people who talk about other realms but I’d proceed with caution. There is all sorts of nonsense out there, some even dangerous. Just remember that you’re here in a human body to have a human experience. That’s where your attention should be.

    2. Just saw this related quote:
      “When thoughts are reduced, power of the mind and its subtlety increases, tunes with the Universe. Then you can see the realms beyond the common understanding. When the mind is pure and quiet it becomes one with the universal mind. That mind is like a mirror. The secrets of the Universe will be revealed there. ” – Amma

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