One of my primary practices doesn’t have a name, or at least I don’t know of one for it. It has to do with noticing and then choosing the quality of thoughts, emotions, physical states, and energy with which I resonate as I move through the day, as an exercise in shifting to a more constructive frequency. When I first learned mindfulness and realized that each moment offers a new choice as to where I place my attention and energy, t reminded me of how we used to tune into a radio by turning the dial. If I didn’t like a particular station I had on, all I had to do was turn the dial to find something more appealing. In the same way, if I’m irritated, for example, and I’m not enjoying the experience, all I have to do is ‘dial in’; a different focus of attention and change the quality and energy with which I’m resonating. Of course, this choice isn’t always instantaneously successful! Instead, it’s a first step in changing the frequency with which I’m resonating. For me, it’s all about frequencies – that every quality of being, thinking, and acting expresses an energy frequency, and I attend to which frequencies I express or surround myself with in any given moment. ]
I’m also mindful of what qualities I want to emanate into my environment and I do my best (more or less successfully, I must say, depending on the particular moment in a particular day), to be able to shift away from something that doesn’t feel constructive to something more in line with the qualities I want to express. When I find myself being snarky to someone on the phone, say during a tech call, I do my best to shift to an energy of kindness, as it feels better not to give the person on the other end of the line a hard time. I must admit that I am not always successful with this intention, but I continue to return to it, anyway, and feel much better when I’ve managed to have a tech call that unfolds with kindness from me as its main quality.
Since I also believe that we live in a field of collective consciousness, I’m aware that whatever qualities I carry in me will resonate with those that are similar in our collective consciousness. As a trauma specialist, I know the power of fear to affect the body, as well as the emotions, so I bring into my practice an intention to move through fear in as grounded a way as possible. I know that shifting into fear, anger, hatred, shame, despair – any of the feelings that can bring us to our knees – aligns me with these feelings as they exist in our collective consciousness, a resonance that can only intensify what is so uncomfortable to experience. I also know that most of us inadvertently intensify these feelings with we feed them with our thoughts, our tension, our attempts to push them away, or other ways we add energy to an already-activated experience.
As an antidote, or at least a support, in this kind of experience, it helps to have some tools available that can help you shift gears into a frequency, or quality, that’s more benign, comfortable, or supportive. There are many ways to do this, and what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another, but here are some suggestions. Let’s say you read something hurtful or distressing on Facebook, or see a photo of something alarming in the news, it can help to shift to an image or an article that touches you with inspiration instead of upset. It’s one of the reasons I post a daily inspirational message and photograph of nature on the Devadana Sanctuary page of Facebook. You might have a memory, or an image you can call on, that always shifts you into a state of gratitude, love, affection, sweetness, or some other more positive emotional state. That will automatically align you with (“dial in”) a frequency that supports feeling more comfortable. There might be particular music that shifts your mood whenever you listen to it. It might help to actually play it, or to call it to mind and hear it in your memory.
In the same way that I don’t knowingly spend time in an environmentally toxic environment if I can help it, I also don’t want to spend time in a collective toxic emotional environment if I can help it. I figure you might feel the same way so, for this week’s experiment, I invite you to notice even more carefully when you are in a thought pattern, an emotional state, or a physical activity that doesn’t feel good to you. Then, I invite you to experiment with “changing the dial” by accessing whatever allows you to shift into a more constructive state of body-mind being.
Obviously, there are times when we just need to be in whatever state we’re in, and that’s completely normal. At times like these, it helps to know that it’s possible to hold two states of being at the same time: whatever upset may be moving through your experience, along with finding the deep place of steadiness in you as an internal home base where you can settle yourself as you process whatever feelings require your attention and awareness. We’ll look more at this steadiness in next week’s experiment.
As with all these experiments, there is no right way to do this one. Rather, it’s one more invitation to be conscious of the quality of life you offer yourself internally, and to notice the ways in which your internal state of body-mind being affects your experience of and in the world around you.