The Still Point! What is it?
The still point is that magical moment between the breath that seems to dissolve stress and polarity and bring us to a different realm.
As a Havening therapist, Voice Technology TFT therapist and Hypnotherapist I am always seeking the most wonderful ways clients can achieve relaxation at home.
I decided to write this blog article following a recent session with an Actress battling with first night nerves. We used this technique to experience the drop into calmness and the space of NOW. Read on and I’ll explain how you too can experience the secret of combatting anxiety, stage fright, nerves and negative emotions in general.
Following treatment for anxiety in my clinic or over Skype which usually consists of TFT and advanced NLP techniques or hypnosis, my main teaching – and it really is a teaching rather than a treatment – is ‘The Space Between The Breath’ – sounds possibly mystical and curious but in practice is one of the fundamental secrets to controlling your state. A space you can drop into – dip your toe into and reach deep levels of healing and relaxation.
To understand the benefits of The Space Between The Breath, let me explain firstly by talking more about Anxiety in general. Anxiety can ONLY ever exist in the future. Fact. Anxiety is always about something that the subject is fearful of but is not happening to them in that moment. Because in reality, all we have is in the NOW. We need to practice dropping into the state of ‘NOW’ in order to dissolve the future impact.
We’ve had the past and that’s gone. Release it. We don’t have the future, YET. What we do have, in each and every moment is the NOW.
However, as in all anxiety disorders, history and historic reactions are placed into our future thinking, working to help protect us from future harm. The reminder of possible harm sets this process into action. Utterly real to the subject -this response can be confusing because the conscious brain can usually detect that the response is out of proportion to the reality of the danger in the event or surroundings, however, the subconscious is always out to protect us and so this response is now set to high alert.
In dealing with this complex process, I find hypnotherapy can be limiting in treating anxiety as a lone therapy. Couple it with the thought-process altering methods of NLP -Neuro Linguistic Programming and we see leaps of change. Take it a step further by eliminating the emotional blue-print and historic emotional reactions in energetic therapies like EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique and my preferred therapy, Thought Field Therapy, and a total transformation can occur.
We must – Reset the Amygdala Response– which is responsible for this process physiologically initiating the adrenalin and emotional imbalance. The Amygdala are groups of nuclei located deep within the medial temporal lobes of the brain and which perform a primary role in the processing of memory and emotional reactions. They can be reset! There are various ways to do this. The mind needs to understand the reality of the event or situation – what is really happening. Which can be tricky, as everyone creates their own reality and filtering through our senses. The mind is required to learn that the level of reaction is disproportionate.
Laughter and perspective is hugely important in resetting the response because the mind cannot return to the same thought process and response once the perspective of humour is attached to it. It totally distorts the impression which is extremely important for therapists to understand!
The emotional and psychological responses affecting the amygdala, form a physiological and psychological behaviour pattern that sets up the future reaction to events. So basically we take the past event and response and put it into our future. If that event was escaping from a fire or life-or-death situation then this primordial response is validated. However – we run into problems when this response it set to something which is not life threatening and can even be completely harmless. Using Hypnotherapy, Advanced TFT and NLP, I work as a practitioner to eliminate the past event’s emotional impact on my clients – I work to distort the thought process that led to an incorrect disproportionate response and thereby eliminating the possibility of the subconscious mind using that response in the future. If the mind understands that the response is not ultimately protective then it won’t use it as the body and mind work to help us survive – give the mind a better map to work to and it will choose the best route every time. Sometimes you need to be shown the route out of your problem – as it were!
Interestingly, as Richard Bandler, one of the founders of NLP, discovered – when the brain is in ‘panic ‘ anxiety peak mode, it only uses one half of the brain. By using the left and right simultaneously by throwing a ball from the left to the right hand and back and forth or example, the brain is forced out of this behaviour and reactionary process by using left and right brain activity and can begin de-frag and re-organise the state of mind. Dropping the anxiety levels. In TFT – the 9 gamut sequence which uses this right-left activity, is used to reset the brain like resetting or rebooting a computer, another reason why EFT or my preferred TFT – Thought Field Therapy is so effective. Not only are we eliminating negative emotions but rebooting our computers at the same time so the emotional responses are reset.
There are numerous methods we can use as therapists to treat anxiety disorders and stress responses. My preferred methods that I use in my Manchester clinic to treat with this are combined NLP, EFT, TFT and Modern Hypnosis, but it’s what I can advise others to do at home to re-set the Amygdala and reset their thought processes when they are experiencing discomfort. I want my clients and readers to have something useful and useable to take away with them.
Here’s where the amazing power of teaching the Still Point and ‘The Space Between The Breath’ is so useful. Those of you who practice meditation will know that the relaxation the body drops into increases creativity, creates space in the mind, increases theta waves signal to lower parts of the brain, inducing the physical relaxation response that occurs during meditation and according to research, can even increase IQ. In addition to this idea, the ‘Still Point’ though still utilising the methods of meditation is slightly different. The focus is on the Out-Breath, the end of the out-breath and the dip before the in-breath which contains a sea of neutrality. A dissolving and an ocean of NOW.
When I was first shown the technique by Paul Wisebart who invented the Quantum Wave Laser that I use in my clinic, I was blown away by the effectiveness of it, a sensation that I hadn’t experienced in my former meditation states. There is a protocol on the laser that I use, which can actually induce the Still Point state in clients and I like to use this where possible when dealing with Anxiety cases so that the client can understand the feeling and the difference of the state and the power of the NOW. But this state can be achieved by observing the space between the breath.
When you master the power of the NOW and the state of space between the breath, anxiety cannot exist. That is why even after all the therapy, I want my clients to know this so that they can learn techniques for their future.
As an instruction to any reader wishing to experience this state, here’s what I’d advise. Firstly – find a quiet place and be still. Take a few deep and conscious breaths in and out. Slowing the breathing by releasing tension and just meditate on your breathing for a few moments. This releases any sighs of tension and normalises a pattern of your breathing. If you are practising this technique with others, don’t try and enter into their patterns, become focussed on your own body and your own breathing. This relaxes the body and mind and brings you to a one-ness and more complete in the moment. Then, take a breath in and think of something that is currently bothering you. Hold this thought and continue holding the thought on the out-breath. You will notice that the energy and impact it may have had on you have altered. Try that again for a few breaths until you feel a deeper sense of relaxation, releasing on the out breath.
Then – we focus on that space between the out breath and the next breath taken. To exist in the space between the breath, we take in a breath, not laboured or deep, but just as much as you observe, release slowly, maybe do this a couple of times until you notice that there is a natural pause between the out-breath and the next in-breath. Notice that this space is increasing with every out-breath and begin to sit in it, sit in the moments between that neutrality of no breath and the in-breath. Just let things happen naturally and try to avoid forcing anything. Let things just happen and observe. Become a curious observer of any changes. Try and ‘dip your toe’ into the ocean of neutrality that is found in this space – the antithesis of emotion and anxiety which exists in polarity and the in-breath. Stay in this STATE of neutrality and space and as you gently breath, expand your field. Think about the space created by your energy field. Feel this space around you.
An interesting addition can be to notice, whilst in this state and practicing this regularly can help to change the understanding of ‘what actually is emotion’ in an energetic sense, is to imagine if you can, noticing where in the body an anxiety or emotion is located. It might be a colour or a ball – whatever it is to you is correct! Staying in the still-point – the space between the breath, imagine if you can, travelling in your mind to where that ‘polarity, that emotion or sensation’ (it can be the location of pain too!) is located and sit next to it. Welcome it – leaving it to be and change as it will. By welcoming the presence of it’s existence you aren’t fighting it and the body can allow it to be released. You’ll notice that the energy of it changes, it might even move. It might release. I’ve known it to release in tears with some of my clients and a huge relief is experienced. It’s a beautiful, gentle technique that connects the client and subject with their mind and body at a deep level. It can even feel blissful and leave you beaming.
Yes, I use Hypnotherapy, NLP and TFT (or EFT if using affirmations), but this additional technique is useful to everyone. Whether eliminating work stress, anxiety, phobic responses, negative emotions, or any challenging issue in your life – this technique when practised can be hugely beneficial and after a few ‘releases’ as described above, a drop into regular meditation on the breath is deep and healthy and it’s a wonderful introduction into meditation for those who haven’t experienced the benefits.
Try it out. If you have any questions the please call me or email if you wish to discuss it further or need any pointers. If you’d like to experience the amazing effects of the laser and still point – then I hold sessions at my Manchester Therapy clinic on Deansgate.
This practice can also be taught in session over Skype which I have done many times for London, wider UK or foreign client’s, or indeed, those that prefer the benefits of being treated from home.