Friday, February 3, 2012
Vagus Nerve and the 7 Chakras
It seems that from both a science perspective and a spiritual perspective, people are examining the Vagus nerve and it's affect on our bodies these days. When both "sides" are looking at the same thing, that always intrigues me. Must mean there is something to be gained from the intersection of that research.
The Vagus nerve is the longest nerve in the human body. It extends from within the brain on a winding road throughout the body down through the intestine. That's science. The Vagus nerve also, just so happens, to be the only nerve in the body that is present through each one of the 7 Chakras- from Crown Chakra through to the Root. Hm...
This nerve is part of the parasympathetic nervous system which means it's about slowing things down. It is in direct contrast to "fight or flight". When the parasympathetic system is "in control" we are in fact "in control". We are calmer, able to think clearer, and experience less fear. Since these responses travel throughout the whole length of that nerve, that means we are calmer throughout all of the 7 chakras. That seems like a good thing!
Apparently science has also discovered that the Vagus nerve is stimulated when we feel empathy. When we connect with someone else's emotions and feel for them, even if it's through watching them on television or seeing a picture, that connection stimulates the Vagus nerve. We often feel that connection in our heart- the 4th Chakra. Sometimes we feel that lump in our throat- the 6th Chakra. Sometimes we feel something in our Root Chakra, particularly if we connect on a fear level for that other person. Sometimes we get a rush to the solar plexus, the 3rd charka. It's actually not the fight or flight feeling, it's the parasympathetic Vagus nerve giving us a jolt and reminding us that we are connected in some way to the plight of others.
The Vagus nerve it would seem taps into other people's energy. People that are highly sensitive to others, to energy sources, and their intuition, have highly toned, readily functioning Vagus nerves. Science confirms that the Vagus nerve is attached to emotions, the right side of our brain, more than thoughts, that logical left side of our brain. The Vagus nerve participates in controlling our moods.
Medical science has found ways to stimulate the Vagus nerve. There are methods used in the pre-hospital field to stimulate the Vagus nerve for the purpose of slowing down a rapid heartbeat. There are also techniques to stimulate the Vagus nerve to reduce clinical depression. Research is underway to find less invasive techniques to do this.
If your Vagus nerve was severed you would have difficulty speaking, breathing, eating, and most likely, a quite irregular heartbeat. It would seem you would also have very unbalanced chakras- all 7 of them! That, and clinical depression to boot! Hmm...
Is there a "so what" to be gained from this? Maybe... Perhaps we try to block our Vagus nerve. Maybe in our world of hard-core business, logical thinking, "fight to get to the top", we unconsciously sever our Vagus nerve just a bit, or from time to time. When we give in to the stressful world of the sympathetic nervous system and make decisions based on fear, anxiety and what seems like logical thought, in a fast-paced stressful atmosphere, we override our parasympathetic system. We try very hard to over-ride our emotions because that won't get us ahead. Ahead of what??
Maybe we should work on toning up our Vagus nerve a bit. Maybe we should allow ourselves to feel empathy and emotions, and accept the connection we have with others and with all energy around us. Maybe if we acknowledged that connection and celebrated it's existence we wouldn't be "short-circuiting" throughout that Vagus nerve. If we could allow the energy and impulses to flow in a constant and smooth fashion we might even out our moods, balance our chakras and react from a calmer more relaxed place of emotional stability.
I know empathic people that try to put up shields and block that type of flow in an effort to not be "sucked into" other people's negative space. I understand that need and I think it has it's place. But I'm also trying to think outside the box. Maybe we can't really block that anyway despite our efforts. I wonder if we just end up with spurts and starts and short circuits throughout the system. The parasympathetic system is pretty automatic and not within that "conscious" control. Perhaps if we just "let it flow", show no resistance, and continually let it run through us we wouldn't "trap" that negativity in one chakra or the other. In the spirit of the parasympathetic response, this isn't about "doing" anything. Instead it's about stepping back and "allowing" energy to flow the way it normally would if you didn't put up a fight or flight. Maybe that's what "going with the flow" is all about? if
I don't have a witty concluding paragraph for this post- sorry. But that's what "flowed" through me. Perhaps thanks to that Vagus nerve connection, I'll get some comments and discussion as to what you feel about this...