My morning TCC practice was, once again, a welcome preparation for my forthcoming afternoon of work. It's quite easy to find myself caught up in a pre-work rush as I juggle last minute chores with preparations for the long, unbroken, fast-paced demands of my afternoon.
It's a gift, really, to slow my pace, return to my body, notice my breath, and release the tension I've unintentionally accumulated during my morning activities. Today I purposefully brought myself back to center and consciously reduced the speed of my weight shift to switch from my fight-or-flight (SNS, sympathetic nervous system) setting into a rest-and-digest (PNS, parasympathetic nervous system) response.
I'm well into Buddha's Brain and read today that the authors believe the best opportunity for a healthy long life is by maintaining a baseline of parasympathic nervous system arousal with some mild sympathetic nervous system activation for vitality along with occasional SNS spikes to respond appropriately to major opportunities or threats (p. 62). In other words, remain restful and relaxed as much as possible with occasional activation of the (what I call) fright-and-flight response in order to deal with traumatic events.
Wow! How much of my life is spent in the high alert SNS alarm phase when I could be resting comfortably in the relaxing, rejuvenating PNS rest-and-digest phase? Certainly T'ai Chi Chih practice delivers me into this welcome and all-too-infrequent space. And I'm hopeful that Buddha's Brain will increase the information and tools I need to expand my body-mind-spirit into longer, more healthy and healing periods of rest and relaxation.