Winter Retreat Day 2: Compassion is Contagious

Have you ever walked into a room and suddenly felt inexplicably happy? And then walked into a different room and felt agitated, or angry, or even depressed? I used to think it was all me, and then I learned about limbic resonance.

I was receiving massage from someone I had never met before, and half-way through the session I just started crying right there on the table. I was overcome with grief without any rhyme or reason. The feeling was so intense that I had to get off the table, and wasn’t able to receive the full session. I had no reason for the sudden emotional overwhelm, although sometimes massage therapy can help us release deeply held emotions. Later I learned that the massage therapist had just lost her son – only a couple months before – in a terrible car accident. We can unknowingly transfer unprocessed emotions to others.

I love going to old churches – especially when they are nearly empty, and right at dusk when the last rays of light are glimmering through stained glass high above. Have you ever sat down in a church or holy place and suddenly felt physically warm, and noticed that everything seems to glow? The cumulative resonance of hundreds of years of prayer, meditation and contemplation on love, compassion, and virtue exists in sacred places and can profoundly transform your life.

So…what is “limbic resonance”? 

“The limbic system is a set of brain structures located on both sides of the thalamus, immediately beneath the cerebrum.[1] It has also been referred to as the paleomammalian cortex. It is not a separate system but a collection of structures from the telencephalon, diencephalon, andmesencephalon.[2] …The limbic system supports a variety of functions including emotion, behavior, motivation, long-term memory, and olfaction.[4] Emotional life is largely housed in the limbic system, and it has a great deal to do with the formation of memories.” (Wikipedia

Limbic resonance is the idea that the capacity for sharing deep emotional states arises from the limbic system of the brain.[1] These states include thedopamine circuit-promoted feelings of empathic harmony, and the norepinephrine circuit-originated emotional states of fear, anxiety and anger.[2]” (Wikipedia

Today’s Practice: An experiment in Limbic Resonance

In layman’s terms, we can understand limbic resonance to be the way our electrical/energetic bodies vibrate with other energy sources. If you have two violins in the same room, and you bow the strings on one of the violins, the other violin without being touched will begin to vibrate at the same frequency. Just as we now have documented the effects of radiation on the human body, and  in the same way that we live within a magnetic field that is self-generating from the spontaneous electrical pulses of the human heart…we can change the frequency of our vibration, thus effecting the vibrations of those around us.

First, find a quiet place where you can rest undisturbed for several minutes. 

Second, imagine a ball of light (or a luminous flower or other symbol that you relate to) in your heart center (directly in the middle of the solar plexus). Focus on this light, and imagine that it expands with your breathing to fill your whole body, then extends out of your body to fill the room, and the building, and finally the whole world. Then reverse the meditation and imagine the light condensing into the building, the room, your body, and finally back into your heart. 

Third, hold this feeling of a warm, peaceful, infinite light source in your heart today. When you encounter conflict, difficulty, fatigue or confusion, fill your body, and the room, encompass those with whom you are experiencing difficulty, expanding your heart-light out to the whole world. Notice how your compassionate intention gently resonates with others, changing the course of the conflict. 

Please remember to check the prayer requests page, and add requests of your own! Blessings, Arwen Pema

One Comment on “Winter Retreat Day 2: Compassion is Contagious

  1. Pingback: Day 9: Offerings and Dedication – The Holistic Homestead

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