the parasympathetic: experiencing a mild paralysis

 It is Interesting that early researchers into our physiology should have called and named the stress inducing aspect of our nervous system “sympathetic” which usually has a positive connotation in our language.  It is the strong emotional side to our functioning; what is usually referred to as “the fight or flight response”.  It is the basic strong stress response that energizes and mobilizes the body for action and exertion. Unfortunately in our civilized world the response is still the same as it was for our distant ancestors, but without the usual physical exertions that it prepares us for.   It tends now to create tensions and strains.  The parasympathetic nervous system is in opposition to the sympathetic.  It is characterized by calmness, ease, and relaxation.  When we explore this other dimension to our potential physiology the body relaxes, becomes still, feels heavy, even a mild paralysis can overtake us and make us very disinclined to move for a while.  A lot of people will avoid this experience because it will be viewed as threatening, draining us of drive and ambition, rendering us a mass of useless  protoplasm.  In the midst of a deep period of relaxation there can be the conviction that you will never move again or ever want to.  After usually a half hour or more we come out of it, break the spell, and find we do want to move again but we have managed to touch something vital and basic in our nature and perhaps have emerged more balanced and healthy for it. 


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