Introduction to the Blue State of Stillness

1. Establish the safety to practice stillness

Option 1: Shorter Silences

Option 2: Longer Silences

Welcome.

In this first practice, you verify the absence of danger in your surroundings, and provide your mind with the necessary evidence that you are in a safe space to suspend movement and practice stillness.

Without feeling safe, your mind activates dominant Sympathetic Mobilization, maintains high levels of NeuroUneasiness, and suppresses your Parasympathetic Rest. Your body and mind are kept on guard, alert, and ready to act and protect. By evidencing safety your mind can become engaged in the practice of stillness, activate Parasympathetic Rest, and increase your NeuroCalmness.

Safe enough

When faced with danger, your mind activates powerful measures to ensure your physical survival. This biological response, known as the ‘fight, flight, or freeze’ response, is governed by your sympathetic nervous system. You can typically recognize these threat responses by heightened levels of stress, unsettledness, and restlessness.

Protective Sympathetic Mobilization not only drives you but also equips you with essential tools for reaching safety or neutralizing threats. Stress hormones flood your body, increasing heart rate and breathing, while muscles tense up, all preparing you for potential conflict. At the same time, bodily functions not immediately necessary for survival, such as digestion, metabolism, and immune response, are suppressed to ensure all physical resources are concentrated on escaping danger and taking defensive actions. Your mind becomes singularly focused on the current threat, engaging in intense strategic thinking and vigilant environmental analysis.

However, these survival measures are necessary only when danger is imminent and a heightened state of alertness, combined with power and speed, is required to protect yourself. Once the danger has subsided and you find yourself in a ‘safe enough’ environment, it is crucial for your nervous system to restore balance and return to a calm and restful state, supporting your well-being.

In this initial practice, you develop an understanding of when it is ‘safe enough’ to transition from intense movement and stress, necessary for survival, to a state of restful stillness and calmness essential for living and well-being.

External safety

When you begin practicing stillness, it’s common to encounter chronic protective Sympathetic Mobilization and high levels of NeuroUneasiness, which manifest as persistent stress, tension, restlessness, and a busy mind.

Throughout the 51BLUE journey, you will discover that a chronic survival mode and its protective Sympathetic Mobilization often stem from your mind’s misperception of danger and threat. This misperception frequently arises from narrowly formed beliefs and perceptions established in childhood. Such outdated subconscious cognition can lead to persistent feelings of insecurity and unsafety, even when you are safe enough to remain still, activate Parasympathetic Rest, and maintain your living mode.

An important initial step in the practice of stillness is to observe your surroundings and verify the absence of imminent danger. This step is crucial in reassuring your mind, providing the evidence needed to confirm that you are in a ‘safe enough’ environment to practice stillness, increase NeuroCalmness, and transition from Sympathetic Mobilization to Parasympathetic Rest.

Evidencing external safety

In this practice, you offer your mind concrete evidence of external safety, enabling you to suspend movement, remain still, and invite Parasympathetic Rest.

Even if you can logically understand that you are in a safe space to practice stillness, your subconscious mind does not equate logical conclusions with concrete evidence. Unless your mind is convinced that you are safe enough, it will remain vigilant and keep your body and mind mobilized to defend itself. Visually scanning the environment and confirming the absence of danger provides your mind with real and tangible evidence of safety.

The longer you remain still, suspending any self-protective movement and experiencing no harm, the more your mind gathers strong evidence of safety. This encourages your mind to switch from Sympathetic Mobilization to Stillness and Parasympathetic Rest with greater confidence.

Closing eyes

Sight (and hearing) are crucial for survival and self-protection, which can make it challenging to close your eyes and let your guard down. However, for the practice of stillness it is essential to encourage yourself to close your eyes and allow yourself to become more vulnerable. Doing so sends a message to your mind that it’s safe to rest and let your guard down.

Remaining still for a while, especially with your eyes closed, and discovering that no harm has come to you, provides your mind with additional concrete evidence that you are in a safe place to suspend movement, remain still, and let your body and mind rest.

PROGRESS CHECKLIST

  • Can I pause movement, remain still, scan my surroundings, and verify the absence of danger?
  • Can I observe my surroundings and verify that I don’t need to move to protect myself?
  • Can I verify that I can close my eyes and don’t need eyesight to protect myself?
  • Can I dedicate time to the practice of stillness and to my wellbeing?
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