In Traditional Chinese Medicine, fear is stored in the kidneys. No doubt this is because the kidneys (and the adrenal glands that sit on top of them) play a big part in the body’s response to fear.
Being “frozen with fear” or having “cold feet” about something begins with a frightening thought that sets off a chain reaction, prompting the adrenal glands and kidneys to send out chemical signals, affecting the entire body. Hands and feet become cold, breathing gets faster and more shallow, blood pressure and heart rate increase, muscles tense up and the brain stops thinking creatively in order to focus on the threat.
Distressing as all of that can be, the flight-or-fight response is just what you need for those rare occasions when you’re dealing with an extreme threat to your safety. What you don’t need, though, is to experience the full on flight-or-fight response over average stressors like giving a presentation, meeting new people or whatever it is that falls outside your comfort zone.
Unfortunately, the chronic stress levels that many people live with, make it all to easy for them to go into panic mode. When the amount of fear we experience exceeds what’s required, it’s not only unpleasant, it’s very unhealthy.
Excess fear depletes energy and leads to anxiety, the root cause of many diseases. And, resistance to disease and infection is reduced by the flight-or-fight response because it shuts off the immune system.
But how do our bodies come to store fear?
Fearful thoughts are converted into chemical and electrical signals, triggering a complex network of communication among the body’s cells, causing behavior. Through repetition and trauma, pathways are formed between cells that act like a computer program which automatically runs when a threat is detected.
When the conscious mind is faced with a threat, it goes to the vast bank of information stored in the subconscious, to find out how to deal with it. So, if you’re experiencing more fear than is necessary then you need to amend the programs in your subconscious.
That’s where qigong meditation can help. By repeating positive thoughts to which you're emotionally connected, you can make and strengthen neural pathways to give you greater control over your emotions. The Six Healing Sounds practice activates the body’s feel-good chemicals while you focus on healthy thoughts, so that positive emotions get bonded with positive information.
Visualizing vivid colors, making sounds, breathing deeply, using touch and gentle movements along with positive thinking, fires up activity all over the brain and body, all of which forge together to make and strengthen self-affirming beliefs. Not only does this form of meditation help you to feel calm when you do it, but the internal changes it makes help you to remain calm in the future.
The more you practice the Six Healing Sounds, the more effective it will be. It’s like Henry David Thoreau said: “As a single footstep will not make a path on earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.”
Try this Healing Sound meditation to release fear and see for yourself how it works:
Sit upright, with your shoulders down and relaxed and your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on your back and rub your kidneys (they’re two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of a deck of cards, under your lower ribs). Picture them in your mind and remember that on top of each one is (a small triangular shaped) adrenal gland.
Close your eyes, smile and inhale deeply through your nose allowing your belly to expand. Slowly exhale using your tummy muscles to bring your belly back in. Continue to breathe deeply and when you inhale, imagine you’re breathing dark blue light and peace into your kidneys and adrenal glands.
Think about winter and picture ice melting in your kidneys as you feel the warmth of your hands on them. See them being transformed into two lakes of calm, dark blue water.
Keep smiling and breathing deeply. Thank your adrenal glands for helping you to respond to potential threats. Feel peace growing inside them. Thank your kidneys for all that they do including working with your adrenal glands to regulate your blood pressure.
Through your nose, deeply inhale peace, calmness and dark blue light into your kidneys. Lean forward a little, clasp your hands just below your knees (keeping your arms straight), open your eyes, look up and slowly exhale fear making a “chooooo” sound. Imagine the fear is leaving you as dark smoke to be absorbed by the earth like compost.
Repeat from the beginning another two times and feel free to add your own positive affirmations. To get the most out of this practice, do the other Healing Sound meditations too.