Relaxing Your “Cringe Factor”

Amy Lansky
Published: 11/06/2013

Do you have any mysterious aches or pains? Perhaps a recurring back or neck spasm? An unexplainable stomach ache that comes on unexpectedly?

As many of you know, I am also the author of a book about homeopathy, Impossible Cure. In the world of alternative medicine, symptoms like these aren’t viewed as menaces to be squashed or temporarily covered up. Instead, it is more helpful to realize that symptoms are your friends. They have information for you.

As discussed in the May 2013 issue of the Active Consciousness Newsletter, symptoms like aches and pains are often messages from the Basic Self — a real and spiritual part of you that carries your true inner feelings, whether you are aware of them or not. Your symptom may actually be a message from deep within you. Pay attention!

As I discussed in the July 2012 Active Consciousness newsletter and the September 2013 Impossible Cure newsletter, I have been working hard lately on my posture. One reason is that I have a tendency to subtly tense my neck muscles in a way that torques my head slightly to one side, causing some annoying symptoms for me. When I’m truly relaxed, this doesn’t happen. Indeed, over the summer, when I was vacationing with my husband, I didn’t notice this problem at all. But now that I’m back, it has begun to rear its head occasionally. It can start in very subtle ways, and unfortunately, the symptom is self feeding; once it begins, I become tense about it, and then tense up some more! Sound familiar? Many of us experience symptoms like these.

Recently, in meditation, I realized that my neck problem is a kind of subconscious “cringe.” It can be a fleeting thought that sets it off — one I’m barely aware of. I have begun to realize that, rather than feeding this problem with fear, I need to regard this symptom as a message from my Basic Self. It is usually telling me something like: I’m afraid, I don’t like this, that is annoying to me. Other symptoms might be telling me: I’m sad about this, I’m grieving over that.

So what to do?

Sometimes merely identifying the meaning behind a cringe is enough for a symptom to disappear. But sometimes your Basic Self needs a bit more cajoling. Try speaking out loud and acknowledging your feelings to yourself. Another handy tool is trying EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique — “tapping”) on the problem, which I also discuss in the September 2013 Impossible Cure newsletter.

Of course, there are times when you need to go even further to relax your “cringe.” At the base of most cringes is a fear of some kind. And spiritual wisdom tells us that the antidote to fear is unconditional love — love for yourself and for others.

I admit that this can be hard to achieve. But a good starting place is trust: trusting that things are happening as they should, that there is a reason for everything. I like the Native American way of expressing this — “Trust in Great Spirit.” I say that to my kids when they are worrying about something in their lives. If you can get into a state of trust, you will notice your cringe relaxing. And when you relax, you literally unblock yourself, gaining better access to messages from both your Basic and Inner (Higher) Selves.

Think about it. What if you could really trust that everything is, at base, okay? That you are okay? What if you could drop fear? You could try anything. You wouldn’t be anxious about anything or anyone. You would be more open, but you would also feel protected. In other words, you could love others and yourself quite easily. That is why the opposite of fear is love.

How to find this trust?

My suggestion is to sit quietly in nature, preferably with your feet in contact with the ground. Settle using the techniques described in Active Consciousness — “Feet. Seat. Back.” Experience the sky, the light, the air, the sounds. Empty your mind. Call up trust.

In a world of increasing fear, this is really what we all need more of. This is what young people need in order to meet the challenges of their world — not blind faith, but rather a deep trust in themselves and the fact that, ultimately, Great Spirit will unveil their path. That is what we all need when we cringe in the face of our day to day worries and woes. Instead of spiraling downward, try to give thanks and trust.

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