Evolution of the nervous system
The nuts & bolts
Depending on how long you have been in care with me some of you may or may not remember the conversation we had on your first visit regarding the evolution of the nervous system and how it corresponds to the 3 levels of Network Care. As a refresher this article will be a brief synopsis of the neural strategies that emerge as people go through each of the levels of care, describing how the nervous system is evolving, and what it all means for you.
Let’s start at the beginning. This delicate thing that we call our nervous system begins its development 18 days after conception from one of the three germ layers called ectoderm. Only the skin and nervous system are derived from this germ layer, therefore our skin and nervous system come from the same developmental origin. This helps to make sense as to why our biggest sense organ is our skin and the direct impact that touch has on our nervous system. Our skin is constantly receiving information from the environment and relaying it through the nervous system.
All of the structural building blocks of the nervous system are in place at 16 weeks in utero and last for the duration of our life. Connectivity (or the firing of neural pathways) begins at 5 weeks in utero and continues strongly during the first 2 years of life outside the womb. There then begins a pruning and selection process of particular pathways over other pathways as we become more identified with being our individual selves based on our experiences and environments.
Our nervous system is a receiver of sorts. I think of it as having the function of tuning and picking up particular frequencies of self that are in the field, or what we normally think of as empty space, but which is really packed full of energy and information. The tone/tension of our nervous system (including our spinal cord) will determine what frequencies we can tune into and therefore what information is available to us. For example if the tone of our nervous system is held in a particular tension pattern then we will only tune to those frequencies that correspond (or are in resonance) with the tension of our system. When our nervous system changes its tone/tension pattern than it can find resonance with different frequencies (aka information & energy) that correspond to this different tone.
In addition to the tone/tension of the nervous system another important factor is having receptors to pick up the information. For example if a signal or frequency is in the field but we don’t have receptors to it in our nervous system to pick up the signal, then we won’t be able to receive it (aka be aware of it). So the combination of tone/tension of nervous system and the receptors the system has to pick up the information, are vital components to the evolving nervous system and thus the evolving being.
Emergence of neural strategies in Network Care
Levels of care
So you might be thinking what creates the tone/tension patterns that our nervous system holds? The answer is that it is based on our experiences. When we have experiences that are harsh or intense, and that we don’t have the resources inside of ourselves to process and integrate fully, our spinal cord will literally distort. It will stretch, pull tight in certain places and often lock into a particular tension pattern and position. We can see that patterning or positioning visually through our posture and it can also be felt when assessing the spinal subsystems (which is what I do when you come in for an entrainment). In Network we call these spinal distortion patterns the “five phases”. What that means is that in Network we have identified 5 particular ways that the spinal cord pulls up tension patterns in response to not being able to process an experience.
One of the goals of Network is to help the system unwind these distortion-tension patterns so that the nervous system can receive and become resonant with different information & energy. The way that Network does this is through the development of something called “spinal gateways”. You can think of spinal gateways as the receptors that are needed for the nervous system to tune into different information.
In level one of care these spinal gateways are small, flat, and located at the skin level between the bones in the neck and sacrum. By lightly touching these areas we are bringing awareness to them and with awareness they begin to light up and become active. As awareness begins to find a particular spinal gateway the strategy that will emerge will be a respiratory wave. We call this the emerging strategy of level one of care. Its emergent in that you can’t make the system do it, you can instead only set up the conditions that allow it to occur. Those conditions are a combination of presence with specific intention, knowingness of what is possible and an allowing for the organic natural rhythm to express. The emergence of the respiratory wave is very important for the nervous system because it creates a sense of safety, stability and ease and also begins to unwind the tension patterns within the spinal cord. This unwinding of spinal tension patterns provides energy for your life force or bio-energetic intelligence, which is the intelligence or information that is connected with how your physical body functions. The goal of level one then is to increase your access to bioenergetic intelligence and unwind bound energy within your spine and connective tissues, which when liberated increases your life force energy. This is the first step that is required in the evolution of your nervous system from more survival-reactive based into rest. You will feel this as an effortless breath that arises after a light touch is made on the spinal gateway.
In level two of care we are working to develop these spinal gateways so that rather than small, flat areas located at the skin level between the bones of the neck and down at the sacrum, they become little vortices. In the beginning of level two of care we start to physically and energetically stretch these spinal gateways. This allows their surface area to increase and with increased surface area we have more area to receive information. Increasing surface area allows for greater complexity, and greater complexity means evolution. You can see this in the way that the brain has all of these intricate folds called gyri and sulci. Those folds increase the surface area of the brain and are part of the evolution of our nervous system as well. The stretching of the spinal gateway activates our emotional energy. Often when our spinal cord distorts there is an emotion associated with that distortion or tone/tension pattern. When we lift and stretch a spinal gateway we are also accessing the emotion(s) that is connected to that pattern that got locked into place and time. The spinal gateway stretching is now giving us access to our emotional intelligence and through feeling we liberate bound energy from our emotional subsystem which has connections along our spinal cord and in the musculature along the spine. The strategy that emerges is the stretch response of the spinal gateway. We call this level 2A of care. Our nervous system is now evolving to include strategies that allow us to find and feel our emotions, which allows them to move freely through the system rather than bind in particular locations.
As level 2 progresses and we have the stretch response in at least 2 spinal gateways the next strategy that begins to emerge is a coordinated timing between 2 different spinal gateways. The experience of this is having one gateway stretch, rock or move and then close in timing feeling another gateway stretch, rock or move. The fancy term for this stretching, rocking or movement is called oscillation. Two gateways begin to oscillate in a coordinated timing. This is the emerging neural strategy of level 2B of care and with it we get access to lower mental intelligence. Lower mental intelligence is information that is important for facts, rules, linear thinking, and also for discernment, identity as separate self, and knowing what works and doesn’t work for you. As this strategy of 2 spinal gateways moving in a coordinated timing emerges and activates lower mental intelligence it also liberates the bound energy stored in mental boxes and containers about who you think you are and aren’t and also deeper spinal cord tension patterns.
Level 2 continues into what we call level 2C. In level 2C we are still working with 2 spinal gateway regions like in 2B. In addition to these 2 gateways moving in a coordinated timing they now also have a spatial movement component that can be experienced or felt as a figure 8 motion occurring between 2 gateways. This emerging property of figure 8 movement occurs in 2C along with something called the somatopsychic wave. The somatopsychic wave is an energetic wave that moves longitudinally along the spine. As this wave moves along the spine it liberates any remaining defensive or bound energy, and with the spinal gateways developed, this liberated energy can be redirected into the spinal gateways. With this the spinal gateways grow even larger, getting juiced up by all of this liberated energy. As these gateways grow again they are increasing their surface area, becoming a larger vortex and their distance away from and deeper into the body increases to the level in the field of upper mental intelligence. Upper mental intelligence contains information about seeing the bigger perspective and breaking it down into its parts, it allows for complex mental concepts and conscious choice rather than programmed responses. As you energize this intelligence through the emerging neural strategies of level 2C you become increasingly aware and aligned to what serves and what doesn’t serve and are able to take appropriate, consistent actions in accordance with what is next and your preferences and choices. As you are aligned in this way you are empowered in yourself and your ability to create impact and change.
Like level 2, level 3 also has 3 parts, an A, B and C. In level 3 rather than the primary focus being on the development of the spinal gateways (though they continue to develop) the focus shifts onto the development of what we call the heart oscillator (or gateway). Level 3A of care starts with the stretch of the heart oscillator. Just like you learned to stretch a spinal gateway in level 2A of care, now you are learning to stretch the heart gateway both physically and energetically. In the beginning it can feel more like a physical stretch, but as the strategy emerges more fully you get a more energized stretch response. Again as we stretch we increase surface area and as we increase surface area we have more receptor space availability to receive information. The information that is available in level 3 of care is soul intelligence. Rather than the energy fueling the neural strategy coming from bound energy in the system, the energy that fuels this soul intelligence comes from us stretching open the heart and connecting with unbound energy. As you connect with intelligent information at this level you begin to recognize the emptiness and formless aspects of reality.
Progressing into level 3B of care there is an emerging strategy that develops between the heart oscillator and 2 spinal gateways. Similar to level 2B where there were 2 spinal gateways moving together in a particular timing, in 3B the heart oscillator moves in timing with 2 spinal gateways. The 2 spinal gateways have the figure 8 motion that they learned in level 2C and they learn how to coordinate their rhythm with the heart now. It is often felt as the heart/chest rising and then falling and then the 2 spinal gateways move in a figure 8 motion and then the heart/chest rises again. They go back in forth, one moves and then drops out and then the other moves and drops out. We are still working with soul intelligence and information in 3B, but deepening to the level of knowing your interconnectedness with all beings and expanding into increasingly subtler and more highly organized energy. The spinal gateways are even larger vortices now extending further into the field at the soul level of intelligence.
Similar to level 3B, level 3C continues to evolve this rhythmic coordination between the heart and 2 spinal gateways. The emerging strategy of this level of care is to have engagement of the heart and 2 spinal gateways using free, unbound energy to fuel the strategy in sustained coordination. You also begin to feel oscillatory movements in your hip and shoulder areas. The somatopsychic wave that develops in 2C moves increasingly more forward in your body throughout level 3 of care. In 2C the somatopsychic wave goes directly through the spine, in 3A it moves to the area between the spine and heart, in 3B it goes right through the heart and in level 3C it moves in front of the heart suspending any remaining defense between your individual heart and the universal heart. The experience at level 3C of care is of fully knowing one’s truest self as one being while simultaneously sharing your soul’s unique expression at this human level.
In summary this is the progression of how the nervous system evolves through Network Care. It is through this evolution that we are able to regulate the tone/tension in our nervous system and simultaneously increase our ability to receive information through the creation of spinal gateways and the emerging neural strategies that come with their growth and development. Through unwinding the bound energy in our spinal-neural system and stretching open our heart to connect with unbound energy we are able to fuel these various intelligences (bioenergetic, emotional, lower mental, upper mental and soul) that contain all of the information vital to living our fullest expression in this human form. This is evolution of the system and therefore of our beingness in form.
Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado