Whose Voice Is That? Differentiating Between Society and Soul

How do you tell the difference between the song of the soul and the thoughts that echo societal messages?  Frequently, the soul murmurs to the heart while communication from the collective reverberates through the mind.  Over time, societal messages take precedence in our inner hearing.  This post examines brain wave patterns to explore how we unconsciously absorb ideas from others and replay them in our minds, drowning out the whispers of the soul.

Brain waves, like sound frequencies, are measured in cycles per second, called Hertz (Hz).  Each brain wave pattern correlates with a specific state of consciousness.  In general, the slower the frequency of your brain waves, the more relaxed you feel. While various authors designate different ranges for each classification, a Scientific American article by Educator and Management Trainer Ned Herrmann states that there are four main brainwave patterns made up of the following frequency ranges[i]:

Delta (1.5-4 Hz) – slow, high amplitude waves that generate a sense of detachment from external awareness and are present during deepest meditation and sleep

Theta (5-8 Hz) – associated with drowsiness and meditation, Theta is a gateway to learning, memory, intuition and internal signals such as dreams, imagery and information beyond our normal conscious awareness

Alpha (9-14 Hz) – quietly flowing thoughts in present time that provide a resting state for the brain

Beta (15-40 Hz) – the state of normal waking consciousness associated with focused mental activity when attention is directed toward cognitive tasks

The Brainwaves[ii]

In addition to these four states of consciousness, the brain produces fast, high frequency Gamma brainwaves (faster than 40 Hz) associated with simultaneous processing of information from different brain areas.  This state is only accessible when the mind is quiet.  Tibetan Buddhist monks have shown a correlation between Gamma and transcendental states of consciousness.

It is important to understand that the brain of a young child operates primarily in the range of Theta which is the same state activated during hypnosis.  This means that when we are children, we unconsciously absorb attitudes and beliefs from the adults in our lives, including family members, caregivers, teachers and ministers.  After taking in ideas from important adults, we replay them in our mind.  The content from the absorbed information remains accessible while the origin of these thoughts falls outside of our conscious awareness.  Therefore, these ideas seem to be our own rather than attitudes and beliefs we have adopted from others.  We rarely pause to notice which of the thoughts we think were simply accepted from others and which ones were developed by critically thinking about our own experiences and understandings of how the world works.  Consequently, the clanging gongs of other people’s ideas drown out the whispers of the soul.

In late childhood, the normal waking state of consciousness shifts from Theta to Beta.  Yet we continue to unintentionally take in outside information when we watch television and activate the relaxed, detached mental state associated with Alpha brainwaves.  Although TV shows, advertisements and news reports can express perspectives that have nothing in common with the viewpoint of the soul, when we are in Alpha, the information soaks into our awareness and blurs the distinction between our inner wisdom and outer opinions.

How do you tell the difference between the song of the soul and the inner thoughts that echo societal messages?  Next month I will describe markers I use to distuinguish between society and soul.  If you feel like sharing your wisdom and experience on this topic, please use the comment box at the end of this post.

Human Brain image from an unidentified source

[i] Herrmann, N. (2018). What Is the Function of the Various Brainwaves?  Scientific American. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-is-the-function-of-t-1997-12-22/

[ii] Herrmann, N. (1989). The Creative Brain. Minneapolis, MN: Brain Book University of Minnesota.


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Stopping the Train of Your Thoughts

How often are you able to quiet your mind and access the silence that arises when thoughts cease?  This state of mental emptiness provides many benefits.  In this post I will highlight three opportunities associated with inner tranquility:

The ability to let go

The possibility of accessing new information and

The opportunity to move in a different direction

Letting Go

When we become quiet, we interrupt or short-circuit energies that are incompatible with that state.  Gradually, the electro-magnetics that hold well-established patterns in place weaken enough that we can simply let go.

For example, a client shared an experience of arguing with her spouse about their finances.  After she described the situation, we sat for a few minutes in silence.  During the stillness she noticed how strongly she was pushing against her husband’s perspective.  Breathing into this new awareness, her tension softened enough that she was able to release her resistance.

Accessing New Information

When the mind quiets, the absence of thought creates space for new knowledge to arise.  It is as if the silence on the surface of awareness opens a doorway to information teeming beneath the surface.  In the example of my client, the quiet contributed to a softening of resistance.  It also unlocked deeper feelings of grief.  In addition, it released fear that had been too overwhelming to face when their finances changed.

Moving in a Different Direction

Paradoxically, a quiet mind allows movement in a different direction because it reverberates in stillness.  Think of a ball that has been tossed into the air.  At first, it moves upward.  Then there is a moment of pause before it begins falling back to the ground.  During that moment of pause, it is much easier to push the ball in a new direction compared to when it is moving upward or falling down.

Similarly, every aspect of our lives is in motion.  When we quiet our thoughts, we access a still point from which we can more easily initiate a new course of action.  Since our outer lives reflect our inner experience, the interior adjustments that we make from the still point eventually show-up in our attitudes, actions, relationships and experiences.

For my client, after feeling the grief surrounding all that had been lost, she could stand with her husband rather than rail against him.  She could also address her fear.  The change in her perspective provided a new platform from which she and her husband could work together to respond to their newly challenging financial situation.

Quieting the Mind

When I first began meditating, I read about an approach that has been of great assistance to me.  While I cannot remember the author, I do remember the practice:

Imagine that your thoughts are like the cars of a train.

Slow your thoughts until you can see through the gap between the cars.

As each gap passes by, gaze into the territory beyond the train of your thoughts.

If possible, pause your thoughts.

Allow your awareness to step between the cars, into the vastness beyond the train.

This is the place of emptiness where all potential resides.  This is where you can access the possibilities that emerge from inner tranquility.


Train photo by Scribblebug; flickr.com

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Melting Frozen Emotions: Tapping Acupuncture Points to Access Emotional Freedom

Are you aware of the self-help tool called tapping?  For some people, this technique is as familiar as their face in the mirror.  Others have never heard of it.  If you tap regularly, today’s blog may open new possibilities for how to use it.  If you are unaware of this procedure, perhaps this post will pique your curiosity as I offer a brief overview of what it is, how it works, how it can change your life and how I have used it.

What is Tapping?

Tapping is a procedure that is also known as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).  It loosens stuck energy by stimulating acupuncture points while focusing on specific memories, beliefs or emotions.

How Does Tapping Work?

The internationally known authority on Energy Medicine, Donna Eden, sees energy in and around the body.  “In the world according to Donna’s eyes, tapping anywhere on the body while mentally activating a troubling memory or situation has a calming effect.  She sees a ‘flare’ of energy come out from the skin when you tap on any point.  She also sees that energy ‘sink’ into the body. . . . In general, the points used in the tapping therapies produce a larger ‘flare’ than random points, and she associates this with a larger effect.” [i]  In other words, tapping calms the mind and emotions, releases stuck energy and makes that energy available to the body.

Tapping specific acupuncture points while focusing on particular thoughts, feelings or events:

  • changes brain chemistry
  • soothes the fight/flight/freeze response which allows higher-level thinking processes to engage
  • brings unconscious feelings and beliefs into conscious awareness
  • clears stuck energy
  • interrupts current patterns
  • opens possibilities and
  • establishes a new foundation from which to move forward

How Can Tapping Change Your Life?

The clinical psychologist, David Feinstein, writes that tapping promotes “greater emotional control, inner peace, and effectiveness.” [ii]  You can use it to overcome phobias, improve relationships, boost performance, change unwanted habits, reduce pain, support weight loss, increase health and well-being, enhance your enjoyment of life, alter your relationship with money, overcome unwanted emotions, align your life with your dreams and much more.  Thousands of YouTube videos demonstrate the Emotional Freedom Technique of tapping.

Some concerns like nipping a cold in the bud can be accomplished with 15 to 20 minutes of tapping as demonstrated by Beth Tuttle.[iii]  Other issues, such as changing unwanted habits can take much longer as each round of tapping prunes a branch of the problem until the root is finally uncovered and removed.

How I Have Used Tapping

I first became aware of the power of tapping in 2001 when I changed jobs.  As a classroom music teacher with more than twenty years of experience, I had frequently played piano for a variety of audiences that included students, teachers, parents and community members.  While I always felt nervous when performing, after changing jobs, my anxiety sky-rocketed.  During the first performance of the year, my body began trembling to the point that I could not lift my foot to play the pedal and my hands lost so much strength that I could not play with expression.  I knew I had to take immediate action because monthly performances were part of my job description.  I turned to the Emotional Freedom Technique and over the course of a month, I completed many rounds of tapping, each between 60 and 90 minutes long.  At my performance the following month, there was no trembling in my body.  My baseline level of nervousness was lower than before doing the tapping.  For the remaining ten years of employment, I maintained this lower level of nervousness when performing.

Most recently, I used the Beth Tuttle YouTube video, mentioned above, to eliminate a scratchy throat after being exposed to a cold.  After twenty minutes, I was able to interrupt the progression of the cold.

Tapping is an effective tool that anyone can learn to support their health and well-being.  If you want to know more about this powerful procedure, two sessions with me will give you a foundation to begin using this technique for yourself and your loved ones.  Contact me at info@catherinegrytting.com for more information.  You, too, can experience emotional freedom, improved health and enhanced well-being!

The March eletter from Donna Eden’s INNERSOURCE website includes an article titled, “Brain Scans Give Glimpse into How Tapping on Acupuncture Points Impacts the Brain: Research to be Presented at Upcoming ACEP Conference.”  Although this issue has not yet been posted to the INNERSOURCE website, if you contact me at info@catherinegrytting.com, I will forward, to you, the email that includes this article.

Electrified Heart image courtesy of freeimages.com.

[i] INNERSOURCE.  (2018).  What Donna Sees When Someone Taps.  Innersource Website.  http://www.innersource.net/em/article/333-resources/e-letter/1170-what-donna-eden-sees-when-someone-taps.html

[ii] Feinstein, D., Eden, D. and Craig, G.  (2005).  The Promise of Energy Psychology.  New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin.  p. 3.

[iii] Tuttle, B.  (2016).  EFT for a Cold (Tapping for a Cold) – YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZtBH8p3PKA

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Expanded Awareness: Perceiving Other Realms

The French philosopher, Teilhard de Chardin, reminds us that “we are not human beings having a spiritual experience.  We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” [i]  How might your life be different if you lived from the expanded perspective of your soul/spirit?  We can glimpse one aspect of this possibility by exploring the experiences of people who have perceptual abilities that are not usually available to the general population.  For example, many visionaries, artists and writers open to dimensions that enliven their creativity.  Peak performers in every field access a realm beyond our typical understanding which they name as flow or being in the zone.  I know people who sense the presence of people who have died.  Others recognize energy originating from different lifetimes.  Several colleagues communicate with animals and many more converse with angels and ascended masters.

As an energy teacher, I recognize that we can grow our consciousness and expand our perceptual abilities.  One way to open the door to other dimensions is to observe from the heart.  The Episcopal priest, Cynthia Bourgeault looks to Wisdom traditions to know what it means to see with the heart:

  1. The heart is an organ for the perception of divine purpose and beauty. It is our antenna, so to speak, given to us to orient us toward the divine radiance and to synchronize our being with its more subtle movements.
  2. The ancient Wisdom traditions . . . directly perceived that the physical world we take for our empirical, time-and-space-bound reality is encompassed in another: a coherent and powerful world of divine purpose always surrounding and interpenetrating it. . . . [I]f the heart is awake and clear, it can directly receive, radiate, and reflect this unmanifest divine Reality.
  3. The heart serves as a bridge between the mind and the body and also between our usual physical world and this invisible other realm. [ii]

The following meditation opens the eyes of the heart:

Begin by taking several breaths and focusing your awareness on your heart.  Then look around and notice your surroundings.  Let your eyes pause on one object and simply observe it.  If you notice your mind activating a thought such as a label or a judgment, take a breath, return your awareness to your heart and continue to simply observe the object.  If you notice your mind moving to the past or future, take a breath, return your awareness to this moment and continue to simply observe the object.  As you give your full attention and presence to this object, gradually let your gaze soften.  Be aware of opening your heart to take in more than the outer appearance of this object.  Deepen your awareness to encompass the Source of All Creation present within this object and within you.  Rest in this expanded awareness and allow your experience to unfold itself.  After several minutes return your awareness to the room, knowing that you have expanded your perception and created a clearer pathway to and within your heart.

Although the process of expanding awareness can be dramatic, like a quantum leap, more often it is very gradual and subtle.  Repeated practice clears the pathway.  Be curious.  When you open to new possibilities you might discover unknown horizons of awareness that make life magical.

To read more of Cynthia Bourgeault’s discussion of how Wisdom traditions view the role of the heart go to https://cac.org/blessed-pure-heart-2018-02-05/

Starry Night by van Gogh, (1889) courtesy of Google.

[i] Pierre Teilhard de Chardin Quotes. (n.d.). BrainyQuote.com. Retrieved February 19, 2018, from BrainyQuote.com Web site: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/pierre_teilhard_de_chardi_160888

[ii] Cynthia Bourgeault, The Wisdom Way of Knowing: Reclaiming an Ancient Tradition to Awaken the Heart. (Jossey-Bass: 2003), 33-35.

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Being a Creator: Emotions, Serendipity and Shifting Energy

What does it mean to be a creator?  It means being one who brings something into being.  We think of creators as people who work with a medium such as images, sound or ideas.  What if our own lives are the primary thing that we are to bring into existence while living on this planet?  If this is the meaning of life, then we are all creators.  Today’s blog expands on earlier posts about the role of emotions in bringing our dreams to life.  It also explores the concepts of serendipity and shifting energy as they relate to creating our experiences.


Abigail Brenner, an author and psychiatrist, writes “E~motions of Change = Energy in Motion.” [i]  From an energetic perspective, all emotions are energy (E) in motion (E+motion).  In other words, our feelings are the power that generates our creations.  Their movement carries our intentions from the arena of ideas to the realm of experience.  The quality of the carrier emotion influences the nature of the outcome.  Chaotic emotions such as fear, doubt, anger and shame, for example, infuse disturbances that distort and disrupt our desires.  Therefore, it is essential that we fashion our lives with sentiments such as love, gratitude, joy or excitement.  We MUST pay attention to what is motivating us and shift the perspective when we notice fear or doubt.

Recently, I realized that I was making a fear-based decision.  I am planning a celebration for my niece’s upcoming wedding.  After experiencing two power outages, I know that I do not want to risk losing power during the party.  I decided to change the location.  When I recognized that I was acting on the fear of losing power, I shifted my focus to what I desire.  I want to host a smooth, warm, happy celebration and we need electricity for warmth and smooth operations.  While the decision to change the location remains the same, the feelings that fuel my choice provide a very different energy for the party.


Serendipity is the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.[ii]  Creators live in a flow that encourages serendipity.  The other day, I received an email that clearly demonstrates this concept.  I take an online course through Mastering Alchemy and a colleague wrote:

I raise livestock. Today I had just finished putting out new salt blocks for the larger animals but I still had 3 pens of goats and only 1 small block left. I set it on the front of the All Terrain Vehicle, and while driving carefully on my way over, I thought to myself if I should try to saw it into three pieces. No I will just alternate it between pens until I get more, but that is more work and it would sure be nice if it were in 3 pieces. Just then it fell off and hit the ground and broke into 3 pieces, just the right size for each pen. I started laughing and thought how cool is that?

Shifting Energy

Creators understand that when we don’t like something, we have the capacity to shift the energy and change our experience.  As an example, a short time ago, I was caught in a “death-grip” conversation.  I thought to myself, “This is not what I want.  I prefer to contribute to the discussion.”  Because I was so uncomfortable, I repeated this statement to myself three times.  Suddenly, the other person stopped ranting and made a heart-filled statement about how he is affected by the topic he was discussing.  He paused as his feelings flowed through him and I was able to respond from my heart.  This two-sentence interaction shifted the energy between us and shortly after that we were laughing and engaging in a balanced give-and-take.  I successfully noticed a situation I did not like and transformed it simply by focusing my attention on what I wished to experience.  As my colleague from Mastering Alchemy said, “How cool is that?”

The more capable we become at directing our thoughts and managing our emotions, the greater our capacity to stimulate serendipity, shift energy and influence our experiences.  May 2018 be a year in which you create with ease, precision and joy!

“The Artist’s Tools” oil painting by M. Naples; Google.

[i] Brenner, A. (2011). E~motions of Change = Energy in Motion. Psychology Today. In Flux. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-flux/201106/emotions-change-energy-in-motion

[ii] Google Dictionary. (no date provided). Serendipity. https://www.google.com/search?ei=OXxiWtcw5qqNA8XTg9AB&q=what+is+serendipity&oq=what+is+ser&gs_l=psy-ab.1.0.35i39k1j0l9.336531.339330.0.341758.….0…1c.1.64.psy-ab..0.12.864.6..0i131k1j0i67k1j0i20i264k1j0i3k1.119.nwDUIgb-LfE

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Light Shining in the Darkness

This time of year is sacred in many cultures, religions and wisdom traditions.  People throughout the world are turning their attention to family, friends, sharing, peace, love and joy.  Keeping this in mind, today’s post builds on the concept described last month about countering chaos with coherence.  The emotions of sharing, peacefulness, love and joy are feelings that activate heart/mind coherence in our individual energy systems.  Each one of us becomes like a candle radiating the light of positive feelings.

When two or more people in close proximity focus their attention on similar emotions, they strengthen those energies in each of their electromagnetic fields.  As millions of people around the planet maintain a similar focus at this time of year, we become like millions of points of light shining in the winter darkness.  Our combined energies create an electromagnetic field that activates positive emotions in others.

Researchers at the Heart/Math Institute have studied this phenomenon, which is called “Social Coherence.”  The Heart/Math Institute reports that we feed the electromagnetic field with our emotions and this is a season when many people are feeding the field with uplifting feelings.  To learn more, click on the following link and watch a four-minute video by the HeartMath Institute titled “What is Social Coherence?”


May 2018 be a year in which you shine your light in peace, love and joy.

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Counter Chaos with Coherence

Last month I wrote about how world events affect us even when we are far removed from them.  Today I will explore the concept of coherence as a way to respond to global turmoil.  This post defines coherence, describes a way to activate it and lists some of its benefits.

What is Coherence?

According to Wikipedia:

two wave sources are perfectly coherent if they have a constant phase difference and the same frequency, and the same waveform.1

Figure 1, below, shows three coherent sine waves.   They have

  1. a constant phase difference (their crests and troughs occur at the same time)
  2. the same frequency (the distance between wave repetitions remains constant) and
  3. the same waveform (an identical shape – in this case, a simple down-to-up or up-to-down shape called a sine wave)

Coherent waves maintain a steady pattern in relationship to each other.

Figure 1. Three Coherent Sine Waves

In humans, coherence occurs when we activate and maintain a consistent, harmonious relationship in the wave patterns produced by the mind (brain waves) and the heart rhythm measured by an Electrocardiogram (EKG).  When the mind and heart are in coherence, they work in partnership rather than interfering with each other.

Sound provides an analogy for clarifying the nature of this harmonious relationship.  When musical instruments are in-tune with each other, they work together to create beautiful music.  If one instrument is out-of-tune, its tone creates discord in the overall sound.  When many dissonant sounds happen at the same time, the combination can sound like radio static or white noise.

Similarly, when the mind and heart are out-of-tune or incoherent, their wave patterns interfere with each other.  This creates a mild sense of irritation, distractibility, or in the case of severe incoherence, an inability to make decisions or enter relationships because the mind and heart target two different priorities for life.

How Do We Activate and Maintain Heart/Mind Coherence?

The HeartMath Institute has developed a method called the Quick Coherence® Technique that encourages a consistent, harmonious relationship in the wave patterns between mind and heart.  To activate heart/mind coherence:

  1. Heart Focus: Focus on your heart or the area in the center of your chest
  2. Heart Breathing: Imagine your breath is flowing in and out through the area of your heart. . . . find a nice smooth rhythm.
  3. Heart Feeling: While maintaining heart focus and heart breathing, try to activate a positive feeling. This could be a feeling of care for a person or animal, a feeling of appreciation for the good things in your life, or an uplifting feeling you had at a special time or place.  Without trying too hard, just ease into a positive feeling while maintaining heart focus and heart breathing.2

What Are Some Benefits of Coherence?

Activating a state of coherence has many benefits.  It stimulates positive emotions, calms and energizes the mind and body, increases effectiveness, improves relationships and it generates a positive field of energy that uplifts those around us.   Maintaining heart/mind coherence is a comforting and effective way to respond to tumultuous and disconcerting world events.

1 Coherence (physics). (2017). In Wikipedia. Retrieved November 11, 2017 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coherence_(physics)

2 Quantum Intech, Inc. (2011). emWave2 Quick Start Guide.  p. 11.

Coherent Sine Waves image from Wikipedia

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