Working with children and adults in many learning environments, I have been struck by the difference between those who are motivated to learn through curiosity and those who are motivated to learn through fear. Here’s what I mean. I have noticed in any group—young or old—there will be some who seem curious about everything and want to engage in new learning so as to understand something they haven’t before. They feel confident in their ability to acquire new understandings and engage with a spirit of excitement and delight at the prospect. Learning, for them, seems to come easily and gracefully. There will also be some who are almost at war with themselves. They are lacking the sense of confidence exuded by the former individuals, and are driven by expectation (theirs, or someone else’s) and fear of failing. Their learning process is fraught with dread and hard work. The interesting thing to me is that there isn’t an actual difference in their ability to process and understand information, but there is a monumental difference in their approach to learning. It leads me to ask why.
We mentioned in previous articles that the bonding reflex serves to decrease the heavy adrenaline overload triggered during birth. The extreme adrenaline saturation of the body at birth is never achieved again in life. It is a merciful solution to help us through a highly stressful event and is meant to support our body/mind/spirit system through the most exhausting segments. The problem of staying in a sustained hyper-adrenaline state is that it begins to kill neurons and keeps the system in a state of protection for the preservation of life. When the bonding reflex is not switched on after birth and the adrenaline state continues longer than intended, the learning code of our life is programmed as a call for stress hormones which triggers a protection mode in us. Then, every time we encounter stressful learning environments in life, this code triggers a state of preservation rather than openness to learning.
A nonintegrated bonding reflex might manifest as follows in a child or adult who is put in a new learning experience. The immediate response is subconsciously identified as stressful and the hyper-adrenaline state begins anew. Logic and reasoning flee and the body responds on auto-pilot. Breathing either becomes rapid and ineffective, or one finds they are holding their breath. It is hard to see and/or comprehend what’s being seen. Explanations and instructions become jumbled and undecipherable. Thinking is muddled and foggy at best. It may become almost impossible to move oneself to action or, on the other hand, one may not be able to employ the natural pausing rhythm that learning requires. Ultimately, the sense of being able to feel oneself is seriously hampered and is akin to having an out-of-body experience.
Conversely, those who have integrated bonding reflexes are much more likely to embrace the learning environment and actually seek it out. For them, engaging in the learning process leaves breathing controlled and comfortable. The senses of seeing and hearing are coordinated and functioning. The ability to sort and extrapolate important pieces is smooth and easy. Fluctuation between response and pause is an elegantly coordinated choreography throughout the learning session. Overall, there is a great sense of feeling grounded within one’s self.
The bonding reflex brings integration of coordination, movement, emotions and thoughts. It brings an awareness of our bodies as a unit. We feel protected and taken care of, with an assurance that our primary needs can be met. When this is the case, the body/mind/spirit system will allow energy to be redirected to allow cognitive activities. We are connected to our own essence and able to communicate in a give-and-take manner with those closest to us, as well as groups, societies, and the world.
Tags: adrenaline, birth, body/mind/spirit system, bonding reflex, breathing, communication, coordination, emotions, energy healing, hearing, kinesiology, learning code, logic, movement, programmed, protection, reasoning, seeing, stress hormones, thoughts