Psychic Readings | The Red Zone
The last place anyone doing psychic readings want to finish up is in The Red Zone. Red lights, red flags, the letter X painted in bright red, all are ways of warning us of danger. But there is also an invisible Red Zone, one that is trickier to navigate around. The Red Zone to which I refer is the one at top end of the Stress Meter.
We are told that Stress is the “price we pay” for living in the age of technology, of intrusive corporatism, of mindless over-population, and of highly combustible religious and political fanatics attached to self-detonating devices. Looked at so baldly, it is no wonder that philosophers have called ours The Age of Anxiety, that state in which we are plagued by possibilities but unable to remove the potential threats they represent. We live continually on the borders of the Red Zone where the unrelenting pressure to solve problems provokes the stress-triggered form of Dissociation.
Psychic Readings | The Red Zone
Dissociation refers not only to extreme instances of things like fugue states or multiple personalities. Dissociation can mean the mundane losses of contact with our awareness that we call daydreaming or being “zoned out”. Most of us who drive cars will recognize the state in which we drive for a time but are unaware of doing so until we suddenly “come to” and realize that we were functioning on auto-pilot and not consciously “paying attention” to the road! Those moments are disconcerting to be sure but they are soon forgotten. We don’t think of them as “pathological” but they are moments of Dissociation where there is a splitting off of action from awareness. Most such moments pass quickly and without causing harm but then there are the more damaging examples of Dissociation in which we lose touch with the part of our brains/minds that we rely upon to guide us to make responsible choices. Dissociation is like a short-circuit in the brain that causes the mind to go blank and then suddenly “re-boot” itself. It is in these dangerous seconds that Dissociation can wreak damage because the interruption can lead one “off-message” very quickly and our thinking can become muddled or worse.
Psychic Readings | The Red Zone
In our hectic and chaotic societies, Dissociation finds many outlets: absorption in virtual reality games, mass entertainment of all kinds, addictions of all kinds, “X-treme” so-called sports and other high-risk activities, and workaholism. Extreme examples of Dissociation abound in popular entertainment, usually in some form of amnesia attributed to trauma. But what science is beginning to understand is that prolonged stress can have effects similar to those of abrupt trauma. Anyone who has been over-worked and insufficiently rested for a period of time may suffer occasional memory lapses, difficulty naming objects, drawing a blank when asked a simple question or inability to remember something like a telephone number or pin code that one uses daily! When this happens, it is disconcerting to say the least. When it happens repeatedly over a period of time, it can be destructive both to the experiencer and his/her companions and work mates. The worst part is that this form of stress-induced Dissociation can happen even to long-term meditators if their usual practice is disrupted for any reason. Disturbances that include lack of sleep, irregular hours, skipped meals, performance anxiety, frequent illnesses, concentration problems, etc. are warning signs that stress – even self-imposed stress! – is at dangerous levels. Lapses in awareness, disrupted thought patterns, and loss of psychological/emotional sensitivity put you in “The Red Zone”.
Personal Visit To The Red Zone
Unfortunately, I recently spent a few months in the Red Zone before I realized that I was there! In this case it was an 18 month period of “working without a net” – ironically on the Internet! – that eventuated in a kind of career crisis known as the mini-burnout. As a “newbie” to the Web and a first-time website owner, I was greener than any cabbage! To do well on the internet one must master a vertical learning path that feels nothing like a “curve”. The objective in my case was to produce daily articles that would lead to the highest possible Google rankings in Search Engine Optimization terms for my field, Psychic Readings Online. My stress levels were soon off the scale as I struggled to come up with ideas, shape them according to SEO principles, and keep up a psychic practice at the same time. To do my readings, I needed to be able to shift instantly from analytical/critical mode to receptive/intuitive mode but most of my waking hours were spent in the analytical/critical thinking mode of writing, editing, and publishing articles that would please the Google Search Engine’s “Spider” – the cyber sleuth that “reads” and ranks articles for Google. I was in way over my head – and on top of that have a phobia about spiders! Not a good combination.
As someone who had experienced full-blown workaholic “burn out” earlier in my life I should have recognized the signs of impending trouble. Instead, I just re-doubled my efforts to keep going, producing five to seven articles a week to keep the Search Engine ranking of my work high. Although I wrote about things I care about, my energy went into matching the structure of my articles to the exacting standards of Search Engine Optimisation requirements. Without my realizing it, my articles had gone from informative or spiritually alive to intellectually critical and opinion-riddled. I had fallen into the trap of writing for a machine rather than for people. Worse, I had strayed from my own spiritual path and it was showing.
Dissociation, that odd state of separation between personal perception and objective reality, had taken hold and even my memory began to falter. When I looked back at how I struggled to remember common words, found myself unable to use my cellphone because I could not think of the pin code that has been unchanged for fifteen years, and other frightening ellipses in my awareness, I was terrified that the cause could be Alzheimer’s which had claimed my mother. I was even too terrified to be tested, especially with regard to the odd feelings of emotional numbness and so I kept heading blindly toward disaster. No doubt, my memory is not what it was two decades ago but when I finally worked up the nerve to do the cognitive abilities test, the result was blessedly re-assuring. The culprit was a prolonged period of self-imposed stress in making the transition from private life to life on the Web. The crunch came at the end of January this year when, after a six week hiatus I tried to get back to daily blogging. Although the break had brought intellectual rejuvenation, the emotional and psychic side of me were still in Dissociation mode. After an additional period of “withdrawal” from living on the net, I think I have reached a state of re-integration and can now approach my work online with more of my Self and less of my “Shadow” dominating my life. As any good Jungian would have told me, it is the “Shadow” that provokes Dissociation when the Self is overwhelmed. One cannot murder one’s “Shadow” but it is possible to be aware when it starts to surface on the perimeter of The Red Zone. Better still to adhere to daily spiritual practices like meditation that will gradually increase the psychic distance between living in the light and being swallowed by the Shadows. Om mani padme hum…
© Delia O’Riordan 2013
Meditation For The Love Of It is available HERE.
Image credit: Georges de la Tour, Magdalene’s Mirror, courtesy Wikimedia.