If you’ve seen the recent Christian Bale Batman movies, you’ll know that until he donned his rubber suit with pointy ears, Batman was ironically and quite unfortunately scared of bats. After an unfortunate accident as a young boy that involved a wishing well and some questionable balance, the young Bruce Wayne fell into a cave and awoke alone and frightened in the dark. Searching for a way out, he was suddenly overrun with by a swarm of bats (do bats swarm?) flapping their veiny wings in his face and no doubt leaving a small amount of guano in his hair. Unable to shake off this terrifying image he lived most of his early years absolutely terrified of bats and in constant need of shampoo.
So how did this happen? How did Gotham’s most fearless of inhabitants start out in life suffering from anxiety and panic? Well sticking with the shampoo analogy, here comes the technical bit……I really dislike that ad.
When we experience something frightening we activate an area of our brain called the Amygdala. This tiny part of the brain controls our flight or fight response and when aroused, it causes our heart to start racing, it diverts energy to where we most need it (our muscles) and sends stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol throughout our body. It comes in very handy if we’re attacked by a Tiger or approached by a criminal mastermind, but if used too frequently it can cause damage and harm to our bodies. It’s quite simply, not the natural state our bodies were designed for.
So in the case of the capped crusader, the initial bat attack was so overwhelming and profound, that every time he thought about or saw bats, the amygdala was already pre-conditioned to go into a state of red alert. It wasn’t a conscious action, but a subliminal response based upon his previous experiences. It can be vey difficult to overcome and re-condition your body to break these patterns, unless of course you go into the mountains and meditate with Liam Neeson. Which is exactly what he did.
Vedic Meditation (the oldest meditative technique, much older than Liam Neeson) works by the use of mantras that have a soothing effect on the entire nervous system. Their soft and comforting sounds allows our mind to forget about our daily stresses and enter into a state of Himalayan calm. All the harmful hormones produced by stress and anxiety, are replaced with happy hormones like serotonin, that are much better suited for a healthy life.
With a calm and focused mind the hyper-activation of our amygdala turns from a state of red alert to a much more attractive green. With dedication and practice we can start to free ourselves from our fears, whatever they may be, gaining a sense of perspective and clarity that can permeate all aspects of our lives.
I’m sure we can all relate. How many times have we all experienced anxiety and stress over something that when it’s over, wasn’t really that bad at all. Meditation simply allows us to take on life’s challenges with optimism, positivity and without a fear of bats.
So while you’re more than welcome to dress up in rubber, run through the streets late at night and fight crime, there may be a much simpler alternative.
Author Bio: Nick Huxsted works for Will Williams Meditation in London. Their aim is to help people live the happiest, healthiest lives they can through the ancient practice of Vedic Meditation, and to overcome their anxieties and fears.