Somatic Science is based on the scientific method
It works like this:
Observation: The first step of the scientific method involves making an observation about something that interests you.
Question: Once you've made your observation, you must formulate a question about what you have observed.
Hypothesis: This is a supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation. This is a key component of the scientific process.
Experiment: A procedure undertaken to test a hypothesis.
Results: Here you find out whether the hypothesis you made was correct or needs to be modified.
Here we apply this method to our human experience of happiness. In this view, happiness refers to the absence of suffering. Suffering is the state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship. The scientific method yields the following:
Observation: People appear to be unhappy.
Question: Why are people unhappy?
Hypothesis: People are unhappy because they continuously experience feeling unsafe. This experience of unsafety is equivalent to experiencing that something is missing, something is wrong, and this is a direct threat to survival. This is due to the interrelationship of several neurobiological, neurocognitive and societal factors:
1: Neurobiological factors
The neurobiology of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) has evolved such that human beings everywhere are
primarily concerned with the basic needs of physical survival. The first dictate of the ANS is survival. This biological
mechanism is highly attuned to the environment and is constantly monitoring it (beyond conscious awareness) in
order to detect threats to survival. When it detects a possible threat, it enters into a neurobiological state called the
threat response cycle (TRC) . This can engage various defensive strategies that include fight, flight and immobility
responses. Quite often these states are not experienced consciously and occur in quick succession with various
degrees of simultaneity. This biological factor leads to and is also interrelated with the neurocognitive factors which
arise from the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) , the hippocampus (HC) and the vagal nerve (VN) .
2: Neurocognitive factors
The autonomic processes above cause the individual person to focus on and identify with them to the exclusion of
almost everything else. Under the influence of the HPA, coupled with fear arising in the HC, the individual person
is conditioned by early adverse childhood experiences (ACE) and confuses emotional discomfort with life threats.
In extreme cases, this causes the ANS to be constantly in the TRC. More commonly it causes people to experience
moderate degrees of dissociation, polarized thought end emotion and different forms of: chronic sadness, irritability,
depression / suppression of affect, worry, fear and / or anger in its different forms.
These neurocognitive factors are also coupled with evolutionary mechanisms within the VN, as described by
Dr. Stephen Porges.
When the ANS perceives both environmental and interoceptive safety, it is able to self-regulate from a
dorsal, energy-conservative strategy to a ventral, pro-social and pro-exploratory strategy.
Conversely, when it perceives threats in the environment or through interoception, it re-enters the TRC, down-
regulating pro-social and pro-exploratory behaviors with the subsequent inhibition of respiratory, immunological and
digestive processes. More commonly it causes people to experience moderate degrees of dissociation, polarized
thought end emotion and different forms of: chronic sadness, irritability, depression / suppression of affect, worry,
fear and / or anger in its different forms.
In the predominantly mammalian environment in which human life unfolds, there are few if any environmental
threats. Circumstantial or moderately traumatic events occur rarely in the adult human population. This leaves
childhood and ACEs (childhood trauma) as the most likely source of interoceptive threat in adults.
According to the Polyvagal Theory (PVT), the VN is capable of hijacking cortical function at different levels
starting from the limbic system, into the HC and amygdala. It does this when it is operating dorsally as it
attempts to manage high-energy states of sympathetic activation.
first two factors generates a feedback loop with the third, societal factor.
3: Societal factors
All are welcome!
Federico works as a specialist in somatic psychotherapy in the US, Mexico and Central America. He has studied and experienced nondual psychology since 1995 with the Gurdjieff Foundation of San Francisco, the tradition of Zhineng Qigong (Direct Wisdom in Action) since 2006 and then the teachings of Jean Klein, Robert Adams in transmission from his disciples Laura and Francis Lucille.