No-Body Home

  1. Nothing to Cling To
  2. Clinging to People
  3. Unstuffing from Stuff
  4. The handy dandy 5 step plan to cure what ails you
  5. Real Relating
  6. No-Body Home
  7. Undoing Trauma’s Knots
  8. Non-Habitual Living and Being
  9. Healing the Mind — Body Split
  10. Ideological Foolishness
A New Series—On Clinging


On Being Headless, with no-body home

be headlessOSHO –“Be Headless.”
Fritz Perls –“Go out of your mind, and come to your senses.”

Well, this body centered article is good timing.

Some years ago, I gained a client, referred to me by a friend he met at The Haven. I won’t go into a long description of our work together, but we do Breath and Bodywork, as well as counselling.

He’s a good student, and has since gone back to school to learn Social Work, and (and I think this is great!) next year he’ll be in Debashis Dutta’s programme. Those of you that are long time readers will remember Debashis, by the way, from the articles he used to write for Into the Centre.

My client hurt his back at work a few years ago, and that has really led to an amazing transformation. He has never taken pain meds, but rather does Iyengar Yoga, meditates, and has worked with Qi Gong, Native Spirituality, and had acupuncture. In other words, he’s the “poster boy” for the “hands on, self-responsible” approach we attempt to teach. He has come a far piece, and I’m proud of him.

Mental Clinging = Physical Symptoms and Pain

Most people either resist (by clinging… our topic these days—they cling to their belief that they should be able to keep their old ways of being and also make great strides) or avoid.

The avoidance is subtle.

It’s usually done through time manipulation. As in,

  • I don’t have time to meditate (or breathe)”
  • I need to go slow and see if things sort themselves out by themselves.”
  • I just got into this new, chargy relationship, and miraculously, all of my past difficulties have vanished on their own.”
  • I’m not done being angry at my abuser yet, so I’m just going to hold on to this crap a decade longer.”
  • I want to do this, but time, or money, or work, or my partner, or my parents or my kids come first, and I’ll get around to it (me!) some day.”

As resistance progresses, illnesses emerge.


Waddaya mean I know what my body wants???”

This is a normal progression. Our bodies are finely tuned instruments, and give us ample warnings. A twinge here, an ache there, a pulled muscle, and digestive pain, bowel issues, continual colds or sinus conditions. All are warnings from our bodies. Most are ignored or medicated enough to drop below notice.

A client once reminded me that she had been abused by a relative when she was a kid. She was then around 30. Her body was a mess, and her relationships were dicey. I suggested that perhaps it was time to forgive the relative—

by which I actually mean, let go of carrying the burden of the anger and the disappointment, and the energy of the past—and also perhaps some guilt being carried. Forgiveness is an inside job of letting go of clinging to the “abuse story.”

She was having none of this, and basically stopped talking, and instead moved to Bodywork. At one point I was digging in and she was gritting her teeth and refusing to let go of her pain.

Finally, she muttered, “Nothing good can come of this.”

I eased up and surrendered to her burning desire to cling to her abuse as her only self-definition of who she is. She wins. And loses.

Sometimes, our mental constructions become our prisons.

My mom considered herself the sickest little old lady on the planet. If you had a cold, she’d trump you with the flu. If you had the flu, she was getting pneumonia. She knew no doctor would listen to her, and no surgery would be successful. And so, that was her experience. She got great satisfaction in being right about being who she saw herself to be.

These patterns of seeing and being are taught to us, and because we usually are immersed in them at a young age, they take great effort to root out. And given this week’s topic, the rooting it two-fold.

  • I have to identify my stories, my mental pictures, of what I am clinging to.
  • I have to identify what my body is telling me, and listen, shift, and do things differently.

Many religions/wisdom traditions have indicated that there is but one path to freedom, and it is achieved through centering. Now, this centering might be described as praying, meditating, directing our energy, dancing (thinking of Sufis here) or chanting. It might be reached through massage, manipulation of the chakras, through Qi Gong, yoga, Kundalini work, but the goal is the same.

Being centered is living at your core, in balance.

the core

The core is centered at the belly button. Energy is made at the lower dan tian, 2 inches below the navel, and then stored throughout the belly. Living from the core means continually returning to “source,” through breath and attention.

There are, as I just said, tons of ways (specific techniques / technologies) to get to centre. We describe our favourites here.

Picture an hourglass. The various techniques are in the big top part, and ‘pour through’ the action of being centered. The energy empties into a million different experiences—enlightenment, bliss, nirvana, heaven-on-earth, union with god, whatever. There are so many descriptions of the experience because what happens to you will be personal.

Codified, it’s:
Many paths (techniques) leading to
one action (centering), leading to
many (physical, mental, spiritual) experiences.

When people ask: “But what will I be like, and what will I experience if I meditate (or whatever)?” I say, “Bests me. Do it for a while (say, for the rest of your life, one moment at a time) and you’ll see.

It’s all about our games

We really don’t want to believe that illness, pains, disease are all the result of the games we are playing with ourselves. In the West, we’ve been taught not to trust our bodies, and to live in our heads—up there, where the voices ramble on, and the images, judgments, and plotting seems to go on 247. To say that exiting the head, and living from the heart and belly, seems absurd.

So, ask yourself, “How’s your life going?

You content? In a great relationship? Living guilt, pain, and judgment FREE?” If not, maybe it’s time to do something about it, and that doing will entail behaving differently.

Our upcoming DVD will have a few practical suggestions.

In the mean time, here are 5 suggestions.

breath posture

Haven Breathwork Posture


Our website contains full instructions for the Haven Breathing Posture. This one thing, done regularly, can make a ton of difference for you. The key, though, in addition to actually doing it, is to let out sound on the outbreath. Most of us have been conditioned to stuff our emotions, and making sounds was frowned upon. So, we clamp our jaws closed, and refuse to let anything out.

Breathing as we teach it requires that you let of the need to suppress the sounds and feelings trapped inside.


Zen Bodywork

Find a Bodyworker

You’ll want someone trained in Bodywork, Rolfing, or Deep Tissue work. I’d recommend that you pick someone who works in one of these modalities exclusively, as opposed to a massage therapist who also does deeper work.

Being touched is important. It’s a way of being both open and vulnerable to the contact of another. Again, you’ll need to convince yourself to access and express your emotions, your energy, and your sounds.

iyengar pose

Let the block in!”

Find an Iyengar Yoga Instructor

Iyengar Yoga is a really ‘deep’ yoga. The instructors learn for years and years, and are advanced slowly, through examination. It’s not a quickie “be a yoga instructor in your spare time” thing.

Iyengar is unique in its use of props. B. K. S. Iyengar, the founder, decided that it made much more sense to do a pose correctly than to contort the body to try to do what you can’t. So, for example, in a forward bend, if your hands don’t reach the floor, you’ll use a block or blocks so that your hands are in firm contact, and all of this happens without bending your knees.

qi gong
Learn Qi Gong

Look for it at Tai Chi studios, to begin with. Some Chinese Kung Fu Academies also teach Qi Gong and Tai Chi. There are also tons of DVDs available for home practice. We’ve recently been getting them from our library and are amazed at the quality and variety.

Qi Gong is easy to learn by watching, as everything moves slowly. You will, I guarantee, begin to feel the movement of your chi in a very short time.


Again, check for a Zen Centre nearby, and if there isn’t one, look up Jon Kabat-Zinn at the library or bookstore. He has taken meditation from India and modified it to fit with Western sensibilities. It’s simple enough. Find a comfortable place to sit. You can use a firm chair, or sit in one of the familiar meditation postures. Settle in and begin to breathe. Watch, follow, your breath. Count outbreaths. As your mind wanders, gently stop attaching and clinging to where your mind wants to go, and bring your attention back to the breath.

Another way to try this is to use the Heart Mediation I’ve provided on the website. This one suggests a reclining posture, but otherwise works a bit like meditation. It’s a guided imagery exercise in heart focus, and might prove interesting and valuable.

Lastly, remember that any form of clinging gets you nowhere

Clinging leads to mental and physical difficulties. For instance, learning to let go of an abuse story does not excuse either the abuse or the abuser, but does let the abused person move on.

Otherwise, the person is never anything more than the poor victim of something that happened ‘way back when.’ I want my clients to be free of clinging to dysfunctional stories and beliefs, and ‘being a victim of…’ is a biggie in our culture.

The way out is through eliminating the seductive power of clinging to the victim role, and one of the best ways to do this is through physical means.

Open yourself to your body, to being touched, to releasing all that pent up energy.

You’ll be glad you did.

Spice Up Your Lovemaking
sex around the house

I’ve been reading and recommending Michael Webb’s e‑books for years. His newest is called “Sex All Around the House.” This book actually has some fantastic and exciting ideas you can use to spice up any lovemaking, no matter how fiery it already is. And best of all, because toys are so expensive, you’ll save lots of money (and lots of embarrassment) by using the items you already have around the house.

Read more here

Make Contact!

So, how does this week’s article sit with you? What questions do you have? Leave a comment or question!

About the Author: Wayne C. Allen is the web\‘s Simple Zen Guy. Wayne was a Private Practice Counsellor in Ontario until June of 2013. Wayne is the author of five books, the latest being The. Best. Relationship. Ever. See: –The Phoenix Centre Press

2 thoughts on “No-Body Home”

  1. Hi Wayne

    You wrote: I suggested that perhaps it was time to forgive the relative — by which I actually mean, let go of carrying the burden of the anger and the disappointment, and the energy of the past—and also perhaps some guilt being carried. Forgiveness is an inside job of letting go of clinging to the “abuse story.”

    Now ain’t that true.

    Regrettably the Western church has corrupted the notion of forgiveness and invented a sham which enables people to spew their loathing of some other person and add at the end “… but of course I forgive him everything” when the first part of the sentence shows they had not.

    As you say it is an inside job.

    I wonder if letting go might be a bit like “don’t think of the colour blue” — still focussed on the issue when the desire is to end that. For myself the critical step was the positive one to reinvent who I am and only then could I leave the old stories behind.

    Of course it is difficult.

    Kind regards, Peter

    • Great comment, Peter!
      As I observe myself with this one, I notice that I actually forgive myself for the thoughts that might re-occur. Ben and Jock and I used to talk about dealing with betrayal by friends, and how sad the feeling of that was. As I think of a couple of people, I can go toward 1) anger and wanting revenge, 2) sending them metta (good Buddhist I wish to be some day…) or 3) watching myself dispassionately. When I do the former, I let the feeling be there, process it, and then forgive myself.
      This is how I interpret your last paragraph. My “remaking of myself” has been in letting go of the need for ‘actual’ revenge, and letting go of the need to beat up on me for having the thought in the first place.
      There’s an old Zen story, guy asks, “What is enlightenment?” and the wise guy puts down a large pile of wood he’s been carrying, and says, “Ahhh!” Guy says, “What comes after enlightenment?” Wise guy picks up the wood and continues on his path.
      Same wood, different carry.
      Always think of you warmly, and with a smile,


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