On Being Headless, with no-body home
Fritz Perls –“Go out of your mind, and come to your senses.”
Well, this body centered article is good timing.
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—
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 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.
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 24⁄7. 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.
Haven Breathwork Posture
“Let the block in!”
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.
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.
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.