The Charismatic or Pentecostal Movements
The Charismatic Or Pentecostal Movements
One of the best known traditional approaches to inner-directed movement in our own culture is that which lies at the roots of Christianity. In reading Acts of The Apostles in the New Testament, in which the experience of Pentecost is described, a definite impression of a group practising inner-directed movement is given. The group had an open allowing state of mind by surrendering to what to them was a holy influence – the Spirit. They also openly expressed themselves vocally in what is called tongues. This is not a rational singing of a hymn or song with known words. It is the expression of irrational sounds freely flowing, sometimes beautiful, sometimes harsh. Movement was also a part of the experience, so much so they are said to have been thought of as drunk while they were allowing the spirit to move them.
Because of the sense of wonder and awareness of harmony between oneself and the rest of nature that occurs during some phases of inner-directed movement, it is not surprising, given that past cultures tended to explain natural phenomena in religious terms, that their explanation of what happened was God centred.
Of great interest however is that the experience was seen as a healing and cleansing one. It was one that led the participants to feel great joy. They felt it so important they wanted to communicate it to others.
Some of the group developed unusual abilities in terms of how they related to their own unconscious content and what I have called the dream process. They could, while awake, experience what appeared to be lucid waking dreams. Very moving experiences often emerged during this practice. Also, they demonstrated speaking in tongues, as it has been called by the Christian church. This is I feel an example of the dream process being accessed by our conscious mind. Because we join the unconscious and the conscious there is a marked difference in the responses.
To explain this in another way, people experiencing the spontaneous voice felt they were simply accessing another part of themselves that is usually called “the unconscious”. This spontaneous voice would respond to questions from the person experiencing it. And because of that it was sometimes used in an attempt to understand dreams. Even when such interpretations were received, they were not taken as absolute truths, but as extensions to what could be arrived at by normal conscious thinking. In fact, often such interpretations were truly helpful, and sometimes quite startling.
As time went by, the freedom and spontaneity went out of the practice and became ritualised ceremony and stated dogma. Today the Pentecostal experience is being once again revived under the name of the Charismatic Movement. Because it is still strictly within a Christian belief structure, it may only have something to offer to Christians who want a freer and more joyous way of expressing their faith. My experience of it is that, like other approaches with strict rules of behaviour, there is a self limiting factor to it that sometimes causes people to miss discovering some of the important dimensions of themselves possible through inner-directed movement.
Most towns have a church given to the Pentecostal approach.
Usually based on donations. Whatever you feel you want to contribute.
Assemblies of God Headquarters, 106/114 Talbot Street, Nottingham, NG1 5GH. Tel: 0602 474 525. Elim Pentecostal Church Headquarters, P.O. Box 38, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 3HN. Tel: 0242 519904.
Shaktipat – The Indian Approach
The word Shakti is Sanskrit. It refers to movement and energy, as the English word ‘shake’.
The practice is described as a letting-go of one’s conscious ego enough to let an internal energy flow freely through one’s body and mind. In the Indian tradition the original release is seen as arising through contact with a guru, although this is not an absolute rule. As the energy begins to flow the practitioner begins to move spontaneously, doing postures they had perhaps never done before, and singing in ways they had not practised or known previously.
These movements and sounds are known as kriyas. They might occur while the person is practising alone, but group practice is also used.
I do not have a great deal of experience with this approach. From what I have observed there is a very strong Hindu religious and yoga belief system surrounding shaktipat. The guru is of great importance. Before the kriyas begin, a great deal of chanting is used, so it is not so directly movement-centred as some of the other approaches described here. But I have seen a photograph of a large group of people, perhaps a hundred or more, using shaktipat in the open air. It appeared to be directly movement-based.
There are centres in most Western countries, and of course in India.
Although the attendance at a centre is not costly – I stayed at the Ashram in Ganeshpuri for £2 per night inclusive of two meals – the attendance of courses can be very expensive.
Siddha Yoga Centre,
Conford Park House,
Hants, GU30 7QP.
Telephone 0428 725130.
New York, 12779,