Each of us grew from a tiny fertilised seed in our mother’s womb. Wisdom innate in that tiny cell, in your mother’s body and in how the universe works, enabled and directed the amazing journey of growth. That journey is perhaps the most incredible of any life form on our planet. From a very fundamental level of life your being moved from a single cell to a bundle of cells. Then it developed from being an aquatic creature toward forming a body capable of living in and breathing air. At birth you transformed from being fully immersed in water to breathing air and beginning independent life.
If, as we see with some plant growth, these changes were filmed and speeded up, we would witness an extraordinary process of growth and energy flow. In fact energy streams through your forming body, directed by innate wisdom. LifeStream is a name for the innate within this wisdom and the activity and life-giving flow and the growth of body and mind it manifests.
In many ways your whole existence as an individual person occurs because your body is like a conduit through which energy flows and expresses in various ways. Air, water and food flow through you continuously, and without that flow you would not have conscious life.
Of course, the process of growth doesn’t end at birth. Level after level of growth unfolds as you mature. New abilities appear, such as walking and talking; although these are not innate. You learn to walk and you learn to talk, but you do not learn how to keep your heart beating, heal a wound, or maintain all the systems in your being. And because much adult change comes about from learning skills and abilities, you may feel that the process of LifeStream is no longer growing you. In fact you may completely forget how the process grew you, and how it maintains your existence in every moment. You might even have habits of eating, lifestyle and attitudes that constantly undermine its efficiency. Many people live in a way suggesting they believe health and illness can only be dealt with by external means such as medicines, doctors, and other health professionals. This is very evident in the practices surrounding childbirth. In many countries now childbirth is treated like an illness needing surgical or medical skill, rather than a natural process.
Also the inner force or wisdom that formed us is not a new thing in each person’s life, but is as ancient as life itself, and so we are an outcrop of that Timeless and Ancient something. It is the real teacher or guru, and it always cares for you, even when it leads you through difficulties.
Unfortunately I have learned by seeing so many dreams from people all over the world, that we are usually frightened of Life in us. This is very obvious when someone experiences sleep paralysis and the Life process takes over from the conscious self and personality; they experience terror. This is gradually overcome when we realise that our personality, although we think of it as our whole life and self, is only a tiny little thing and quite vulnerable.
LifeStream is something to experience, not something we are taught. The simplest way of describing LifeStream is to say it is a process of allowing parts of ourselves to express that in everyday life may never have had opportunity to declare themselves.
For instance, a group practising LifeStream creates a supportive environment in which the members of the group can feel safe enough to permit spontaneous body movement, sound and emotion. In most social settings, or even practising alone, we usually restrain everything except what may be acceptable to others, expedient in the situation, or judged as correct. This means that we may not give ourselves the freedom elsewhere to allow our own creative imagination – our body to discharge tension through movement – experience our intuitive process – and our full range of feeling responses. In this way, we gradually diminish ourselves, blocking out much of ourselves that is not of immediate use in everyday affairs. We may in fact diminish our relationship with Life itself.
Honouring simple movement is important in LifeStream because all the processes and expressions of life in us show as the swing between movement and relaxation. The heartbeat, breathing and the movement of the intestines are examples of this. Most emotions, such as crying or laughing or making love, also involve strong physical movements. If we block expression of our basic living drives and feelings, we not only build up internal tension, but we also interfere with the delicate ways our being balances, heals and expresses itself. The wonderful freedom in the practice of LifeStream reintroduces us to the ability of our being to heal, balance and reach for its own psychological growth.
Each practice can lasts for about one hour. It is useful during this period to consciously let go of everyday life and hold in mind that you have an hour before you during which you can spend time with your own innermost life process. Some people like to imagine they are coming to the Core of their being asking it to guide them into and through whatever is most important for them to experience for their personal healing and growth. Each member of the group then stands and finds a space in the room, and with eyes closed allows the spontaneous experience of LifeStream to begin. If you are new to LifeStream a member of the group will start you in the practice by suggesting arm movements following which the spontaneous movements can be allowed. See Core Self
During the hour leave yourself open to allow movement, sounds, feelings, or whatever impulses are felt. For instance, we constantly experience the urge to move our chest to breathe. Unless we hold our breath this is a gentle impulse. If we remain open in body and mind during LifeStream, any similar urges to move and express – ones which would normally be overlooked or suppressed - can be allowed. It might be there is no urge to move, but you are overcome by tiredness. If so, follow the urge and rest or even sleep. Or an urge to yawn might arise. So, allow it without judgement and see where it leads. It is important to allow even what may seem silly or meaningless without stopping it. Whether active or quiet, remain open and free to respond during the hour. After you finish sit quietly for a few minutes. See People’s Experience of LifeStream
It is helpful to remember, especially if what occurred for you in the session was a deeply felt experience, that it only occurred because you made an agreement with yourself to allow it. Therefore, although it was spontaneous and unexpected, it was still an expression of your own will to allow. To stop the process, you simply reverse your decision, thinking to yourself something like – During this session it was appropriate to allow myself freedom of movement fantasy and sound, but now I will again assume my usual social behaviour. This is my choice.
If it was a group experience, after the period of quietness, it will be asked of the group members if they have anything they would like to say or ask about their experience. There is no need whatsoever to speak at all. But if you do want to say what your experience was, or want to ask other members general questions about the practice, this is the time to do so. We may thus find support or insight from each other.
The practice of LifeStream and the format of the group is based on several simple principles. For instance, no attempt is made to teach members LifeStream in any group. This is because experience has shown that each of us have a great wealth of wisdom, self healing and problem solving abilities. Such personal and interior abilities may be unconscious, but become apparent in the experiences met in LifeStream, and are enhanced by honouring them by not attempting to instruct people. This also lies behind the absence of any attempt to act as therapist regarding peoples psychological or physical health. Although the need for experts such as doctors and psychotherapists is not denied, nevertheless, our enormous internal powers of healing and growth are so often subtly repressed, even by people apparently attempting to stimulate their functioning, that in LifeStream we take a radical stand in self help and self trust.
Therefore, during the group practice, we do not support each other by means of any physical contact or verbal interaction. There is no expert in the group suggesting what to do. There is no teacher apart from your own internal unconscious wisdom. There are however, people in the group, or involved in supporting the group, who have many years experience of the action of LifeStream. These women and men can be looked to for guidance and support.
LifeStream is not a new practice. It has existed in its present form since 1972. It has its roots in traditional approaches which have existed in various cultures for thousands of years. Some of these practices still exist today, but LifeStream attempts to approach the experience of meeting our most interior self in a way generally acceptable in today’s world. The extraordinary depth of experience met by some people in LifeStream, is thought to connect with the self regulatory process in each of us which produces dreams, linking it with one of our most fundamental and natural of healing and creative activities.
What Gives You Life?
Because awareness and a fuller relationship with what underlies your existence is basic to LifeStream, it is important to clarify how you relate to this or see it. To start with it is wonderfully helpful to clearly acknowledge that your conscious personality, thoughts, beliefs and way of life, may be out of touch with your deeper and life giving self.
This is not about a belief, such as a belief in God. You do not have to believe in your existence, you are convinced of it because you exist. So we are not looking for a new belief here, just a fuller acquaintance with your own existence. Therefore take time to consider what you think or feel underlies your life. Do you think of yourself as caused by chemical processes, biological activities, or maybe even mechanical and unconscious forces? Perhaps you believe that God created you. Whatever you believe, can you completely define how that came about? Another way of asking this question is to say do you know everything about what causes you to exist? For instance, although we now know a great deal about life processes in biological science, that science still recognises that life is a mystery. Can you take that attitude to your own origins? Can you accept that at the base of your being is a mystery you do not fully understand? If you can admit you do not fully know, can you let go of present convictions or beliefs and open to that mystery?
Try this simple approach to get closer to this. Sit quietly where you will not be disturbed for a minute or so. Close your eyes, become aware of your breathing, then put your hand under your clothes so you can feel your heart beating.
There you have it. The conscious you is touching and directly experiencing in a quiet moment how that mystery we call life is right there in every moment of your being spontaneously giving you existence. You can feel it moving right under your hand. You know it is not your conscious will, knowledge or beliefs that are pulsing that beautiful movement. Right now life is breathing you and beating your heart. And that is just the very evident surface signs of what it is doing. Feel it! Do you really fully understand that? Isn’t that an amazing miracle and mystery? Wouldn’t it be wise and wonderful to get to know that mystery directly and more fully?
LifeStream, as an approach to that mystery, says we each have enourmous possibilities we have not tapped yet. If we look at the phenomenal range of life forms on this planet, and if we remember that as far as we know, this enormous variety all developed from the same bacteria and single cell creatures that were the origins of life on this planet, we can see that the process behind the variety has infinite possibilities. The variety could not have developed if there was not a potential for its appearance. The shaping influence of environment and its connection with evolution then played its part in directing or exploring the potential. Some of the latest findings in regard to the quantum level of the universe, and therefore of our being, suggest that at base the universe can be thought of as infinite potential.
Up until the arrival of self-awareness, any change in human beings was produced by evolutionary processes interacting with climate, environment and the ecological situation. With the arrival of self-awareness we could begin to work with our own inner potential. Human beings began to develop methods to change their condition physically, mentally and spiritually. Some cultures, particularly those of the East, gave enormous importance to this. However, most of us simply want to improve the quality of our life emotionally, our relationships, our health, or our creativity. These are all within the scope of what is possible with LifeStream.
So let us look at how it works, and how it can be done
Fundamentally LifeStream is about growth, about human potential. Particularly it is about the potential still unexpressed within us. Because it is about growth we can use the analogy of other things that we see around us that grow. For instance a plant or tree may attain a certain size, and in that sense its growth has finished. But then it can produce flowers, fruit and seeds. However, certain weather or soil conditions might inhibit either its growth or its ability to produce flowers and seeds.
Any seed, at its first stage of growth, still holds within it the potential for fuller growth. My experience of working with LifeStream is that every person I have worked with discovers they still have massive growth potential, no matter what age they are. The seed they grew from is not yet fully expressed – in fact may never be.
With ourselves the way we are reared in childhood, the way we are educated and the society into which we mature, involve many factors that can inhibit growth beyond what is seen as normal around us. One of the main factors of human growth is that we copy the behaviour of those near us, and we learn the worldview or ideas of those around us. But most of the people around us are often quite limited in their perceptions, their creativity or their ability to reach beyond their present state of growth. So one of the most important questions put to you in LifeStream is – How are you holding yourself back? See Archetype of the Paradigm
A dramatic and extreme example of this inhibited growth — or perhaps it is better to call it inhibited potential — can be seen in those babies reared by animals. Cases of such children have been recorded all over the world, where babies had been lost and female animals such as a wolf or bear have succoured the baby, or their parents have deserted them. In such cases the baby never developed into a human being, could not walk upright or speak, but exhibited all the characteristics of the animals they were reared with. Being ‘human’ is not innate – it is a learned skill. See: Feral Children. Becoming more than the you that you are at the moment is not innate. It is a learned skill.
Being Reared a Human is Limiting
Being reared by other human beings therefore suggests we inherit the inhibiting factors and problems of other human beings. But because at the core of our life process an infinite potential dwells, we can open to and allow further growth. After all, do we wish to perpetuate the murderous tendencies we see expressed in two world wars and continuing national and local conflicts; in political, commercial and religious manipulation? See Programmed
Sometimes this wisdom at our core, this infinite potential to change, expresses in very simple ways. Some years ago I was talking about how our body knows how to heal itself, and a man told me that he had suffered prolonged back pain. He said that while he was in a bar he was talking to a friend about his back problem and realised as he spoke that his body had started making a movement involving his hips. He continued practising this movement afterwards and his back pain was healed.
But the possibility of allowing our being to show us how to heal our physical ills is only one of the possibilities that LifeStream offers. Another man, K. P., on reading an article I had written about LifeStream, e-mailed me telling of his own experience. While meditating he had the urge to move spontaneously. When he allowed this it led to blissful and rapid movements that lasted for about ten minutes. He said that, “When I got up I found myself totally euphoric and able to see in “artistic mode” all the time. I have never felt better than that day. I was absolutely incandescent with joy; without really knowing why.”
K. P. told me that by the term artistic mode he meant the ability to see his surroundings in a way that he never previously experienced, enabling greater artistic expression. The joy he experienced is something that comes to many people who learn to open to their core self. Infinite potential means exactly what it says. There is no end to the wonders we can experience or the person we can become. See Edgar Cayce
What Are You Really Capable of?
Lyle Watson, a scientist and biologist, in researching human potential for one of his books, was asked by a boy’s father in Italy to observe his four-year old son. In Watson’s presence the father rolled his son an ordinary tennis ball. A little while later the boy rolled it back. The ball was turned inside out without any cuts or damage to its surface. Watson then signed his name on another tennis ball and the boy repeated the change. Later Watson cut open the ball in front of witnesses, revealing his signature on the inside of the ball.
Thousands of such cases exist of children or adults doing what are seen as impossible actions by our present and outdated Newtonian and dualistic scientific understanding. To do what that child did, the boy would need to have been able to function in dimensions, or in ways, completely beyond what many people consider to be the real and only world of three dimensions in time and space. Fortunately the leading edge of science now begins to explain how such things may be possible. They are, in the end, not supernatural or impossible, but involve aspects of the universe around us that the worldview we were raised in completely denies. This is why it has been said earlier that being raised as a human being within a certain worldview is one of the great limitations inhibiting our potential and growth.
The case of the four-year old boy changing the condition of the tennis ball is an extreme case, but history and the present-day is full of people’s descriptions of their discovery of, entrance into, and exploration of, dimensions of experience that are beyond everyday three-dimensional sensory based life. This is often named the spiritual or psychic world. I am simply calling it human potential, and am not claiming we will all be able to turn tennis balls inside out by the end of the year.
What I do see in connection to LifeStream is that there is MORE in your nature that you can unfold when you learn to allow the streaming life that grew you from a seed to continue its unfolding. There is MORE when you learn to consciously cooperate with the mystery of life in you. Mostly we tend to block or interfere with its attempts to heal and unfold us.
But how do we allow the LifeStream?
There are many ways of doing this, some more profoundly affective than others. Here are some pointers.
Life is a mystery that as a species we try and try to learn the secrets of, but so far often fail to fully understand. You are an expression of that mystery. Therefore, although you may not intellectually understand the depths of what you are, nevertheless, you are that mystery discovering itself. By allowing the depths of your being to unfold, you move closer to knowing the mystery you are. You can take the first steps toward this by recognising that any beliefs you have about what you are, are incomplete. You do not know the full nature of your body, mind, or the universe, and therefore you do not know, even if you are very well educated, the full extent of what you are. To drop such preconceptions, opinions and beliefs is the first step. To stand before oneself naked of preconceptions is to begin the process of opening to your potential.
We can allow life to unfold us by recognising that our conscious identity has the tendency to believe it knows what it needs, what is true, and what is false. However, life on this planet has been around for millions of years and has a lot of unconscious information about how we are formed and what we are capable of.
Life expresses as movement, feelings, sexual drive, awareness, along with the other fundamentals such as absorption and excretion, self regulation (homeostasis), breathing and ability to respond. Life in the form of animals, without any self awareness, expresses in these ways. Recognising this shows us that it doesn’t take conscious will and self awareness to exist and live within the environment. In fact a fundamental of LifeStream is that to remain healthy physically and psychologically we need to let go of our conscious personality regularly and allow Life to move us in its own spontaneous way. When we sleep our conscious needs and desires are surrendered. But Life still maintains all our systems without our conscious help. At that time it creates dreams during which we move and even speak spontaneously without conscious volition. It is this deep core of self we need to open to often, allowing our infinite potential to express.
How do you open the door to your own real self?
One way of describing it is to say that you become the dance partner who is led. You dance with life every day anyway, but usually you want to make the decisions about what steps to take, what way to twirl, when to finish. Opening the door to the streaming life means that you open your body, your mind and your feelings to being guided by your partner, who has led the dance from the very beginning – Life.
Let’s imagine it. Here I am as the dance instructor, and you are standing with your partner, Life. So, is your body ready to move? Are your feelings and thoughts ready to enter fully into the dance? Are there points of view that you are keeping hold of and will not surrender to the dance? Can you move and be uplifted and thrown down? Are you ready to dance the drama of love, the darkness of pain, the sunlight of discovery? The dance is always creative. So can you let go of what you already know, what you have already done, and the moves already made, and let Life move you wonderfully into the unknown?
Can you do that? Can you stand and drop your control and allow what arises spontaneously to flow through you? If you need help, see Arm Circling Meditation.
Example: As I stood on what I have called the borderline, that interface with the highest in oneself, I understood that the interaction needed to be complete. One needed to bring everything of oneself to that meeting. This is because the relationship is a transforming one. If you do not come to the meeting completely it is like leaving half of you, or some of you, outside the door. Therefore the process cannot work in you. Also it means you’re not really opening to the process.
So I came to that frontier with everything that I had. I came with everything that I am, everyone and everything that I love, everything that I possess. And I understood that the process, although it is no form of judgment, nevertheless cannot help but reveal the shadows, the lies, the falsehoods one brings. Because of this it can be a meeting that we might avoid or resist, because we may not wish to lose or have revealed certain parts of what we are, what we hold onto, or what we have hidden within ourselves. I stood with my partner too, willing to lose her if necessary. This was quite a wonderful feeling. I understood why Abraham was asked to bring his son to the Mount and sacrifice him. It had nothing to do with killing his son. It represents a willingness to come with everything that you love with the risk that you might lose it. Or at least, it might be revealed to you that it has no real value or place in your life.
What this means is that for a given length of time, about 30 to 60 minutes once a week, you allow your body, feelings, voice, sexuality and mind be moved spontaneously, as happens in dreams. The arm circling exercise helps to learn this.
Much of the time we edit or control what we allow ourselves to think or feel. Dropping this form of judgment, if only for short periods while you open to the mystery you are, is important. At first it may cause some concern because you are unblocking part of the flow, and it may start pushing out some of the attitudes, past experiences and habits that have been blocking your greater flow. Usually those things would have been cleansed in the normal LifeStream, but unconscious tensions and resistances prevent the healing. This is why we have to consciously take in hand the work of dropping our self-control for periods of time.
Animals, being the unselfconscious manifestation of how life expresses, when they are ill are spontaneously moved to seek or do things to help the healing process. Animals seek to survive, and learn in the process. Often they are informed by what we call intuition and instinct. But we have those possibilities also, but often muffle them by our conscious desires and thoughts. So open your mind and imagination to the mystery at your core. Let it unfold its wisdom to you intuitively or in images.
Opening to the LifeStream in this way starts the process during which you remember your origins. It is a time of letting the power that gives you Life flow more fully into awareness. It is a time you allow your potential and creativity to unfold. It is a time of cleansing and healing, equally as important as your daily wash. It is also a time when you open to allowing your hidden needs to be known and dealt with. In opening to the mystery you also become more conscious of being an integral part of the society and world you live in. You begin to feel your connection with the life of this planet and the universe that is the constant stage upon which you live your life.
Come to the mystery at least several times each week — or daily if you can. Lots of people believe they do this in their prayers or meditation. But in most cases what is happening is that they still hold on to the almost unconscious attitude that this means being still, not making a noise, controlling their thoughts and emotions, blocking their sexual feelings and bodily movements. So their meditations are actually a form of interfering with the real flow.
That Much Power Needs Understanding
Opening to the mystery is a powerful thing to do. It brings real change and growth. Opening to that sort of power needs to be understood, and there are certain skills and attitudes that can be of great value.
For many people, opening in the ways described leads to a period of cleansing. Negative emotions, residues of past trauma, physical problems, are brought to the surface to be dispelled. This is not a comfortable process. But it is one of the ways life works in us. When we eat something poisonous our healing process can lead to vomiting the poison from our system. When we breathe in dust we sneeze. So when we are harbouring painful destructive emotions or memories our healing process tries to discharge them. It takes a while to learn how to allow this to happen without feeling anxious.
It is one of the big human frailties that we blame someone else, or other people, for our feelings or situation. Accepting personal responsibility for your own state of mind, feelings or situation, is a huge step toward positive change in your life. Of course this is a big generalisation. Workers who are exploited by employers and paid inadequate wages, while employers cream off most of the profits, may be seen as justified in blaming their situation on the bosses. However, by not blaming, the employee may still realise it is up to them to do something about the situation. That was how human rights were fought for.
Be in a learning relationship with the mystery at your core. Question what arises. Ask what is meant. Be like a detective following clues. Many of the deepest parts of your nature emerge in stages as they unfold. Often your core self expresses in symbolic experiences as do dreams. That is the language of the unconscious. Do not be satisfied with the symbols. Question them during the process until you arrive at insights that give you understanding of how what is experienced links with your everyday life and situation. See How it Flows
Your physical growth took years. Your personal spiritual growth also takes time. Processes of growth in nature develop structures and organs as they move towards something. The plant develops stem and leaves before it opens its flower. So your own inner growth may need to develop things before it can manifest certain parts of you. The mystery is beyond imagination in its enormity. Some people have called it the Hugeness. Sometimes courage and strength need to be developed before you can be healed of certain things, or experience other dimensions of yourself.
The mystery of life that you are is paradoxical. You can never pin it down to being this or that one thing. It is both very personal — in fact manifesting as your own unique personality — and it is at the same time completely impersonal. By all means learn and define what you learn, but never believe you have found the complete truth. Being paradoxical, whatever truth you arrive at you can be sure the opposite is also true. Holding rigidly to beliefs prevents further learning.
Learn self observation. With the non-blaming approach, examine the way you respond to people and events. See what is behind the response. Notice what habits you have, and where they stem from. Learn to observe the constant and subtle play of feelings, thoughts and imagery that takes place within you. See Habits
At one point in the New Testament it says, “Where two or three people are gathered together in my name, there I am.” Whatever you might interpret that to mean, it is observable that when we open to Life in the company of one or more people who are also approaching that mystery in the same way, it enormously increases the power of what you experience. Even if there is just one person with you who honours the process of LifeStream, it can make an enormous difference to the depth and power of what you meet within.
To follow through on this see http://dreamhawk.com/body-and-mind/the-arm-circling-meditation/ and - http://dreamhawk.com/body-and-mind/peoples-experiences-of-lifestream/ – http://dreamhawk.com/approaches-to-being/lifes-little-secrets/