Leave a Comment

Mind and Movement 2 – Mind and Movement

Carl Jung said that within each of us are resources of information and wisdom which are usually overlooked. He called this aspect of human experience The Transcendent Function. People who were able to work with this function, he said, experienced meaningful change from negative feelings and attitudes to more inclusive and positive ones. Often they found healing of physical ills too. Yet although Jung saw the Transcendent Function as a natural part of a persons resources – a spontaneous and self-regulatory source of healing – he never explained clearly to the public how they could access it themselves. His method has remained largely clinical and in the hands of professional ‘Jungians’.

Others, like Dr. Wilhelm Reich, have also described this source of healing, but still they have left a gap in their explanation. Namely they have not described in a way understandable to the public what the source of healing and help is, and how it can be tapped.

On the other hand many ancient cultures, in traditional teachings such as found in Yoga, Tai Chi, Setai and Meditation, have attempted to make publicly available knowledge of how to use this internal and wonderful process. Their symbolism and viewpoint is so different to ours however, that it is difficult to accept or understand many of their rather strange claims. This was made very plain to me while working in Japan with my wife Hyone. She had been helping a man, who was obviously very tense, to release the tension in his muscles. As this occurred he experienced powerful spontaneous movement, which is a feature of the self-regulatory process. Afterwards the man came to us with some of the other Japanese people attending the class and they asked us what point on the body or nervous system we had pressed to produce so powerful a response. They were so steeped in the oriental viewpoint expressed in acupuncture, they felt what they had experienced must have been produced from pressure points. To the Western structure of thought, much in acupuncture still remains outside of rational explanation. In my years of work in this field I have attempted both to understand in a Western sense what that Japanese man experienced, and to explain it in a way that makes it available for other ordinary people like myself to use.

During a period when I had just gone through divorce, the starting of a new relationship, and taking over a tumble-down property, I developed a permanent pain in my right forearm. I talked about this to a doctor who diagnosed it as tennis elbow. He told me there was nothing I could do except avoid exertion. As I was working to renovate our house, that was difficult, and the pain continued for six months without any change. I decided to ask my unconscious if there was anything I could do to help the condition. It was a technique that was accessible using the self-regulatory  processes described later. I had used this approach many times before, so had some experience of it. Holding in mind the pain in the arm I waited for the responses to arise from within. Soon, spontaneous fantasies and ideas bubbled into awareness, almost as if someone were explaining the situation to me. I was led to understand that during the past year I had not only been working hard physically to renovate the building, but because of divorce, family conflict within my new relationship, plus the change of home, I had experienced much stress and anger. During my sawing, planning and hammering, I had discharged much of this anger and stress. As with any hard work, the cells in my right arm had broken down, but the anger and tension had prevented the cells from regenerating adequately.

As this insight emerged I could see what a shrewd summary of my recent unconscious attitudes it was. The emerging explanation went on to say that each cell is a tiny individual life, and in the body, they each take on a particular task. Some live as workers in the muscles; some are thinking beings in the brain, and some act as transformers, as in the liver. Each cell depends upon the others to co-operatively share food, oxygen and pleasure. The cells in my arm didn’t mind the hard work, but they also needed to share the pleasures of eating, music and love making. I had been unconsciously deluging them with anger and tension, and denying them laughter and relaxation.

I started to use this information. For instance when I ate I would consciously allow the pleasure I felt in my mouth to be felt by the rest of my body, particularly the right arm. When I made love, I attempted to relax and let my whole body feel the pleasure, not keep it in the genitals. I frequently concentrated on my right arm, relaxing it and allowing pleasure felt elsewhere to flow to it. Within a week it was completely free of the pain, and the problem has never returned.

The technique of consciously co-operating with or listening to the processes of life active in the unconscious, and allowing them to become known, I call Coex. I have coined the word from two other words -consciousness and expansion- because the process of coex is partly that of expanding our awareness into areas of ourselves previously unconscious. It holds in it many exciting possibilities, such as:- 1] Tapping the activity of natural forces in us toward healing of physical and psychological problems.  2] Gaining information which we hold within us, but which is usually unconscious.  3] Using the creative process of the unconscious to enrich our work and relationships.  4] Tuning into the body’s self regulating processes to discover a spontaneous form of exercise or dance which releases tension and keeps the body fit.  5] Through expanded awareness discovering our connections with the rest of life and cosmos.

So what is coex, and what makes it function?

During 1968, while teaching relaxation techniques to people at the Tyringham Naturopathic Clinic in Buckinghamshire, I found the first clues to an exciting possibility in human beings. I had been teaching the usual form of relaxation in which one consciously tenses the muscles, then relaxes them. As an aid to people experiencing the pleasure of dropping tension as fully as possible, I often went to each person in the class and gently lifted an arm or leg. The aim was to give them the experience of someone else moving their body, so they could give up their own effort or tension. I found that many people’s limbs were very difficult to move because they were rigid with tension. Surprisingly when I asked the person how they felt, they would usually say they felt relaxed and comfortable. Meeting this in person after person, no matter their age or sex, led me to realise how ineffective ‘normal’ forms of relaxation and stress release were. Also, more important, it showed that many of us are living with quite enormous unconscious tensions operating in us. Unconscious because the people I tested were unaware of their tenseness, and ‘felt’ relaxed. Yet to maintain the sort of muscular effort which makes an arm or leg difficult to move uses a great deal of energy. If you lived with such tensions, because of the energy wasted in maintaining them, you would have less energy to use in the other departments of your life.

I started to search for ways I could help people to release such tensions. Because people have always lived with tension and the forces of unconscious life within them, many men and women in the past and present have attempted to understand them. Each age and culture has developed its own approach, but they all have evident similarities. This is because they are dealing with the same natural inner processes. In general these different approaches break down into two different types. Historically the approach was usually of a very religious or sectarian nature. At the present the approach to the unconscious is often clinical, as in psychiatry. So in looking for already established techniques there was the choice of a clinical approach or that of a sect. Yet the forces of life in us are not bounded by authoritarian psychiatry nor by the narrow beliefs of a sect. Both of these groups attempt to own what belongs to everyone. So I sought to find what is common and functional in the different approaches.

For instance, as long ago as the seventeen hundreds Franz Mesmer found that by helping people to relax muscular tension, but remain open to movement, there was a spontaneous cathartic healing action. The person experienced spontaneous movements and feelings which led to the healing of their illness.

In this century, Dr. Wilhelm Reich, working from the background of a medical doctor, a biologist, and a Freudian psychoanalyst, did not feel content with the usual years of analysis needed to help people with serious psychological difficulties. From the standpoint of the body and mind being a unity, he began to look for signs of the mental condition in the state of the body. He found that all his patients had unconscious abdominal tension. One patient who was resisting change in his life exhibited powerful neck tensions. People repressing their emotions usually had tensions in their rib cage, whereas restrained sexuality produced tensions and pain in the pelvis and lower back. Many of our commonly used words, such as ‘stiff-necked’, ‘held back’, or ‘stone-hearted’, are recognitions of how our attitudes shape our body tensions.

Reich observed that when any of these tensions were released a great deal of physical and/or emotional energy was released also. In fact the tension was a block or suppression of the natural flow of energy in the person’s being. The energy itself can be expressed as physical movement, sexuality, emotions, drives such as parental caring, or the process of thinking. Usually, as a tension dissolves, the person experiences spontaneous movements. These are an extension to the usual spontaneous movements we make all the time, such as breathing, sneezing and yawning. But they are often movements we do not associate with general spontaneous activity.

Reich noticed, as had Mesmer before him, that if this spontaneous release of movement and feeling was allowed and worked with, the person was helped toward greater equilibrium. Reich also defined that the spontaneous movements occurred through the release of tension. He saw such physical and emotional release as an expression of the homeostatic or self regulating process. Homeostasis is the function in our being which directs such activities as the balancing of body heat, and blood pressure, and is behind the regulation of growth. Jung and Hadfield also speak of dreams as being connected with this self regulatory function acting in the area of the mind. They see dreams as helping to keep psychological balance, just as perspiration helps to keep a physical balance through loss of excess heat.

To clarify just what activities in human beings Reich and Mesmer were dealing with we need to look at some typical experiences of coex in action.

The first is that of a woman – Linda – who came to me at the recommendation of her doctor because she was ‘on the verge of a breakdown’. Linda was married for the second time, had three children from her first marriage, and felt very tense. She was the first person I taught coex to in a one-to-one situation. Until then I had been teaching general relaxation, and as this hadn’t helped Linda I asked if she wanted to learn coex as I thought it might be useful to her. She agreed and we decided to work once a week until we could see if she benefited or not. During the first session I began by asking Linda to stand while I moved her arms and body to see if there were any obvious muscular tensions. When I moved her arms by lifting them away from her hips, I found there was a point, when her hands were about a foot away from her body, where her arms remained suspended by shoulder tensions. I asked her to be aware of this without interfering. She did this as well as she could, and her arms remained suspended in the tension for about half an hour before we finished the session.

In the second session the tensions in the shoulders [deltoid] were found again and her arms remained suspended. The reason for this waiting is that prior to leaving the limbs in the position held by the tension, the person is usually unaware of having the tensions. If one ‘relaxes the tension away’ it does not in fact disappear, it merely slips back into the unconscious. By leaving it showing, so to speak, what was unconscious enters into awareness. The person is then in a learning situation. They learn to be aware of and allow into consciousness something that was unconscious. I see this as learning the skill to work with unconscious content. So once more I encouraged Linda to be aware of the tensions without interfering by relaxing them away or by trying to interpret what the tension meant. As she did this small jerks occurred in her arms. I assured her this was alright as she felt slightly disturbed by these spontaneous spasms. As it was a completely new experience, it took her a while to learn the ability to allow her body freedom of movement without interfering or stopping its activity. I therefore explained to her that the spasms were the muscular tension beginning to discharge, and that learning to allow the discharge was rather like learning to ride a bicycle – it was a new skill which became an easy habit through practice. We spent a full hour allowing these small spontaneous movements before finishing this second session.

This stage of honouring simple movement is important in coex because all the processes and expressions of life in us express as the swing between movement and relaxation. Obvious movements in this connection are the heartbeat, breathing, and the peristaltic action of the digestive tract. The feeling reactions we experience as an organism in relationship to our environment can also be thought of as movements expressive of a life process. Consciousness is a ‘life process’, and when we cry or feel angry, our body makes movements to express these feelings. Crying is a very strong muscular movement, and includes subtler but powerful movements such as the discharge of tears. Anger too involves a lot of physical movements, including faster heartbeat, glandular discharge, and maybe powerful punching or kicking. Sex expresses as strong and subtle body movements. If through tension or suppression we hold back what our being is feeling in response to our environment, we block these powerful and subtle motivations to MOVE. Therefore, in the body we can often find these blocked motivations as muscular tension. If we release the tension, then the self regulatory process in us begins to express the movements. And don’t forget that here I am talking about movements as including glandular discharge, tears, emotions, muscular activity, and mental functioning.

Supposing that what we are holding back are the movements connected with sexuality. Supposing we have done this because we have either a fear, or have been hurt in connection with it. In allowing a tension to become conscious that we had been unknowingly using to immobilise the pelvis, we would, in a sense, be uncovering a powerful ‘NO’. i.e. “No, I will not allow sexuality and its accompanying movements because they are frightening or painful. By letting the tension remain in consciousness it usually begins to vacillate to a ‘YES’ – it begins to break down or release. For a while it may swing backwards and forwards between the ‘yes’ and ‘no’. Physically this means the tension releases for a moment but snaps back again, causing jerks or trembling. Sometimes, if a great deal of energy is held back by the tension being released, the trembling will be intense and the person may feel cold. Occasionally the person then complains that the room is very cold.

Linda began to feel she was learning to co-operate with her inner process in the third session. She began to discover how to allow the tension to release without interfering. The jerks then became tentative movements. Her hands spontaneously moved to her lower abdomen and made pressing movements. At this point neither of us understood what this meant, or what her inner process was beginning to express. Because the movements were strong enough, and Linda could allow the spontaneous action easily now, I suggested she lay down instead of standing.

The fourth and final session began with Linda lying on a blanket. Her arms quickly began the spontaneous movements to her abdomen without needing any priming by finding the tensions. The movements were much stronger this time and her whole body became involved. Her knees drew up and her abdominal area domed. She made very little sound – some people are extremely vocal – but she was intensely absorbed in the movements for nearly an hour before they stopped and she lay peacefully. She then sat up and told me she had experienced something extraordinary. She said that four years earlier she had been divorced and went to live in Spain with her children. While there she had an affair with a Spaniard and became pregnant. Because she already had children and was not wanting to stay with the man, she had an abortion. During her body movements it had seemed to her as if the life in her had said the abortion had hurt it. It then led her through the spontaneous movements to complete the process of birth of that baby, and in that way she now felt whole. The process of birth which had been cut off had been able to complete itself.

Although I have already quoted the next experience in my publication THE INSTANT DREAM BOOK. I use it again here because it describes the spontaneity and unanticipated nature of coex so well. Su had attended a seminar at which I explained how to work with coex. She describes her experience as follows: “When Tony came to explain coex to the group, I had just reached the point of despair with my marriage. A few days before I had taken the first step towards breaking it. From the first my experience of coex wove itself, directly or indirectly, into my outer life. It was never a separate thing going on inside only.

Tony explained to us about letting whatever came, come. I did not understand too well, but lay down with the others and he came to each of us briefly and moved our arms, and left us lying. Perhaps two minutes passed when I felt a distinct twitching around my brow, which was repeated, and then it spread down my face, a downward pressing movement. My face was involved then in a big muscular movement, pressing down, seeming to flatten the face, and then spread down the body towards the feet. Gradually my whole body became involved in big waves of pressing movement which flowed down, lifting and tossing my legs, so that my heels were banging on the floor. Wave succeeded wave. I did as he said, and let it happen, using the skills to relax which I had learnt. I wasn’t afraid, although I couldn’t imagine what was happening to me. Instead I felt happy and elated, warmed through. I knew I had found something of great significance, but it was many months before I could put words to it. It remained an intriguing mystery, like a dropping away of chains, or a touching of promise, while I passed through the pain of divorce. I feel that my experience that day released considerable energy. It did not break my marriage – that would have happened anyway. But I received strength which I used for my needs at that time. Months later it came to me with the force of revelation, that I had been born that day.”

Linda and Su’s experience demonstrate that simply by changing the way they related to themselves they opened the door to a power and expressive part of their nature. Neither of them previously suspected what was hidden behind a change of attitude. It is worth noting also that while Su’s experience was an unusual form of movement, Linda’s was a particular theme. But neither of them were haphazard or random. Noting this same fact generally in people using coex, I felt it must express some basic process and wondered what it was. Gradually I have come to believe that one of the main processes at work is that which also lies behind the creation of dreams.

All mammals are known to experience a stage of sleep characterised by rapid eye movements [REM] behind closed eyelids. In humans this REM sleep in connected with dreaming. Until recently however, it was not known just what animals dreamt. But while investigating a condition called ‘narcolepsy’, a condition characterised by sudden and uncontrollable lapses into REM sleep in animals, Adrian Morrison at the University of Pennsylvania, uncovered some interesting information. Usually, in animals and humans, a small area of the pons in the brain, prevents our muscular system from responding to signals from the brain while we are dreaming. Morrison noticed that in mammals in which this area is damaged, full body movements are made during REM sleep. This shows that not only can the dream process create a spontaneous fantasy or experience we call a dream; not only can it invest the dream with deeply felt emotions or creative ideas, it also expresses as full body movement. Except in cases of sleep walking, such body activities are prevented by the pons from being expressed except perhaps in small jerks or movements. Nevertheless, speech, walking, dancing, fighting and making love, are all frequent dream subjects. So human beings have at least two centres which can direct body processes. We are used to making conscious decisions about walking or moving our hands, but few of us suspect that another part of our being outside our conscious volition is capable and practised in making full body movements and expressing in complex speech.

I believe that by letting things happen without criticism or interference, we are actually allowing the dream process to break through into waking life and express in full body movements, speech, a dramatic theme, and deeply felt emotions. This is another reason why I have named this process COnsciousness EXpansion, because the usual boundaries of our awareness have been enlarged. We begin to be aware of things that usually happen to our psyche only while we sleep. Our consciousness is expanded to the point where it includes a realm of experience which is in many ways different from our waking world. In quite a real sense we begin to ‘wake up’ in what was sleep. As exciting as that is, it might not have much point, apart from a novelty, if it were not for the many possibilities the awakening holds. Freud was reasonably cautious in ascribing to the dream function anything which was not easily observed, yet if we look at his definitions of what occurs in dreams, we begin to understand something of the possibilities in coex.

1] Dreams are ‘thoughts-in pictures’. It seems likely that early in human evolution, prior to the development of complex spoken language, people used images as tools of thought instead of words. So dreams may be in part a return to this earlier level of thinking. Silberer, a student of Freud’s, gives an example in that while falling asleep he was thinking about something he had written, and decided to tidy up its rough edges. He then realised he was dreaming of planning a rough piece of wood.

2] Dreams are ‘ego alien’. This means that they happen to us rather than that we deliberately create them. David Foulkes points out that this has led many people to believe that dreams are given to us by God or gods, or come from the dead, or from some force outside oneself. In general however, all this means is that they arise from a motivation in ourselves which lies outside of our conscious volition and awareness.

3] Dreams are ‘hallucinatory’. In dreams we create, seemingly outside of ourselves, apparently real characters in environments which we feel deeply involved in. When we sit and have a daydream or think, there is not this sense of really doing or being what we are thinking. Yet in a dream this is so.

] Dreams are ‘drama’. Most of our dreams are not merely a tumbling kaleidoscope of images and feelings. They have definite plots, with a beginning middle and end. They describe scenes which are understandable to other people. Sometimes they are as well produced as a first class film or play. In fact, many stories have been written from dreams. Nothing so highly structured could be the result of random neuronal firing. Because of this, Freud thought dreams must be ‘constructed by a highly complicated activity of the mind’.

5] Dreams have different ‘moral standards’. In dreams we rape, pillage, murder and adventurously act in ways we would resist with horror in waking life.

6] Dreams have access to a more active ‘association of ideas’. This means that not only can we have a much wider response to any idea we hold in mind, but also the response jumps beyond the usual pathways of our thoughts. It can thus be very creative.

Since Freud’s research, many other people have added to his findings. So Jung, Hadfield, and people like Caldwell, writing about waking dreaming in therapeutic situations, have enlarged understanding of dream functions. Therefore we can add to the above definitions as follows:-

7] Dreams are compensatory or ‘self-regulatory’. Hadfield says of this, “There is in the psyche an automatic movement toward readjustment, towards an equilibrium, toward a restoration of the balance of our personality. This automatic adaptation of the organism is one of the main functions of the dream as indeed it is of bodily functions and of the personality as a whole. This idea need not cause us much concern for this automatic self-regulating process is a well known phenomenon in Physics and Physiology. The function of compensation which Jung has emphasised appears to be one of the means by which this automatic adaptation takes place, for the expression of repressed tendencies has the effect of getting rid of conflict in the personality. For

the time being, it is true, the release may make the conflict more acute as the repressed emotions emerge, and we have violent dreams from which we wake with a start. But by this means, the balance of our personality is restored.”

8] Dreams have access to ‘complete memory’. Penfield’s experiments definitely proved that no experience is lost from memory. Many dreams exhibit memories from earliest childhood – ones not know by the person, and only confirmed later. This includes memories dating from before birth.

9] Dreams ‘incorporate ESP’. Whether we consider ESP to be the result of realisations arising from already held but unconscious material, or because some part of mind transcends space and time, dreams certainly exhibit this function.

Without any exaggeration, if we can accept that the above are reasonable definitions of dream functions, and if coex gives access to the dream process while awake, then through it we have at our disposal a variety of tools, whether mental or physical, which we do not have otherwise. Linda and Su’s examples show some of these possibilities in action. Through thinking in pictures we can often clarify a situation by bringing it down to its simplest factors that general thought left unclear. Co-operating with the self-regulating process enables us to more efficiently keep our health. Having the doorway to wider association of ideas enhances our creativity. Being able to bring to awareness parts of our memory usually lost in childhood, makes it possible to re-program the gut level reactions which were imprinted on us in babyhood, which are frequently completely out of place in adult life. And the ESP faculty sometimes gives us the bonus of extending our awareness and gathering information helpful to work and life in general.

Because LifeStream is based on two of the most universal and fundamental functions in humans – dreaming and the self-regulatory process – it has been available to human use throughout history. Although this has given rise to many different approaches there remain certain aspects that have to be similar.

One of these is the need to have an open and allowing state of mind and body. Writing about this in relationship to problem solving in his commentary to the book SECRET OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER, Carl Jung says:-

“…the essential urge to find a new way lay in the fact that the fundamental problem of the patient seemed insoluble to me unless violence was done to the one or the other side of his nature. I always worked with the temperamental conviction that in the last analysis there are no insoluble problems, and experience has so far justified me in that I have often seen individuals who simply outgrew a problem which had destroyed others. This ‘outgrowing’, as I called it previously, revealed itself on further experience to be the raising of the level of consciousness…..

“Here and there it happened in my practice that a patient grew beyond the dark possibilities within himself, and the observation of the fact was an experience of the foremost importance to me. In the meantime I had learned to see that the greatest and most important problems of life are all fundamentally insoluble. They must be so, because they express the necessary polarity inherent in every self-regulating system. They cannot be solved, but only outgrown. I therefore asked myself whether this possibility of outgrowing, or further psychic development, was normal, while to remain caught in a conflict was something pathological. Everyone must posses that higher level [of possible growth], at least in embryonic form, and in favourable circumstances, must be able to develop the possibility. When I examined the way of development of those persons who, quietly, and as if unconsciously, grew beyond themselves, I saw that their fates had something in common. Whether arising from without or within, the new thing came to all those person from a dark field of possibilities; they accepted it and developed further by means of it….

“What then did these people do in order to achieve the progress which freed them? As far as I could see they did nothing but let things happen… The art of letting things happen, action in non action, letting go of oneself, as taught by Master Eckhart, became a key for me… The key is this: we must be able to let things happen in the psyche. For us, this becomes a real art of which few people know anything. Consciousness is forever interfering, helping, correcting, and negating, and never leaving the simple growth of the psychic processes in peace. It would be a simple enough thing to do if only simplicity were not the most difficult of all things. It consists solely in watching objectively the development of any fragment of fantasy. Nothing could be simpler than this, and yet right here the difficulties begin. Apparently no fantasy fragment is at hand – yes there is one, but it is too stupid! Thousands of good excuses are brought against it: one cannot concentrate on it; it is too boring; what could come of it? It is ‘nothing but’, etc. The conscious raises prolific objections. In fact, it often seems bent on blotting out the spontaneous fantasy activity despite the intention, nay, the firm determination of the individual, to allow the psychic processes to go forward without intervention. In many cases there exists a veritable spasm of the conscious.

If one is successful in overcoming the initial difficulties, criticism is likely to start afterwards and attempt to interpret the fantasy, to classify, to Aestheticise, or to depreciate it. The temptation to do this is almost irresistible. After a complete and faithful observation, free rein can be given to the impatience of the conscious; in fact it must be given, else obstructing resistances develop. But each time the fantasy material is to be produced, the activity of the conscious must be put aside.

“In most cases the results of these efforts are not very encouraging at first. Moreover, the way of getting at the fantasies is individually different… oftentimes the hands alone can fantasy; they model or draw figures that are quite foreign to the conscious.

“These exercises must be continued until the cramp in the conscious is released, or, in other words, until one can let things happen; which was the immediate goal of the exercise. In this way, a new attitude is created, an attitude which accepts the irrational and the unbelievable, simply because it is what is happening. The attitude would be poison for a person who has already been overwhelmed by things that just happen, but it is of the highest value for one who, with an exclusively conscious critique, chooses from the things that happen only those appropriate to his consciousness, and thus gets gradually drawn away from the stream of life into a stagnant backwater.”

Very few people have written so powerfully, or with such insight as Jung has on the nature and practise of coex. That is why he has been quoted at such length. Also, some of the above statements are important to our understanding of what coex is and what it can do. It must be realised however, that Reich and Jung were doctors, and so write on the subject from the viewpoint of dealing with illness or human problems. Coex is a great deal more than a doorway to the possibility of healing. As Jung himself mentions, it is also a way of growing beyond our present limitations, of finding ‘more’ in life. That more might be that we simply extend our awareness. A description given by David explains this.

“I had learnt coex and, at first, used it to deal with personal problems. But as these became less pressing I discovered other possibilities in it. Tony had helped me to see that each of us pick up thousands of impressions from our environment without realising. With that in mind, one day when I had a job to do two hundred miles away from home I used coex to check something out. I had agreed to mend someone’s flat roof. The job was not difficult, but needed a reasonably dry day. If I travelled two hundred miles and it rained, I would be well out of pocket. As the weather had been unsettled and with days of heavy rain, I asked my unconscious if it had any impressions on what the weather was likely to be in the area I needed to work. I allowed spontaneous images and feelings as I had learnt, and was amazed at the result. It was as if some part of my being was looking at the most immense forces. All the time they moved and shifted, with so much power I felt that if humans could harness one tiny part of them our energy needs would be solved. From the overall view my inner awareness then shifted and gave me the impression that there would be occasional light showers in the area I had asked about, nothing heavy enough to warrant not going. I was so impressed by the clarity and strength of the impressions I drove to the job. While I worked there were a couple of showers as heavy clouds passed nearby, but nothing that delayed me or penetrated the uncovered roof.”

I have myself frequently used coex to clarify or give more information on important situations. Part of the action of coex is to release to consciousness areas of our experience or impressions which may be relevant to our present needs, but which have remained unnoticed or forgotten. For instance, while working in Japan teaching coex, I was asked to show a young Japanese women how to use the technique. She was experiencing feelings of tension and discomfort in her chest, and could not understand their cause.

Akiko was married to a Westerner and pregnant with their first child. As she allowed the spontaneous movements of coex she began coughing and choking. This continued for some time without change and I became puzzled as to what her body was expressing. When I asked her if she could feel what was behind her movements she shook her head. Wondering whether my unconscious had understood her body language I sought it’s help. Straightaway a flow of impression and feelings arose which suggested that Akiko feared her husband would look for another woman after her child was born. I therefore suggested to her that the feeling in her chest was connected with her husband and the baby. She exploded into tears, as she had apparently been holding back that very fear for some time without expressing it.

In an attempt to understand where my unconscious had gathered this helpful piece of information I later explored the impressions. I saw that what had appeared to come almost magically to mind from nowhere was based on a forgotten sentence Akiko had spoken to me two days before about her coming baby. I had said that the baby would probably be quite a beautiful mixture of East and West. In a rather diffident voice she had said, “I hope so.” At the time I had not attached any great importance to this mixture of words and feelings. Yet my unconscious had understood very well what she was saying.

As human beings we have a great many more possibilities in our life than we  presently use. Coex in action demonstrates that we have the ability to use faculties which often lie dormant. Whether the faculty is that of healing through a release of the self regulatory process; or whether it is that of bringing to consciousness information or realisations we had previously been unaware of, the act of allowing something to be experienced or known in body or mind, which was not evident there before, is fundamental. This bringing into operation what was previously only latent, is something we live with every moment of our life. The everyday remembrance of how to walk and talk, of simple facts such as our telephone number, show how we constantly call into the arena of our awareness what is usually stored elsewhere. Words such as conscious and unconscious are sometimes made to appear very complex. When we connect them with memory though, it is obvious the experience we have gathered is never all at the one time in awareness. Only tiny parts of it are evident at any one moment. The rest is ‘unconscious’. Also, between what we are aware of and what is unconscious there is a threshold. We can think of this as a screen of resistance which holds back the major part of what would otherwise flood into our awareness and cause massive confusion. To overcome this resistance a certain active force or procedure is necessary. Because this procedure is used so often we seldom notice what it is we do, but it is a little like a swinging door. When we hold a question in mind, or there is any call for information such as words to use in speech, we simply wait with a clear mind for the natural response we call memory to take place. In a similar way physical movements are a response to our motivation to walk or reach for something. So when we are actively thinking or willing something the ‘door’ swings from our consciousness to unconsciousness. What we thought or willed is then entered into memory. If we then call upon our memory and wait with an open mind, the ‘door’ swings in the other direction to let the unconscious express its contents. It is upon this basic action of calling a response from our unconscious, that coex is founded.

It is quite easy to see that all of us have huge areas of our memory which we seldom or never use. But occasionally we may meet a school friend, or begin a conversation, which stimulates us to recall memories we thought long gone. Likewise there are areas of mind or body, the potential of which we hardly use. We need to remember also that because most of what emerges through the resistant screen of our ‘threshold’ is what we have sought or allowed, we may only build into our personality from within what appeals to us, what we like or agree with. This leads us to become one sided. In everyday terms it means that one person develops their intellect to the point where all of their views and decisions are dictated by it, while another person almost totally lives in their emotions or sexual drive. this may not be too important in terms of physical survival, but it can be extremely unhealthy in terms of our personality relating to the whole realm of biological, instinctual and life processes active within us. In the quest for the things which they value as a personality, many people find themselves in direct conflict with what their body or life in them wants.  Having watched many people as they worked with coex, I have seen this battle between Life and the personality rage in the person’s body, largely unconsciously. It has reminded me of national revolution, where a small elite – the intellectual government – rule the lives of millions of people who constitute the ‘body’ of a nation. If the governing group have not listened to the needs of the body of their nation, then conflict arises. Worse still in personal terms, we miss awareness of much of our own potential and satisfaction. It matters not that we dub ourselves ‘spiritual’, ‘conservationists’ etc., if we have not taken the time to carefully allow our own being to speak to us, then we are one sided and out of touch.

These considerations made clear some of Jung’s statements, and explain the rationale behind them. The ‘dark possibilities within’ are those aspects of ourselves or our stored experience which have not been allowed or encouraged to break through the threshold of resistance into conscious expression. They are dark because they are unconscious. ‘Letting go of oneself’ can also be seen as a rational necessity if we are to allow not only a balancing and healing of our personality, but also if we wish to contact the riches of what life in us knows. We have to ‘let go’ because otherwise the swinging door cannot open for the unconscious to release its contents. The changed attitude of mind is as relevant as pushing in he clutch if we wish to change gear in a car. In other words, unless we understand the functions of our being, we cannot use it wisely or well. The open, non critical state of mind and body is the very first step in coex. The next step is to ‘continue these exercises’ of listening to the unconscious ‘until the cramp in the conscious is released.

Although the simple use of the open-listening state of mind and body is sufficient for most people to establish communication with their inner resources, there are other factors which I have noticed are very important. These are to do not only with personal, but also cultural attitudes and concepts about the unconscious. Most people brought up in a western, Christian culture are deeply suspicious of the unconscious. We train ourselves and our children to remain in control; of our feelings and drives to such a degree that to allow anything spontaneous is highly threatening. Many people I have worked with have said the same thing to me at the outset of learning coex. “But how will I know if it is good or bad?”

This statement sums up the fears most people have about the unknown of their own nature. They want to know in advance what is going to emerge so that they can edit it, change it, make it socially acceptable. I believe this shows a deep sense of not trusting ones own innate nature.

Something else many people say is, “But it might not make sense!” or “I don’t know what to do.” This suggests a sense of needing to have ready made ideas about what to do. During classes in which the people were asked to explore body movements, most people gave up after one minute or so. Some of these classes were ones in which the people had been exercising with ‘given movements weekly for many months. Yet after a class in which they were asked to discover their own spontaneous movements, several of the class dropped out and never returned. This I take to be an expression of an apprehension about anything new emerging into the person’s life. Also, there is an element of these people not believing in their own power of discrimination to sort out what is useful for them. For myself, I have never found the unconscious to lie, but of course we can fool ourselves in projecting beliefs or hopes onto what it presents.

These anxieties, hopes, attitudes and expectations stand in the way of an easy and honest relationship with our inner process, just as they can stand in the way of an honest relationship between two people. In fact, the deepening of a ones experience of coex is based on the same factors as the deepening of a person to person relationship – trust, patience and an attempt to grow into further understanding and co-operation.

When I attempt to have an overall view of these different pieces of information pertaining to coex, then I see something which appears very important in human evolution. It seems quite clear that for millions of years the human animal lived without rational thought – which is a very recent thing – and they lived without what we call self awareness. Their actions did not arise out of thought as we know it, but out of a feeling response, a directive from the experience of their unconscious which  had its own wisdom gathered from countless generations. This feeling or intuitive response was probably manifested in direct impulses to move, or in dreamlike thought processes. The very tools of early writing were pictures, which probably indicates the mental life of those times. But as human beings developed a sense of personal identity, as they gave themselves personal and individual names, the ancient feeling sense, still obvious in such peoples as the Eskimos and Aborigines, was pushed out of use. When reasoning too became a common tool in human mental life, the separation between the sense which had guided human life for millions of years, and the modern individual life was complete. Not only separation but also division and even conflict. So we arrive at the dilemma of modern human beings who have a personality that is out of touch with major areas of their own being and unaware of their heritage of wisdom and problem solving faculties from the past.  Therefore, I see the process of coex as a means of bringing about wholeness where there was division, integration in the place of the terrible weakness which self-conscious personality, being the veneer it is, has brought about.

Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved