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Your Guru the Dream – Step Eight
The exercise of the seed has several levels of usefulness. As already mentioned, it helps you to learn how to work with the feeling sense. This is a real working tool that opens the door to deeper levels of dreamwork. One of the most important of these is the approach used in Gestalt Dreamwork. Also the seed approach starts to expose you to what Jung called Active Imagination. Both of these methods will be explained and experimented with once you have learned to work with your spontaneous imagination.
So, to this end the second phase of the seed exercise will be explained. But to help you fully experience this, there is something useful to do first. This exercise is to tune you into how your body can move spontaneously, how simple that is, and what it feels like. In the last step it was mentioned that Carl Jung described a technique to allow the body to move spontaneously in order to access unconscious feelings more readily. His approach was to let the hands fantasy. The following exercise is an extension of this.
- Stand in the middle of your space with feet about shoulder width apart. For a few moments hold the thought and feeling that for the next ten to fifteen minutes you are giving up your own conscious efforts. You are allowing your body and feelings to express their own needs without you consciously directing what happens..
- Imagine that your body, emotions, memories, sexuality, are like notes on a keyboard, and that the keyboard of your being will respond to the lightest touch. In other words give yourself permission to allow spontaneous or unexpected movements of body and mind – don’t forget to leave yourself open to vocal expression too.
- Start by slowly circling the arms. Make the circles cross the front of the body. This will mean the right hand will cross in front of your pelvis as it moves left and upwards above your head.
- When you have the arms moving with ease, become aware of the shapes your fingertips are carving in space. Stay with this observation for a few moments, then notice whether your hands and fingers have any urge to create their own shapes in space. It may feel as if delicate magnetic pulls are directing your hands. If so, follow these delicate urges by letting your arms be moved by them. Let your hands and arms discover any movements or speed that satisfies you. Permit your whole body and voice to become involved if there is a tendency toward this.
If you experienced your arms moving in a way you hadn’t planned or directed in the last exercise, you are now ready to use the Growing Seed approach. Use this only when you have at least twenty minutes of undisturbed time and space.
- Repeat the step of finding a position and feeling of a dried seed. When you find a position and inner feeling that suit you, take the next step by letting yourself explore, with body movements, postures, and awareness of your feelings, what might happen when you as the seed are planted in warm moist soil and begin to grow. Continue your feeling exploration to find what will occur when you as the seed grow, put out leaves, blossoms and fulfil your cycle. Explore the whole cycle of the seed’s expression. Don’t think about what the growth of the seed means. What you are looking for is that you explore your own feeling sense in regard to the seed’s growth.
- What this means is that as the dried seed you wait with the open, keyboard feeling. Don’t make things happen. Surrender your effort. It doesn’t matter if no movements occur. The waiting and openness are the important things.
- It might be that as the seed you feel very strongly you do not want to grow. In which case remain in the form of the seed until you feel a change and an urge to grow, or until your session time is finished.
- When you sense the experience has finished, rest quietly for about five minutes and end the session.
The following quote from a letter I received gives an idea of the wide range of experience that can arise from this approach. Judith describes her use of this ‘seed’ approach to spontaneous movement as follows:
I am a trainee yoga teacher and have been teaching for three years. I have a small class of fourteen students who are keen and attend regularly. I decided to have my students try the seed approach to see how they would react. I explained it as well as I could, and the feedback I got was as follows – A man in his thirties said, ‘I felt I was in a womb. It was very comfortable, cosy and dark. I wanted to stay there. I didn’t want to come away – it was so peaceful. I have never experienced anything like it before’. He was very impressed.
A woman in her thirties felt like throwing her arms around and kicking her legs. ‘I felt I wanted to give birth and was about to deliver’. She didn’t fling herself about, but held back. I think it was a pity she didn’t let go. Perhaps I didn’t explain the whole procedure clearly enough for them to understand that it was entirely free movements. The majority acted out being flowers. Only one in the class thought it was a lot of ‘bloody rubbish’, her words. She didn’t even try. She thought she would feel stupid acting out a seed.
I was surprised at the outcome, and that so much should happen first time. I personally felt as if I became the bud of a crocus. I seemed to be slowly unfolding with difficulty. Not until I fully opened did I feel a great relief. The results of this have made me feel very positive in my outlook, and far happier.
As can be seen from Judith’s comments, the results of the seed exercise might be that you have a spontaneous fantasy, something like a waking dream. It is precisely for this possibility that the technique is practised. The aim is to get the doorway between your conscious and unconscious self swinging more easily, allowing previously untouched experience to surface. When you can use this well, then you can apply it to dreamwork.