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THE PRACTICE OF COEX
THE PRACTICE OF COEX
Coex is something to experience, not something we are taught. The simplest way of describing Coex 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.
By meeting weekly, a group practising Coex 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 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 Coex 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 Coex reintroduces us to the ability of our being to heal, balance and reach for its own psychological growth.
Each group practice lasts for about one hour. The group starts by sitting in a circle for about a minute. 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 Coex to begin. If you are new to Coex a member of the group will start you in the practice by suggesting arm movements following which the spontaneous movements can be allowed.
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 Coex, 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 an hour a member of the group will call an end to the session and the members will sit quietly for a few minutes.
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.
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 Coex and the format of the group is based on several simple principles. For instance no attempt is made to teach members in the Coex 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 Coex, 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 in regard to 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 Coex 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 Coex. These women and men can be looked to for guidance and support.
Coex 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 Coex 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 Coex, 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.
Further information may be found in the book Mind and Movement by Tony Crisp, published by C.W. Daniel.