Being Born

For many people inner-directed movement is largely an enjoyment of their body’s activity with some accompanying shift of feelings as the movements are enjoyed. In fact there is no need to deeply explore the realms of the psyche to gain great enjoyment and benefits from its use. However, I would not be properly describing what is achievable through the technique, if I did not give a small introduction to what might be found within the enormous realms of your mind and memory. The approaches given below are therefore for those who wish to open the door to an exploration of their own interior world of experience.

There is a warning needs to be sounded here though. The experience of your own inner life is very real. It may put you in contact with areas of yourself you may not have met before as an adult. Therefore unless you already have experience of working therapeutically – as with psychotherapy – it is best to use this aspects of inner-directed movement only with a supportive group to start with. It is a bit like learning to swim. If you did use the approaches below successfully they might introduce you to the deep waters of your feelings. So, like swimming, until you gain confidence in dealing with the new environment, it is best to learn with others. Of course, if you have already worked in this way there is no problem. Or if you are a group leader working therapeutically, the approaches are gentle ways into personal growth.

The following approaches are described for those who wish to explore something of the psychologically therapeutic side of inner-directed movement. If you are content with your experience of the practice as it is, there is no need at all to explore the mental and emotional side of yourself.

Being born was one of the great moments of your life. Not only is it an important physical event, but it is also a truly powerful process psychologically. That unborn babies have rememberable experiences, and that birth itself leaves strong memories and influences, although not yet generally accepted, appears to be well documented. Thousands of people have now recovered memories of birth through various forms of therapy, meditation and hypnosis. Some of these areas of experience suggest consciousness is in some degree continuous throughout all levels of being. (See The Secret Life Of The Unborn Child by Dr. Thomas Verny, MD., and John Kelly – Sphere Books Ltd., 1982. In USA by Summit Books 1981)

To take the path of birth in inner-directed movement may mean recovering memories of your own birth and how it influenced your development. Such memories are completely non verbal and are composed purely of physical and emotional experience and body postures and movements. Apart from personal memories though, you may discover the power of renewal and the urge to grow expressed in the symbol of birth. This symbolic way experiencing was described well by Judith – in chapter three – when she felt like a crocus flower, struggling to open. In this way you might touch resources within yourself that have the possibility for you of emerging from old and restricting emotions, habits and ways of life.

1 – If possible do this with two or three friends who are supportive and used to the action of inner-directed movement. This is not because it is unsafe to do otherwise, but because with friends you can create an excellent ‘womb’ environment.

2 – If with friends, create your ‘space’ with enough room for you all to occupy a place close together on a soft duvet or blanket on the floor. Sit together making contact through holding hands, and centre down into the mood of what you are doing. Imagine yourself slipping backwards to the time when you were in the womb. When ready break contact and take an appropriate position in the middle of the blanket. Try curling up, knees to chest. Your two or three friends should now make close physical contact and cover you with their bodies so you are comfortable but enclosed in the warmth of their physical contact.

3 – Once this has been done relax and wait for inner-directed movements to arise. There is no need to concentrate on the theme of being born. It is enough for you to have thought about this at the beginning. Now you can let go of any thoughts and wait and watch.

4 – Do not attempt to make anything happen, or perform something for your friends. If all you do is to lie there for half an hour without movement, just do that. It is a very rewarding experience just to be quiet and close to friends in this non-verbal way. But you will probably find that after a few minutes there are changes of feeling occurring within you, and waves of impulse leading to some sort of movement or expression of feelings. Let these waves roll through you. Any movements that occur will come in waves too, so drop into quiet resting between them, and let the process unfold.

5 – If practising by yourself – or alone in a group – imagine yourself going back in time and size to the point where you are in the womb ready to be born. Take up a position on your blanket that expresses this as nearly as you can. Then allow inner-directed movement as described above in 3 & 4 above.

6 – What emerges will be unique to yourself. But in general it may feel like a direct experience of your own birth and relationship with your mother. Or it may be felt as an experience of psychological birth – a leaving behind of past attitudes and ways of expressing yourself that you have outgrown. It might be that you realise that for much of your life you have hardly been alive, and at last you are born and are living.

7 – Perhaps what happened was incomplete, and you will need to use the path again to carry it further. Birth is such a major feature, you will need to come back to this theme anyway to really find the treasure of insights and energy dormant in it.

8 – Whatever has arisen it is helpful to write it down and consider if you can see any relevance to your everyday life. For instance Joe, who used this path in his forties, experienced a difficult birth. He discovered a strong feeling of not wanting to be born, of a desire to avoid life by staying in the womb. He found this of great help in understanding the way he felt about life. His birth had been two months premature, so he could understand the feelings of not being ready to be involved in life. He had always had strong feelings of not wanting to participate in what other people were doing, of wanting to withdraw at social gatherings. On practising the ‘birth’ pathway again the feeling of withdrawal gradually receded and was replaced by a readiness to be involved in life. This made an observable difference to the way he met other people and was ready to be a part of activities.

If you practised with friends or within a group, share your experience with them and talk over what relevance you feel there might be with your everyday life. Also, ask for their comments on what they felt or observed. It is important to clarify for yourself what habits of feeling or attitude your birth has left, and how you wish to change these. For instance Joe was left with the habit of withdrawing from involvement with others.

The Pathway of birth offers the discovery of change in the amount of yourself you can bring to expression in relationship and work. It develops the ability to drop the past and to leave what is outgrown behind. Facets of yourself that were never really alive before can be born and live.

The Baby And Child

One of the tragedies of adult life is that you may have forgotten your childhood. You may still remember events and dates, but the intensity of feelings, the real insight into the world of childhood may be lost.

Can you remember how it was to live before time began for instance? The sense of time is learned. Prior to being able to speak, and previous to your concept of time, you lived in eternity. Days lasted forever. A week was infinite in its multitude of impressions and experience.

Can you remember your first love affair – with your mother? Being your first, its wonder or devastation has coloured all your love since. But if you can’t remember then you are living out the wonder or pain without awareness.

Discovering your internal baby and child is to find some of the great secrets of your life. Many of the decisions you make about work or sexual partners have their roots there. What may appear as destiny often starts from deeply felt experiences in your childhood. Who you consider yourself to be is not an immutable reality. Your genetic inheritance gave you a foundation, but what was built upon that was due to the events of your childhood. If you are not entirely satisfied with the results, a lot of DIY alterations can take place.

1 – You are going back along the time track of your life. Leaving behind the many things you have collected as you moved into the adult years – bank accounts, bills, mortgage, work, family responsibilities, dependents, the car, the musts and shoulds and should nots.

2 – Although you can target a particular time of your childhood simply by thinking about it for a few moments, leave it open. Stand in your space, with or without music, and allow

whatever movements and emotions arise. Do not be in a hurry. Sometimes it takes quite a time to gradually build the inner change necessary to recreate childhood feeling states. Remember that many years of childhood were without refined language. This means the experiences of that period were wholly physical sensation, movement and emotions. That is not to say you didn’t have a mind, but its perceptions were very immediate and not filtered through words and past associations. Give yourself time and opportunity to drop the top layers of yourself and your present habits of experiencing the world.

3 – Do not get confused by thinking that you have to act like a child to make this a successful experience. What you are doing is to give yourself time and opportunity to have an inner experience of your child self. So it does not matter that externally you do not act or speak like a child.

4 – The likely response is that you will experience some feelings, some event from childhood, that is important in your life because of its effect. As childhood is such a vulnerable period, to get to free flowing feelings on this Pathway may take time. The clearing of hurt emotions and attitudes might be necessary first. Nevertheless, this is an extremely worthwhile process.

5 – Many of your important habits were formed during your childhood. As an example – if you were an only child and had to spend much time alone, you may have got into the habit of suppressing your desire for company. If this habit persists it becomes felt as normal. In fact it is neither normal or abnormal, it is simply the way you have shaped yourself. In adult life you might therefore find it strange or difficult to be with groups of people. If this becomes a nuisance, and you want to change, it would be helpful to see this character trait as a habit rather than an immutable part of yourself. If you identify with it as yourself, there will be some resistance to change.

6 – It is important to consider what you experience in your childhood Pathway in the light of what habits it has formed. Many habits are very supportive, we might then call them a skill, such as language.

The baby and childhood pathway allows some of the most permanent and importantly positive life changes to occur through clearing the accumulation of emotional debris built up during early growth. Resistance to positive change often has its roots in this area. This is not only because of ‘emotional debris‘ but some of the most durable and defended habits were put into operation or developed in this period of your growth. The reason we generated these habits was nearly always out of necessity at the time. The habits helped us to survive – THEN – but may be self defeating and undermining today. Once their rationale is seen it becomes easier to change these habits.

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