Movement to Wholeness


Liberating the Body

Chapter Three


Discovering Your Power of Growth

Although another approach to inner-directed movement will be described below, this is not a suggestion to avoid using the previous approaches. Using the water movements or yawning, even if employed dozens of times, will still bring new facets and freshness. Each approach does produce slightly different results however. This is what was meant above by the dimensions of experience. The yawning method of starting for instance, appears to lead more to release of physical tension – the water method leads more to expression of feelings. The latter aids in expressing yourself in movement and harmonising your body and feelings. It is no exaggeration to say the next method, if used a number of times, helps you to fuller self expression. It brings to the surface qualities and energy that may have been sleeping in you.

To make this clear, it is easy to see that an acorn has within itself the potential of a full grown oak tree. Even if the acorn is planted and the emerging tree is a metre high, you can still believe there is a lot more to emerge. As a human being, even though you are physically mature, there may still be a great deal more of yourself which has not yet become realised externally.

The Seed

Create your environment again, with sufficient space, clothing allowing mobility – loose and soft if possible, without tight undergarments. This time you will need music played quite softly. Again it should be music that does not grab the attention too much. Warm up with two or three of the movements already described. Give yourself up to three-quarters of an hour for the whole session.

The important thing about the ‘seed’ practice is that you are purposely not imagining a specific movement for your body to follow. You are only holding an idea, an outline, and to follow it your body and feelings must move into the unknown and play creatively with the idea of the seed to produce any result. So let your body feel its way slowly into finding its posture or movement. Don’t get frustrated if in this first practise little happens. Remember that inner-directed movement is a learnt skill, and you are still learning.

Not only is this an exercise for your feeling sense, but it is also a way the process of inner-directed movement can express. You can consider it a success if some aspect of what arises is spontaneous or unexpected. So at first it doesn’t matter if the session feels mechanical and contrived. Having those feelings mean you are sensing what is happening, and you can thereby refine your technique with their help. By letting go of the controlling urge, you can let the spontaneous and creative part of you express.

1 –        Stand in the centre of your space and raise your arms above your head. Hold them so they are quite extended.

2 –        With eyes closed, bring to mind the idea or image of an unplanted seed. It can be any sort of seed.

3 –        Notice whether your body in its present posture feels as if it is expressing the form and condition of the seed. The aim is to consider how you and your body feel in relationship to the idea and sense you have of the seed. Many people find, for instance, that having the arms extended does not `feel’ like an unplanted seed. Don’t struggle with this. It is just an experiment, play with it, have fun.

4 –        If you do not notice such feelings of difference between your extended posture and the idea of a seed, try another approach. Remember the experiment in which, after raising your arms above your head several times, you let your arms find their own way to move. Once more follow the subtle urges of your being. Play with the feelings of what it would be like to have the shape of the seed; to be waiting for the right conditions to grow and express all your hidden potential of leaves and flowers. Let your body play with these ideas or feelings, just as you let it move when you allowed your arms to find their own way upwards. Do not make this an intellectual inquiry. Use your body and feelings, even if this is a new for you. Explore in this way until you feel you have found a position that is satisfying. Take your time. Notice whether the arms and head are right. Would a seed that is not growing feel alert, sleeping, or waiting? See if you can find an inner mood which for you feels like a seed. Do not attempt to think the whole thing out or consider it scientifically. Let whatever feeling sense you have guide you.

5 –        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 hold a rigid idea of 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.

6 –        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.

7 –        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 which can arise from this exercise. Judith describes her use of this ‘seed’ approach to inner-directed 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, 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.”

Experiencing your growth as the seed is enjoyable without any concern about what it might do or be beneficial for. Its possibilities are worth understanding though. Judith’s experience of feeling difficulty in opening, and great relief when opened, typifies its action.

What this means is made clear by the experience of a man, Graham, whom I worked with personally. He found that while being the seed he had no urge whatsoever to grow. He lay on the ground for the whole period and felt how wonderful it was that he didn’t have to actively express.

When we talked this over Graham told me he could easily see the connection this had with his life. He said that although he was energetic, and as a male nurse had to deal actively with people all day, he never felt he was really present as himself. As a person he hid behind his role as a nurse and seldom exposed his real feelings with other people. In fact he wondered if he had ever really expressed in activity what he felt or believed.

Graham then used the seed approach again. This time he felt the urge to grow and emerge from his non expression. He gradually opened out from a curled up position and slowly moved, with hesitations, to a kneeling position. At that point he stopped. He explained that standing up – being present with his own feelings and potential with other people – was so new to him, that the half way position was as far as he could grow at that time. Nevertheless, it gave him an exultant feeling to be at last, for what he felt as the first time in his life, daring to go into the world as a real human being. He felt sure that in following sessions of the seed approach he would progressively emerge more fully.

The seed approach deals specifically with your growth as a person. It helps you work out, through creative movement, any restriction in expressing your potential and your physical energy. People who have not lived out their own inner needs, or are unexpressive physically, will find this helpful.

The Seed Group


Part of the pleasure of inner-directed movement is sharing it with others. I still enjoy seeing how much pleasure people who have used inner-directed movement for the first time have when they see what wonderful experience they create with their movements. Because it is a pleasure, and because there is support and a more powerful atmosphere or ‘space’ is created when sharing, it is worth considering whether a friend or friends would join with you.

The seed approach can also be used with others. If so, one person is the seed, the supporting people – two to three at the most – can be earth and water. The aim is to support the growth of whoever is the seed by physical and emotional contact.

If you want to use this, whoever is the Seed starts by standing in the middle of the others, who take time to make contact with her/him. They allow time to find an attitude that enables them to get closer physically and emotionally than in usual social roles. So without forcing or acting mechanically, the members touch and draw near to the Seed. When this is established the Seed curls up on a prepared space – with blanket or cushions – on the floor. The members draw near and make contact again. Get close, cover the Seed’s body with yours, penetrate with your touch, as does earth and water.

Liberating the Body – Phase Four

The approaches to inner-directed movement described in the first three phases, although different, all revolve around the allowing of spontaneous movement. Through the use of these varied approaches you gain direct experience of your own creativity in working with your body and discovering its links with your language of posture, gesture and movement. You begin to discover the emergence also of spontaneous creative fantasy. It is creative because each of the approaches allow expression of something slightly different – and each session is itself unique in some way.

The next approach to be described is the cornerstone of inner-directed movement. It is presented as the fourth because through the other approaches you will have become more practised in the technique. This enables you now to use the great simplicity of the ‘open’ approach. With the previous approaches there was either a physical activity or theme, such as water, which gave direction for the practice. These structures are absent in the next approach.

The Open Approach

Most of the great traditional approaches, such as Shaktipat, Seitai, Qi Gong or Subud use this open approach, though they each explain it differently. Its special quality is that it reduces limitations. The other approaches, because they have more structure, direct what arises for you in some measure. It is like walking into a library and saying, ‘I am looking for some information on my health’ or ‘I am looking for something about personal growth’. That would limit your search. If you walked into the library with the attitude – ‘I am open to discovering anything relevant to my life’ – then the limitations are fewer.

The open approach is an access to your whole self. Because much of yourself still awaits discovery, is still unknown to you, it is impossible to know just where to look to find your own wholeness and health. You are unique. You have a different background in family or cultural traditions than many others. You have personal and particular life experiences and different personal qualities of mind and body which make your needs distinctive. Allowing your being freedom of expression during inner-directed movement empowers your ability to work at and express your own special needs.

Despite the fact that virtually all the healing or helping professions or techniques attempt to apply cures or methods to our being, it is obvious that we know our own needs and are largely self-righting or self-regulating. This is meant in the most down to earth and observable manner. Expressed in its simplest form, if you are hungry you have an urge to eat. Beliefs or fears may degrade that pure urge into other forms. Worries about weight gain; ideas about what is healthy food; habits perverted by trying to be ‘one of the boys – or girls’ – at business / club dinners, may achieve this degrading process.

By opening to inner-directed movement without structure you allow your being to gradually shed such degradations and return to an expression and recognition of your real needs. Because you are always feeling your own personal needs – as in the example of hunger – the open approach to inner-directed movement helps the dropping of preconceived ideas and social pressures. There may even be a process of clearing out the habits, fears and pains that have stood in the way of your own healthy self. Then comes the experience of meeting and accepting the real you. The you that is both ordinary and extraordinary.

The adventure of truly integrating the culture you have taken in, and forming it into your own personal and living self takes time. It is not going to happen in just four or five sessions of inner-directed movement. But if used for an hour once or twice a week for a year, very real changes will be seen.

Movement Toward Wholeness

Although use of the voice was mentioned, and exercises given in Phase One, it is worth remembering the healing value of this. Your voice, your body and your emotions are linked. Restraint in one restrains the others. So working with the voice can help free and mobilise the body and emotions. Tense or rigid emotions are just as difficult to live with as a tense and rigid body. Just as physical pain and restriction arises from muscular tension, emotional pain and limitation derives from emotional blocks.

If there are changes in pace during the period of practice, allow them. The range of possible movements and forms of expression are so enormous it would be boring to list them. They include all tones of feeling from angry to loving and exalted – all vocal expressions from deep crying to imitation of the sound and feeling of foreign languages – all types of movement from the most exquisite stillness to frantic tribal dancing. These are some of the spectrum of inner qualities you are healthily capable of as a whole human being. Sometimes people say ‘I have never expressed myself like this before, I wonder if I am bizarre’. The answer is that only whole human beings are capable of a wide range of expression which they can choose to end at any moment. It is the unhealthy person who is locked into compulsive and limited patterns of behaviour. Liberation of the body is a sign of health.

1 –        Prepare your environment of space, clothing, mood and music.

2 –        Put on some music which has energy but does not grab your attention too much. Use a couple of warm up movements to get your circulation more active and your body loosened.

3 –        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 half hour you are giving up your own conscious efforts. You are allowing your being to express its own needs in its own way by opening to the WHOLE you.

4 –        Get the ‘keyboard’ feeling in yourself. 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.

5 –        Allow spontaneous movements to develop. Take an open, observing state of mind.

6 –        If movements are tardy in emerging, 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.

7 –        When you have the arms moving with ease, become aware of the shapes your finger tips 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 which satisfies you. Permit your whole body and voice to become involved if there is a tendency toward this.

8 –        When you are ready to finish the session, stop the movements and relax on the floor or in an easy chair for a few minutes. There is often a natural sense of an end of the theme that has arisen.


Using the open approach you will experience movements, themes, emotional expression and insights particular to your personal bodily, mental and spiritual needs. The more fully you express the more you learn to command the whole of your being. Liberating the body is movement to wholeness.



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