Your Guru The Body – Part Four

If you have practised the previous steps until you can really experience spontaneous and creative movement, and perhaps feelings, arising, then you are ready for an approach that is as ancient as humankind. It is found all over the world in various forms, but it is presented here in a simple way. This step is called The Open Door. The approaches to this in other cultures and times will be explained in another step.

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 that 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 from your core self.

Despite the fact that virtually all the healing or helping professions or techniques attempt to apply cures or methods to us, 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 what is innately within you 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 you drop 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.

During the following practice, if there are changes in pace, 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 capable of as a healthy and 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 that they can choose to end at any moment. It is the unhealthy person who is locked into compulsive and limited patterns of behaviour. Liberation is a sign of health. You are a keyboard, why not have all your keys available?

  1. Prepare your environment of space, clothing, mood and music.
  2. If you need it, put on some music that 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. This step, as all the others, can be used alone or with others. In a group, this approach is sometimes greatly enhanced.
  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. 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.
  6. 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, just as you did in the previous step. 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.
  7. 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 any 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. These are movement to wholeness.

To give some idea of the possibilities of the open approach, below are the descriptions by two people of their first practice, and one by Andrew, who had practised for about a year.

Fiona, a woman who allowed herself this liberation of the body for the first time, describes her experience as follows – “I found a quiet moment, spread a rug on the floor, knelt down with my head touching my knees and started running my hands through my hair – I have always found this very comforting. Soon I noticed myself beginning to wobble and shake, and it seemed so funny I began to laugh. I laughed without stopping for twenty minutes, rolling about the floor, on my face; on my back kicking my legs in the air; on my knees beating my hands on the floor. The tears rolled down my face, my voice became cracked, my diaphragm began to ache with unaccustomed exercise and still I went on laughing. Eventually I ended up by going round and round on the rug on my knees and elbows, banging my elbows on the floor in joyous abandon, my head and arms muffled up in my jersey which had slipped off me at some time, singing a wordless song of joy and freedom. Absolutely nothing mattered.”

Su had attended a seminar at which Tony Crisp explained how to work with the open approach. She describes her experience as follows:

“When Tony came to explain the process 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 inner-directed movement 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 that 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 that 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 that 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.”

“I started that session by being led into various movements like setting up exercises, bending and squatting. A moment of stillness followed, and then suddenly I began to dance. No, that is incorrect. I did not dance; I was danced from within, for I didn’t know the plan of the dance. Nor did I understand it for many weeks afterwards. But now I will describe it with the understanding that came later.

I danced Creation. With great sweeping movements I gathered up material. With mighty breath I blew upon what was being gathered, and gradually a world was created. It was a great world which now, like Atlas, I carried upon my shoulders. But so mighty was this world I gradually fell beneath its weight, crushed and unable to rise. Yet there was something I needed call upon, something that would give strength if I but struggled hard enough and did not give up. So, like a trapped giant I struggled against the ponderous weight of my own creation until all of my resolve came together and released strength previously untapped. With mighty struggle, I lifted the world from my back to my chest. Then gradually I rose. Like a ball on the end of a chain I swung the world, at first slowly, but faster and faster. Suddenly and with relief I let go and the world was gone. It was the world of my own ideas, my own rigid moral beliefs, under which I had lain sick and defeated. The new strength was the release of the life energies causing self-regulation. And then it was as if I stood before the light of my own being, the cause of my own existence. Chains that had held my hands fell off and I lifted them to the light. Such a light! It was full of love and laughter. And a song of love burst from me spontaneously. It was love of life, of my cause. Then laughter came, for I had been such a fool, to crush myself with my own rigid morals, with my own emotions and strength. We were all fools, to crush ourselves with our own worlds, to chain ourselves with our own fears. But I laughed not just at myself, but with myself, for life was such joy, such pleasure, how could laughter not tumble from me?”

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