Your Guru The Body – Part Six

By now you have hopefully felt something of the wonder of experiencing new and creative arising from the unknown, the unconscious, within you. If you haven’t, then you need to go back over the previous steps again. If you still have not touched that spontaneous spring of creativity and feeling, only then take this next step.

At this point we need to reflect for a while and absorb a bit more understanding about what you are doing. For instance the practice has its roots in pre-history. It is also well documented in all the historic periods, and is used in various ways in modern psychological therapies.

If you recognise that the basis of the practice is an opening of body and mind to what can appear to be a beneficent influence arising from something other than your conscious will, you will see how this relates to historical approaches. If you take away the religious views of the times, the cultural trappings, you will recognise the practice in the earliest forms of Christianity, in Shaktipat as used by thousands in India, of Subud as it is still used throughout the world, of Seitai in Japan, and so on up to the approach described by Wilhelm Reich in his early work.

In a later step a reading list will be given for those who wish to explore these references. Meanwhile, please realise that there are many ways to explain what happens when your conscious mind becomes receptive and you allow the sort of movement you have explored. Basically they are:

The influence arises from a transcendent source and cleanses and uplifts the practitioner.

  • The influence is an expression of the fundamental self-regulatory processes of body and mind, as witnessed in the activity of dreams.
  • In life and sleep we have two powerful actions working in us. The first is our waking experience based on having a body, its limitations, vulnerabilities and a particular gender. Our second is the power that gave us life and continues to express as spontaneous movement in dreams, in our breathing and heartbeat – our life. This I have given the description as the Life Will.While we sleep our conscious self is largely or totally unconscious, and while we sleep and dream our voluntary muscles are paralysed – therefore another will or motivating force moves our body. So we have a Conscious Will, and what I will call a Life Will. The first one we have experience of as we can move our arm or speak in everyday activities; but the second will takes over when we sleep. See Sleep ParalysisThis Life will can move us to speak, to move our body, and in fact do things that we cannot do with our Conscious Will, all that while we sleep and dream. As Freud pointed out this inner will has full access to our memories.

The influence is a natural release of unconscious material.

Some commentators of the process have called it a ‘current’. Aurobindo for instance wrote that to reach the “new country within us” we must first learn how “ to leave the old one behind.” We do this, he said, by learning to quieten the constant chatter that goes on in our mind. We do it by in some measure making our conscious mind and body receptive. When we do this a current of influence works on us. In Aurobindo’s own words, “The surest way toward this integral fulfilment is to find the Master of the Secret who dwells within us, open ourselves constantly to the Divine Power which is also the Divine Wisdom and Love, and trust it to effect the conversion.” This brings about a “conversion or transformation through the descent and working of the higher still concealed supramental principle.”

As explained, there are many different ways of explaining this, and the words Aurobindo uses are just one way. Others will be given as we travel on.

The problem with quieting the mind is that it is so difficult and tricky. Even having a goal such as quietness during a meditative practice is an activity of mind. Allowing spontaneous movement and expression is a way past that difficulty. When the spontaneous arises we can watch it with our conscious mind much as when one watches someone dance or mime. This is sufficient quietness to allow the mysteries of your life process to express.

The beauty of the steps given here is that they do not need any prior belief. They do not need long years of meditation to begin to experience the influence, the current, of a transforming influence. The steps may appear frivolous or undignified compared with some methods. But their wonder is that almost anyone can directly begin to catch the thread of their inner transforming influence.

The last step is important. If you find expressing yourself vocally is difficult, use the step again and again. What happens as you use the process of opening to the transforming current that expresses as movement, is that gradual refinement takes place. At first it might be that you experience just movement. If you carry on, feelings and vocalisation follow. The feelings open like the doorway to an enormously enlarged world. Then gradually the mind itself becomes more fluid and receptive. Visual mobility arises. A greater intuitive perception opens. But this takes time. Imagine if your body were stiff and painful to move, it would take a long time to bring it to a state of fluidity and grace.

Remember that all the miraculous and mysterious forces of life express as movement. Life breathes us. We might interfere with it, but even a baby without self-consciousness or will breathes. So who is making the movement? Life laughs and loves through us in the movements we make. Crying, having a baby, making love, feeling joy, sneezing, vomiting, heartbeat. all express as movement and sounds. Becoming receptive to the more subtle movements is a way of learning from the greatest teacher of all – Life.

The next step takes you in a slightly different direction. It is one that has many possibilities that will gradually be explored. It is one in which a form of communication occurs between the most everyday and the most transcendent in you. It is called The Seed Approach. This will be approached slowly, and in this step only the first part will be attempted.

The Seed

Create your environment again, with sufficient space, clothing allowing mobility – loose and soft if possible, without tight undergarments. If you use music, have it playing quite softly. Again it should be music that does not grab the attention too much.

The important thing about the ‘seed’ approach 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. 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 these inner-directed movements are 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 but slightly apart.

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 that 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.

Take your time with this. As the dry seed, are you asleep, are you waiting, what does it feel like inside you? Dwell in whatever you feel. Notice whether, once you find an inner mood that feels right, your body expresses this. Wriggle or move into what feels right.

Use this step several times during the week until you feel at ease with it. It only need take a few minutes each time.

Inner-directed movements, occurring as they do when you relax deeply, arise from the unconscious processes that control your existence and growth. It a fuller expression of what lies behind the growth of your body and mind. It is what enables you to maintain a stable existence amidst the ever-moving forces of your environment. It holds all the systems of your being integrated in common purpose and is the foundation of consciousness. It is not something distant or separate from you, but is innately in everything you are and do.

Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved