Your Guru The Body – Part Ten

The Freedom To Be Yourself


One of the first person’s I taught inner-directed movement to was Maria, a woman in her sixties. Maria was married, had a lovely country cottage, but had not been outdoors for months. She was suffering from aches and pains in her arms, felt life had lost its interest, and asked for help. Maria quickly learned to relax enough to allow her body freedom to express without inhibiting self-criticism. Her movements were slow and tentative at first but soon included her whole body, producing feelings of pleasure. To allow such movements Maria had to learn how to give her body and feelings time in which to explore unplanned movement – movement arising from her own subtle body impulses. Such subtle urges are often overlooked, or are crowded out by ones thoughts of what one ought to be doing, or what is appropriate in the circumstances. So Maria created a mood, and gave herself time, in which she could allow irrational movement – movement that had not been thought-out beforehand, or given by someone else. Such movements are usually quite different to the sort of things one finds recommended in exercise books. The reason being that they are often unique mixtures of exercise, dance, mime, and generally letting oneself go enough to do what might have otherwise be seen as ridiculous. Nevertheless, such irrational expression is very satisfying. In Maria’s case she started with slow arm movements. Gradually the rest of her body was included in an expression of pleasure and sensual enjoyment in which she rolled and squirmed on the floor – movements and feelings that surprised Maria.

Within three weeks Maria went out with her husband, and bought new clothes, something she hadn’t done for years. She told me she realised she had been holding back all her pleasure, all her positive drive and feelings. In fact Maria had unconsciously been holding back HERSELF. In liberating her body and emotions she had liberated herself from the prison of her own depression. Frequently depression or lack of enthusiasm for life occurs through the suppression of our own feelings – the stagnation of our urge to move and live.

 The freedom and release which arises from inner-directed movement is also evident in what happened to Jim. A group using inner-directed movement started in Bristol, UK. Jim, an unmarried gas fitter, bored with his work and life, joined the group. Within a couple of weeks Jim had learned to give his body and feelings freedom to move. He was amazed at how fertile an imagination he had when he stopped holding himself back. His movements were creative and deeply felt. Less than two months had passed before Jim had given up his job, found a woman whom he married, and together they started working in a Steiner School for children. Jim also had been holding himself back.

 Both of these examples show that inner-directed movement is basically a way of allowing what is already innate in you to be expressed more fully or easily. Put in the simplest of terms, by restraining the way you express in movement and voice, you may be inhibiting important parts of your physical or psychological nature.

Finding Yourself Anew

Leslie Kenton, the author of many books on self-help with diet and exercise, in writing about inner directed movement, says:

 Often, as a result of trauma, life stress and social or family situations that are not naturally supportive of individual growth and development, we become separated from our own feeling sense or we tend to relegate it to the level of insignificance. When this happens, one’s life tends to become strongly habitual, mechanical, and eventually largely unsatisfying, no matter what kind of worldly success, excitement and glitter it may contain. For any real sense of joy, satisfaction or meaning can only come when the inner and outer being are linked up and when what Crisp calls the feeling sense is allowed the freedom to regulate both physiological and psychological processes.

 Sometimes the experience of inner-directed movement can be enormously joyous, particularly when the energy is flowing freely. At other times it can be very difficult. That occurs where there is some kind of energy block – when one’s vitality is temporarily trapped into some internal conflict or there are chronic areas of tension in the body that have not yet been resolved. But what is remarkable about the technique is that by going with the individual physical movements which occur, such tensions are not only gradually worked out, leaving your body stronger, straighter and more alive than before, but also the imagery and memories which occur in the process can bring exceptional insight.

 I watched one woman. who was using the technique for the first time, lie quietly breathing. She then found that her hands began to move gently as though she was exploring the texture and quality of space near her body. Crisp encouraged her to go with these fine movements. Gradually they developed into larger stroking gestures in the air around her. Her imaging facilities came into play as the physical movements continued and she sensed that she was in what she later described as a kind of womb. But instead of being dark it was permeated with light, immensely safe and beautiful. Then gradually her torso and shoulders began to move as well until slowly she emerged from this extraordinary womb world into clear air and more light. She began to weep quietly, stunned by the power and the beauty of an experience which had come quite spontaneously from within her. When she later began to try and make sense of the imagery that accompanied the movements she realised that her own feeling sense (which until then she had not even been aware of) had created for her a physical expression of the particular life situation she was in at the moment. She was on the verge of a new beginning as far as her work life was concerned, and had been feeling rather unsettled and anxious about it. She found this experience enormously helpful because it made her realise that the career changes she had planned had not been motivated by some capricious wish but were very much in line with the direction in which her deepest self was leading her. She also discovered through this experience that she does indeed have a feeling sense which she can experience for herself and that if she listens to it, it will express a summary of her life situation at any particular time or help her work through whatever blocks or tensions she experiences.

  Taking time to listen to the needs of your own being is truly one of the most important, and most nourishing of things we can do. Whether you use the ‘open approach’ or the ‘seed’ doesn’t matter. What matters is that you create time and an environment allowing your own potential to express and become known.

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