Spring is coming and it is time to think about coming out of hibernation. At least that is my sense of things.
The black dog, which I seem to experience around the turn of the year – and my birthday – seems to have lifted and I can return to my normal and, I believe, natural optimism.
I feel a bit inadequate talking about depression, as part of what I teach is, that to focus on a pathology, whatever it may be, by, having become of aware of its grip, trying harder and harder to get rid of it, is a vain effort, as what I am doing is feeding the pathology with my attention. Keeping it firmly in the forefront you might say. Depression is very sneaky. It creeps up, spreads and takes over to the point where we are thoroughly identified with it as being who we are. When it gets bad we no longer have a depression, we are a depression and face the world from that state rather than it being an object of the attention of an “I” who is the observer.
I do believe and experience that this is where the masculine, the rational, thinking left brain can come into its own and be really useful. If we can have a mindfulness routine which brings us into the body and its sensations, we may perhaps be able to connect with a bodily sensation, locate it where it lives and work with that. There is such a big difference between working with a sensation and coming from a feeling.
This makes practice so important. If I can spot a contraction (sensation ) in say, the stomach, then I can start relaxing that as an exercise. As the contraction which is a sensation of depression, relaxes, so must the attendant emotion lessen. I find that this route works.
Step one is awareness of what my body is doing, step two is working with that in a fully accepting, not judgemental, manner. There is health in the body at some level. This is true of everyone, whatever the pathology. I go on to say that if, instead of fighting and trying to get rid of the problem, thus feeding it with attention, we can make the effort to change the view, that is to say focus on sensation where there is bound to be a least some area of wellness, we can focus on the health, which is there; it is certainly there, at some level; then the pathology may well atrophy from lack of attention. I believe I am getting better at making the right choices here and no longer come from the depression – feeling – but look at the bodily correlate – sensation. Things become a bit more proactive and less reactive. We start with awareness of what we are doing to hold the emotion in place; that is to say paying it a lot of attention; and move on to having choice.
My loins are girded and I note that I have agreed to facilitate 28 courses this year in various places mostly in that place called abroad. I cannot think of a better way of living and learning, I love the interchange at this deeper level, it is very nourishing. Someone sets up my courses everywhere I go, except in England where so far, I have not found anyone who wants to take this on. I find that I cannot do it myself as, as anyone who does organise courses will know, you can’t be on them and organising them in large numbers, at the same time. The upshot is that I find it harder to keep in touch with people that I would like to keep in touch with, and have less courses, here, than anywhere else.
I thought it might be useful to start the New Year and the resuscitation of this blog, by just summarising shortly what I see the work I facilitate as being about. This is the short version…
What I am teaching now is really moving the Craniosacral therapy I was originally taught, specifically and mostly focusing on the body/mind, to the possibility of it being a valid modality for recognition of the Spirit. A sometimes scary journey as the Spirit not being subject to the intellect, there comes the need to let go of knowing and just receive what is without analysis or judgment. This is the “great affirmation”, this is the great “being heard” and this is the “great healing”. It is also the path of the feminine!
People seem to respond very well to this. It seems that the more insecure the times, the better they respond. There has to be a way of not having to know everything and be “on top” of things and people. Just to be present to what is, can be enough, particularly if we can allow ourselves to be aware of how much of what is, is being kept in place by my own habits of behaviour. Habits which I sometime call undigested life experience. To work like this is empowering. To be always regretting what someone else did to me, however many days weeks or years ago, is disempowering, I remain a victim.
The extraordinary thing that I have observed is that anybody can do this work, that is to say, anybody who is not fixated with being somebody. The essential is to be able or at least work at, surrendering that differentness, one from another that we call ego. Actually, we don’t want to get rid of the ego, we merely want to notice its workings and stop being disempowered by them. Come into the present and be proactive rather than being reactive to all one’s undigested life experiences, is an expression I have coined and used above.
This is the essence of the work and this is what I try to share. You cannot teach it you can only provide the conditions in which it reveals itself. We are talking about an experience, not something
that someone gives to someone else. We can only take our freedom by coming to know more fully who this embodied being is, not by aping another.
Meditation is a great help to being present. In fact the real purpose of meditation is to do just that; come into the present to what is and be receptive of that. If we don’t get attached to what we find but just notice it and go back to stillness, the object of our concern, we could call it neurosis, will atrophy from lack of attention. I struggle with this; see my opening comments; and I know it to be the truth. Nothing is permanent. This I can understand. It sometimes stares me in the face.
The other day, I read this paragraph on Meditation by Reginald Ray. I like it very much:- “My sense is that there is a very real problem among Western Buddhist practitioners. We are attempting to practice meditation and to follow a spiritual path in a disembodied state, and our practice is therefore doomed to failure. The full benefits and fruition of meditation cannot be experienced or enjoyed when we are not grounded in our bodies. The phrase from the early text, when understood fully, implies not only that we are able to touch enlightenment with our bodies, but that we must do so–that in fact there is no other way to touch enlightenment except in and through our bodies.”
(Reginald “Reggie” Ray, founded with his wife, Lee, the Dharma Ocean Foundation, (www.dharmaocean.org), a dharma study and retreat center in Crestone, Colorado. He is a senior teacher (Acharya) in the Shambhala tradition, a professor of Buddhist Studies at Naropa University, and author of several books, including Indestructible Truth and Secret of the Vajra World).
To my mind this accent on the necessity of focusing on and in the body, really opens a massive door for the practice and evolution of Craniosacral Therapy at a deeper level.
Craniosacral Therapy at its tenderest is a journey taken by two or more people, in joint practice, in the body, to a level of being where there is no pathology. To this poetic thought, I must add that this is not just a path for people of a particular and exclusive training but rather, is open to exploration and experience by anyone and everyone I could say anyBODY and EVERYbody. Let us rejoice in and learn from our own bodies.