Teaching October 2010: Confidentiality
I am sorry this submission is so late. I have been a little snowed under but have now broken free and the next two offerings should follow closely behind.
I am a bit chattier than usual, I think. Please let me know what you think.
Random thoughts around Confidentiality, Buddha, Craniosacral Therapy, Meditation and other trifles…
Mike: It seems to me we have two subjects here. One subject is the value of recording, and the other subject is confidentiality. Is that right? On the first subject, the value of recording, I know a marvellous guy, I am very fond of him, he comes about twice a year from the States, either for a course or just to hang out. Fred is a wealthy business man with diverse interests and about sixty something. Right now he is unwinding his business interests in order to develop further another side of himself. I am very fond of him. But the one thing that drives me a little mad, is that all the time I am talking, he is writing. He doesn’t record; he writes everything down.
I have said to him, many times, it would be much more useful, and you would even learn more, if instead of writing all the time, you would actually listen to what I am saying. It might, I don’t know, it might have some value, you might even be able to embody it. All the time that you are putting it on a paper, you are disembodying it. So that is my view about that. There is nothing magic about words, the important thing is the feelings that the words bring up in you in the body, your relationship to the words, the words are not important. To be present, to be in the now, means saying, what are those words doing to me at this moment. In this unique moment of time, how am I reacting to those words. Am I reacting by seizing up, because somebody said something that I don’t quite like, is there some kind of release of energy in my body so that I can laugh, what am I doing right now, not what is that guy saying, then I AM PRESENT.
But, on the other hand, the recording machine does enable you in a future time, to check out some piece of data, but it will be data, it won’t be the felt sense of this moment.
The other thing is about the confidentiality, I personally do not feel that I am sufficiently well known anywhere in the world for my words be recognized as coming from me. Unless my name is mentioned. That is what I feel, but you must make your own opinions. If the story of my life is useful to somebody else, I am very happy that they can use it, if the story of all my neuroses is useful for anybody, they are welcome to have them, I don’t want them! I get fed up with them. I discover a new one everyday, If you are interested, you can have them. That is my view about confidentiality. I will, of course fight very hard to protect the interests of people who cannot defend themselves, but by large I think that if we remove names and locations and the specific data, no harm is done.
Buddha, I would like to explain one thing, I have a special affection for a particular type of psychotherapy, called Buddhism. The word Buddha is a Sanskrit word, and it comes from the word budh. It means awake. If you wake up, you are a Buddha, how could you not be? Buddha is not a strange, different form of life, that you are going to become in 4 or 5 thousand years, or in 10,000 life times, you are a Buddha right now, just wake up, and recognize that. That’s all there is. Not going somewhere else. There is no other place to go, this is it! You are the Buddha, and you are very beautiful. Please wake up a little, please, that’s it.
Craniosacral Therapy Q: from a Spanish student… When I am being a therapist, I do nothing, and people often ask me ask what is craniosacral therapy; I have to say that I don’t really know and that is tough for the clients.
Mike: Yes it is. I agree with you, and a great number of therapists (and all sorts of other people, as well) find it extremely difficult to say: “I don’t know”. It is very hard, the intellect doesn’t like that. The ego doesn’t like that. And so I introduce into this conversation the thought that all knowing is a limitation. Not knowing has infinite possibilities!
You see, it has taken me a long time to arrive at this conclusion. But, I really do believe that most therapeutic structurings tend to be so limiting. And that is what I meant when I earlier used the word dogma, I meant that dogma is a limitation. It isn’t the model that does the work, it is the relationship between the client and the therapist, or as I also call it, the synergy, the joint practice, that does the work.
Meditation; Q I am practicing meditation, are all meditations valid or there is some kind of special meditation here?
Mike: No, nothing special I do not do guided meditation, I do not talk during meditation, I don’t play music during meditation. In meditation, whatever comes into your mind when you are sitting, is your meditation. If you like it, and it is peaceful, that is your meditation. If it is whole load of turbulence like a storm, that is your meditation, if a lot of things happen in your mind, that is your meditation. If nothing happens in your meditation, then, that is your meditation.
Q: So it is a free meditation?
Mike: Sure, it is a free meditation. The fundamental purpose of meditation is to come into the present with what is. Not to get somewhere else. It is the practice of awareness of what is, and then gradually, we can remove the judgment of what is. It is quite profound actually; removing judgment is very difficult, because as soon as you remove a judgement, you stop feeding the neurosis that is annoying you, with your attention. When you fight your neurosis and try to get rid of it, it is like a 3 year old child getting exactly what he wants; getting your attention. The nature of the mind is to think, so please do not be a bully to the mind, it is its nature. Stop fighting, leave her to think and gradually….(laughter)
Conversation with Barbara on presence;
Mike: Yes…how do we choose? First of all there has to be the awareness that I am not present. First comes awareness, without awareness we will continue to be reactive. Opening the door-not completing the work, that may take infinity-but opening the door, comes from awareness. Awareness, or the beginning of awareness may be an act of grace, it may come out of desperation “I can really can’t go like this” or it might not be trauma at all, the door just opens, but then we have the choice, “do I go through the door, do I shut the door?, I have options, but we don’t have any option, while we continue being reactive.
Barbara: Can I say something, also, this is a process that is continuous, it is not that you just open the door, and it works. I mean every day, through all the day; many, many times…
Mike: Sure. Thank you. The practice is the maintenance of awareness, and then continuing to make choices from the awareness, not from, what I call, “our undigested life experiences”. Lets look at the body. What does the body do? It takes on board something new, it could be food, it could be inspiration; something new comes in, and then, we digest it, it goes to our liver, and to the stomach, and the liver takes some value out of this new thing, which might be a piece of steak or it may be an idea and it takes some nourishment, and once we have taken this nourishment, the system eliminates the waste part of what we ate. But what we do, very often, particularly people who are traumatized, I suppose everybody is traumatized a little bit, it is a matter of degree, we may get some nourishment out of it, but we don’t eliminate it, we don’t let it go, we don’t shake ourselves like animals, so we get constipated. That is another way to look at it. We are actually constipated in terms of processing, getting nourishment from it. We are not expanding awareness, growing.
B. I will digest what you told me.!
Mike: We are too full to get more nourishment, we are full of concepts, we are full of life experiences, we cannot make space for something new, because we already know what we want to do; where we want to go… We want to follow this construct that we have developed. We tend to project onto situations from our pasts. Projection is an important word. We see two people in a situation in a relationship, and we tend to project onto that relationship from our own undigested life experiences, of our own lives. And we can’t help it. We are being reactive to what happened between me and auntie Mabel, or me and my father…we have not digested it and let it go. So when we see this relationship, we are not looking from a clear present at it, we are projecting from an undifferentiated past, and we think we are being clear. But we forget that even that thinking is reactive.
We have to be aware of that possibility. It is a very powerful concept to me. Even the way we think and see things, is mostly dictated by our own undigested life experiences. So, it becomes the important first duty of any therapist to take care of and be aware of his or her own processes. That is the first duty, it is not a luxury, it is a duty, because looking after yourself and the functionality of your own digestive system, is where you come from when you are trying to be helpful to other people.
I like working with all sort of people, I’ve worked with groups of lawyers, therapists, housewives, even priests, I am not concerned with what they do, and how they perform their duties. I have no statement at all to make about what they do, I have no sense of competition with what they do, I am not interested in persuading them that to do this would be better than do that. I would support and admire anything they do, if they do it sincerely, I am interested in one aspect only, and is where do they come from in themselves when they do what they do. So I am not selling a therapy…. But I don’t mind buying one if it is cheap!