Chapter Sixteen- "Help Me --- I'm Tired Of Feeling Bad"
Swimming In the Sea Of Regressive Therapy
When we dip below the waves of everyday life and begin to open ourselves to the feelings and sensations which are being broadcast to us, in a roundabout way from a distressed brain, we enter a very unusual world. What is it like and how do we move around in this place?
The world of mind has a freedom we can never achieve in daily life. Within, it is as though we are suspended in three-dimensional space like a scuba diver suspended between the bottom and the surface. Unlike the diver, however, we can move in any direction without having to use our arms and legs. We move simply by taking thought and shifting ourselves as though we were a subject in a fantasy. We can move toward, or away from, inner things. We can go deeper or shallower or, if we wish, leave the water entirely.
We can examine inner objects and processes with our senses and our intuition in the same way we would if we were attending to an external world event.
We are alive to that which we encounter within us, in the same way that we are to what is outside us. We can be guided by the same responses. We are, however, infinitely more mobile, moving slowly, or if we wish, moving like lightning. We can even sit up and open our eyes during a therapy experience and thereby disengage from our inner world.
Unlike the outer world, we cannot always rely on the inner world remaining solid and separate from us. It is here in this issue that we may be overwhelmed and unable to control what is happening. We have the age-old knowledge of our race that something in the depths of our mind might move beyond our control, thus making us mortally afraid. What we are observing in the inner world (a dream image for instance) might suddenly come toward us and overwhelm our ability to stay separate from it.
Thus human beings fear loss of control as much as they fear anything. We are afraid that we may be overtaken by a feeling which is so large that we will have to act on it and hurt either ourselves or someone else. We fear that we may be overwhelmed, go insane and be carted off to some giant mental hospital, where we will be taken to a back ward, locked up, placed in a straight jacket, tranquillized or shocked into a vegetative state and never be seen again.
Indeed, there is a real possibility that some people who try to use this book might end up needing the services of a psychiatrist or a local psychiatric institution. The situation just described, however, is obviously archaic.
I believe, however, that serious breakdown can be avoided by following the cautions that have already been and will be outlined.
Once we have submerged from the surface of our daytime self, we find ourselves suspended in our three-dimensional world. We encounter the communications we have spoken of earlier. SPECIFIC BODY SENSATIONS like spikes of coral brush against us. DIFFUSE INNER BODY STATES come and go like dark shadows around us. Feelings make themselves known like layers of water at different temperatures. Images move beside us like aquatic creatures, and IMAGE SEQUENCES pass before our eyes like schools of fish.
The difference between the undersea world of the self and the undersea world of the ocean is, of course, that everything we see in the undersea world of the self has been projected into it from within the depth of our own mind. This is a symbolic world and because it comes from deep within us, it all has meaning for us. We feel the puzzlement and the tidal pull of these potential meanings, and we know we are in a place which will speak to us if only we can learn how to listen.
With our undersea senses, we can open ourselves to become aware of our inner distress. We feel the ache in our neck, we sense the diffuse upset and nausea in our bowel. We become aware of the constriction in our chest a dark, inner, pain-radiating landscape becomes visible around us.
If we are, for instance, submerged within the sea of our inner world, and once there we feel an unusually powerful fear of criticism, this exaggerated concern is a fear which does not have real existence in the world. We have projected it from our deeper self into the sea around us where we can now move toward it, or withdraw from it.
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