RETURNING TO THE CENTRAL PARADOX OF THERAPY
The heart, the core, the soul of regressive feeling-oriented therapy is the notion that we must merge with our pain in order to digest it, thereby automatically disassembling its malignant forms.
What we are going to do, having entered the sea of the deeper self, is to merge and become one with every single painful thing we encounter. We concentrate on pain because it is our signal that something within us has not yet been worked through. Joy will come later, as a by-product of the work we do.
MERGING (BECOMING ONE WITH OUR PAIN)
Stage 1: Beginning the Process of Merging
When I submerge into the deeper self I may, for example, sense a diffuse inner body state. The entire front of my chest may be aching in a gentle way. At first I perceive it as a diffuse radiation of pain. The pain feels separate from me, I am here observing and it is there in my chest. I seem to be floating above it, looking down on my body like an astronaut in a science fiction film.
I open myself to sense its fullness. I let it come to me. It washes through me bringing its location, its intensity and its texture. I wait till this washing through has ceased to bring me further sensory information.
I call this process of allowing the discomfort to intensify and make its texture known to me, the process of 'enrichment' or 'textural enhancement.'
So far I have been passive and have let the pain come to me. I am now suffused with the rich sensory knowledge of its existence. Now I become active and move myself gently into the centre of it. My sense is that I am now lying in it. I am seeking to dissolve the boundaries between my awareness and the pain which has been hidden within me. I am seeking to become one with this physical communication. I open myself utterly. It is as though the very pores of my skin and all my body orifices let the pain into my conscious awareness. It and I become one. The pain penetrates every part of me, soaking right through to the marrow of my bones. In this manner, and only in this manner, I will digest it. Its previous frozen, malignant form will begin to dissolve utterly. As its structure disassembles, its power to hurt me will gradually disappear. But I will have to feel this pain deeply, and possibly many times, to be finally free of it.
Stage 2: Deepening the Process of Merging
At this point, the reader should return to Part One of this book where we deal with the creation of congruences in order to fully merge with our painful inner landscape.
A: Using the Congruence of Feeling to deepen our merging
When I allow the consciously aware part of myself to feel the sensations which are being radiated toward me by the inner event, I am involved in creating the CONGRUENCE OF FEELING. The more deeply I soak within the centre of these feelings and sensations, the more congruent I become with them. My conscious awareness experiences exactly what has previously been unconscious. This openness toward feelings and sensations, this merging of conscious awareness with the inner experience, must become our continuous therapeutic work.
We will be using the remaining congruences to further intensify this unity of consciousness and sensation. This merging and becoming one with our inner state is a law of emotional healing. This law brooks no exception. Those patients who do not merge with, and thus disassemble their pain, do not get better. They continue suffering and dumping it into their world in a disguised way. Whenever we deviate from comfortable balanced function, we are dumping something unconscious into our daily life.
B: Using the Congruence of Inarticulate Sound to deepen our merging
The CONGRUENCE OF INARTICULATE SOUND now proceeds as I allow sounds to rise up into my throat and out of my mouth from the sensations in my body. I will make the sound match the sensations in intensity and quality until I achieve an exact fit. My inner body senses will feel the match when it occurs just as we feel the 'sweet spot' when we hit a tennis ball with the exact centre of our racket. We will hold this congruence until enrichment (the experiencing of location, intensity and texture) ceases.
C: Using the Congruence of Articulate Sound to deepen our merging
We may or may not find that our inarticulate sounds wish to shift toward actual simple words or simple phrases. It is important to allow these changes to occur in and of themselves. Never forget you are a receiver of information. If you try to force things and become a manipulator of information, other than to open the correct doors, you will break the spell within which the deepest self can communicate with you.
If words want to come to you let them do so, keep them brief, keep your phrases short and do not jump from phrase to phrase. Always seek to distill a long phrase down to its shortest possible length which completely captures the feeling you are trying to merge with.
For instance, if you are remembering your father beating you and you find yourself saying the phrase 'I don't want you to hit me any more,' you can shorten it in jumps. First to the phrase 'Don't hit me any more,' then to the phrase 'Don't hit me,' then to the word 'Don't!' You will discover, as you make your articulation more and more brief, that the intensity of the feeling distills down into the word 'Don't!' You now find yourself able to repeat or scream the simple word "Don't!" over and over again in order to most powerfully and poignantly release the pain of the encounter with your father. A single word such as 'Don't!' becomes the last verbal distillation of your pain before it progresses to inarticulate sounds, such as a scream of rage, pain, or fear. You may start to drift back and forth between sounds and words, words and sounds. This is fine, but try not to leave either one until the energy within it peaks and leads you naturally to the next. Do not reach for and make connections unless they come to you naturally. Intellectual connections produce closure and confine the processes of your mind. The intellect shifts you toward the linear surface (Level One therapy) and erects walls within you between your conscious self and your deep potential for HOLISTIC EXPERIENCE. Your congruences are a drill, boring downward. Wait for the relief of tension which may or may not be accompanied by varying degrees of HOLISTIC AWARENESS.
D: Using the Congruence of Body Position (non-moving) to deepen our merging Allow your body to assume whatever position it wishes, twisted into some shape or other. For example, you may curl up like a fetus, or lie with your legs pointing straight up the wall. Take any position your body wants to assume.
E: Using the Congruence of Body Position (moving) to deepen our merging Let your body begin to move in some continuous way if it so wishes; for example, rocking from side to side, or whatever else it wants to do. Your inner body senses will tell you if these physical responses are helping to increase intensity and depth, or if they are interfering in some way with this process of intensification. Everything you do in depth therapy can either facilitate and deepen your progess or it can dissipate the intensity and return you to the surface (Level One Therapy). Nowhere is this more apparent than in body movement. For instance, if we are in deep pain, the rocking motion of the infant may enhance and deepen our journey toward relief and HOLISTIC INSIGHT. It can, on the other hand, lessen our tension and comfort us. We will have an inner body knowing as to whether we are on the track of intensification or on the track of dissipating the intensity of our journey. Try to be aware of this issue. Choose whichever one is best for you at the moment, remembering that the deeper you go, the more profound will be your healing. It is also true that the deeper you go the more necessary it will be for you to have continuous therapy supervision.
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