Friday, June 10, 2011

About Conscious Parenting

The notes in this essay are related to a discussion that I had some time ago where a Sufi method of parenting shared on a cassette tape that I heard about 25 years before. The cassette itself was part of a series of lectures that I was very impressed with. It was related to what is now called, "the Fourth Way". It is a work that a very good Sufi teacher named Gurdjieff mainly brought into existence. He was the most successful in bring this work to the level that it is experienced by many groups today, though there are some other lesser known transmission lines of this knowledge that also have happened. One of the lines is through the Jesuits and has to do with what later became known is the "Enneagram personality work". Another line is through the Eastern Orthodox and Coptic Christian churches and has to do with "Hesychasm", a method of prayer and meditation, similar to kundalini yoga, but focuses more on the 3rd Eye and Heart chakra. Another line is through Hasidic Judaism, where the cassettes that I heard were from. It seems that the Marx brothers, especially Harpo, were representatives of this school, and that it had something to do with "conscious movement". If you look at videos and watch how Harpo moves, there are indications of some mime training that is behind some of the teachings that I later incorporated into the Tanran Reiki energy exercises, to help people to directly feel the energy. Harpo tends to move very consciously and I find that watching him move always "wakes me up" some, out of the robotic slumber of automatic mental, emotional, and physical habits that we normally live in.

Regretfully, the cassettes got lost through a number of relocations in my life. The information is not found in any of the Sufi books I have of any lineage. Some of the information is, but several keys ideas and practices are missing. Part of my work in preserving this knowledge is to embed some of the missing ideas into a few stories and essays that I have written, just so if there is anything valuable in the ideas that it can transmitted to the future. This essay is going to serve this process. It may require "hearing between the lines" to fully get what the cassettes were trying to share. Sometimes the information is not so linear so as to be about memorizing some rules and robotically following them, but of understanding certain processes and being intuitively conscious of them when engaging certain life challenges in the world. This is especially true with parenting children.

A few preliminary notes about "conscious parenting" or any parenting for that matter. I do find that, in general, parents do a good job raising their children. Humankind has been going forward, generation to generation, because human parents have managed to get their children to be functional adults who in their turn do the same. It is an amazing miracle that has kept humanity literally alive for over thousands of years. Like other animal species, humans are partly wired genetically to raise their children fairly well, well enough to insure that they become adults. What is interesting and what many researchers found, though, is that humans are less genetically wired to adapt to the environment than most animal species. There is something more open ended to human development. It allows humans to be more shaped and molded by their parents than other animal parents. As a result, animals have and need a shorter formative period before becoming a functional adult, whereas human children are becoming adults later and later in their history. In early human tribes, the ritual initiation into adult life could have been as early as 7 years old. In agricultural societies, it was around 12 to 14. In industrial societies, the ritual had become graduating from High School, therefore marked initiation around 18 years old. But it is really pushing more to 25 years old and even further, because this is usually when College graduation happens. There is apparently more to learn in being human than other animals species are required to learn. This is because human life is changing enormously. The early tribal humans could literally not function in modern industrial societies without at least undergoing some remedial education of a fairly long duration. The language systems of modern human life are very complex. Even the vocabulary and grammar mastery of language on a simple literal level requires years to achieve, and to understand how to decode the complex patterns of political spin and lying takes even more time, and to understanding how to encode and decode the neo-modern tribal slang of post industrial subculture tribes, each one different but related to the other subcultures, takes even more time.

Even though astrology is considered by modern liberal semi-scientific humanistic eduction to be a pseudo science, it seems that several developmental models, like Eric Erickson's 8 developemental stage model of childhood growth, Margarent Mahlers objective relations model of childhood growth, Maria Montessori's model of childhood education, the ideas on how to support the genius child in the writings of Alice Walker, the moral stages of Lawrence Kohlberg, Liedloff's continuum concept, or the sensory motor and cognitive development model of Jean Piaget all really presuppose developmental rhythms implied in basic astrology, in particular the Saturn cycle of moving through the houses every 7 years, though similar deductions can be seen by looking at the inner planets (short cycles, like the ultradian and cirdacian cycles) and the outer planets (larger developmental patterns, including whole generations mapped by Pluto, and multi-generational patterns mapped by the new planet Eris). Some of these theorists did have some exposure to astrology and may have believed in astrology as being useful, Rudolf Steiner brought some of this understanding into the Waldorf education system where it got interweaved with Montessori's ideas.

I find that, in general, sensory motor development is given less support than it really needs. Some training in Hatha Yoga does help, but Mime and Tai Chi training added to this would be better or the original full kundalini yoga system behind Hatha Yoga. When Yogananda brought the Kriya Yoga system to America, he intuitively and correctly left out the breathwork, the deep mudras, and the chanting of bija mantras. He still taught them, one on one, or esoterically, to students, but let a stripped down version of yoga be released to the public. The esoteric elements of yoga still sometimes cause an adverse reaction from dogmatic fundamentalist Christians who can and do repress this knowledge, sometimes trying to actually make it illegal in some states. They have failed to do this, but their repressive influence still exists.

There are certain junctures in childhood that are called "imprint formation" periods. This is where the child needs to get certain kinds of input from the environment in order to grow properly. There is something that I call "sensory motor phase", which lasts a fairly long time, and which the Steiner and Montessori schools generally do okay with. I say "do okay with" because, in general, parents and teachers cannot fully teach what they do not already know. The sensory and motor training of most industrial humans is lacking a lot. This educational process is the least audio and visual of them all. There are a class of humans who need to learn through the body and through the sensory and motor functioning of the body. They are called "kinesthetic learners". Up until recently, many of them were relegated to the class of "learning disabled" or "special needs children" or "mentally retarded" (this term is, mercifully, not used as much as it used to). Several teachers, however, were able to get this class of students to become high achievers in the school system by first teaching them in their primary learning modality first. Modern society is tremendously audio-visual in its learning processes and tends to discard the kinesthetics, yet as a group they are the hardest to "brainwash" into believing anything. Unless they feel truth as a body sensation, they do not believe something. The animal belly instincts are tied into more ancient parts of the brain that have a sense of reality that has evolved over millions of years and predates the strange cultural brainwash process that often is behind education. It seems that fundamentalist religious groups are aware of this aspect of education and this is why there are Koran schools and movements to teach Creationism and prayer in public schools, and why these groups do not merely want to "expose children" to their ideas and to all the other ideas of other religions. They really want the "one right belief system" to be taught instead.

In terms of child raising, there is a time when a child must go all over the house and touch everything. If they do not map out their world this way, their brain will be smaller and more shrivelled up, even organically. If there is trauma, the very shape of the brain can be affected. There is a reason why one favorite method of early death is due to brain tumors, why there are many epileptics, why many more brain illnesses are abounding than any time before in human history. Like many things, there are a vast array of multiple causes for this emergence, many remedial causes that can stop this, and many neutral causes that just grow around this. I learned a lot about this when I was visiting a house of a friend who often got the social task of being the house where kids were dropped off while parents were doing errands like going to the grocery store to buy food. The kids were bouncing off all the walls and causing much chaos. Me and my friend decided to go a place called Agate Beach and found, much to our surprise, that as soon as we were out in nature that the kids started spontaneously behaving better. When we got to the beach, they started making up many sensory motor tasks for themselves, collecting the smooth stones that the beach is known for, collecting branches, forming shapes, drawing in the sand, etc. Their brains, too, seemed to emanate natural oscillations circa 7.83 hz, the magnetic resonance frequency of the Earth and the harmonic our brains entrain to when we are "one with life". This is harder to notice unless you are an emerging telepath. But it is relatively easy to pick up if you are spending time immersing yourself into "brainwave music" and letting your brain EEG patterns move toward "coherence". When the brain reaches this coherence point, it broadcasts a pure signal from the brain that is usually experienced by humans as being "calm and content". It is the difference between a pure flute sound and a heavy metal concert where people are trying to "rock till you puke". There is a time for both, though too much catharsis, by itself, does not allow for "integration".

The experience mentioned above, I found, allowed me to draw some ideas about what an optimal parenting could provide. I did find that sensory motor tasks were very helpful. Tai Chi, Chi Kung, and various kinds of movement work are helpful for kids and they are hungry to get it. They are a little impatient with Hatha Yoga, unless you move through a motion sequence with them. There is more sensory and motor variation in Chi Kung and children respond to this, especially if they are allowed to improvise a lot. Most adults do not realize how they are living a narrow band of physical and attitudinal postures. Many of the problems of later life are these rigid postures clashing with each other in relationships. They are habit reflexes that do not mix very well with other habit reflexes formed in other family systems. It is like everyone is born and raised in a small religious cult which has even secret handshakes. People can go through their entire life living a very small pattern vocabulary. Some New Age teachers help expand this pattern language and some merely teach another pattern. In terms of sensory and motor processes, the "hippie pattern" and the "corporate exec" pattern are equal. They are just patterns. It is better for our kinesthetic intelligence to "feel them from the inside" and to learn what they mean by trying them on. This is better than subtly forcing a child to conform to one sensory motor emotional pattern or another. As an adult, they will need a larger range of responses than any one family teaches. They ideally do not want to lock into one pattern. They rebell against parents trying to impose this on them. It will literally shrink their brain to fit into one pattern box.

The hidden gift of children to the parents is that they are not pattern rigid. They can remind and invoke the fluidic life state in their parents. A subtle power struggle ensues between parent and child where the child resists the socialization process and the parent imposes it. The good side of socialization is "harmony", but sometimes harmony is created by a subtle goose step to a hidden imposed rhythm. There is a greater sensitive harmony that is possible that is symbolized by the Tai Chi "push hands" exercise or the "melting into each other" of contact dance. In these, it takes a certain amount of wakefulness to find. It does involve how we "learn" patterns and robotically lock into them. Parents often resort to just giving commands of "do" and "do not" or worse "should" and "should not" (which is teaching a pattern that should always be operated from). Or if a child is "copping an attitude," is the immediate response to judge it and tell them what they should or should not feel? I have seen parents shout commands to their children with threats behind those shouts, with threats of a stick or a "time out" to back up the commands, with an obey/rebell versus control/allow dynamic forming that looms across the entire parent/child relationship, with the teenager eventually completing the rebellion. But then the teenager learns that they only have two patterns, one is to obey and the other is to rebell, and from an acting standpoint, that is very little emotional range. They may learn more range through suffering, because suffering, from one view, is when the emotional range that we have cannot adapt to the moment effectively. It forces us to grow. In Buddhism, you learn to "remain with the sensation" and not go into pattern, to stay directly in the learning process, to stay in unknowing, until insight dawns.

This society is a post patriarchal culture. The hierarchical system was based on authority and control, chain of command, rank and status, rewards and punishments, guilt, praise, shame, and approval, defining what is right and wrong, and having people live in a certain role conformity to what they are supposed to think, feel, and do. We are now in a pluralistic world where there are many conflicting role model ideals and many special interest groups who want to control public education to enforce their moral shoulds into the school system about what is right and wrong. The whole democratic system is based on democracy, indirect competition, and balance of power between different factions. Although it is for individual rights, there is a hidden assumption that the individual has few rights unless they are part of some group of people, some special interest group. Therefore everyone generally takes on a series of group labels, like liberal versus conservative, democrat or republican, theist or atheist, etc. I have, in my own journey, found that those labels rarely compute for me. My nonverbal development was less disrupted than my verbal development, where I had to keep switching languages very early in my life, being exposed to Mandarin, Kantonese, Spanish, at least one Incan dialect, and English, later on Russian (to learn how to play Chess), Sanskrit (to learn yoga), Tibetan (to learn more yoga), Pali (to learn meditation), Japanese (to learn Zen and Shingon), Chinese (to learn Chan and early Shingon), Latin, Greek, and Aramaic (to learn about Christianity and the New Testament), Arabic (to learn some Sufi teachings), and Hebrew (to learn about the Old Testament and the Qabalah). The nonverbal side was more constant and latched on to numbers and mathmatics, symbolic logic, game theory, geometry, and sketching to evolve my learning. I did feel that I evolved my comprehension of English after I learned from its Latin, Anglo-Saxon, and Greek roots, and found a series of phonetic rules behind the articulations of the language (and all human languages). This involved relearning, again and again, patterns of listening and speech, that humans often memorize in childhood and then forget, and then unconsciously live for the rest of their lives.

The Sufi group in question noticed that the human ego structure starts to crystallize into a specific pattern of thinking, emoting, and reacting to the world, form a specific kind of personality identity, and locks in. Once this happens, the person has an ego that they will eventually need to transcend in order to get enlightened, and that the vast majority of people will never succeed in doing, and that a large number of people will only have glimpses of in religious experiences or through psychoactive drugs. They asked whether it was possible to raise a child in such a way that did not have to "fall into ego consciousness" at all, or whether it was necessary to form an ego and then need to transcend it later on. It is a very interesting and deep question. What they concluded was that one will need to go through some kind of ego phase, but that the ego could be "softer" or less crystallized, and therefore easier to transcend later on. The time of the crystallization, according to their observations is around the age of six. They did find that a certain kind of "acting" would keep them psychically flexible, where they do not get molded into any rigid pattern so easily, and where their natural tendency to try on emotional roles in adults, even negative obnoxious ones, helped them to stay flexible. They found, too, that parents tend to clamp down too fast on these negative roles, usually from their own conditioned patterns that they were raised from, and unwittingly stamp their own ego pattern or the reverse pattern on their children. The pattern may even be a "good" pattern, but it becomes a subtle robotic pattern and pattern of conditioned reflexes, that the person will then live possibly for their whole life. It is then only during periods of sorrow where these patterns can soften and shift, though people often avoid the pain of these reprogramming phases by taking pain killing drugs of all kinds. People do not "remain with the sensation" until a new response from the luminous void happens from inside them.

The challenge is that the adult needs to keep awake and alive, above their own reactive patterns, in order raise their children. They need to keep in a learning process themselves. Otherwise, the children will be adapting to the rigid patterns of the parents and this is the real learning process that is behind all the words that are happening. There is a certain amount of healthy chaos going on that forces a certain amount of growth. Society is changing a lot and no control system is working very well. The tribe surrounding the children is changing a lot, members switching often, the extended family is less involved or nonexistent, many single moms are emerging and so one personality is imprinting on the child more than usual, with many dead beat dads or remote control dads making the process complex and often painful. This is interesting because the new astrological planet discovered is Eris who is about creative chaos and how control systems get subverted by seemingly random events and causes. Right now it is in the house of Aries which is about asserting oneself and defining oneself, and how the chaos itself is part of the process.

I remember when the feminist revolution took place that many males, including myself, were puzzled, we did want to honor the feminine, and we were having discussions about whether or not to open the door for a woman and other role patterns that we had learned. I did decide it was a good thing to open the door for women and then figured it that it was also nice to just do it for everyone, male or female. But some women would occasionally frown if I did it for them, because they did not want to get locked into the implied roles (this is the conform/rebel dynamic mentioned above, instead of embracing infinity). What I learned was that all of us were being released from gender roles and had to go back to creative chaos (in contact dance they talk about "embrace the awkwardness" aka remaining with the sensation). A question emerged from this process if there were some essential gender differences that the dance would still be based on, behind all the layers of social roles. How much is biologically determined? Is biology itself something rigid? Can it be changed? Should it be changed? What is doing the changing? So we go into the chaos of experience, with all kinds of responses possible with different people at different stages of this process, all usually afraid of dong the wrong thing when there are no longer obvious cue cards telling us what the right thing to do is. We have grown a bit too much to believe in anything in one sense. We are all a bit agnostic, though we also inherit dogmas we do not always know we have and sometimes do not realize how beyond question they are or how afraid we might be to fully question and end up with nothing. If some preacher wants us to go back to the Bible, we are aware of how many dogmatists contradict themselves in what this even means and how small minority is that thinks their version is the right version, and how many awkward verses need to be ignored or rationalized to hold those views. And yet when the baby is screaming or a two year old is "acting out", merely being agnostic and open minded does not seem enough. Some knowledge seems necessary to raise a child rightly so that they become healthy and functional adults. Human children are more easily woundable compared to other animals species. Other animals do not spend hours talking about their emotional problems with a therapist or friend. There is a longer and more complex set of phases that human children go through in order to become biological adults. The process seems to end at around 25 years, when the brain takes its final shape. The Saturn return is then 28, but really starts a little earlier, only 3 years with a full adult brain, unless it is addicted to brain hijack foods laced with MSG and Nutrasweet, white sugar, refined starches, hydrogenated oils, and salt (nothing wrong with real salt, but combined with the others keeps you hungry for more). The first 7 years the child is still attached to the energy field of mother, then next 7 years it expands to the family, the next 7 years it expands to friends and peer groups, and the next 7 years it expands to the world.

One way to process the Sufi group and the question it has about the parenting process is to see that the child is raising itself, drawing what it needs from the environment and exploring the environment. The early intelligence is more sensory and motor. Many parts of the brain will never directly function in the language universe. Even when the child is learning language, it is learning process is largely nonverbal. Its first language is its interaction with the world and how we interact with the child will be its impression of the world. If the ego is the "me constructed by thought", then it can be softened by more attention to what is not thought and keeping the learning going on this level and never "teaching ego" in thought. The child will probably form an ego anyway, but if it is softer than it will be easier to transcend later on. One way is to make the learning tasks feel like play and explorations, because that is what they really are. There will be pragmatic times when some emergency will require our intervention and even our control. But this will be different from the overall learning process. It would be good to see whether we are teaching a dynamic interactive harmony or are secretly imposing harmony as conformity to a pattern where people do not conflict with each other.

The question about conscious parenting is really only meaningful to parents who have some taste of enlightenment and want enlightenment to guide their parenting process. If parenting is only seen as a socialization process to get children to become conventional adults who fit into the social order, then the question is not necessary. To the degree that society is shaped by the conditioned mental, emotional, and physical reflexes it wants its people to act out, being both the shaper and the shaped, is the degree that keeping enlightenment alive in the child raising process is actually going to get in the way. Children live in the energy field of their parents and will act out what is in the field. To the degree that words and agendas do not really reflect each other, the children will act out the hidden conflicts within the parental field. The question is whether the patterns are made conscious and explored together with the children or people are just going to impose a pattern of shoulds through commands and occasionally or frequently meet resistance, with the resistance seen as the problem, and overcoming it seen as the solution. What I find is that children naturally obey their parents unless there is some need that is getting frustrated or if the command of the parent is not framed in a language that the child can understand or if the command is coming out of emotional ambivalence and confusion. But when parenting is taken on this other level, it becomes a mirror to our own learning process and our own unresolved issues from childhood. Parenting could be seen as a second chance to get it right energetically or to simply reverse roles and become the parents that raised us.

If you will notice that there is not really a lot of advice here in this essay. If it more like a question and a perspective that needs to also be worked out in practice and perhaps an invitation to take an honest look at how children a being raised and how much we feel the need to build control systems around them, and what this kind of thinking may not be reaching. It seems that women reach their sexual peak, according to some studies, around the age of 34. This may suggest the age which might be the best to have children. One Sufi school, a different one, suggested that people do not have children until they are 40 years old. While any number is a little arbitrary here, I am clear that I would not have had any idea of what I was doing in raising a child when I was in my 20s. I barely knew who I was, let alone could know what it meant to actively raise another human being into adulthood. I was barely an adult myself. When I got past 30, I found I felt I finally had some real knowledge, something tested in life and found to be workable, but not much real knowledge, and it was barely even applied rightly to myself. When I got past 40, I realized how much I was just unconscious and acting out patterns that I did not consciously chose to live out, but just happened due to the impacts of traumatic events and long term factors that I could not negotiate with. It seems that a lot of humans die with this level of knowledge and some of us change a little, gaining something we pass into the next lifetime, and grow step by step up the evolutionary ladder. Only recently has our expected lifespan moved past the biblical generation of 40 years, with cultural longevity seen by what percent of the people live past 100 (the Okinawans having the highest percentage which is 7 percent, though this might be changing adversely due to their diet getting westernized by fast food restuarants and school cafeterias, which is already creating a teenage obesity crisis).

I think what I would add to the Sufi understanding is "trusting the life force" to guide every process. To trust the channeling of Reiki energy and to see what the energy wants to see happen. To let this energy even guide the parenting process. Children are very energy sensitive and if the energy of the household is wholesome, then the children will tend to act out the harmony of the field, rather than the conflicts within the field. To constantly run energy into the family field so that it circulates in a peaceful and healthy way, to keep all conversations energy sensitive, to flow with the energy, and to be sensitive to when we disconnect with the energy and choose separation (children often act out when they feel they have lost connection). If there is a continuum like one theorist noted, then it is an energy feeling that unites the continuum. If there are developmental stages, they seem related to the chakras activating at different stages of the growth process from the root up to the crown chakra, or when planetary electromagnetic frequencies trigger them and form aspects with each other. Energy can unite all these awarenesses into a unified understanding and give relevance to keeping love energetically flowing among people, so that love does not reduce to a mental ethical ideal we are trying to live out or impose on ourselves or others. Mental ethical ideals are important, but are literally lifeless without the life force flowing behind them.

14 comments:

  1. The time that the crystallization takes place is around 6 years old, though the personality can become very formed and solid before then.

    One metaphor that may help is to feel like you are teaching a game to your child, make it more like play. If they have to learn something "serious" then make time when it can be playful as a kind of rehearsal for the real thing. If they have to learn how to be "on time" (a difficult idea for a child to understand, clock time), then take time to make this into a play. Try to be on time for things that are not crucial, like going to the park to play frisbee or to make an appointment to be in the room the same time as a doll who will be in certain parts of the room at different times. This also changes the process into a sensory motor learning process and gives them room to "fail" without serious consequences to you or them. You can also trust that they want to learn this mysterious thing called "time" (something that adults may need to learn is mysterious too).

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  2. When I was in graduate school in Psychophysiology, when I was compiling info on my master's thesis. I found a lot of experimental abstracts about how some teacher used some method to take learning disabled children and make them into straight A students. The common theme of a lot of them was that they took kinesthetic learners and taught them in their own modality, one choosing ballet and perhaps another choosing some tactile art. Once grounded in their own modality, then they could branch out and access the other learning modalities of audio and visual processing. One teacher just said that she would "love" her students and tell them they were good people, worthy of respect, and inspired them this way. I do gather that very young children are very sensitive on a kinesthetic sensory-tactile-motor level and that parents are not going to be able to consciously teach on this level unless they already have grown in this direction themselves. This means that Chi Kung, Tai Chi, Hatha Yoga, Feldenkrais, Traeger, Hakomi, and other mind/heart/body therapies can help. The main thing is for the parent to have less glitches in themselves between thinking, feeling, and doing. When we start living incongruent messages on these levels, it does scramble up children who are very sensitive to contradictions.

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  3. What I have observed sometimes is that parents sometimes end up resorting to sending communications when they are out of the range where the children can see their faces and sometimes, given the challenges of modern life, are barking out commands, some of them fairly complex operationally, for children to understand and obey. The commands presuppose a highly obedient child and presuppose a greater obedience to commands than one would expect from a romantic partner, and can sometimes require a response that is faster than their kinesthetic processing can grok. I remember that one mom barked out, "Don't slam the glass on the table". I could tell that the child did not grok the command. When people understand something, there is a kind of telepathic agreement, a shimmering of actual electrons in the brain, that resonates with the understanding. When we really understand, we are of "one mind" in that place. The more common understanding, the greater the telepathic unity and the more that one is eventually able to stay in communication resonance with each other, even at a distance. I saw the child did not have this resonance. So I took two glasses and tapped them together and asked the child what sound they produced. He gave a name to his experience. It did not matter what the name was, because in the act of hearing and feeling how the sound felt in the body, he already had an answer. I then slammed the glasses together and asked what kind of sound they produced. He said another name. I then asked, "What is the difference?". I could tell that the child already felt the difference, but we got the word, "Harsh", to name the difference. The louder sound was harsher. I then said, "Your mom does not want you to slam the glass on the table and produce that harsh sound," and demoed why, showing how the milk spilled out of the glass and caused a mess. The child never slammed another glass of milk on the table again. There was a "body learning" rather than a need for obedience to a command. The learning, too, was generalized over other events in subsequent times, becoming part of the sensitivity that this child was going to have. It became part of a sensory and motor calibration of movement. There was no need for me to be an authority, no need for logical consequences, no need for spankings, no need to shout confusing commands louder, and no need to evolve a more sophisticated control system for the child to live in. The child loved his mom and understood how the glass slamming was something that upset this flow. He wanted to be in harmony with his mom and was willing to give some authority to what she wanted. There is a natural control system that is already present because of how children entrust themselves. When I worked with abused kids or adults that were abused by their parents in childhood, what I am amazed is how much there is not a rebellion. They are often supercompliant personalities and very afraid of not understanding the often complex and contradictory commands (a no win situation) of their toxic parents. They often have to evolve complex strategies to decode what commands they are given and look for commands in noncommand statements. Part of Feldenkrais training is to learn to give kinesthetic instructions that allow a person to stay in a body learning about what needs to be done and for people to feel the same basic "necessity". It evolves in freedom when there is an open ended exploration of what is.

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  4. The Sufi school in question used "Mime" as their vehicle for kinesthetic learning. It is a very good one. By not being able to speak in audio, the body is forced to learn how speak through movement and gesture. Breathing becomes more important and building the movements around the breath are important. Mime is part of what I call "invocation 401". It presupposes, at its higher levels, some level of thought and attention mastery. It is one of the steps toward actual materialization of objects in space. Like hypnotherapy, everyone is unwittingly hypnotizing and miming their world into existence, even teaching others how to treat them. It is sometimes easier to see this on a mime (kinesthetic) level, where gestures, intent, attention, and presence are used to embody/materialize something. Watching Harpo in a Marx brothers movie is useful, because he is unusually awake as a person on a kinesthetic level. The people around Harpo are very asleep on the level body and emotional levels that he is acting out on. Once you get what he is embodying, then you can generalize and learn about other people you see on the media screens. What you will mostly see, though, is a kind of "disconnect" to the kinesthetic level, a certain glazed look in the eyes that shows that people are not present and aware in their bodies, but instead are running some mental/emotional/reactive conditioning pattern that bypasses the neural networks of the body as a totality. People are not into whole body thinking, feeling, sensing, and acting. There is a phantom electrical pattern in the cortex that is trying to run the whole show and is largely overwhelmed with the task of blocking out messages that sometimes end up screaming in the body, and calling for attention. Children often pick up on these body messages in their parents and act them out, and sometimes get punished for them or the parent tries to solve his or her problems through "remote therapy" using the child as the designated problem. The child cannot solve the problem, though, but only act out one of the missing voices and is usually not appreciated for this assignment. One Sufi practice is called "weaving" where you listen and respond to include all the alien messages back into the totality. You especially seek out the "lost sheep", the missing one that completes the 99 sheep to make the wholeness of 100 as in the Jesus parable. This is the "stone the builders rejected" that becomes the "chief cornerstone" upon which internal wholeness, the inner temple can be founded. The ego, based on separation, is always alienating some parts of the self and clinging to others in order to define itself. Internally it creates division and struggle, warring voices that it battles with, and often this struggle is externalized in a parent/child dynamic or a family pattern dynamic. To remove the battle metaphor and look at the whole situation differently takes a certain amount of conscious awareness and inner development. When Jesus says, "Resist not evil," he is laying down the foundation for this kind of process. He gives this command, because power struggling against evil is the way of the ego. It does not know how to not resist. It draws a blank when confronted with the paradoxical command of Jesus.

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  5. Continued:

    It is too bad that we do not have a video tape of the master Jesus in action. Kinesthetic intelligence is often hard to translate into words and we have some of the sketchiest words left behind to decode what Jesus must have acting out through his body. But there are traces, like when the woman in need of healing touches his garment, he feels "power" or "virtue" leave him and she is healed (the word in Aramaic and/or Greek means both these things, as does "te" in Mandarin Chinese in the Taoist cannon, there is a parallel Sanskrit word that Buddha uses after he is enlightened when he sees that potential enlightened nature of everyone and how they are endowed with "wisdom and virtue"). It shows Jesus kinesthetically sensitive and also that he was initiated into something like Reiki Energy Healing, because that is very often how the energy works. It has its own intelligence and it is felt kinesthetically. There are also indications that Buddha moves very gently and compassionately upon the Earth, and the Earth itself responded to this kind of "body prayer" often blooming flowers out of season as if the plants could feel something different and were honoring this. This fits in with the beatitude, "Blessed are the gentle, for they will inherit the Earth."

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  6. Thank you. I felt like I just took a semester in 'Intelligent Loving' child care.

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  7. Rebirthing breathing was a breathing system developed by Leonard Orr (although it was apparently a hot tub method until Diane Hinterman said, "Maybe its the breathing," and sparked both Leonard Orr and Jim Leonard to inquire in this direction, the former creating Rebirthing and the latter creating Vivation). During a Rebirthing session, it was very common to go back to the shock trauma of the birth process itself and "breathe through it" until one reaches "breath release" and "breathes from the breath itself" (or feels life itself is breathing through you and for you). This way the imprint of "life is effort and struggle" may continue. Like the Sufi group, many Rebirthers wondered if it was possible to just have a birth where the imprint does not happen, to make the ego sense remain more fluid rather than get too solid (built around the imprint).

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  8. In a book called BIRTH WITHOUT VIOLENCE by LeBoyer, the author and doctor questioned a number of things about how children are born. He recommended a gentle process of birth where there are no harsh lights waiting for the child, where there is a small pool of warm water for the child to ground in, and where the umbilical chord stops pulsing before it is cut. This last item seemed very key to why Rebirthing breathing is so healing for people to undergo. When the umbilical chord is cut, the baby feels a panic and urgency about breathing, and must figure before dying of suffocation how to breathe for the first time. This premature cutting of the umbilical chord desynchronizes the "first breath" with the initial awakening into the physical world, and creates the first crisis for the child. The imprint gained at this time is that a person must struggle to do what he or she does not know how to do, that people, like the doctor, are going to force them to grow through unnecessary crisis, and that they may die instead. If there is a feeling of "breathing from the breath itself" through this transition, then the milder imprint would be that life is birthing us into this world, breathing through us and for us, and is with us as a unity through the entire journey through life.

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  9. The Rebirthers and Vivation people found it was possible to heal the breath in babies by looking into their eyes (babies love to look at faces) and breathe with them and for them until their breathing becomes natural and circular again. The synchronized breathing with any parent or any human adult, on behalf of life, can initiate in a smoother welcoming manner that is a "good start for a good journey". It is necessary, however, that the adult in question has passed through "breath release" and can feel what it means to "breathe from the breath itself". It transcends the isolated doer and could also be called "unity breath" or "the mother breath". This kind of initiation is also a kinesthetic learning.

    Cranial Sacrum spinal release or simply touching the side of each vertebra with one finger of each hand, running Reiki energy until the back completely relaxes and realigns, can also help relieve some of the birth trauma. Sometimes the spine gets a little mangled during the transition from womb to world. I think this is less likely with an underwater birth, but in whatever birth process a child undergoes, it is good to check this. It stimulates some of the earliest kinesthetic learning and can ground the child in a learning process that is reliable and pre-language.

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  10. Ideally, the nonverbal felt sense, the kinesthetic sense, is behind acquiring of language, where words are used to ground in the felt sense, rather than disconnect with the felt sense. In a book called FOCUSING (also the name of the method), Gendlin describes a method to re-integrate words with the felt sense. It is a good meditation method which is behind both Buddhist meditation and successful psychotherapy of any kind. When the disconnect happens, a person has a "flat affect" where they are meant to have some emotion or vital sensation. The person may also go into a blank stare and feel a small sensation in the brain where it is replicating the emotion or sensation that they are supposed to feel, a like of small autism ("ought-ism" aka what someone told him or her what he or she should feel, rather than what was the original feeling). This ought-ism can actually be felt as real and is replicated in a small part of the brain tissue as a virtual experience, but it cannot really be a whole body felt sense. If a person can expand his or her awareness into the fullness of the body, then this autism or flat affect can be healed. Babies and children ideally are allowed to keep this felt whole body sense alive and expand more deeply into this with their "curiosity" (dana parmita). They feel very alive because of this.

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  11. Part of the reason why it is good for the child to take on and take off the various adult roles that are around them is because it evolves this kinesthetic learning. It is very important, though, that a child stay grounded in the felt sense during the experiences, is an alive breather, and can feel the adult role state in terms of what the felt sense of the role is. Then the role will be felt as a kind of tension that the child will want to relax out of and release. The child will not be tempted again to go there unless it is temporarily useful as an appropriate response to whatever is arising, rather than a rigid pattern desynchronized with the unity of life that is sometimes called "character". Curiously, a Buddha looks little like a child again. They have gone back into that psychic flexibility and have a slightly amorphous personality. Hotai Buddha embodies this very well and did get along very well with kids, giving them little toys he handmade all year round.

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  12. I remember hearing a Radio Talk Show interview of Doris Lessing who wrote some early feminist literature, later turned socialist, and then later turned Sufi. The interviewer, when hearing about all the ills of our present time period and all the challenges that we are facing, asked Doris Lessing about what she thought the solution was. Doris Lessing said, "What makes you think there is a solution?" She went on further to talk about how Americans, in particular, frame solutions. We generate workshops, paperback books, and quick summary slogans to define the solution, like "Just say 'No' to Drugs". Then there is a competition with other tribes which have their own counter-slogans. We want to fix things to "get back to normal" to the level of middle class social life that we are used to and which may, even though very innocent seeming, be part of the problem, increasing the carbon footprint each of us uses, melting the glaciers, causing the ocean sea level to rise, and increasing the volumetric pressure on the fissures on the Pacific Rim, and then causing earthquakes on the Pacific Rim, challenging poor designed and highly toxic nuclear power plants to failure and irradiating the entire northern hemisphere.

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  13. When you strip off the label "problem" to something, it is a felt body experience that the body can process and learn from. Trying to solve a problem can be another aggression against being with our present experience and letting it evolve. We might suffer, experience stress, age and/or even die in the process, depending on the intensity of what is going on. But Sufis are big on deeply understanding a problem and seeing the problems, themselves, as gifts. This is the same with Tantric Buddhists, who consider all problems as old karma returning for completion, and Zen Buddhists who consider that the answer is within the question itself, that the problem and solution are within each other and part of a unity. We do not like problems that do not disappear in a weekend workshop and do not like problems we cannot nuke and annihilate from the sky with a robot plane.

    It is good to peal off all labels and to feel into nonverbal experience, to realize that "problem" is an empty mental construct that is imposed on life, or rather a system of interlocking constructs that the define the whole situation and categorizes all situations as "problem solved" or "problem unsolved". Creative thinking, emerging from the wordless, can "solve" the problem, but sometimes this is done by questioning the whole frame or lens that makes the problem look like a problem. For instance, rising fuel costs can be seen as a problem or it can be seen as a solution. The rise in fuel costs may be the fuel attaining its real value relative to alternate energy sources that may now have a chance to successfully compete and win against an obsolete and overused finite fossil fuel.

    It might be better to ask, to the body, what is making this feel like a problem? And then resolve the issue on this level. It means relaxing, but this relaxation can be artificially induced by a disassociation from what we actually feel or can be by "letting go of clinging" to something that we are holding on to. When a child cries, is that a problem? It is definitely a challenge and the goal may be to get the child to not cry. But it might just be that we need to only be present and loving and let the child have the body experience of crying (or any number of things like helping to release poop or releasing spinal tension, etc., all emerging from a felt sense of the situation. Crying is a deep letting go and the child might just be feeling a need to do this). It may not need fixing.

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  14. Had a talk with a friend and found another element worth mentioning in regard to all this, dance and rhythm, especially the latter. It links the kinesthetic body intelligence to musical intelligence. There are imposed rhythms, like the goose step, that are part of a control system and there is an natural rhythm, related to heartbeat and breath, that allows us to feel in sync with life and is related to the Schumann resonance frequency, 7.83 hz, of the Earth. Greg Braden talks about this frequency shifting on the Earth and dropping to zero point. But I feel that, even though the magnetic field is dropping and changing, at some level 7.83 hz is still there to ground in. It is imprinted into the magnetic matter of the Earth, formed by the heating and cooling processes that happen underground and through volcanoes. Magnetic fields can have more than one frequency running inside itself. One part can drop to zero while a kind of subtle magnetic memory can hold a certain frequency even when the field seems mostly dormant. Breathing together (the root meaning of the word "conspiracy"), listening to each other on this level and harmonizing there, can form an organic rhythm that can initiate a person back into life resonance.

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