(Copyright © Jack Cain 2015, text and images)
G.I. Gurdjieff asserted that the subconscious is our “real” consciousness and our ordinary waking consciousness is “fictitious.” This is an “in your face” assertion but an intriguing one nonetheless. My primary reason for posting this session is because of the light it throws on the distinction between our two consciousnesses.
A secondary reason is that the incarnation described is unusual and striking. As the nature of that incarnation unfolds in the course of the session try to put yourself in the place of the client. The words of this blog are just words; but for the client there was the actual experience of inhabiting another body, very different from the one he currently is in.
And thirdly, the description near the end of the session of the body being energetically filled with light flowing down from above gives us some idea of how physical structures become animated – that is, filled with life.
After wanting to come to me for a session for some time, Alfred finally booked an appointment close to his actual birthday. The session was his birthday present to himself. One of the few issues mentioned beforehand as something to be investigated in the session was respiration.
The session was begun in the usual way with an induction to an altered state of consciousness – a movement away from the ordinary consciousness toward the subconscious. Following that, we visited two places where Alfred felt very secure: the beach where he grew up as a child and a second beach that is an important part of his current life. In both cases it was clear that there was a significant connection to water, to the surf and the sand, all of it experienced deeply in the body and in the feelings.
As we began the actual session itself, Alfred recounted how the day before someone had gently pointed out that he didn’t really need to be carrying so much tension in his shoulders. So we began there – concentrating on the tension, going into it in order to see where it would lead us.
Alfred: The tension in the shoulders – all of this is bracing for some kind of horrible death, you know. A kind of fear of dying of some sort.
Jack: So, it’s very good then at this moment for you to concentrate on the shoulders. Stay with them in detail – return, as best you can, to the sensation that’s there, the sensation of tension, the sensation of bracing. Maybe it’s for death – we don’t know – maybe that’s an interpretation – what’s not an interpretation is the sensation of tension that’s present – that’s a reality.
Alfred: And there’s tension in the face.
Jack: In the face as well?
Alfred: There’s a dream that ties into the respiratory thing as well. A kind of a hint of drowning – the horrible dream I had a couple of years ago. I brought it in my own therapy. I’m in this murky water. I was holding a baby, almost perinatally, like a baby with still the slippery placenta kind of fluids. And it slips into the water and I’m frantically feeling my way for the baby. I have to do that by feel because the water is so murky. I grab the baby, I find it and I pick it up and it looked old – wizened – and it is dead. I cannot revive it. One of the most horrible dreams I’ve ever had and I think it captures the terror I have of drowning. [pause]
It’s interesting that I chose the beach for my safe place and I feel completely safe there.
Jack: Yes, but just because there’s water in both doesn’t mean…
Alfred: And also for years I was a competitive swimmer. My mother pushed me into it – perhaps to help me overcome my terror of drowning.
Jack: Let’s not stray too far with the ordinary mind; instead stay focused on this very rich material that has arisen almost immediately. Stay very close to what’s going on in the physical body – in the shoulders, in the breathing… Let’s make sure what it is we need to go towards now from those sensations in the body. Hold an emptiness so that there’s just the sensation present.
The associative mind has associated the tension with the dream and with dying and birth – and that’s fine – but perhaps something needs to deepen in the state – and that can be done by staying close to the sensation in the body. The body remembers, the body knows and can reflect what really happened.
As you concentrate on those shoulders and as you follow the breathing the way we do when we meditate, it’s important to stay with that – images may arise – just let them – just let them come up – maybe not follow them with the ordinary mind if that’s possible – but just let them move up from that deep, deep resource. Taking the time that it takes.
Jack: So now we have the spine involved which is excellent… stay with that part of the body as well. But you’re actually contacting something that is not the spine which is here now – it’s another spine that you’re associated with in some way. The coiling is very important.
Alfred: Yes, a feeling is coming, a kind of recognition, a connection, like something complementary that is seeking, kind of the other half, a reflection of something, I don’t know…
Jack: Don’t worry about what the words mean. Just stay with…
Alfred: I can see how the words suppress the feeling. I’m leaving the words alone for now. As if they’re just there to contain the feelings – like a shield.
Jack: Can you say anything more about what feelings are present – just as feelings? Especially related to some of those sensations – such as the coiling on the spine, the sensation of the breathing, the tension in the shoulders…
Alfred: It’s spiraling into something…. when I am with the coiling, with the spiraling then the feeling emerges… a certain tenderness, a longing… being close to something I’ve been missing… I wish to trust this more; I’m feeling blocked.
Jack: Just stay with the spiraling movement. Don’t put any judgment on it. There is something happening; there is a movement. We don’t really know yet what it is, why it is. It doesn’t matter – there’s a movement. Something very deep is turning. These words of sadness, the emotions that are there – loneliness. It’s important to enter into them very deeply. Very, very deeply entering as if you’re entering into another world – entering, allowing, accepting. Entering in even though it may not feel inviting.
Alfred: It’s like discovering that I can breathe within this element. It’s kind of a surprise that I’m in a very different space but still keep my vital signs. [big breath out] Relief!
Jack: Relief. Going very deeply into the movement that arises by itself; nothing imposed. Something coming from very deep inside. It’s not something you have to do; it’s something you have to allow. Not being in the way of that – not being interventionist in any way. But being very aware – very aware of what is taking place so that it’s seen and felt. So that you feel this breathing – you see this breathing. It feels very new; it has a kind of unknown quality.
Jack: Yes, okay.
Alfred: Gills. It’s almost on the border of skepticism but I’m just…
Jack: Yes, don’t worry about that. Try not to let the skepticism take over. The important thing is the sensation. You feel the presence of those mechanisms of breathing that are not ones of today’s body but of another body… and that’s fine, it’s why we had the coiling a moment ago, because you’re moving into a different…
Alfred: It’s almost like propulsion by breathing. [laughs] Unbelievable! [big breath]
Jack: It’s all right. Just enjoy the freedom of that movement through a liquid.
Alfred: There’s a part of me that’s watching and wondering about reptilian…
Jack: Of course, but stay with the sensation and the experience of what is happening. Because you are entering into a body that’s different – that breathes differently because you’re in a liquid environment…
Alfred: That’s right!
Jack: Not an air environment but you’re still getting oxygen of course because of the mechanisms of the gills. That’s what they’re designed to do.
Alfred: Thank you for saying that!
Jack: You don’t have to do anything about breathing because the mechanisms are all there in place. At the same time you feel a different relationship to the spine, to the breathing.
Alfred: To the ocean, to the propulsion…
Jack: Propulsion in the upper part of the body.
Alfred: Vibration in the upper lip, almost like the mouth is transformed into something – an aliveness in the upper lip, vibrating.
Jack: Yes, a very sensitive part of the body. Feel also the joy in that movement as the body really revels – as it enjoys the movement, as it enjoys the life. There’s a very strong amount of life in this body. It’s very alive…
Alfred: [big breath] Wow!
Jack: And it is adapted, perfectly adapted to the environment in which it is living. Something is being experienced again. Perhaps it was a very long time ago. It doesn’t matter. What’s important is this experience of breathing fully. There is nothing held back in this breathing. It’s really everything it needs to be for life to be at the full… so it can be both felt and sensed. I’d like to ask now, “What’s happening to the sadness?”
Alfred: It’s not there in the way it was before. It’s almost like it was a portal to something.
Jack: Yes, I just wanted to confirm that – that’s what I felt.
Alfred: It’s almost like a teenager or a young kid who is flexing his new skills… showing off joy and confidence.
Jack: Like the new body the man got in “Avatar.”
Jack: But this is different. Let’s not lay something else on it. You’re experiencing what it is that’s taking place and how the wisdom of the subconscious mind can go and find exactly what is needed.
Alfred: That’s right. I don’t have feet; only a fish tail.
Jack: Do you feel an expanse? Is it an ocean?
Alfred: It feels like the movement is wavy and the whole body is kind of undulating in that.
Jack: Are there any colors?
Alfred: It’s dark. But there’s light appearing – the kind of light that has no source. It’s kind of saturated – saturated with light.
I projected some Disney stuff onto it that’s foreign to this.
Jack: Yes, the ordinary mind will never stop doing such things but what’s pure is the sensation in the body. It can’t be polluted in the same way that the mind can be polluted with images. The body knows what it is experiencing. Your consciousness is very aware that you’re in a different body in a different environment, breathing in a different way but breathing and very alive, very young, very vibrant. A different form of undulating motion through this medium.
I’d like to continue along the same line just a little longer to see if there’s some other being we need to encounter in this environment. I’m not sure how that might take place but let’s just open that possibility, to see whether there’s someone else there or… I’m not sure – there may not be… let’s just see. Just open your awareness a little further so it’s not entirely concentrated on the breathing in the body that you’re in but…
Alfred: “The other half” is making much more sense… a bodily sense, as if I was up against a twin, or it’s what it would feel like to be in a placenta. It’s something about looking for my sibling, a missing half.
Jack: The keyword here is “missing.” There’s a missing half. Is that true?
Alfred: It wasn’t true for me although there were stories of five miscarriages I think.
Jack: But don’t take it from the history. Take it from the feeling and the sensation.
Alfred: The feeling is that I may find someone swimming along with me.
Jack: Yes, that’s what I’m asking.
Alfred: More like a peer. More like a [big sigh; sobs] brother. [big breath out]
Jack: Feel the depth of that connection to that brother.
Alfred: [big breath out, again and again]
Jack: Allowing that feeling to be fully experienced, to be fully felt. There really is something missing…
Alfred: [cried out in anguish] It’s not only my birthday.
Jack: No, there’s a very important connection there and at this moment it’s there once again.
Alfred: [voice catching] It’s very true.
Jack: You are there. You know what that is because you’re living it now again.
Jack: You just know. And you feel the reciprocity of that.
Alfred: But it must have to do with some terrible thing that befell… someone very close to me…
The image of my mother’s niece who was in Auschwitz – there was always this sad look, as if she were mourning a sibling, someone so close to the soul.
Jack: Yes, that’s fine but don’t go too far in that direction. I think you need to stay with the connection that’s present right now.
Alfred: You can almost see how that interferes with the direct access – all that stuff I preach during the day.
Jack: [laughing] So don’t go there. But do stay with what’s taking place because what’s been uncovered here is a deep, deep connection, and a deep, deep love.
Jack: And it needs to be relived. I don’t know why, you don’t know why exactly, but this is where we’ve come to. And it’s critical to see exactly what is taking place right now in this life – which is so different and yet so not different. So this is light and information coming in and it is being sensed in the physical body because you’re really in a different body at the moment – in a different medium – and feeling a relationship to a brother – or whatever the connection was – you’re feeling it again in a very, very deep way.
Alfred: The fluidity of the body is returning… with loss. One continuous flow of the body that is… flowing. I’m discovering so much strength in this body.
Jack: Yes, this is a very strong body. And I would think that there’s almost an exultation, a very special kind of joy, from being in this body. Just as there is in the current body – there’s something to learn here.
Alfred: I think it’s just as it needs to be, as it should be.
Jack: Yes, it’s just as it needs to be.
Jack: So you see how you’re able to come back to the body, even when the head takes something and turns it into a little story.
Alfred: It’s about the sensation of the body cutting through the water. Feeling that kind of flow… like when you have flippers on, it’s one of the sensations I love most.
Jack: Of course, because it reminds you of this incarnation.
Alfred: This… this and mourning.
Jack: Yes, do tell me some other time. It’s a whole other topic. But I’m just concerned there may be something more we need with the relationship here between you… between Alfred and this other which maybe we can call brother… This connection is extremely important and… I don’t know what it is we need to do but maybe if we just concentrate and stay with that…
Alfred: I’ll tell you where I need your help: the water, the light somehow… there’s a gradual darkening as you would expect in a deepening body of water and there’s a certain fear of engaging that… so I’m not as deep as I could be.
Jack: Yes, all right, so you need to stay with the sensation of the fear. As the darkening takes place, [Alfred: big sigh] where do you feel this in the body now?
Alfred: In the solar plexus. Apprehension.
Jack: So stay with that. Stay with the physical sensation in the solar plexus as the darkening continues to take place. It probably means you’re going deeper and deeper. So let’s just see what takes place as you very bravely follow that course downward in spite of the feeling in the solar plexus. Because there’s something that has to be revisited there it seems. Going deeper and deeper; darker and darker, till finally you get to something else. One, two, three.
Alfred: Surprise… it’s almost like… I’m surprised to see that there’s light – a different kind of light in the darkness. It defies my ordinary mind.
Jack: [chuckle] Yes, don’t let your ordinary mind worry about it.
Alfred: It’s like there’s something like objects there. I’m checking my breathing and it’s almost like it’s a miracle that I’m breathing through that.
Jack: Yes, you’re breathing through all of this. You’re doing really well because never before was it possible to go that far into the darkness and now that you’re there you see that you’re breathing, a little differently perhaps but you’re breathing and there is a different light now.
Alfred: It’s more pearly. It’s like liquid – the light itself.
Jack: Yes, just stay with the quality of light because it’s a different quality of light. [pause] Is there still any darkness present?
Alfred: Hmm. The whole texture is almost liquid. I could almost sense the light as texture. [pause] From a certain kind of rhythm of locomotion, it doesn’t feel like swimming any more. It’s more like… ambulation… I’m biped – not necessarily my feet because it feels… [pause]
Jack: In the sense of biped is there a movement forward with that? Is there something equivalent to walking?
Alfred: There’s a different kind of moving because there’s a kind of viscosity to that medium which doesn’t allow much visual – it’s more textural.
Jack: Try to sense the total organism more fully.
Alfred: Yes. It’s funny. It’s like a frog… and there’s part of me sitting there phylogenetically on my shoulder and making all kinds of comments so I’m ignoring that.
Jack: Yes, please do. [laughter] It’s just inevitable for that to happen but what’s important is the sensation and the feeling of what is taking place because that’s where there’s a process that you’re going through.
Alfred: The base of the spine… feels very alive. [long pause]
Jack: Yes, just stay with that – especially the sensation of its aliveness, tasting that aliveness at the base of the spine. And what about the upper body?
Alfred: Less activity in the solar plexus. It’s more like there’s an intelligence in that part of the spine that can be trusted… because it’s like I’m giving up on using my eyes to see. Perhaps I can trust something more in that. It feels like it knows something about how to orient myself. It’s like an embryo. It feels like my eyes haven’t opened yet. I’m waiting for something to give me direction, purpose. Oh!
Alfred: It almost feels like I’m leaving that kind of medium. I can feel it on my skin, as if I am emerging out of that. It’s a different medium. I would say it’s air but it doesn’t feel like air. It’s unfamiliar. Different from the previous. Less dense.
Jack: It looks like we’ve made a transition here.
Alfred: Yes, clearly.
Jack: Keep close at the beginning particularly to that sensation at the base of spine because…
Alfred: It feels more erect. The bend in the knees has straightened or whatever joint it was has more substance, more mass… [pause] Definitely a movement from the bottom up – filling up something. [pause] Feels very steady and solid. Doesn’t feel great for a movement; feels very good with a presence. It looks like a Greek statue; I don’t know if it’s a human form… it feels…
Jack: You don’t know if it’s human?
Alfred: It’s interesting… [musing] It’s not entirely… not the current human form… as if the arms are… I have an association with those Greek statues that are found with arms missing… as if the arms aren’t fully developed. Very much wishing to move and be able to find a good way of locomotion. Something is entering through the head.
Jack: The top of the head?
Alfred: Yes, like a light, like a… I hesitate to say intelligence but another activity other than this very lumpy kind of body. The feet, the legs or whatever they are really need to have a little more life in them.
Jack: So this movement from the head is moving down into the body – is that it?
Alfred: Yes, along the back. And also in that movement it’s possible to move, to sense.
Jack: Well, something is underway so just stay with that process.
Alfred: It’s like looking behind the eyes, like seeing the eye sockets from the inside, like vision appearing… light flowing into whatever is there, the skull… through the eyes, through the… It’s not ordinary light… It seems to kind of fill a space… The rib cage fills with that same quality of light. [big sigh] Hips, thighs. All the way to the bottom of the feet. The boundaries are no longer defined. Kind of mercury-like quality – but it’s not mercury because it’s not opaque – but it is liquid.
Jack: The body is?
Alfred: No, this light. It’s almost like the light is the body. Unbelievable. Nothing is needed.
Jack: Yes, that’s right. Because it’s all provided.
Alfred: There’s a feeling of sadness, gratitude, recognition. Wow! This is a real path – that feeling.
Jack. Yes. Yes, you’re traversing this path.
Alfred: It feels lawful in a way. Yes, that… now that…
Jack: The breathing is free?
Alfred: I see some constrictions there… in the diaphragm… of the experience that was underwater. [big sigh]
It’s irreverent on my part but I must say it’s like drugs.
Jack: [joking] Who needs drugs if you can go and see Jack? [both laugh] [Alfred: then a big sigh]
So there are several things that have been transited as it were – gone through – to arrive now at where you find yourself to be. So… I don’t think it’s too much to say that it’s a kind of re-birth into something. Re-birthing. Light playing a very important part. Breathing playing an important part. The base of the spine also. Those areas being as if indicated by the progress through. Some of them are related to the things you’ve studied but what’s important is to feel their reality in the physical structures that you’re inhabiting right now. You are really inhabiting a structure. I’m not sure you can even call it physical but it is a structure. As you say, it’s not opaque. It’s a structure of light.
I don’t want to be abrupt but at some point we may need to think of a transition back.
Alfred: I want to make sure we leave a good marker here.
Jack: Yes, we need a marker but also you need to feel that whatever work of transition that has been undertaken has not been cut short. I feel that we’re at a juncture right now here. It may be possible to begin to move back but at the same time, as you say, keeping a very, very strong connection to all the sensations, feelings, images, knowledge that has been so generously provided in ways that are completely alive and fresh. It’s stupendous in a way. As if there’s actually been a showering of gifts that have found their own way through to here at this moment now. So let’s just see what will take place if I suggest you need to begin to feel this current physical body that’s reclining here on this particular sofa… and that we make a transition back to where we began – the two different beaches… if that feels comfortable…
Alfred: Mmm. Delicious.
Jack: Good. So you’re coming back to a place that you know very well. But it’s not the same person coming back… It’s really someone else coming back. Everything is different in a sense and yet everything is the same. The same and not the same. Yes, there’s still the deliciousness of those two beaches and they’re to be relished in the same way that they were before. As if now there’s more intelligence, more knowledge, more understanding, more substance with which to relish them. As if there isn’t as much distraction somehow because there’s a fuller and deeper embodiment of who this person we call Alfred really is. There’s something more substantial.
Other postings in this series: Bluish, The Cosmic Cleanup Team, The Joy of Taking My Place, Rescue & Ascension, A Continuity of Being, Creation, Rescue, The Empty Seat at the Table, Toxic Green, Pristine Stillness, What Is Breathing, Merging with the Light)