Mov­ing back to whole­ness

TRE taught me how to utilise my body’s in­nate ca­pac­ity to lit­er­ally move it­self to­wards health and har­mony.

Living Now - - Contents - by Rich­mond Heath

TRE taught me how to utilise my body’s in­nate ca­pac­ity to lit­er­ally move it­self to­wards health and har­mony.

AL­LOW­ING THE BODY’S AU­TO­MATIC MOVE­MENTS

Have you ever ex­pe­ri­enced your body mov­ing all on its own? Twist­ing, turn­ing or shak­ing? Or per­haps stretch­ing and con­tract­ing or let­ting go without hav­ing to do any­thing apart from sim­ply al­low­ing it?

Per­haps while med­i­tat­ing, have you no­ticed sub­tle vi­bra­tions build­ing to­wards a vis­i­ble sway or tremor? Maybe at the gym or dur­ing yoga or Pi­lates your mus­cles be­gan to shake dur­ing a set or pos­ture? Per­haps your body moved dur­ing a heal­ing or spir­i­tual ex­pe­ri­ence? Or, like many, have you ex­pe­ri­enced your hands shak­ing be­fore pub­lic speak­ing or a full-body trem­ble af­ter shock or trauma?

In Western cul­ture, we tend to sup­press and in­hibit these au­to­nomic move­ments as symp­toms of weak­ness, fa­tigue, anx­i­ety, or lack of con­trol – of­ten mis­tak­ing re­silience as the abil­ity to in­hibit them, rather than the abil­ity to con­tain them when re­quired, and then fully al­low them af­ter­wards.

LET­TING GO AND BE­ING MOVED

I first con­sciously ex­pe­ri­enced this nat­u­ral phe­nom­e­non dur­ing a 10-day Vi­pas­sana re­treat. As I sank into a de­tached ob­ser­va­tional space, my body slowly be­gan to twist, turn, and sway. For a few days I fol­lowed the teacher in front of me (who told me to sit still and con­trol it – which also has its own value) un­til I even­tu­ally fol­lowed the teacher within me, who told me to sim­ply ob­serve and al­low. Amaz­ing and won­der­ful things be­gan to hap­pen. My arms be­gan to spi­ral in pri­mal pat­terns to ex­tremes I had never imag­ined pos­si­ble, then re­versed and stretched me in the op­po­site di­rec­tion a lit­tle fur­ther each time. Soon my whole body was twist­ing and spi­ralling through a grace­ful free-form I could hardly dream of, let alone de­lib­er­ately do.

In just a few days, I went from be­ing un­able to raise my arms above my shoul­ders due to chronic pain to feel­ing seem­ingly weight­less and do­ing one­handed push-ups in a hand­stand po­si­tion (with my feet on a wall for bal­ance). Most of what I had been taught about stretch­ing and strength­en­ing dur­ing four years of phys­io­ther­apy was blown apart in less than 48 par­a­digm-shat­ter­ing hours.

The more I let go, the less I moved and the more I was moved. Soon I was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the nat­u­ral pul­sa­tion of

my phys­i­cal or­gan­ism, not just in the re­cip­ro­cal rhythms of my heart and breath, but in my body through space as well; con­tract­ing and ex­pand­ing, twist­ing, turn­ing to and fro as my body un­wound fur­ther and fur­ther with each new move­ment. While not dis­count­ing the un­doubtable ben­e­fits of con­sciously di­rected move­ment prac­tices, I was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing some­thing in­her­ently dif­fer­ent as I was moved from within. I was con­nect­ing with an im­pulse deeper, older, and wiser than my con­scious ego ever was or ever will be.

MOVE­MENT IN SPIR­I­TUAL COM­MU­NI­TIES

At that stage, I had no idea cul­tures such as Quakers, St Vin­cent Shak­ers, Na­tive Amer­i­cans, and both Chris­tian and In­dian mys­tics (to name just a few) had been de­lib­er­ately ac­cess­ing this re­or­gan­i­sa­tional im­pulse for health and well-be­ing for hun­dreds, if not thou­sands, of years. I was yet to learn that one of the old­est cul­tures on earth, the Kala­hari Bush­men, prided them­selves as the ‘Keep­ers of the Shake’ and car­ried this ‘old­est medicine on earth’ as a key part of their cul­tural iden­tity. When it comes to free­dom of move­ment how­ever, few come close to the an­cient Sa­mu­rai war­riors with their grace­ful beauty yet seem­ingly su­per-hu­man strength. What I had never known was, in ad­di­tion to their re­lent­less phys­i­cal train­ing, one of their key prac­tices to achiev­ing these mag­i­cal ‘ flow states’ was ‘seiki jutsu’ (roughly trans­lated as ‘uni­ver­sal life force yoga’). Seiki jutsu was a process in which they let go of all pre­con­ceived move­ment forms and med­i­tated into a state that al­lowed their bod­ies to ‘be moved, trem­bled and shaken’ each and ev­ery day.

TRAUMA RE­LEASE EX­ER­CISES

A few years af­ter my ini­tial Vi­pas­sana ex­pe­ri­ence, I was for­tu­nate to be in­tro­duced to TRE, one of the most re­cent (and sim­ple) tech­niques to in­voke this evo­lu­tion­ary im­pulse us­ing ba­sic pos­tures and move­ment, there­fore not re­quir­ing mind-al­ter­ing sub­stances, con­scious ef­fort, hours of med­i­ta­tion, spe­cific rit­u­als, or re­li­gious be­liefs to awaken it.

My reg­u­lar prac­tice of TRE (ini­tially named Trauma Re­lease Ex­er­cises for its use in trauma re­cov­ery in war zones and the Third World) soon helped to cre­ate a depth of re­lease and on­go­ing re­or­gan­i­sa­tion well be­yond any­thing I could have ever con­sciously achieved. Best of all, I could use this tech­nique (as sim­ply as ly­ing in bed) to re­store my body to health and vi­tal­ity each and ev­ery day – just like the an­cient Sa­mu­rai!

What’s com­mon to all these dif­fer­ent prac­tices, re­gard­less of their ori­gins, is that they all de­lib­er­ately ac­cess and utilise the hu­man body’s in­nate ca­pac­ity to lit­er­ally move it­self to­wards health and har­mony. It doesn’t re­ally mat­ter what we call it or how we ex­plain it, as long as the story makes enough sense for our ego to let go and al­low it.

BACK TO WHOLE­NESS

So the next time your body be­gins to twist and turn or move on its own, ex­plore it. Whether that’s rock­ing and sway­ing dur­ing med­i­ta­tion, jerks and jolts dur­ing a treat­ment, or a full-bel­lied laugh or an un­in­hib­ited cry, fol­low it. If you start to shake and trem­ble af­ter shock or trauma, let go and sur­ren­der – your body al­ready knows how to move you back to whole­ness. n

My arms be­gan to spi­ral in pri­mal pat­terns to ex­tremes I had never imag­ined pos­si­ble, then re­versed and stretched me in the op­po­site di­rec­tion a lit­tle fur­ther each time.

Rich­mond Heath em­pow­ers peo­ple and prac­ti­tion­ers to max­imise their health and well-be­ing us­ing TRE. He runs TRE work­shops and pro­fes­sional train­ing Aus­tralia wide.

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