IN ORDER TO KNOW WHO AND WHERE WE ARE IN SPACE AND TO FEEL THAT WE ARE VITAL - ALIVE BEINGS, AND SUBTLETIES ARE ESSENTIAL.
This book is far from an easy read and will probably only attract people specifically interested or in need of finding a way out of a traumatised 'numbed' life. I've explored here only a tiny part of the book, and brought up some of my favourite parts which resonate particularly with the yogic journey. Dr Levine explains how communication with others through the subtlety of intuition and sensing, rather than feeling is of great importance. Just like animals have to sense if any of their pack might have aggressive intentions, so do we, need to keep practising our instinctual interpretation of others.
'One's posture and facial muscles signal emotional states, not only to others, but to oneself as well.' [... ] as social creatures, it is through empathy that we make our deepest communication. To do this we must be able to 'resonate' with the sensations and emotions of others; we must, in other words, be able to feel the same things as those around us feel. The way we indicate this is primarily nonverbal; it is through our postures and expressive emotions.'
It's is not easy to give the perfectly balanced upbringing. Many parents struggle to be able to give the presence and attention needed for their children to thrive into uncomplicated, well rounded and free characters. Because of personal struggles and repetitive habits repeated in upbringings through the generations the raising of awareness takes time. Dr Levine explains ..
'People who lack solid early attachment bonding to a primary caregiver, and therefore lack a foundation of safety, are much more vulnerable to being victimised and traumatised and are more likely to develop the entrenched symptoms of shame, dissociation and depression. In addition, since the psychophysiological patterns of trauma and shame are similar, there is an intrinsic association of shame and trauma. This includes the collapse of shoulders, slowing of heart rate, aversion of eyes nausea, etc
Mindfulness comes into play here. When one finds him/herself in a state of paralysis, it's returning to the sensations of the body and becoming once again aware of the breath and the feelings arising inside of ourselves. Though when someone is in a high state of internal shock, it can probably seem like trying to reach across to a distant land filled with skyrocketing mountains in the way - and some scary monsters to fight off! They most probably won't even want to turn to look in that direction. But Dr Levine's approach starts out very slowly which is beautiful, it's connecting with just one sensation. Whatever tingling or feeling arises in the body, allowing it to grow and flow however it likes. Maybe being aware of thoughts or memories that might arise, choosing to explore them or allow them to move along, and this inter exchange is mighty powerful in opening up pockets of space in a persons being, and as Andre explains, it's the creation of space while the tightening of fears comes over us that is of utmost importance.
"Expecting the worst, you look, and instead, here's the joyful face you've been wanting to see.
The vagus nerve is an important part of reaching a more balanced state between our brains and bodies, particularly our gut. It is a very large nerve comparable to the spinal cord, and also as Darwin clearly recognised, significantly affects the heart and lungs.
"It can be said that humans have two brains, one in the gut (the enteric brain) and the "upstairs brain", sitting within the vaulted dome of the cranium. These two brains are in direct communication with each other through the hefty vagus nerve. And if we go with the numbers our guts apparently have more to say to our brains (by a ration of 9 : 1) than our brains have to say to our guts!"
Just as our yogic practice helps us to embody ourselves and take us in the right direction, so does every other kind of therapy out there. One just has to pick or gravitate towards some type and with some faith and the allowing of the technique in us, we can start to slowly awaken and move forward.
'To be embodied means that we are guided by our instincts, while simultaneously having the opportunity to be self-aware of that guidance. This self awareness requires us to recognise and track our sensation and feelings. We unveil our instincts as they live within us, rather than being alienated from them or forcibly driven out.'
We run away from ourselves all the time. It's just what we do! And as we reach the end of the book we touch on familiar ground of 'mediation'. Dr Levine explains in his own words.
It is only through building a refined awareness and allowing the muscles and viscera spontaneous expression that we can begin to dissolve the "neurotic"band traumatic (split off) parts of ourselves and lay claim to a deeper, more authentic self.
And a reminder of the opposites and their interconnectedness needed to exist; as the Daoist's might name -Yin and Yang, the yogi's - Sukha and Dukkha, and a simple folk - Happiness and Suffering.
'When a subject was "locked" into joy by hypnotic suggestion, a contrasting mood (e.g., depression, anger or sadness) could not be produced unless the (joy) postures was first released. The opposite was also true, when sadness or depression was suggested, it was not possible to feel joy unless the postural set was first changed.'
'We shall not cease from exploration