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Maneesha James

Getting Real by Maneesha James




Why is such a drastic measure as Dynamic Meditation needed by so many of us?

     It's a sad but undeniable fact that though we grow up physically, rarely does one of us grow to our full potential as a unique, creative, joyful, aware individual.
     Instead, we tend to assume a fairly fixed idea of ourselves somewhere in late adolescence or early adulthood, and then live out the rest of our lives confined within that concept.
     It wouldn't be quite so bad if the idea we had of ourselves were our own. But during the early days of our development, outside influences begin to impact our behavior and our sense of self.
     This process is called conditioning, and it is fed into our minds much as a program is fed into a computer. Conditioning, as Pavlov demonstrated, works through a process of positive and negative reinforcement. It manifests through the diverse behaviors and beliefs taught us. They will vary according to where we are brought up, the color of our skin, the religion of the family we have been born into, our order in that family, our sex, and so on. But whether one is a white male Caucasian in California or a young girl in Kuala Lumpur, the process is the same.
     The instruments of our conditioning – parents, teachers, peers, priests, the media, etc – are well meaning. They want to support us in our maturing into reliable, well-adjusted and functioning members of our community. But the drive to have us fit in with racial, national, social and sexual norms, masks our own inner sense of direction.

     Not only do we have no sense of our personal direction, we become so identified with the personality created by our conditioning that we think that is who we really are. Then, being ourselves unreal, we cannot find real joy or fulfillment.
     Understandable then if we reach adulthood unhappy, unfulfilled, and resentful towards our parents and others in authority over us. Understandable too if our sense of self-worth, self-love and self-trust are in short supply.
     Our basic relationship – with ourselves – in such a shambles, little wonder that we find it hard to establish and maintain meaningful relationships with others. Which in term makes not so surprising our carelessness, even antagonism towards the world around us. .
     But just how is the process of conditioning set in motion?











The Fetus

1) The Fetus
Here we are, in embryo, the merest sprout of a being. The lotus in the center of the photo represents our potential to grow into a fully realized individual: a vibrant, aware, loving, and balanced human being.

     The womb looks the perfect place to develop. But the environment we're growing in for nine months happens to be inside another person's body. If that body starts smoking, it will affect us. (Children born to women who smoked during pregnancy tend to be smaller). If our mother likes nothing more than to have techno music pumping in the house all day long, that's going to affect us; or if she is angry or lonely or frightened.
     All those emotions have chemical counterparts and, through the shared bloodstream, they enter and affect the very receptive, vulnerable growing child. It's not all bad: we are impacted positively also, by our mother's joy as by her sadness, by Puccini as by Puff Daddy. Just, we are affected – that's the point.















2) The Newborn Baby
With our having made the journey into the world, the impact from outside us accelerates.

     We're not a conscious, thinking entity at this point; we're a bundle of sensations and feelings, of natural urges and instinctual drives. We holler when we're hungry or lonely; we cry when we are in pain; we smile when we feel safe and happy.
     But these natural urges spell trouble. We want to pee when we've just had a nappy change: mother is annoyed. We want to sleep, and she wants to show us off to guests; we want to stay awake and it's officially bedtime.
     We begin to get the message that whatever comes naturally to us is wrong.
     Prime example is when we discover the place between our legs. Touching it feels good but we pick up from our mother's tone of voice, or her slap, that that area is a major no-no. We contract with shock and fear. That No-Go Zone happens to be close to our emotional center: our shock, fear and shame now create a wall between us and our potential to be sexually and emotionally viable, healthy beings.
     Distrusting of ourselves and with our very survival at stake, we are in a deep conflict. That conflict translates into physical, mental and emotional "blocks."
     Our inner "lotus" – our potential to be conscious individuals with our own direction in life – is intact. It can't be destroyed. But it's receiving no acknowledgement, no nourishment, so we remain unconscious of it.
     What is being developed is the mind with its program of conformity.


The Newborn Baby









The child

3) The School-Age Child
Now the straitjacket in which we were already becoming confined becomes increasingly constricting.

     Our natural way of being continues to be controlled, manipulated and criticized – all for our own good of course. "Sit up straight!" "Don't look out the window!' "Stop laughing!" "Ask permission if you want to go to the toilet," "Respect your elders." "You are too young to know"…. They all serve to keep us on the straight and narrow…and to undermine any vestige of self-esteem that might have been trying to sprout.
     Gender conditioning is also added to the pot…typically, "Little girls don't climb trees/study engineering", "Little boys don't cry/ enjoy dancing or playing with dolls."
     Then there's the national conditioning – so easy to identify in others and less easy to recognize in ourselves. The Englishman with his "stiff upper lip" in the face of feelings; the precise, rules-conscious German; the Australian, so desperately "nice"; the Italian, with their love of drama, the French with their sense of intellectual, cultural, culinary and sexual superiority, and so on.
     National conditioning not only infects the individual but entire armies: thousands of people committing suicide – and murdering – in the name of "their" country. Witness the recent East European horrors or the current conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.
     Even less palatable is the religious program: Christian, Jewish, Hindu, or Muslim.... We have persecuted and been persecuted for beliefs fed into us when we had no choice but to trust...and swallow.













4) The Adult
Finally we make it to so-called adulthood. It is no surprise if by now the life spark that ignited us as children has been extinguished. If the laughing, wonder- struck, and affectionate child we once were has disappeared without a trace.

     Little wonder that we ask: What happened to the me I thought I could become? What happened to those dreams I had when I was younger? Little wonder we feel ripped off. That we are full of self-hate and distrust and, neither loving nor trusting ourselves, can't believe that anyone else could love or trust us. Having had no practice in loving and trusting ourselves, we don't know how to love or trust anyone else.
     Ashamed of our sexuality, we have suppressed it. We have learnt to breathe in such a way that the centers of feeling and sexuality are not activated: shallow breathing, confined to the chest. We have lost touch with our "inner child," her innocence, her spontaneity and her joy. We are desensitized, disconnected from our internal ground of being. It follows that we have as little love for our environment and the world in which we live as we have for ourselves.
     Whatever we have been obliged to repress has taken root in our bodies, been translated into blocks, into rigidity and frigidity or into chronic aches and pains.
     As adults we accept the need to compromise, to make do…to accept that the dreams we had as children or the idealism of adolescence were simply that – illusions, unrelated to real, "grown-up" life.
     If occasionally our inner lotus makes its presence felt – we hear a whispered protest from inside or we catch a glimpse of how we once were – we don't really want to know. It's too uncomfortable...too confronting. There is now too much invested in not following the road set out before us. To start questioning any facet of ourselves is to put in jeopardy everything we thought of as essential; our sense of security and of belonging….
And so, for the vast majority of us, that's where the story ends.
     But does it have to be like that?
     If we have the courage to do so, can we be deconditioned? Can we have a second chance at life – this time with more awareness?


The Adult









5) The Deconditioned Being
If the whole tragedy could be reversed, and we could start over, how could we find our real self under the years of accumulated mental garbage and physical blocks? How to retrieve it from behind the barriers of psychological scarring and emotional trauma?
     Conventional and alternative psychological approaches – from Freudian psychoanalysis to, say, Primal therapy or the Family Constellation approach – will prescribe identifying each issue that is blocking us; reliving it, understanding it, and so, finally, exorcising it. But that can, and does, take years, is costly, and requires dependence on a therapist.
     What can take years through therapeutic modalities can be worked through far more quickly with the Osho active methods, notably Dynamic Meditation.
     The beauty of the meditative approach is that you remain independent, and it doesn't cost you an arm and leg. In addition, you drop all the analyzing and by pass the mind entirely, having instead a direct encounter with the unconscious.
     The method is an existential springclean, "detergent for the soul." Anger, grief, pain, jealousy, confusion, fear: we need only acknowledge and accept their presence and then we can let them go.
     It's true that our bodies, our mental and emotional worlds all bear scars. So we need allow the areas of trauma to emerge. We need to shake up the dust that has become engrained in every crevice of our unconscious.
     We need to unfreeze; to mobilize and redirect our energy so that instead of only fueling the mind – keeping the conditioning program ticking over – it moves into our body, and into the frozen depths of the heart, our feeling center and back to its source.

Panacea
The fire breathing of the first stage of Dynamic Meditation – fast, deep, chaotic breathing – sets us on the path to doing just that.
     It is the wake-up call to every cell in the body, to all our acomatosed senses. The depth of breathing impacts our feeling center, stirring up what has been lying dormant. It also activates the energy coiled in the sex center so that it becomes available as fuel for the huge transformation that is now underway.
     The body vigorously activated now the energy that was locked in suppressions begins to melt and can flow into conscious expression: this is the second stage. Through the alchemy of release with awareness, we experience thoughts and emotions as simply different facets of one energy. Really letting rip for 10 minutes anger may suddenly transmute into fear or sadness or despair, which, in turn becomes, perhaps, childlikeness. That, in its turn, may become laughter, and so on.
     With these first two steps, the negative side of the process is complete: the basement is cleared of rubbish. The lotus has been unearthed.
     But to stop there would be to leave the job half done.
     Through the acknowledgement, acceptance and conscious release of all we had suppressed, we have freed up a whole reservoir of energy. Now that flood needs to be encouraged to move onwards and upwards. That's where the jumping-till-you-drop and the shouting of "Hoo!" in the third stage of the method come in.
     Landing on the flat of the feet and the loud shouting of "Hoo!" hammer the sex center, where energy is stored, and jolt it upwards. At the same time, the forceful and insistent contact with the floor helps to re-establish our connection with the earth. It is another way to bring us down from the head, from a cerebral existence, to feel our roots again.
     The unconscious cleared, grounded in our bodies while our energy moves upwards, by the "Stop!" phase, we can effortlessly take a dive inside and relax into our essence: the state of the internal "watcher" or "witness."
     It is a moment of homecoming and, quite rightly, is to be celebrated. That's the last step in Dynamic: celebration through dance. Celebrating with a body/mind/heart now freed of all that once stood in the way of our ecstasy.

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