By Laura López Gámez
“We dance for laughter, we dance for tears, we dance for madness, we dance for fears, we dance for hopes, we dance for screams, we are the dancers, we create the dreams.” Albert Einstein.
Meditation is the practice of bringing the mind into stillness and silence, training our attentional ability to focus on what’s present, accepting reality as it is, without escaping from it through unconstructive and repetitive thoughts, and without giving value or judging what is. When speaking of meditation, we are referring to a practice that will take us into a “state of mind” that we call in our theoretical framework the “I AM”(1). This awareness state is a natural state of presence that can be cultivated through a practice. It is a connection with an inner space of awareness and self-observation, with full attention to what happens instant by instant inside and outside of us.
Meditation is a formal practice of sitting down in silence in a meditation posture and with the attention focused on our breathing and body sensations. Mindfulness or a contemplation practice is the attitude of taking this full attentional state of the mind to whatever we are doing in the moment; contemplating a sunset, listening to birdsong while walking in the park, or brushing our teeth in the morning.
An active meditation is the practice of presence and silence, while doing something that involves moving our bodies: dancing, painting or singing, amongst others.
What is Vital Readjustment?
Vital Readjustment is an active dance meditation that will help us tune in with our bodies and make the necessary readjustments in our vital energy to restore the connection with our nature and find a healthy place in existence, bringing back harmony and integration within our being, and in relation to others and our environment.
It is a free movement meditation done with a selection of sacred music pieces that guide us into an inner journey through our body and its emotional memories, awakening parts in us forgotten or repressed, bringing them back to the flow of our life.
In movement meditation, we perceive we are in a life of constant movement, just like a river where the water flows in direction to the sea. This flow of water is our vital energy. During our life experiences, many emotions that were not properly expressed, or were blocked and buried in our bodies, are like stones in the river that limit our flow in life. These buried emotions need to be expressed and liberated from our bodies, from our unconscious minds, and be brought back to the light of consciousness as available resources for life. In youngsters, this practice of being in contact with the movement of life fosters resilience, allowing them to be in touch with the nature of life, constantly adapting to new challenging situations.
Active meditations enable us to use this forgotten resource and recover an internal order that will allow a coherent personal and collective development, balancing different aspects within, unblocking capacities that were lost in past experiences, and restoring in a healthy way our relationship with ourselves, others and our extended environment.
Through these active meditations we realize life is energy in constant movement, we liberate from fixed ways of perceiving reality, letting go of old attachments. We find ways of creatively expressing emotions such as rage, fear, sadness, vulnerability, loneliness, anxiety, joy, and ecstasy. Through movement, we reconnect with the cycles of birth, death and renovation and to the spirit of life in this planet that hold us all together in One. We find in ourselves the wisdom in our bodies and our capacity to heal.
“There can be no transformation of darkness into light and of apathy into movement without emotion”. Carl Jung
Why it is important to work with our bodies?
We would like to explain some main concepts about the importance of becoming aware in our bodies.
Our brain is a unity that is apparently “separated” into different states of consciousness, or brain functions measured in different waves or frequencies. Recent research in neuroscience, shows that around 5% of this brain functioning is conscious and that 95% is unconscious(2). Information about sensations, beliefs and experiences turns into automatic patterns that drive our emotions and affect our behaviour without us even realizing it. This unconscious information is stored in the body and is called by some authors like Joe Dispenza the unconscious mind.(3)
An example that reflects this understanding is when we start learning to drive a car. At first, it’s difficult to coordinate feet with hands and having to look everywhere. It’s something that requires all our attention in the present moment and the coordination of all our senses. After years of driving, we do it in an automatic way where we don’t have to think about it, and can even do other things while driving. The neurological connections for that specific learning have been established in our brains and now it’s done automatically. The body knows what to do and how to do it and the conscious mind can get lost in other things. This is the way our brain works and learns.
Our unconscious drives us without us even noticing it. Something that happened in the past can still be here, even when we remove it from our consciousness: just because we are no longer aware of something does not mean that something is no longer there. For example, if we had an experience in early childhood that was humiliating for us, and in that moment we weren’t able to process it because of our young age and other circumstances, that experience, along with the emotions felt, and the accepted beliefs, are kept in our unconscious mind and will continue to act in our lives.
All rejected, uncomfortable and traumatic experiences that we were not able to feel, express and integrate as part of us, are kept locked in our unconscious, and our body is where we store them all. What our mind rejects is stored in our bodies until we become aware, until we are able to express and release it, and bring it back to consciousness as experience and wisdom.
We access our unconscious by getting in contact with our bodies and emotions, and by putting the brain in certain states that are close to meditation states, this means, our brain functioning in Alfa, Theta and Gamma waves. When we meditate and dance, we reach these states and access our unconscious minds, expressing and liberating tensions, embracing what was rejected, acknowledging false beliefs we accepted as truths, etc. By recovering all these parts of ourselves, we become more integrated beings, more human, and a lot of our potential and empowerment is recovered: we are more aware of who we are and have more resources to face life and existence.
By reconnecting with our bodies, we reconnect also with the wisdom and rhythms of nature.(4) Today, this (re)connection is urgent, a matter of life or death given our way of living. Everyday it becomes clearer and more evident that we are not respecting the planet and ecosystems we live in, and we are still oblivious to the consequences this will have. We are disconnected from our nature and we are harming the planet and ourselves in very unwise and unconscious ways. What we are doing at an outer level with the planet is just a reflection of how we are living at an inner level, within ourselves, and within our body that is our individual planet.
The need of Integration of Polarities for positive mental health and well-being.
Life is about finding balance and integrating polarities as we live in a world of duality where we always find an opposite. If we reject or suppress one side in favour of the other, the accepted polarity will show its destructive face, leading us into some kind of insufficiency because one part of ourselves is missing. Therefore, we will find ourselves incapable of knowing a state of well-being until the integration is achieved.
The first wound of separation
We carry a wound since the moment we were born. We lose the sense of oneness with our mother and become a separate being in very vulnerable conditions. The fear of death touches our lives and instinctive mechanisms are activated to guarantee our survival. We have to cry to show we are hungry, to reflect our pain or to demand protection etc. We no longer live in the womb, were everything was provided for – food, protection, temperature etc. This world of duality and separation will serve our development during our whole life.
Life becomes a dance of conflicting polarities happening simultaneously – “I am kind, and not selfish”, “this (that is happening) shouldn’t be happening”, etc, and we need integration to regain the lost sense of oneness. We live in this permanent dance of contradictions or inner conflict until we find the balancing integration of opposites and regain our inner reconnection with the unity we are, and find inner peace.
The Main polarities we’ll work to foster positive mental health are:
- Security vs Maturity
- Pleasure vs Fear
- Masculine vs Feminine
In any conflict we face in life, we can look at which polarity within us needs integration. We probably identified ourselves more with one pole, not taking into account it’s opposite, living in an unbalance that calls for the integration of the essential aspect left in the shadow of our consciousness. Bringing this aspect into the light of our awareness will restore the equilibrium and our integrity.
When we integrate polarities and accept the different aspects of ourselves without rejecting any, some core states naturally appear: gratitude, love, joy, and peace settle within us due to this complementary integration and acceptance of life. These states are beyond polarities, they are transcended states that develop within us as a result of accepting the wholeness of life and who we are.
Music, Emotions and Transcendence
“Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind, but which mankind cannot comprehend.” Ludwig van Beethoven.
Masuru Emoto’s(5) experiments with water.
Emoto claimed that water was a “blueprint for our reality” and that emotional “energies” and “vibrations” could change the physical structure of water. Emoto’s water crystal experiments consisted on exposing water in glasses to different intentions using words, pictures, and music, and then freezing this water and examining the shapes of the resulting crystals with microscopic photography. Emoto claimed that water exposed to positive speech and thoughts would result in visually “pleasing” crystals being formed when that water was frozen, and that negative intentions would yield “ugly” frozen crystal formations.
These experiments show the impact sounds, words and music may have on our molecular structures and the importance of nurturing balanced states to bring well-being and beauty into our inner world using our voice, the intention of our words and the harmony of music.
In this sense, certain sacred music pieces are very powerful means of exploring, getting in touch with and transforming ourselves. Music supports body movement and activates memories and emotions that are hidden within us, easing its expression and possible integration in the moment they emerge while we are moving beyond our rational minds.
Music is a powerful tool for transcendence, for reconnecting with this sensation of being part of something bigger, losing the sense of separation for a moment and finding connection with what is around us. Music directly affects the functioning of our brains changing our wave frequencies, and taking us into certain states of consciousness.
Beyond the duality of the mind, we sense into elevated and natural states of presence, gratitude, kindness, love, joy and peace that reflect the spiritual layer of who we are. In these states, separation is dissolved and transcendence and meaning emerges in our individuality, realizing we are part of all that is around us, in communion with humanity, our planet and all the beings living in it.
Music creates an atmosphere that allows to sense into our sensibility, opening up states of gratitude, kindness, compassion and peace, finding unity within ourselves and with others, essential aspects that nurture and promote PMH in our lives.
(1) Kuosmanen, T., Dowling, K. and Barry, M.M., (2020)
(2) ”An enormous portion of cognitive activity is non-conscious, figuratively speaking, it could be 99 percent; we probably will never know precisely how much is outside awareness.” (Dr. Emmanuel Donchin, director of the Laboratory for Cognitive Psychophysiology at the University of Illinois). Perspect Psychol Sci. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2008 Jun 26.
(3) Joe Dispenza. Evolve your brain. The science of changing your brain.(2007) Ed. Palmyra.
(4) Kuosmanen, T., Dowling, K. and Barry, M.M., (2020). Environment domain.
(5) The hidden messages in water – Emoto
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READING:
- Perls, F. (1976). The Gestalt Approach and Eyewitness to Therapy. Bantam Books.
- Reich, W. (1933). Character Analysis. Farrar, Straus and Giroux
- Morgado, I (2015) La fábrica de las ilusiones: Conocernos más para ser mejores. Ariel
- Ferdia J. Stone Davis.
- Emoto, M. (2011). The Hidden Messages in Water. Amber Lotus.
- Machta Sabbagh, S. web https://www.reajustevital.com/Sofia/index.html
- Lowen, A. (1975). Bioenergetics. The revolutionary therapy that uses the language of the body to heal the problems of the mind. Penguin books.
- Dispenza, J. (2008). Evolve your brain. The Science of Changing Your Mind. Palmyra.
- Storr, A. (2002). Music and the mind. HarperCollins publishers.
- Inayat Khan, H. (1988). Music of Life: The Inner Nature & Effects of Sound. Omega.