Author Topic: Using The Body To Heal : Integrating Crying with Meditation  (Read 5447 times)

rideforever

  • Guest
Using The Body To Heal : Integrating Crying with Meditation
« on: November 12, 2010, 05:59:40 PM »

I am looking for a 'meditation' centre to spend some time and hopefully heal some trauma.  But I am used to crying things out; I also find screaming helpful at times.  It feels like it clears out stuff.

How can I integrate meditation and screaming/crying/body work ?  The body can heal itself, can' it - if I allow it ?

Some centres do yoga ... but even that, well it seems like there is a focus on being calm - but for me if I really allow deep feelings to surface I feel raging hot sometimes and it needs an outlet ... if I don't allow it, it is just repressing.

I also have also been fairly silent (in fear of my mother) most of my life.  And for this reason I am very wary of going to a meditation centre and sitting still and silently ... this feels like it will continue my repression. 

But also, I don't want to muck around.  I do want to help myself and I see meditation can do that.

I don't understand how to integrate the two kinds of practices, physical healing and meditation ??

And ... am I wrong about this ?  Should I really force myself to sit silently ?


Quardamon

  • Member
    • Teachers were: P.K.K. Mettavihari, Frits Koster, Nel Kliphuis. (In the line of Mahasi Sayadaw)
Re: Using The Body To Heal : Integrating Crying with Meditation
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2010, 07:39:41 PM »
Hello Rideforever,

As you have read, a lot of worthwile people here on the forum have done very different things. They know the value of photography, painting, therapy to heal childhood trauma, teaching a puppy to shit outside the door, and so on. At any rate, I believe it is a good thing to combine things. I have several friends who were psychotic one time or even two times in their lives. They manage not to get overwhelmed again by having the habit of exploring their inner worlds through creative activity. Maybe they started that as a therapy, but now they do it for fun. And yes, they share their artwork, visions, make theatre together - at any rate they have contact with others that acknowlegde their inner world.

If having to be silent is connected to fear for your mother, then of course that what other people know as 'noble silence' will not be very noble to you.

There is a few questions I want to ask you:
What did you do with the links for treatment of childhood abuse that The Irreverent Buddhist posted for you?
And what did you do with his suggestion, a two or three months ago, to start a diary?
Or maybe you do not remember that he posted those things. If so, that simple fact would interest me also.

And yes, the body has an enormous power to heal itself. As a dancer and former masseur I know. I recently read: 'Waking the Tiger' by Peter A. Levine. He taps into the wisdom and knowledge of the body. His kind of work is called 'somatic experiencing'. But maybe I am getting too elaborate.

On integrating crying and screaming into meditation I do want to elaborate:
My first retreat - I left after 9 days - was with a Thay monk who was honoured here in the Netherlands and in the cloister where he came from. He had us sit (and walk, and do prostrations) each in our own little room. Afer three days, my body started to jerk now and then. A day later, swaying forward and back occured. I considered stopping these things, but found, that this is what life had to offer at this moment, exactly because I was very dedicated and trusted (and liked) the teachter very much. So I had the courage to carry on. The teacher made a scornful remark during a talk for the group, that some people sat for days and had nothing happening. (Obviously, that was not for me.) Next day, I made full rotations with my body. Mind you, the instruction was t sit still. And the instruction never changed, although I told the teacher in our daily 10-minutte talk what was going on. My sitting even brought me to masturbate to release a sexual block.
Years later, I read that those movements were the start of (or introduction to) a Kundalini cycle. The jerks of the body are called kriya's . At the time, it was only clear to me, that the meditation made me do these things.

In the last two years, there have been two periods of three months, that I always had tissues at my side, because I would weep.
So my reaction is: If there is no practical objection, by all means, scream in your meditation.

My son calls me now - we are going to watch a DVD, my wife, son and I.

I wish you a happy integration!

With love,

Quardamon



rideforever

  • Guest
Re: Using The Body To Heal : Integrating Crying with Meditation
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2010, 08:04:13 PM »
Hi Quardamon, thank you for responding.

I have TIB's article on meditation and trauma that he posted last week ... I have found it very good and read it a number of times.  I also have had a diary for the last 4 years, on the shelf are 5 old ones, these days I buy 3 diaries (journals) at a time.

I have next to me (and I actually mean NEXT to me) Peter Levine's book 'Healing Trauma' which is a follow up to Waking the Tiger that I have read as well.  So yes this is exactly the kind of thing I mean.

I am going to experiment with some things because time is short and I won't know until I do it.


I am thinking to have a daily program like this :

(in my room in the morning :)

> Yoga nidra : this is an audio meditation that begins by taking you through the body (right hand thumb, first finger, second finger, ... ,wrist, lower arm .... etc...) and is excellent for feeling the body

> Any pressing trauma feelings I can observe through the body and experiment with Levine's ideas.

(rest of day in the hall :)

> Shamatha/vipassana sittings all day

> Puja/gratitue/metta in the evening

Repeat ...

RF

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Using The Body To Heal : Integrating Crying with Meditation
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2010, 08:25:11 PM »
RF

D.I.Y is the way forwards. I'm gladdened to see you developing a self-directed program.

Be brave4, be yourself.

Warmly,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

kaz

  • Guest
Re: Using The Body To Heal : Integrating Crying with Meditation
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2010, 08:42:47 AM »
Greetings. I stumbled upon this forum as I'm reading 'Waking the Tiger' and was struck by the resonance of the recommended practices with Vipassana meditation. My background is in nursing/psychology/counselling and I have practised Vipassana in SN Goenka's tradition for the last 18 years. I want to respond to your concerns/doubts about silent meditation.

Firstly, at least in the tradition I know, 'noble silence' is not absolute and participants are free to talk to their teachers about their meditation practice(doubts, fears, misunderstandings etc),and to management about practical issues like food, accommodation etc. The purpose of silence is simply to allow full undistracted concentration on the task at hand i.e. understanding how our minds work, how misery develops and how this can be changed. On the last day of the course, silence ends and you can talk to fellow meditators about your experiences.

When thoughts/memories come into the mind,we can push them down and repress them or we can engage with them by further thought, expressing or acting on them. We know the negative effects of repression. Expression, like crying, provides release and can be healing to an extent; but it also can become habitual reaction which maintains and replenishes the stored energy of the trauma which is held in the body-as Peter Levine describes it-and then healing doesn't happen, or happens very slowly.

Vipassana meditation provides another option (a middle path) between repression and expression, which is observation. In Goenka's tradition, the objects of concentration are the natural breath, and body sensations. In the safety and supportive environment of a retreat, we can be guided to focus the mind to these objects and then the stored energy of trauma is automatically and safely released.

If this makes sense, I would suggest that you contact a centre and arrange to meet with a teacher.If you feel reassured/comfortable to proceed,then go for it. If not, keep searching for the path to inner peace that suits you. Good luck!


rideforever

  • Guest
Re: Using The Body To Heal : Integrating Crying with Meditation
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2010, 09:04:31 AM »
Greetings. I stumbled upon this forum as I'm reading 'Waking the Tiger' and was struck by the resonance of the recommended practices with Vipassana meditation. My background is in nursing/psychology/counselling and I have practised Vipassana in SN Goenka's tradition for the last 18 years. I want to respond to your concerns/doubts about silent meditation.

Firstly, at least in the tradition I know, 'noble silence' is not absolute and participants are free to talk to their teachers about their meditation practice(doubts, fears, misunderstandings etc),and to management about practical issues like food, accommodation etc. The purpose of silence is simply to allow full undistracted concentration on the task at hand i.e. understanding how our minds work, how misery develops and how this can be changed. On the last day of the course, silence ends and you can talk to fellow meditators about your experiences.

When thoughts/memories come into the mind,we can push them down and repress them or we can engage with them by further thought, expressing or acting on them. We know the negative effects of repression. Expression, like crying, provides release and can be healing to an extent; but it also can become habitual reaction which maintains and replenishes the stored energy of the trauma which is held in the body-as Peter Levine describes it-and then healing doesn't happen, or happens very slowly.

Vipassana meditation provides another option (a middle path) between repression and expression, which is observation. In Goenka's tradition, the objects of concentration are the natural breath, and body sensations. In the safety and supportive environment of a retreat, we can be guided to focus the mind to these objects and then the stored energy of trauma is automatically and safely released.

If this makes sense, I would suggest that you contact a centre and arrange to meet with a teacher.If you feel reassured/comfortable to proceed,then go for it. If not, keep searching for the path to inner peace that suits you. Good luck!

Hello Kaz

I have been working intensively over the weekend which was very good, and not very hard actually.  It seems to me when an old trauma arises there are 2 ways to deal with it :

> by completing the body's response pattern (as Levine describes) ... meaning if you feel like collapsing, then allow yourself to collapse completely ... if you feel like running (escaping) the run and run fast ... if you feel like fighting the fight (whack some pillows and scream) ... in order to complete the pattern that is stored in the body ... and he describes how this can be achieved mindfully in 'Healing Trauma'.

> through vipassana ... allowing yourself to observe fully with the entire being ... but not moving

These 2 options seem different actually, the first working only with the body, the second seems to integrate many different levels of your experience and perhaps accessing the divine through the trauma.  These are just words though.

I am finding the traumas arising to be absolutely white hot and overwhelming, beyond comprehension, but moving back and forth through shamatha and the trauma I feel like I can progress safely.

TIB posted an excellent article about healing trauma through meditation, especially the bit about trauma survivors feeling they need to 'sit on the cushion until the blood has dried in their bones' ... which is part of their trauma response.  TIB has a pdf about it, and it is also here if anyone would like to read :

http://www.tricycle.com/-practice/healing-trauma-meditation?page=0,0

RF

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Using The Body To Heal : Integrating Crying with Meditation
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2010, 09:24:00 AM »
Meditation has been the key to unveiling and processing my own trauma. Much more important than talking therapies though they have a place in the process - especially with extreme traumatic recall.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

MeditationMan

  • Guest
Re: Using The Body To Heal : Integrating Crying with Meditation
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2010, 11:28:44 PM »

I am looking for a 'meditation' centre to spend some time and hopefully heal some trauma.  But I am used to crying things out; I also find screaming helpful at times.  It feels like it clears out stuff.

How can I integrate meditation and screaming/crying/body work ?  The body can heal itself, can' it - if I allow it ?

Some centres do yoga ... but even that, well it seems like there is a focus on being calm - but for me if I really allow deep feelings to surface I feel raging hot sometimes and it needs an outlet ... if I don't allow it, it is just repressing.

I also have also been fairly silent (in fear of my mother) most of my life.  And for this reason I am very wary of going to a meditation centre and sitting still and silently ... this feels like it will continue my repression. 

But also, I don't want to muck around.  I do want to help myself and I see meditation can do that.

I don't understand how to integrate the two kinds of practices, physical healing and meditation ??

And ... am I wrong about this ?  Should I really force myself to sit silently ?



I started meditation at the end of my treatment that I decided to undertake to overcome the mental issues I've had in my life that are partly due to my father being in-and-out of my life my whole life.  Part of the treatment required for me to yell, scream, punch pillows, etc., basically get alot of the aggression, anxiety, etc. that was in me all this time.

I continue to meditate, and meditation helps me become more insightful of myself.  It's always a good thing to exercise your emotions in a safe environment, nothing wrong with it at all.  It's very helpful in my opinion.  As long as you're not doing bodily harm to yourself or others, I say go for it.  That with meditation is a great prescription for emotional healing, in my opinion.

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Using The Body To Heal : Integrating Crying with Meditation
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2010, 10:21:02 PM »
How can I integrate meditation and screaming/crying/body work ?  The body can heal itself, can' it - if I allow it ?

The simple answer to this is to sit in Shamatha until you cry, and when you cry do it with all your body, mindfully allowing full release. It can help to have someone you love hold you in their arms at that point. For me it was a friend on a month long retreat and it was the key moment to all that has happened since.

And yes, most things can heal themselves. Some kinds of trauma recover when grieving is done. Others you have to work on posture to get things straight and sometimes surgery is required  - all depending on the trauma in question and how you coped.

Be good to yourself. Cry.

TIB
« Last Edit: November 25, 2010, 10:26:17 PM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

rideforever

  • Guest
Re: Using The Body To Heal : Integrating Crying with Meditation
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2010, 06:18:29 AM »
I started meditation at the end of my treatment that I decided to undertake to overcome the mental issues I've had in my life that are partly due to my father being in-and-out of my life my whole life.  Part of the treatment required for me to yell, scream, punch pillows, etc., basically get alot of the aggression, anxiety, etc. that was in me all this time.

What was this treatment ?

dragoneye

  • Member
  • on the wings of compassion and wisdom
    • Observant
Re: Using The Body To Heal : Integrating Crying with Meditation
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2010, 08:47:32 PM »
Greetings Rideforever,
I first thought we might have been going in the direction of "Rolfing," but I realised that I was only remembering my own reaction to some of the stimulation i was given the one time I experienced that.
I nosed around and found this group and they seem to have contemplated aspects of your interest.http://www.primals.org/index.htmlIt might be worth a look.
I will say that we were recently pondering whether listening to music while sitting was productive; I reached the conclusion that they really were separate activities. I am convinced that you can do a musical meditation; but I think that is different than Vipassana (for instance,) with music.
Its great that you are so aware of what your body is saying to you, and that you are listening to it. Good luck with it.
Warm blessings,
Dragoneye
Dragoneye

 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
0 Replies
1873 Views
Last post March 02, 2011, 05:11:13 AM
by Vivek
0 Replies
2137 Views
Last post April 19, 2011, 10:56:06 PM
by Mindfullness
13 Replies
4938 Views
Last post March 26, 2014, 10:14:36 PM
by Matthew
4 Replies
1987 Views
Last post December 06, 2011, 02:38:03 PM
by Andrew
4 Replies
1996 Views
Last post January 01, 2012, 08:35:32 AM
by Morning Dew
3 Replies
1242 Views
Last post February 26, 2015, 06:39:24 PM
by Stefan
9 Replies
1039 Views
Last post January 22, 2018, 11:39:12 PM
by pwinston