Somatic Education as Training Wheels

Somatic education may be rightly regarded as "training wheels" for a greater process -- but training wheels for what?

If we examine the course of somatic education, we find a developmental process that starts with the awakening of a person's faculties.  As we know, not everyone has the same set of faculties or the same faculties, but not equally developed to anyone else, but all awaken and become functional, part of the person's repertoire of behaviors.

That's the start.

What follows is an ongoing process of refinement of those faculties, again, uniquely according to the individual.

The ability to make finer distinctions, the ability to be more masterful (and therefore, less effortful) and more creative (and therefore, less habitual) in our responses to the conditions we face in our lives, to our experience of the moment.

Memory patterns form, at first faintly and then more substantially.  Dominant themes emerge.  We take the shape of whatever residue exists in memory of past experiences.  It's both a figurative shape and a physical one.  The shape we take is that of our dominant way of dealing with things, our attitude, our presence of mind, our freedom of attention, our emotional state, our intelligences -- and also our physiological state:  metabolic rate (arousal state), nervous system arousal (sympathetic and central), postural set and the muscular tensions that maintain it.  Subjective condition and objectively observable physiological condition.  Conceptual and experiential. 

All of that finer differentiation forms and emerges with the development of memory and memories.

The next step:  the dissolution of all that

First, awakening
Next, maturation (making functional)
Next, differentiation (making more functional)
Then, the progressive dissolution of the "memory clumps"
formed out of experience
that have their hold as habit and chronic physiological states,
generally unnecessarily draining activation states,
but also most virtuous habits and practices.

For surely, as conditions change,
changes to our faculties
or entirely new faculties
are needed and called for.

Habit is momentum
and tends to persist.

Mastery of habit, then,
is needed and called for.

Mastery of habit
is mastery of memory
in part,
in mastery of down-regulating (relaxing) the force of any memory
and in part,
in mastery of holding attention on something long enough and intently enough to form a memory.

It's both --
memory formation and memory dissolution.

Back to our original question:
training wheels for what larger process?

The process of taking on forms
and of dissolving the forms we take and inhabit
in the course of life.

If we don't dissolve, "memory clumps" eventually collide
in a confusion of actions constrained by memories of earlier actions.

Confusion is the right word, both figuratively and literally.

Literally:  con: with + fusion: merging
Figuratively:  immobilization of the will, generally by internal friction/internal contradictions.

When two memory clumps collide
the non-aligned forces of their intent
Where they meet, there is a pressure wave
from which emanate all manner of unpredicted effects.

Another name for colliding "pressure waves"
is crisis.

Crises of life occur when such a pressure wave
formed from two habitual, but non-integrated
memory clumps -- two habitual, but non-integrated
aspects of oneself.

A weather front forms
where "warm, moist air" and "cold air" meet
and events precipitate out of the meeting.

What is the solution, when the weather gets rough?

Dissolve the glue that makes it hard to for the two fronts to integrate with each other --

the glue of "right knowledge"
the glue of "personal and transpersonal virtues"
the glue of sourpuss moods
the glue of Ebenezer Scrooge-ness.

Training wheels for what?

Training wheels to learn to dissolve the grip
of habits,
at first in gross movements (sensory-motor)
and then in terms of our internal habits of mind
our internal habits of emotion
our internal habits of imagination
and our internal habits of remembering things.

Training wheels to form something new.

Training wheels to an exploration of consciousness
that starts with the sensory-motor body,
proceeds to our own habitual personality habits
and further to the root of all that in The Big 4:
  • attention
  • intention
  • imagination
  • memory
It's ingress to a channel
into the roots of personal existence
and the roots of perception.

Training Wheels.

Again -- why?

Because the accumulation of memory clumps
is like cotton balls in the head
like the accumulation of barnacles
on the hull of a seagoing vessel.

In all innocence, as we accumulate memories
as the gathered pearls of wisdom of a lifetime
and as refuge from the storms of life
we are weighed down by them.

In an age of increasingly fast change (so they keep saying)
it's helpful to lighten the amount of drag we experience.

Training wheels for what?

Both changing our environment by our contributions
and being changed by our environment
as we partake of the contributions of others.

Those who contend with the particulars of things
may find themselves struggling to stay up with things,
much as, when on the other side of the Looking Glass,
Alice came across people running as fast as they could
just to stay in the same place.

At least your hamster enjoys it.

The alternative?

Working with our ability to attune ourselves to different states
different possibilities
different scenarios in life than those to which we are accustomed.

This is not a mental process proceeding by conceptual analysis
and leading to an earnest attempt
to convince oneself to believe it.

It's an observation and a shift of feeling,
a shift of perspective and a shift of action.

The "domain" (or field of experience of this kind of evolutionary transformation)
is our proprioceptive sense,
our ability deliberately to sense our own internal state.

By proprioception, we sense our emotions (and those of others),
we sense our movement and state of balance,
we sense (however, vaguely) what's going on in that noisebox of a mind,
we sense the feeling-qualities of various places
and how we feel dressed in different ways
the qualities of places
and the impending quality of an approaching change.

Proprioception is how we delve into the imagination.
It's where dreams live.

It's how we distinguish truth from falsity
(more or less).

Our proprioception is the more tangible and less tangible foundation of our world-view.

Mind occurs "within" proprioception (self-sensing)
as a movement of attention between memories and present sensations
and the rousing of intentions that goes with that.

Mind is intentional movement of attention.

Internal self-sensing (enteroception).

Sensing what has not been identified as "self".

Humans have evolved to be predominantly exteroceptive,
males more so than females
females being both enteroceptive and exteroceptive.

Even so, the ability to put attention "out there" has developed
more so than the ability to put attention "in here".

A shift is occurring: increasingly common development
of internal awareness.

The balance is tipping more toward the balanced awakening of both faculties.

Training wheels for what?

That kind of awareness
that kind of development
that kind of capacity to bring on
the emergence of the new
in all domains within reach of our attention.

The Gold Key Release Technique | The Structure of All Senses of Identity
The Controlling Moment | video


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