Tuesday 13 July 2010

How we Hide

The most fundamental aspect of being alive is the pulsation of breath and energy through our bodies. This can be the obvious pulsation of the chest lungs and diaphragm in breathing; the rhythm of the heart muscles and the surge of blood; or the subtle rhythm of the fluid around the brain. Finer pulsations of life are the streamings of energy in the body like a small bubbling stream, or what the Kashmir Shavite tradition of tantra calls spanda usually translated as trembling.

In the bodies of untraumatised young children it is easy to see this quality of pulsation.  By the time most get to adulthood this is lost. The body has become hardened  against pulsation or disorganised so it is chaotic or uninhabited so that it is too loose and unenergised. Traditionally in body psychotherapy the various ways we loose our fluid pulslation and flow are called character structures. They then imprison us for many years and we come to identify with them. We think this is who I am and remain trapped deep inside.  Both body psychotheapy and tantra aim to re-establish this pulsation and flow. For some this means working with the pulsation through breath, sound, movement and perhaps touch in massage. For other people is is more about bringing awareness back to the energy. Tantra is about this dance of energy or aliveness and awareness. Energy being considered as Shakti kundalini and awareness as Shiva consciousness.  From this dance of Shakti and Shiva all life and aliveness comes. 

Raoul Moat who shot himself at the weekend was described as a man-mountain and from the photo I saw had the typical build (which I associate with bouncers) of a very short thick neck and dense body which looked as if compressed as though they had been shouldering a heavy weight for many years.This is a typical maoschistic character structure and caries within it a huge amount of rage for the suppression they experienced when very young.  In a society which valued movement, pulsation, aliveness, expression and emotion there would be many less with such a structure and such rage which can burst out fatally.  The alternative to celebrating and supporting the dance of Shakti and Shiva is death.

Monday 12 July 2010

I have no dad and nobody cares about me

Just over a month after the last blog about Derrick Bird, here is another on the same theme of men's pain and isolation in Raoul Moat's final lament before he shot himself at the weekend.  He wasn't psychotic or even inarticulate - he wrote a 49 page letter. He was just deeply deeply troubled and unhappy without a good enough foundation in life. It is probably the usual story of insufficient quality mothering and lack of a father and then a life with inadequate internal resources, where too much had gone wrong. He was, like Derrick Bird, faced with a lack of real intimacy and no apparent means of getting any.

When will people realise that good therapy can help? The usual cliché that women see therapists and men see probation officers and alcohol counsellors probably applies. More support for parents, widely available support for couples, good skilled psychotherapy and above all building a culture in which men can be real and intimate and feel valued as men would stop most of the killing and much of the pain.  By good skilled psychotherapy I don't mean a few sessions of counselling with volunteers or a session with the prison chaplain but the sort of individual and group therapy which can get to the roots of psychological pain and make a fundamental difference.  Therapy has been around for well over a hundred years but in Britain it is still marginalised, misunderstood and laughed at.  I have spent some of each week for the last 20 years training therapists and counsellors.  With the new cuts in public expenditure you can be pretty sure that the military, and the pharmaceutical industry will suffer less than the tiny amount of real therapy in the NHS. As for going privately, many men spend more on drink  in a week than the weekly cost of  therapy.