PAST PAIN / TODAY'S GAIN
REPROGRAM YOURSELF for JOY, ZEST & LOVE

by Alex Lessin, Ph.D.

DEDICATION
Remember Mom, remember Dad; they did their best with what they had.

In this tutorial, you rescript attitudes you imprinted that limit your life now.  You notice what you adopted from your parents and caregivers.  You decide which of Mom and Dad's attitudes you embrace and which you release.
 


CONTENTS

I. DITCH DUMB DEFENSES

II. REMOVE RECENT WRAPS

III. PARE PARENTS' PROGRAM IV. INTEGRATE EARLIER INJURIES V. FATHOM FETAL PHASES VI. LEARN FROM LIVES LAPSED

FOOTNOTES

[CONTENTS]


I. DITCH DUMB DEFENSES

This book lets you lick your limits, replace repressive responses, banish burdensome beliefs and alter attitudes that anguish you. Then you'll love, laugh, romp, relax, care and contribute more.

You embrace your blessings and cherish chances for a fuller future when you express and exhaust unexpressed emotions.
    "Past Pain / Today's Gain" teaches you:
    * Purge pent-up passion that fuels your faults
    * Sympathize; forgive parents, friends and lovers for flawed examples
    * Thank the folks who formed you
    * Rescript yourself with positive attitudes, affirmations and models.
In the exercises, indicated in bold print, you may experience intense feelings, so read them over first and decide to what degree you want to participate in the suggested activities.
Did you adopt limiting attitudes so you wouldn't feel or show pain, anger or sexual arousal? Or adopt habits like blaming others or compulsively drinking, eating, drugging, worshiping or obsessing about sex. Inside, under defensive habits, feelings you resist persist.
Defenses and emotions they cover divert you from love, joy and zest. They divert you till you bare buried beliefs, admit producing problems and feel feelings your defenses deny. You need to free the feelings so you can fully experience life now.
You may harbor hurt from hours days, weeks, years or lifetimes past.

[CONTENTS]


II. REMOVE RECENT WRAPS

Start peeling outer onion-like layers of hidden hurt: resolve suffering you recently suppressed.[1]
Recall a recent run-in with someone, "S", where you expressed too little or too much, a quarrel that riled, grieved or frustrated you, that hurt your head, upset your stomach or raced your heart. Pick a pique where you puffed up or repressed passion.
Play-act S. Caricature thoughts and feelings you imagine he or she had in the situation.
Take turns enacting you and S confronting each other. Change voice, posture and seats each time you change roles.
Tell S, "You remind me of ..." (Say the name of "R," someone from your past.)
Imagine S turns into R. Sit in R's place. Play him telling about himself.
Return to your own seat and identity. Say what you withheld, resented and wanted from R. Tell R what you appreciated.
Change seats and play R again. As R, respond.
Continue the dialogue, shifting seats and roles between you and R.
Identify R with part of you, one of your subselves. As this part, describe your existence. Name the "subs" who oppose you.
Alternate playing each of your opposed subs. As each, express resentments, wants and needs to the other subs.
Become fair-seeing--just, loving and knowing. Note true and useful aspects of what each sub said. Notice the beneficial needs fueling their wants.
As Fair Seer, advise the subs on how they can cooperate and respect each other's needs.

****
Use the next exercise to remove another layer from your onion of defenses. When you peel this layer, you release pain you retain from a former lover, spouse or friend.

[CONTENTS]

FINISH FAREWELLS[2]
Conjure X, an ex-friend, lover or spouse with whom you have unexpressed feelings or unresolved issues. See X on an empty seat before you,
Tell X how you feel toward him or her.
Tell X your unfinished business with him or her. Show what you didn't fully before.
Now sit on the empty seat and pretend you're X. As him or her, describe your life. Respond to the unfinished business.
Sit again on your original seat and resume your own identity. Keep finishing this sentence, till you can think ofno more endings for it: "X, I resent ..."
Complete: "What I wanted from you, X, was ..."
Finish: "I forgive you for ..."
"I forgive myself for ..."
"I appreciate you for ..."
Say "Goodbye."
Say it again. Say it two more times.

[CONTENTS]

STOP TEEN TRAUMA[3]
Peel into a deeper defensive layer: explore the possibility of pain repressed since puberty.
Did adults stop your teen pursuits or push you at paces and in paths they picked?
If so, they implied you weren't naturally OK. That hurt. They taught you to slight your purposes so they'd approve.
You did what they wanted or rebelled. You hid pain, pain you must let out so you can find your own way and speed.
Recall when, as a teen or younger, parents or others made you do what you didn't want or held you back from what you could do.
See the scene unfold anew.  Notice the emotions you felt.  Feel them now. Build them to a peak.  Picture the people who pushed or held you back. Express your emotions aloud to them.
What'd you decide in this dilemma? What'd you get from this decision?
What would you like to have done that you didn't?

 

Forgive yourself and the others involved.

 

Revise and retell the scene, the way you'd like it to have been.

 

Make a new decision based on your revision.

 

Sum-up what you just learned.

 

Imagine a future scene when you live from your new decision instead of your earlier one.

 

Beneath teen defenses, you may have defenses and hurtful habits from childhood.

[CONTENTS]


III. PARE PARENTS' PROGRAM[4]

 

Maybe you adopted your parents'[5] faults so you could handle hurt from childhood. Their worst fault: loving too little.

 

They couldn't give or model love if their parents didn't show them how. Then Mom and Dad, in turn, didn't wholly love and accept themselves, each other or you.

 

When you lacked love as a child, you settled for attention. You rebelled, deadened yourself or acted sweet and helpful to get attention.

 

If you still put up a front or dull your feelings, you harbor hate toward your parents. You defeat yourself to win their sympathy, vent anger at them and hurt them for not loving you more. You stay childish, defiant, cold or compliant.

 

You smoke, overreact or push people away because you remain a brat inside, copying or rebelling against parents and their substitutes.

 

When you fail or withhold love, you express emotional sickness adopted from your parents.

 

Stop. Stop getting even with them. Rise above their lousy model. Divorce them.

 

Start divorcing them. First rage at their poor examples and wrongs they did you.

 

Then do a probation report: put yourself in their place and understand how their folks formed them into terrible templates for you.

 

Finally, empathize with, forgive and love Mom and Dad.

[CONTENTS]

REMEMBER MOM'S MISTAKES

 

Purge anger you've had for your Mom since childhood. React to her guilt, neglect, self-hate, sarcasm, moodiness, hostility, nonsupport, fearfulness, interference, poor examples, unavailability, manipulation, distorted world view, unhealthy sexual attitudes.

 

Did she want you? Want you to be the other sex? Did she treat you like a burden? Ignore you? Leave you to others?

 

Did she show you love you felt? Make time for you? Did she die or desert you? If so, your inner child still hurts.

 

Did she teach you to struggle against your siblings, displace you with other kids or show favoritism?

 

How well did she ready you for school and react to your grades, sports, plays and clubs? Did she criticize and withhold praise? Use your successes to win status from her friends? Attend visitor's day at school?

 

How joyous did she make your birthdays and holidays? How did she react to your gifts to her?

 

Did she hit you, ignore your misdeeds, stop speaking to you, threaten God's wrath or leave discipline to Dad? Did she teach you to deny mistakes?

 

When you ailed, did she make you feel guilty? Did she reward illness as a way to get tenderness?

 

What attitudes toward men and marriage did she model? Did she belittle Dad? Did she model submissiveness in marriage?

 

Was she jealous of your friends? Did she pick them, teaching you to distrust your judgement? Did she demonstrate prejudice?

 

Did she laugh and play with you, or withdraw, tense or mope?

[CONTENTS]

MARK MALADAPTED MODELS

 

If any of the words below fit your mother, put a red check by them. Use other colors for other mother-figures you had.

 
__ Abandoned you
__ Accused
__ Addicted to gurus
__ Addicted to therapies
__ Afraid to speak in groups
__ Aggressive
__ Always in hurry
__ Always questioned
__ Amateur
__ Ambivalent
__ Angry
__ Annoying habits
__ Anti-social
__ Anxious
__ Assumed others' guilt
__ Assumed values shared by others
__ Attention addict
__ Automatic
__ Avoided confrontation
__ Avoided risk
__ Bad memory
__ Bit nails
__ Bitter
__ Blamed others
__ Bored
__ Boring
__ Bossy
__ Braggart
__ Bullied
__ Careless
__ Castrated
__ Catty
__ Championed silly or hopeless causes
__ Chattered
__ Cheated
__ Claustrophobic
__ Clumsy
__ Clung
__ Coke addict
__ Cold
__ Complained
__ Compulsive achiever
__ Compulsive clean
__ Compulsive emotional exhibitionist
__ Compulsively monogamous
__ Computer addict
__ Conceited
__ Confused
__ Conventional
__ Cop-out
__ Couldn't concentrate
__ Coward
__ Cowardliness hidden by mask of wisdom
__ Crazy
__ Critical
__ Cruel
__ Cynical
__ Demanded attention
__ Demanded love all the time
__ Despaired
__ Destructive
__ Did sex as duty
__ Didn't enjoy sex
__ Dirty
__ Disappointed in kids
__ Disappointed in mate
__ Discouraged
__ Disdainful
__ Disorganized
__ Disrespectful
__ Distant
__ Distrusted
__ Divisive
__ Dominated
__ Dominated conversation
__ Drunk
__ Egotistical
__ Energy drain
__ Escaped in sleep
__ Exhibitionist
__ Explained and excused
__ Explosive temper
__ Extreme
__ False charm
__ Fanatic
__ Farted
__ Fat
__ Feared bugs
__ Feared height
__ Feared others' judgements
__ Feared others' religions
__ Feared rejection
__ Feared solitude
__ Fearful
__ Feltinferior
__ Fickle
__ Flirtatious
__ Food faddist
__ Found fault
__ Frigid
__ Frustrated sexually
__ Fussy
__ Gave double messages
__ Gave then withdrew love
__ Generalized
__ Glutton
__ Greedy
__ Gruff
__ Guilty
__ Guilty about...
__ Had to earn everything
__ Hated being hugged
__ Hated body
__ Hated self
__ Hero-worshiper
__ Hid
__ Hid behind humor
__ Hid sexuality
__ Hurt animals
__ Hypersensitive to criticism
__ Impartial
__ Impatient
__ Impotent
__ Inarticulate
__ Inattentive
__ Incompetent
__ Indifferent
__ Indignant
__ Indiscriminate
__ Insecure
__ Insensitive
__ Insomniac
__ Invalidated others
__ Irrational
__ Irritable
__ Jealous
__ Joyless
__ Judged me for ...
__ Judgmental
__ Killed spontaneity
__ Lacked humor
__ Lazy
__ Lied
__ Lived fantasy
__ Lived for afterlife
__ Lived through others
__ Loner
__ Lust-dominated
__ Machine-like
__ Made points citing allies
__ Manipulator
__ Martyr
__ Masochistic
__ Matchmaker
__ Messy
__ Mocked
__ Mood swinger
__ Moralistic
__ Nagged
__ Narcissistic
__ Nasty to others
__ Negative
__ Neglectful
__ Non-supportive-
__ Not affectionate
__ Not assertive
__ Obsequious
__ Obsessed with duty
__ Obsessed with fashion
__ Offensive
__ Overprotected
__ Overreacted
__ Pacified
__ Paranoid
__ Perfectionist
__ Petty
__ Phony
__ Pig-headed
__ Planned obsessively
__ Plastic
__ Played favorites
__ Poor cook
__ Possessive
__ Preached
__ Prejudiced
__ Pretended everything okay
__ Prissy
__ Procrastinated
__ Projected feelings on others
__ Promiscuous, swinger
__ Proselytized
__ Provoked violence
__ Prude
__ Pseudo-intellectual
__ Punitive
__ Puritanical
__ Pushed
__ Put kids down
__ Put self down
__ Put up a front
__ Quarrelsome
__ Raged
__ Rationalizer
__ Rebel
__ Refused help
__ Rehearsed
__ Rejected
__ Rejected people and ideas for being different
__ Repressed sex
__ Retreated
__ Rewarded and punished with sex
__ Rigid
__ Sadistic
__ Sanctimonious
__ Sarcastic
__ Saw sex as exploitation
__ Scared of people
__ Scared you
__ Self-centered
__ Sexual or body shame
__ Sexually conceited
__ Shamed others
__ Shrieked, yelled
__ Silent
__ Sloppy
__ Smiled to hide hurt
__ Smothering anger under smile
__ Snob
__ Sought approval
__ Spoiled
__ Sputtered
__ Stank
__ Stiff
__ Stingy
__ Stopped joy
__ Stuttered
__ Subservient
__ Suggestible
__ Superstitious
__ Suppressed anger
__ Suspicious
__ Tactless
__ Tattled
__ Teased
__ Thought for others
__ Thought sex vulgar
__ Threatened
__ Timid
__ Too ambitious
__ Too competitive
__ Too helpful
__ Too intellectual
__ Too loud
__ Too permissive
__ Too proud
__ Too quiet
__ Too sexually aggressive
__ Too skinny
__ Tried to make everything OK
__ TV addict
__ Two-faced
__ Ugly (say how)
__ Unable to discuss sex
__ Unable to empathize
__ Unable to take action
__ Uncaring
__ Unclear
__ Uncomfortable being man/woman
__ Undermined
__ Unemotional
__ Unloving
__ Unrealistic
__ Unreliable
__ Untouchable
__ Vacillated
__ Vague
__ Vain
__ Vengeful
__ Vulgar
__ Weird
__ Whined
__ Withdrawn
__ Withheld encouragement
__ Workaholic
__ Worried
__ Wouldn't ask help

 

Write "The Bad Side of My History with Mom"--your unpleasant memories of her. Emphasize her negative side; raise your ire.

[CONTENTS]

RELEASE RESENTMENT

 

Kneel facing a cushion. Hold clenched fists, an old tennis racket, baseball bat or rubber hose over your head.

 

Hit the cushion hard again and again. Each time you strike, yell, "Mother, I resent you for ..." (Complete.)

[CONTENTS]

SAY SECRETS

 

List things you hid from her.

 

Imagine Mom on a cushion before you.

 

Tell her your secrets.

 

Then sit on the cushion and play her. As her, respond.

 

Dialogue about the secrets; alternate in her role and yours.

[CONTENTS]

FINISH FEELINGS

 

Finish, to her, "I haven't resolved ..."

[CONTENTS]

LET OUT LONGING

 

Tell her what you wanted and needed from her.

 

Say all you longed and hoped for from her.

[CONTENTS]

ADMIT ADOPTING HER ATTITUDES

 

Realize how you copied her. List the bad traits you got from her.

[CONTENTS]

FEEL HER

 

Deepen your understanding of her so you forgive and love her.

 

She gave you less affection, support, freedom and encouragement than you wanted. But put yourself in her place. Then you'll drop your anger, work through conflicts keeping you apart and forgive her.

 

Identify with Mom at puberty. Begin with, "I'm ... (her first name) and my life, as a 13-year-old, is like ... (Describe it.)

 

Continue, as her, "I got this way, because ..."

 

As her, say how the people in your family got and get along.

 

Be her and answer.

 

As Mom at 13, tell whether and how you felt loved.

 

Tell your child-to-be how your parents taught you to get along with your brothers and sisters.

 

Tell how you fared at school. Say how your parents treated your friends.

 

Tell your child-to-be how your parents led you to raise him or her. What flaws marred their teaching?

 

Switch roles. Become yourself. Tell your 13-year-old Mom-to-be how your first 13 years compared to hers.

 

Ask how her early years led her to treat you.

[CONTENTS]

LOVE HER

 

Imagine Mom died. If she already died, recall or imagine her funeral.

 

See her coffin closing and think of the hopes, dreams and loves she cherished as a child. See the girl in her closed into the coffin.

 

As you see her buried or her ashes housed or scattered, think of how her life turned out. Consider what she wanted and whether she got it.

 

Finish this: "Mother, I forgive you for ..."

 

Tell her what you appreciate.

 

If true, say, "Mother, I love you."

 

Imagine you and she both 13. Play, frolic, skip, share love.

 

Visit, call or write her (or speak to her spirit). Tell her kindly about finishing your feelings toward her.

[CONTENTS]

RECALL MOM'S MOM AND DAD

 

Picture Mom as a baby held by her mother.

 

Identify with her mother. As Grandma, depict your life, from birth to now. Tell about your parents. How did they show you to raise your daughter?

 

As Grandma, sketch your courtship, marriage and life. Narrate raising your girl. What did you show her about life, relations and child-raising?

 

Role-play Mom's father. As him, describe your parents and how they taught you to rear your daughter.

 

As Grandpa, depict your times and marriage. Portray parenting your girl. What did you show her about life, relations and parenting?

[CONTENTS]

DEAL WITH DAD

 

Notice negative notions and mannerisms you derived from Dad.

 

Remember how his habits hurt you. If you fought them, you became his opposite instead of your real self.

 

If he didn't fully love, satisfy and support Mom and you kids, he embittered, chilled her; made her cold, phony or critical.

 

Did Dad deem your conception a blessing, accident or burden?

 

Did he want you male or female? Want you to do what he didn't?

 

Did he make you meet his standards? Compete with you?

 

If you're female, did he ignore you, teach you males counted more? Did he model men as cold, distant or babyish?

 

Did you and Dad hug, play, talk, listen and love as you wanted? Did he heed only his, Mom's or the other kids' needs and ignore yours?

 

Did he parent or just pay for and police you. Or leave you to Mom?

 

Did he avoid, fear, bully, put down, or humor Mom? Did he grovel? The way he treated her showed you how to act with women. Did he openly hug, kiss, and compliment her?

 

How he treated you and the other kids started your attitudes toward authority. Did he dictate, stifle spontaneity?

 

Did he hit, confine or abuse you, Mom, your brothers or sisters? Did he, with love, help you learn right from wrong?

 

Did he always decide what you'd do together? Or always let you have your way? Or combine guidance and flexibility?

 

Did he cheer and enjoy you and your siblings or judge, mock or just tolerate you.

 

Did he emphasize grades too much? Did he care?

 

Did he see you only when you misbehaved? Did he make you compete with the other kids? Favor you or them?

 

Good provider? Or did he make you beg for money? Did he discuss family finances so you mastered money?

 

Did Dad demand Mom love only him, while he had other women? Was he happy married to Mom?

 

What view of sex did he give? How did he react to your puberty and interest in sex? What did he teach you to expect in relations?

 

Did he overwork? Work poorly? Balance work and play?

 

Did he laugh freely and often?

 

Did he leave or die early, making you deal with a stepdad or Mom's lovers who modeled negative traits for you to adopt or rebel against?

 

Use the same checklist of maladapted mannerisms (pages 4-10) you used for Mom's to mark Dad's. Check each trait of his. Use different colors for each man in charge of you.

 

Write the unhappy side of your history with him.

 

Release your anger toward him.

 

Tell him your withholds.

 

Relate your longing and unmet needs.

 

Tell him how you got his bad traits.

 

Enact a dialogue between you as though you were both 13.

 

Become him. Tell your child (you) how your folks raised you that led you to parent as you did.

 

Compare your 13-year-old lives.

 

Play Dad and tell your child the trouble you had raising him or her.

 

Be you again. Tell Dad what you appreciate.

 

Tell him what you forgive him for.

 

See him buried and feel compassion for him.

 

Tell him you love him.

 

Talk with him in person, if possible.

 

Clear, as you did for Mom and Dad, with each person in charge of you as you grew. Purge your negative feelings toward each.

 

Focus on how Father's folks fashioned him.

[CONTENTS]


IV. INTEGRATE EARLIER INJURY[6]

 

If, as an infant, you didn't feel loved and still hurt from this, you can't fully enjoy life now. You ruin the present trying to get love you didn't get then.

 

Then, to feel loved, you needed Mom and Dad to cuddle you lots. You needed them to lovingly feed you when you wanted (rather than when feed you by schedule). You needed them to protect and play with you. And give you quiet time. Let you grow at your own speed on your own path. To accept you instead of pull or push you into their plan.

 

Your parents hurt you if they interfered with you exploring your body. They hurt you if they wanted you the sex you weren't. They injured you if they disapproved your looks or abilities. They distressed you if they forced you into stereotyped sex role behaviors.

 

Before age 5, you reacted separately to each of your parents' unloving acts and attitudes. But around 5, a specific incident or an accumulation of many unloving acts led you to realize, `They don't love me as I am.' Unbearable agony flooded you. You had to shut it off.

 

So you settled for their approval. You created a false front to get what you could from them.

 

You grew physically, but remained a hurt child within, longing for love Mom or Dad denied you. You defend and repress pain when someone offers you love or hurts you because love or current pain reminds you of your childhood pain.

 

But your real self lives beneath your defenses. It hungers for the unconditional love you craved as a kid. You turn adult relations into ways to get parent-substitutes to hug, feed, protect, befriend and encourage you.

 

But symbolic substitutes leave you starved. You forever missed love as a child.

 

Lower your defenses, feel the pain, drop your unrealistic hope for others' total love. Nourish and love yourself.

[CONTENTS]

PLAY IT AGAIN WITH LOVE

 

Pick a PROBLEM you've carried since childhood, a problem you may've gotten from your parents.

 

Close your eyes, breathe deep, relax. Imagine yourself in an elevator on a floor numbered the same as your age.

 

In the elevator, notice the panel of floor numbers; they stand for years of your life. To find out how you picked up the problem, push button 1, 2, 3, 4 or any other up to 16.

 

The elevator drops and you get younger, smaller. Stop at the story you choose. The elevator opens. Step into the hall.

 

See doors to several rooms. One door bears your name. Behind it lurks the INCIDENT for you to understand so you can end your problem. Open the door and go in.

 

Inside, watch or relive the incident.

 

Notice your breathing and sensations. Feel the emotions you had then. Realize what you'd liked to have expressed. EXPRESS it now.

 

What did you DECIDE as a result of this incident? What'd you gain from this decision?

 

What would you like to do that you didn't do?

 

REDO the scene now THE WAY YOU'D LIKE IT to have been.

 

FORGIVE yourself and the other people involved.

 

What'd you learn? Sum it up; make an AFFIRMATION of what you learned. Each time you say the affirmation, it helps you further heal your hurts.

 

Imagine a future time when you live from what you now affirm instead what you decided earlier.

 

Return to the elevator. Enter it. Push the button corresponding to the floor of your current age in the building of your life. Go up.

[CONTENTS]

UNITE ADULT AND CHILD

 

Imagine yourself a reasonable adult in a safe, private, pretty place free of all bad energy.

 

As ADULT, tell the Brat in you, "I've purged the passion that made you misbehave. So stop blaming Mom and Dad for your immaturity."

 

Tell Brat what you resent and demand of him or her.

 

Play BRAT; respond. Tell Adult with your gripes.

 

Alternate roles between Adult and Brat; air their cares.

 

Imagine white light pours on Brat, changing him to a playful child.

 

As Adult, take Child on your lap. Ask Child to teach you to play.

 

Fantasize playing together.

[CONTENTS]

FREE YOUR PLAYFUL PIXIE

 

With partners, enact excited, friendly, fun-loving five-year-olds. Play ring-around-the-rosies, follow-the-leader, pass-the-apple, hide-and-seek, duck-duck-goose, freeze tag, jump-rope, doctor. Play spontaneously.

[CONTENTS]

PARENT YOURSELF[7]

 

Consider "C," one of your conflicts--one that doesn't involve your real parents.

 

Fantasize a Model Mom, perfect every way. She always adores the babe, child, teen and adult you were and are.

 

She completely loves your fantasy father and reacts always with archetypal maternal wisdom.

 

Be her; tell your traits.

 

Tell your child (you) how you feel toward him or her.

 

Counsel your child how to relate to "C". Hold the child close and let him or her feel your love, absorb your clarity.

 

Resume your own identity and get Mom's gifts.

 

Picture Perfect Pop--wise, warm, fair, protective, encouraging. He adores the child in you and worships your ideal mother.

 

Be him. Describe your qualities. Tell your child how you feel toward him or her.

 

Advise your child on Conflict C. Hold him or her and your ideal wife. Help your model mate convey compassion, strength and understanding to your child.

 

Stop playing Ideal Dad.

 

Picture your Higher Self. See Higher Self as a golden light illuminating you and your ideal parents.

 

Identify with this Higher Self; beam light and love to the ideal parents and their beloved child (you).

 

Be you again and get the love, blessings and wisdom of your ideal parents and Higher Self.

 

This week, deal with Conflict C with the wisdom you've gained from this experience.

 

Invoke your perfect parents and Higher Self when you need encouragement and support.

 

When you heed how the child in you hurts, and invoke your Higher Self and Ideal Parents, you begin to heal physical and emotional pain. Sometimes, however, peeling the layers of pain takes you beyond your postnatal history. Some childhood problems resonate your template of fetal feelings.

[CONTENTS]


V. FATHOM FETAL PHASES[8]

 

Four fetal phases flavor your awareness: floating, compression, labor and birth. When you fully feel and flow through them, you reap purpose, pleasure and repose.

 

Image and experience an unresolved phase, and it stops seducing you to select situations to symbol it. Then you finish all phases. You relax (float), feel limits (compress), struggle against them (labor) and triumph over them (birth).

 

Choose a partner to sit with you while you breathe deeply for three hours.

 

Wear loose, comfortable clothes; avoid skirts or dresses. Take off shoes, watches, bracelets, rings, glasses, contact lenses, earrings, belts, necklaces, bras, false teeth and anything that may interfere with breathing. When you want, your sitter holds, watches, supports, protects, encourages and resists you physically. He or she puts pillows to absorb your kicking and hitting, leads you to the bathroom; brings water, tissue, blanket, basin or towel (to bite) if needed.

 

Close your eyes and relax each body part. Your sitter plays wordless music with a rhythm for deep, rapid breathing (like "Transfer Station Blue", Side 1 [Shrieve, M., Fortuna], "Drums of Passion" [Olatunji, Colombia]).

[CONTENTS]

FLOAT IN THE ROOMY WOMB

 

After a few minutes, your sitter plays blissful music like "Mother Earth's Lullabye" (Sychestra) or" Ice Flowers Melting" (Grey, S., Fortuna).

 

Imagine and experience the first months when you floated in your mother. Relax--safe, comfortable, satisfied, at one with her womb. You and it meet each other's needs.

 

Fantasize yourself tiny again, afloat in fluid. Your head's big as your body. Suck your fingers, rub your cord and genitals. Hear Mom's heart and inner gurgles. Experience her and yourself as one, at peace, part of each other.

 

Feel yourself absorb her attitudes toward herself, Dad and you. Realize how these attitudes affected you.

 

Imagine how you feel if she drinks, smokes, snorts, rages, tenses, sickens, shoots-up, takes abuse, works in noise, tries to abort, almost miscarries; if she feels unhappy, unloved or starved. Fantasize and feel the effects of her coitus, pelvic exams and noise-exposure. Notice if a twin crowds you.

[CONTENTS]

COMPRESS

 

Your sitter puts on heavier music, like "Mars" (Stokowske, L., in Holst: The Planets, Serphim) or Heaven & Hell (Vangelis, P., RCA) to accompany fantasies of compressing in the womb and struggling for birth.

 

Imagine yourself now in the months before labor, when you outgrow the womb. Feel it press you. Now and then it squeezes, almost crushes you. Squeezes scrunch-off food, warmth, contact, oxygen. You feel trapped, lonely, hopeless, helpless, useless, guilty, sad.

 

Then the womb shoves you against the cervix, which opens.

[CONTENTS]

STRUGGLE: LABOR FOR LIFE

 

Feel hope as you imagine Mom opening her cervix and pushing you through her vagina. Learn cooperation; you and Mom work together to push you out. Learn to strive for better conditions.

 

You learn rage, as the canal contracts and crushes you. It puts 100 pounds pressure on each inch of you. Learn power, as you identify with it. It clamps your jaw shut and almost smashes you, specially your skull. You lose warmth and oxygen when the cord loops or catches between your head and Mom's pelvis. You almost suffocate.

 

When, struggling toward birth, you feel strangled, you also feel aroused. Sense Mom's turn-on too as you push through her vagina. Do you link sex and struggle there?

 

Move again through Mom and muzzle her mucous. Feel how this flavors your feelings toward cunnilingus and deep kissing. As you relive labor, slide through blood, urine, feces, fetal liquid. Fathom how this affects your feelings about body waste and membranes.

 

If anesthetic invades labor, smell, feel and taste it again. Realize how it clouds your template of successful struggle. Anesthetic predisposes you, as an adult, to quit too soon and drug yourself with alcohol, cocaine or narcotics. To cure quitting and addiction, relive drugged labor. Then enact finishing it (push against your sitters' hands).

 

Just before Mom delivered you, you stretched her tissues to the extreme. Her nerves and yours all fired, making you both feel aflame. Feel the heat.

[CONTENTS]

EMERGE

 

Feel the pain--so intensely you feel like you physically die--just before your birth. Then relive birth.

 

Gasp for breath, jerk around, lose pressure outside your body. Feel pain in your navel and genitals. Feel Mom deliver you, free you from terrific tension.

 

The sitter now plays triumphant music like "The Mission" (Morricone, E., Virgin) or "Pachebel/Fasch: Canon in D" (Musical Heritage).

 

Feel blood flow to your lungs. They unfolded and take over for the cut cord, trading oxygen and carbon dioxide.

 

Imagine eating and excreting on your own.

 

Let your sitter play sweet, holy music (like "Om Namaha Shivaya" by Gass, R., Spring Hill) and hold, rock and stroke you as though you're a baby.

 

Witness how birth hailed or hurt; return to temperatures, emotions, tastes, touches, sounds, smells, sights and insights at birth. How did you, Mom, and others regard you? Feel them react to you.

 

You hatched happiest if Mom--drug-free, mellow--joyously greeted you. Gentle friends helped; Dad held her and you. You breathed before anyone cut the cord. Helpers bathed you and put you at Mom's breast, next to the heartbeats you'd always heard.[8]

 

You enjoy life less if you felt unwanted by one or both parents. If they created you for love they lacked, you didn't feel treasured for your own being. Maybe they conceived you to hold their marriage together or get them approval. If so, you felt less loved than if they had you to just share love. If they had you to prove themselves adult or to carry on family names, you started life as their tool, rather than just their beloved child.

 

Did you hatch hard? If forceps or accident injured you, if your cord choked you or if you delivered breach or Cesarean, late or prematurely, you imprinted an even worse template of the world.

 

You may have been so overwhelmed with pain you shut down all feeling, chilled and dulled yourself.

 

If Mother herself had a painful birth, she may've started reliving it when she delivered you. She defended against remembering, clamped down in vagina and nearly drowned you in fluid. Little air-tubes in your lungs closed, creating a reflex that later led to asthma.

 

From 1930 to 1970, a doctor likely drugged you and Mom. Using forceps or rubber gloves, he pulled you from the dark, 98-degree canal into a blinding, 72-degree room. Too soon he cut the cord. He beat your bottom while you gasped for air the cord would've given. Nurses cleaned, weighed and displayed you. Mom held you a few minutes, but before you could bond, they stowed you in a box. Dad missed bonding too if the doctor barred him from your birth.

 

If Mom didn't breast-feed or hold you to her bosom while she fed you, she exposed you to disease she could have protected you from with antibodies in her milk. If she left you with a propped-up bottle, she denied you the reassurance of her heartbeat.

 

If she also avoided consistent contact with you or suppressed you, be glad you survived with any sanity.

[CONTENTS]


VI. LEARN FROM LIVES LAPSED[10]

 

Imagine a deeper past: earlier lives. Fantasize prior lives when you suffered the same unhappy traits and body problems that plague you now.

 

Treat the stories your mind makes as real. Just receive them; don't judge or interpret. Even if you don't believe them real, use them to learn how your unconscious works.

 

Express pain, horror, shame. Live all the major turning points of the past-life, including death.

 

Consider if loss, hurt, guilt, grief, bitterness you felt in the past life led you to defend, rationalize and avoid its resonances.

 

Image mirror-opposite lives. If you were enslaved, raped, or murdered, imagine yourself a master, rapist or killer in another. Forgive yourself and your antagonists.

 

Imagine you and your parents taking turns in other lives as each others' parents and spouses. Realize all the things you disliked in them mirrored your history of past lives. Come to peace with yourself and them.

 

To stop a past-life from running you, return to the pictures of it. Imagine your soul detaching from the body it occupied in that life. Then imagine guides helping you understand the lessons that past life held and how to end its ill-influences.

 

Understand the relation between the past life you image and your life now. Once you relive and resolve the prior life, it stops dictating you symbolically play it out.

 

Lie on your back. Breathe deeply; relax. Notice if you have any areas of pain, tension or deadness.

 

Focus on an emotional, body or relation problem, a painful defeat, the part of your personality you find hard to accept or a time in childhood when someone sexually or physically abused you.

 

See a scene, person or image to stand for the abuse, defeat, problem, hurting body part, or subself you described.

 

Talk aloud to that person or image; tell it/him/her how you feel about the situation. Let out your feelings.

 

Choose a few words to sum-up your feeling in the problem, defeat or situation. Examples: "I'm not good enough," "I'll never have enough," "It's my fault," "I'll get them back," "He (or she)'s bound to hurt (or leave or betray) me,"I deserve suffering," "No one could love me," "I won't risk my feelings."

 

Keep saying your sum-up sentence till it takes you back to a story of a prior life.

 

See the main turning points of the prior life.

 

Let your feelings out. (If you were raped, fully feel and express your emotions (yell, scream, sob), thoughts, and genital feelings before, during and after.)

 

If you get darkness, or no images, that means you died. Replay the story, just before it darkens.

 

Relive your death, moving your body as you did dying.

 

Say your last words and thoughts till your heartbeats stop.

 

Forgive yourself and any whom you resented.

 

Separate from the body and suffering of the person who died and identify with that person's soul. Float peacefully toward a light. On the way, reunite with loved ones who died before you.

 

Encounter the karma committee and guide. Hear them review the lessons you learned in the life you just relived. Let them show you the meaning of your experiences.

 

Hear them give you reminder sentences to pass on these lessons to your current life.

 

Compare the themes of the life story you explored with the themes of your present life.

 

So you peeled the onion of self, moving back through time, to make your past pain today's gain. Using the exercises in this book, repeating and deepening them where needed, cleanses you of needs to recreate scenes like those that hurt you before. You've learned to release repression of yesterday and yesteryear, pain of parturition and past lives.

[CONTENTS]


FOOTNOTES

1. Adapted from Schiffman, M., "Gestalt Self-Therapy", Menlo Park: Self-Therapy Press, 1971, pages 28-30.

2. Based on Tobin, S., "Saying Goodbye in Gestalt Therapy" in Banet, A., (ed.), "Creative Psychotherapy", La Jolla: University Associates, 1976.

3. Based on Janov, Arthur, "The Primal Scream: Primal Therapy, The Cure For Neurosis", New York: Putnam's Sons, 1970.

4. Based on Hoffman, B., "Getting Divorced From Mother and Dad", New York: Dutton, 1976.

5. For simplicity, I call all adults in charge of you "parents."

6. Based on Janov, A., "The Feeling Child", 1973, New York: Simon and Schuster.

7. Inspired by Huxley, L., "Recipes for Living Between Heaven and Earth", 1975, New York: Avon, pages 160-165.

8. Adapted from Grof, S.," Realms of the Unconscious: Observations from LSD Research": Dutton, 1976; LSD Psychotherapy, Pomona: Hunter House, 1980; "Beyond The Brain: Birth, Death and Transcendence in Psychotherapy", Albany: State University of New York Press, 1985 and "The Adventure of Self-Discovery: Dimensions of Consciousness and New Perspectives in Psychotherapy and Inner Exploration"; Albany: State University of New York Press, 1988. Grof's system doesn't direct image-content, whereas the exercise above evokes fetal fantasies.

 

If you have a history of asthma, heart problems, hypertension, brain hemorrhage or tendency to psychosis or if you're pregnant or have unhealed surgical wounds, skip the breathing exercise described in this section.

9. Based on Janov, A., "The Feeling Child", 1973, New York: Simon and Schuster.

10. Based on Grof, S., "The Adventure of Self-Discovery", Albany: State University of New York Press, 1988; Woolger, R.," Other Lives, Other Selves", New York: Doubleday, 1987 and what I've seen.

 


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