Reverse Therapy

Bodymind healing and awareness

How the body thinks

                                                                                                                       

Reverse Therapy is part of a movement, bringing together neurology, the psychology of emotion, information science and therapy, in which are revising the very idea of what it means to be intelligent. We are showing that intelligence doesn’t show up very much in the head – but much more so in the body.

In a way we are only redressing a wrong turn that was taken with Descartes and other seventeenth century writers who argued that only Headmind, or ‘Reason’, can think. Intelligence, for most philosophers and scientists, means thinking logically, scientifically and rationally. A disembodied mind that deduces the cause of something and predicts what will happen next – and can decide on the right or wrong way to do something. Even funnier than this, some writers think that only Reason can decide between good and evil, right and wrong. Try asking a computer if it is better to risk your own life for the sake of a child!                                                                                                                                                 

Our new take on intelligence is something like this:   An intelligent response occurs when a) one piece of information is translated into something else b) the information is evaluated c) a response is emitted d) the results are evaluated e) information about the result is stored f) learning takes place.

A single-cell organism like an amoeba can do a), b) and c) when it changes the direction it swims in according to the amount of protein that is available to it. But it can’t do d), e) and f) because it doesn’t have a body (more than one cell) or a brain. But a dolphin, for example, can do all of these. Plus – like most human beings it can also do g) communicate what it has learnt to other people.

The evaluation bit takes place because mammals are capable of having emotions, unlike computers. It is Bodymind that does the evaluation – deciding whether something is important/not-important, good/bad or right/wrong. And this is why, in many respects, Bodymind is more intelligent than Headmind.

Bodymind translates what it senses into energy, into emotion, into passion and into alarm signals of various kinds.  Here are some examples of the way in which Bodymind ‘thinks’. 

• The body can ‘read’ other people and simulate an emotion that person is having so that you or I can empathize with them. In that way a mother can quickly tell what mood her child is in. This is also the basis for the human quality of compassion for others, even animals. Our intuitions about other people work in a similar way. Using sensory information, the brain picks up signals from the other person’s body language and – using a process that works in less than a tenth of a second – pattern-matches those signals against information stored from past experiences. That is why we can have a gut feeling that someone is not trustworthy within two minutes of meeting her without knowing why. The body is using coded signals to alert us to a potential problem.

• In collaboration with the thinking centers the brain can decide what is important or not important. If something is important to us we might get an adrenalin rush. If it is not we will feel nothing at all. Research into people with damage to the frontal areas of the brain (which decode emotion) show that they are unable to make decisions because they don’t have a good or bad feeling that tells them the right decision to make. Knowing what is important also helps Bodymind conserve energy. We can go without sleep if we are trying to achieve something really important. Conversely, if there is little for us to do, Bodymind can send us to sleep early. Or it could turn on the emotion of boredom to signal that it’s time to do something more interesting.

• The body can strengthen a relationship by creating emotions connected to love. Sometimes this is automatic, as when a a child is born. Sometimes it comes with time as we learn more about the other person. The emotions of love are, as almost all of us know, powerful and sometimes overwhelming.

• The brain uses sleep time to organize memories from the day just gone. It stores what is important and deletes the rest. It also creates dreaming states in order to work through the emotions that come with different experiences. This is one reason why insomniacs have poor concentration – they are overloaded with undigested experiences.

• Bodymind grounds us to life. It does this firstly through our moods. At any given moment the body is monitoring where we are, who we are with and what we are doing, and providing us with a running commentary on our relationship with the environment. Moods aren’t emotions but they are feeling states which work closely with our thoughts. The most well-known mood is the depressed state, which goes with discouragement and sadness. But others include exhilaration, calm, determination, discontent and the feeling of being ‘under pressure’. Most often, moods are hardly noticeable and form a kind of background hum which is constantly shifting as we go through the flow of the day. 

• Another way the body grounds us to life is through the sense of awe: we are connected to nature, to the divine, and to life itself by the unspeakable sense that we are serving a purpose higher than ourselves. In that way Bodymind intelligently motivates us to make the best we can of our abilities and to serve others.

August 21, 2007 Posted by | Computers, Consciousness, Descartes, Emotions, Empathy, Headmind, Intelligence, Neurology, Passion, Reverse Therapy, Thinking, Thought | Leave a comment

Death? No worries.

When I was a child Death terrified me. When the elderly next-door neighbor who used to give me sweets died I asked my father what had happened to her. Reluctantly he mumbled that she had gone and wouldn’t be coming back.

‘Well, where is she now?”.

‘Up there’ he said, his finger pointing to the ceiling.

Even at six years old I was smart enough to realise that living in the clouds couldn’t be much fun. So I persisted with the interrogation.

‘Does everyone die, Daddy?’.

‘Yes – everyone. Everyone.’

From then, for quite a few years, I thought about it a lot. How could people just vanish? It seemed ridiculous. I would walk home from school and look at all the grave-stones in the cemetery. Here so-and-so had died in 1887. There a child had died in 1909. Over there, her grave surmounted by a huge, sorrowing angel, someone else had gone in 1956 – the year I was born. Once they had lived and breathed and loved – now nothing.

I mention this experience because it sums up the common dread of death: that we shall be nothing at all at some point in the future.

Let us leave aside whether or not there is an after-life. As it happens I believe there is an after-life, although not the one some people imagine, where we carry on as somehow the same person. But that is irrelevant. Because even the after-life, too, will have to come to an end at some point in the future. And then we – that is the person we are now – will most definitely come to an end

This problem is in fact entirely created by Headmind and the Ego. The worry is that this unique, ‘special’, person that I am will cease to be. That the world should not and must not continue without me.

The cemeteries are full of indispensable people – many of whom got there earlier than they needed to by trying to prove that the world could not do without them.

The solution lies in grasping that our terror of death only exists through a hallucination. The fiction is that we will go from life to death, from something to nothingness.

But when we are truly alive – right now – we know that we are a part of everything and that something lives through us that can never die. You can call that God, or the Divine, or Spirit but those are only names. You have to experience it to know it. And you experience it in moments of love, joy, awe, ecstasy and excitement.

Here are some examples from my own experience:

  • Watching my children being born
  • Kindness from a friend when I was at my lowest ebb
  • Diving off the rocks into the Aegean sea at sunset
  • Looking at Giotto’s paintings of the life of Christ in Padua
  • Realising that Reverse Therapy was ‘my mission’
  • Watching a healer at work in Brazil

In such experiences we know – through Bodymind – that something very powerful works in, and for, and through, us. And that something never dies. Only Headmind, and the ego, dies.

‘Nothing burns in hell except self-will.’

Theologia Germanica

June 15, 2007 Posted by | Anxiety, Bodymind, Consciousness, Headmind, Reverse Therapy | Leave a comment