I have had one Pilates class, and have my third one on one session tomorrow.My feet and hands are not hurting as much, and I find I am sitting straighter during prayer (I put the ball in the small of my back) -- I don't know if that makes me more available to God?! but I really feel I am onto something good.I love the way my mind has to get out of the way in order to do the exercises and how the goal is to be centered.I feel God is using these exercises and this lovely young woman (who prays before the sessions) to strengthen the core of me, in more ways than one. I just wanted to share my gratitude.
Good for you, bdb! How wonderful that you've found pilates to help you physically and spiritually. Since we're both spirit and matter, we need to take care of each for the sake of the other.
I like dance aerobics and have recently mixed that in with a little weight-lifting. I need to build up my bones a bit, and I enjoy feeling like can actually lift my groceries without huffing and puffing like I'm dying! It's so much better when the body is in better condition, that's for sure. When I remember, I ask the Father to bless my work-out each time before I begin, calling to mind why I'm committing my time and energy to this. How unusual to have a pilates instructor who prays for you. Good move, good going!
BTW, some research on depression shows that exercise can be as beneficial as anti-depressant medications. Don't have the references off hand, but I'm sure I read that.
I am so glad you replied -- I was thinking of you, because of the way the Lord uses you in His healing work. It is hard to describe what a breakthrough this is for me.I am used to walking hard,straight up the hills with my big dog, using my body to work out my frustrations, and I will still do that, but being careful of how my body is handling the stress, and doing exercises so that the body is integrated into my spiritual growth.I want to be rooted in Christ physically too.All I wanted was relief from plantar fasciatis and God is giving me a way to strengthen the core of me.I am using a book by Eric Franklin called Relax your neck, Liberate your shoulders, with lots of ways to visualize stress relief.This is kataphatic prayer of course, and it gives me a gateway to stillness and being.I am so delighted.I came home tonight thinking Christ is beyond belief, gives more than I could ever hope for or visualize.Of course,it is only three weeks...but I am wearing shoes with arch support but with no orthodics (spelling?) to work, something I haven't been able to do for years.
I wasn't familiar with "Pilates" (yes, where have you been, Phil?) so I looked it up. Very interesting! Keep us posed on how it goes, bdb.
Like Shasha, I do some weight-lifting each week, which is supposed to help with bone density. I also walk at least one mile a day, and do some gentle stretches in the morning (nothing one could call a yoga routine). I do find that physical activity helps to clear the mind and increase stamina.
I take this post from another thread on yoga.
I was startled by this saying of W.C. on still another thread on energetic systems: http://shalomplace.org/eve/for.../18910625/m/13610606
"I did a lot of Qigong and Yoga early on, and this only aggravated the woundedness which needed relational presence beyond technique".
I feel is very to the point in my case, because my practice of yoga 2 times every day still increases the pain in my body (abdomen, chest, neck,...)! As the Pesso therapist in my first session said, I have to close down more than to open myself, which means that it is better not to confront myself time and again with this pain (as in Primal therapy?) but to look for distraction by doing things I like. I find yoga in itself beautiful and even esthetic, but it opens things I cannot handle at the moment. W.C. is (as always) very to the point in saying that relational presence is needed as in this Pesso therapy. So I stop this yoga for the time being.
Pesso is (like other therapies) about (5) basic needs, that are fulfilled or not. In my case, it is obvious that there is something 'wrong' with boundaries and restriction. A pattern of all or none, a bottomless well, perfectionism...
At the background is a deep feeling of insecurity and fear.
I now am sure that all this can only properly be dealt with in a relational (therapeutic, friendship, love, Jesus, Mary) context.
I think that because the source of most of our problems is our relationship with our parents, who weren't perfect (how could they be?) and often didn't do their job as they should, our healing also comes through relationship. I think that God can heal us in an instant if he wants to, but he rather lets us experience the whole process of healing, which isn't always quick or easy. I noticed that, even though relationship with God and with Virgin Mary sustains me, heals me and gives me a lot of support, it isn't necessarily as therapeutic as a relationship with a therapist. Maybe it's because those people whose acceptance we lack are humans (our parents), God's acceptance is not always enough to heal us. Also our friends and life partners accept us, but often they have their own problems with that, and their acceptance isn't enough. Therapeutic relationship should be based on acceptance to such degree as to undo our previous experiences, where we had to be this or that to be loved.
I noticed that while I'm resting in God's love, I don't do those things I usually do - try to be this or that, try to please etc. God's love works like that. Sometimes it brings to the surface all the pain of not being loved, since we encounter absolute, true love. But i can't simply transfer this experience of being loved to the relationships with people, since they're not God. That's why simple experience of God's love, even though it's transforming and sanctifying, might not be enough to heal our emotional wounds.
I remember those few days month ago, when I was receiving a vision of Jesus eyes looking at me. He was looking with unimaginable love, but I noticed that this is not human love - it was more than human. This love was seeing everything in me, not judging, but it couldn't have been bargained with, or compromised. Total love. I was deeply transforming just to look into Jesus' eyes, because I knew that he knows everything about me, and loves me without expectations, but I remember that I thought that no-one I know can look like that, can love like that. For the love I saw in His eyes I surrendered my whole life. But my wounds didn't heal just because I saw this love in His eyes. And after this visions were gone, He started to show me His wounds, like He'd like to say: "I also was wounded, and through my wounds you'll be healed". Healed when? I don't know. Maybe not in this life. But I like what Phil wrote somewhere, that just being in the presence of such Love has to change us somehow. However, many saints carried their wounds until death, and many people experience only aridity in their faith.
Perhaps, "Pilates" isn't the right thread for those kinds of reflections... Maybe we start a thread on wounds or suffering, and transfer these posts there?
Thanks for sharing this message!
Yes, I would like to start this thread on sin, wounds, bonds, suffering, although I have been writing on it in the past.
Now, I want to share with you all what happened yesterday. I was again in great confusion in my mind because of all those different directions and approaches in spirituality and psychology annex therapy. The Pesso therapist wrote me that sometimes he advices some body work apart from the therapeutical relation, in order to integrate this in the Pesso therapy. I didn' t knwo where I had it! Was pesso then not enough? I have already tried all those things (body work, rebirthing, reiki, breath therapy, bach flowers, homeopathy, yoga, bio-energetics, shiatsu...), although I admit it was more kind of shopping and never a long term therapy!
So in all my confusion and pain I searched for yet another osteopath in the place where I live. I had a talk with this guy and because he thought he couldn't help me, he honestly directed me to another therapist. I read about part (!) of her work (group and individual) and was confronted by words like: active Osho meditation, kundalini, vipassana, chakra breathing, nataraj (?), gourishankar (?)...
I know that most of you (certainly Phil himself) on this forum are Christian inclusivists.
"The majority of the 'great religions' which have sought union with God in prayer have also pointed out ways to achieve it. Just as the Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions, neither should these ways be rejected out of hand simply because they are not Christian. On the contrary, one can take from them what is useful so long as the Christian conception of prayer, its logic and requirements are never obscured. It is within the context of all of this that these bits and pieces should be taken up and expressed anew…" - Excerpt from "Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on some aspects of Christian Meditation" by Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)
I know that great men like B. Griffiths, Lassalle, Le Saux, Déchanet integrated wisdom of other traditions in their Christian faith, but I guess I am still contaminated by my rather fundamentalistic background (but aslo by contacts with New Age and even occult people) and therefore troubled by some things.
While reading some of Shasha's posts and information on the books she mentions, I was fascinated by the stories of so many people coming out of New Age and all sorts of false teachings. So, I am quite concerned about being involved in yet another trap!
To which point alternative therapy is sound and where does New Age or even occultism creep in? This question of inclusivism and exclusivism is after all not an easy matter, I think.
Some further suggestion?
Fred, I think it's fairly common sense. Some teachers and therapists give you some exercises in postures, movements and breathing that help the energies flow more smoothely. And they do it without adding conceptions and beliefs from New Age or Eastern religions. For me it's the safest and easiest way to integrate those into my Christian life. I practice yoga, but we don't use mantras (only AUM at the beginning), chakras, and certainly no New Age underlying agenda. Iyengar's yoga is rather traditional and not newagey at all, also kinda "scientific". I'm sure you can find such forms of body-work where there's little or no occultism and New Age.
I also think it's better when we do one thing at the time: I'm not sure if mixing Osho, kundalini, devotional hinduism (Guru Shankar, Nataraj...), breathing exercises and probably some other beliefs underlying the whole program is necessary for working with our body.
Ken Wilber who tries to "get integral", emphasizes that we need to "specialize" as much as possible - if you want to work with physical body, says Wilber, go to the gym, if with the energetic body, go to Tai-Chi, Qi-Gong, whatever, but one thing at a time - Tai-Chi mixed with weight-lifting and Zen meditation, at the same time, might not be such a good thing... It's really good to know exactly what we're doing at the moment, isn't it?
(of course, I don't know this therapist that was recommended to you, so my remarks might not be related to her at all - they're more general)
Thanks for your post.
As I said I stopped practicing yoga again, because my pain still increased. The relational setting in dealing with my issues is important, as you said yourself in your earlier post.
I don't know either yet how this therapist works. It's only, I have read things by Osho and though he says good things, in general I didn't like this guy Bhagwan. I notice you have no problems at all with all the approaches you are naming as I probably still have. I think there is still a strong inner resistance or fear because of my background as JW, evangelical, penetcostal. Maybe it is one of my root problems. In contrast this excellent man:
That being said, I don't really know yet what kind of approach is appropriate in my case: body, emotional, energetic, mental,...?
Primal integration opens up, while this Pesso therapist adviced me to close in (because of my problems with boundaries!). I think he is right.
Today less pain (because I didn't practice yoga?)!
I've copied our discussion to the new thread: "Within Your Wounds, Hide Me" in Christian Spirituality Issues.
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