Integration of the Force, the Body and the Spaciousness

Copyright 2014: compassionate self-care publications

BB: Can I ask a question? You speak of a volcanic explosion, fire – all of these very dramatic kinds of words, and in my thoughts today, I was thinking that seems so related to a kind of therapy that speaks of primal screaming and so forth, and yet, what you are talking about is very different than that. I wonder if you’d speak to that?

Stephen: I will and it’s a very good question. It’s important to understand that one of the reasons why I speak like that is to draw a very sharp contrast in a poetic, expressive, teaching sense, so that something can be understood. All of us are mired to one degree or another, almost asphyxiated, by a system of belief, by a system of thought which has made things look a certain way. So, I come here and we sit and I paint another picture. I describe these forces, volcanic, fiery forces that are trying to up rise and explode in the human frame. There’s a contrast all by itself in the picture, that thought has been used to create its domain and the picture that’s being presented here. I do describe a force, a spaciousness, the body and then, what one might call an interference, that which is living in the hollow of the body.

The ultimate movement of emotional self-care is not to get anywhere or to have any particular experience, but to continually open the attention to what is, as it is, in absolute respect, and to follow the movement from there, the direction that’s being given. It’s also true that the process of emotional self-care is a process in which we don’t seek mystical experiences, that is, out of body experiences, but we let something occur in the surrender which is distinctly related to the human body and our being here in this life, in this time, in this space.

It is the relationship between space, force and body which forms the triad of our emotional self care. There is an explosion and it is not that we are seeking some kind of wild, demented, outlandish behavior in relationship to this explosion. Actually, quite the opposite, we are seeking an integration, a real integration of the force, the fire, the body and the spaciousness. That integration, in which the explosion occurs within the grounded, available, physical frame and gives rise to creativity, intimacy, bliss, embrace, energy, happiness – all because of the integrated relationship and not because of some chaotic relationship.

A person may never recognize it as a fiery volcano, if the process remains integrated. They may feel it as love itself. They may feel it as an increasing sense of harmony, clarity, creativity, a sense of intuitive rightness about their direction; they may feel it as guidance. They may also feel it as the swirling urge to dance, but all of that is based on the individual qualities of this human body. Nonetheless, there is a force waiting to explode, but because of the body and the very definite contours and confines of the body, the explosion takes place within the integrated circuitry, the available circuitry of our particular frame and will always be expressed in relationship to our tonality. But it will also be a surrender to something greater than ourselves within the context of our human apparatus.

The word explosion is an important word here, because it signifies something entering into space. The beauty of the volcano is that to some degree its force is focused by, is given an individual character by the shape and quality of the mountain through which it is passing. But at the creative side of the volcano, where it explodes, it is a movement into an undifferentiated space. When I speak of the volcano, the metaphor is definitely oriented toward fire that is energy passing through a particular container, being molded by that container, and then the expression from that container to a less defined region that we might call spaciousness, openness. Therefore it becomes a beautiful metaphor. Because, although the volcano is powerful, in some very real way, its power comes from the limits of its conducting vessel, and not from chaos, – but from the fact that something fiery and vast is being moved into a limit and being affected by that limit.

Here is exactly the human body. It’s a limit. It’s a passageway. It’s a vessel. It’s an open space and there is a vast energetic movement to which it has access. Depending upon the qualities of the passageway, that vast, energetic movement takes on particular forms and definitions and contours that it can’t take, if the particularity or the peculiarity of that form weren’t there.

So the question is a great one, because it points to another understanding in this emotional self-care process, which is our work is towards grounded integration of all of the forces, – not psychological release, not catharsis – but relationship and intimacy with life, no matter what form that intimacy takes. It isn’t about catharsis. It’s about observation and participation and integration. But I draw the initial picture, because something has to be stressed by something else, in order for there to be some kind of an awakened moment, an awakened observation.

On the other hand, when a person gets angry, when a person feels passion, you can feel the immensity of the force back there: restlessness, irritation, wanting something, but not knowing what you want. You can feel the force back there and how strong it is. There is a significant difference between the containment of definition, the containment of fantasy and the art of the containment of the hollow form – very, very different. One is an inhibition and the other is a challenge, if you will. The way this moves through something, that has a particular quality to it, so that the energy that expresses it shares that quality. Each body is completely unique and has unique capacity for giving, as well as for receiving. It is this that we are working with. It is this that we are working with here.

Copyright 1993: Estate of Stephen Robbins Schwartz


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