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Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use [Droll Dedekind]


Droll Dedekind - 2014-02-12 22:43:37 - Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use, by Jack Willis

The methods here were first developed by Wilhelm Reich and then added to by various practitioners including the author. Since Reich did not leave any detailed description of his technique, it is not possible to say with confidence which of the exercises presented are directly those used by Reich and which were added by other practitioners. The author was taught the therapy by Francis Regardie who practiced this therapy for over three decades. The author has been practicing the therapy for three and one half decades and thus this presentation bears the signature of over sixty five years of experience.
...
The power of this Reichian work is that it will change you as a person. Your very being will be different. Donít concern yourself with emotions during the body work. If they arise, that is fine. If they do not arise, that is also fine. The beauty of the Reichian work is that done properly it will do its job, not because of you but despite you. This is something to keep upper most in your mind: do the Reichian work and give yourself permission to change. This is not the world of instant reward.
...
So it is with this work of self-improvement. The work itself can produce all sorts of body shaking, feelings of electric currents or tingling, feelings of lightness or heaviness, feelings of a part of your body being relaxed or tense, feelings of your chest being open or closed, strange tastes or smells, feelings of parts of your body being dead or ultra sensitive; all these things can and likely will happen and all are acceptable and correct. But like muscle tiredness at the end of strength training, the real growth, the real change will happen while you sleep.
...
Also, as you change you will probably not be aware of it. When I say that character is the basic way you are in the world; that is what I mean. When your basic nature changes, you will generally not be aware of the change because it is simply the ëyouí that is different. People around you will be aware of the change. And you will often see the change when you do something and then afterwards realize that you didnít do it that way before. This is the secret magic of this work.


I find that Reichian therapy is a wonderful adjunct to meditation.The breathing exercises alone have removed an astounding amount of tension in my body. Fans of Christopher Hyatt's Undoing Yourself with Energized Meditation and Other Devices will be interested to learn that Hyatt's book was partially ghost written by Jack Willis. (More info on that here http://duncantrussell.com/forum/discussion/comment/193525 )

If you're a struggling Dark Night Yogi, working with your "stuff", trying to remove bodily tensions, or you'd just like to test out the only Western yoga-like practice I can't recommend it enough.

The exercises are simple, but powerful. Here are some testimonies 

http://www.reddit.com/r/occult/comments/1wlt8n/undoing_yourself_with_energized_meditation_and/
http://www.amazon.com/Reichian-Therapy-The-Technique-Home/product-reviews/1442137800

Here's Dr. Hyatt with some demonstrations

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tfDscBUpro
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2J3beCXtEhw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dAibJBQSZE

In Dr. Hyatt's book he gives the exercises in three sets. Here's the first set for those who'd like to try but can't obtain the book
These exercises are considered more reckless than those given in the Willis book.

METHOD I
Step 1. Sit or lie down. Make Faces ~ Stretch all the muscles in the face. Open your mouth as wide as you can, move the jaw from side to side. At the same time open your eyes as wide as you can. Move your eyes up and down and from side to side. This will begin to destroy tension, thereby destroying uncontrolled and extraneous thoughts generated by this area. Make many different faces. Do this for about 2-3 minutes. (A word of caution: While in the end these exercizes are meant to reduce and eliminate certain thought patterns, some might find an increase of new thoughts from previously "Hidden" places of the mind. If this is the case don't be concerned, since this will be a fine way to perform "mental house cleaning.")
Step II. Hum and Chatter ó Hum from the depths of your voice box. Use OM or just MMMM. Do this for 1-2 minutes. Now using your tongue, chatter ó DA DA ó BA BA BA. Stick out your jaw as far as you can and continue humming and chattering. Do this for 2-3 minutes.
Step III. Shoulders to Ears ó Pull your shoulders up as if you were trying to reach your ears. When they start feeling tired, drop them as low as you can. Repeat this 3 times in 2-3 minute intervals.
Step IV. Nose Breathing ó With your mouth closed take in a deep breath inflating your chest and pulling your stomach up. Be sure to pull the belly in. Hold for a 7 count and then just let the chest fall and the belly relax. Repeat this 10-20 times. Be sure to allow an additional 7 count to elapse before your next inhalation.
Step V. Turn Head ó Now bring your attention to your head and turn it from side to side as far as you can. Repeat for 2-3 minutes.
Step VI. Leg Stretch ó Lying down on your back, hold your legs about 4 inches off the ground and stretch outward. Hold this as long as you can then let them drop. Repeat this 2-3 times.
Step VII. Quick Breath ó With your mouth slightly open breathe rapidly, sighing as you exhale. Do this for 2-3 minutes.

Now lie down and sense and feel your body, for about 10 minutes. Note every sensation you feel. Now assume a meditative position of your choice making sure that: (1) Your eye lids are not tightly closed, but simply relaxed. (2) That your jaw is relaxed and not tense. Make sure of this by trying to stick out your tongue; if you have to lower your jaw, it was too tightly held. Check your forehead making sure it is not wrinkled. Once you are relaxed, either concentrate on your mantra or point of focus. For those students who do not have a mantra or point, we suggest Dr. Regardie's Mantram tape or simply OOOOOO-OOMMMMMMM. For students who wish or require specific images or points of focus, please feel free to contact us.
(3) Finally make sure your throat is not blocked by holding your head in the wrong position. Make sure it is straight. In order to reduce thoughts, keep the eyes relaxed and still, with your tongue touching the roof of your mouth. Do not move the larynx and again be sure that your jaw is relaxed. Meditate before eating, or wait for 2-3 hours after eating a heavy meal. It is also best if the bladder and bowels have been emptied before you start your work.


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Ashwin R - 2014-03-25 02:00:53 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

Hi,
 In the last few months I've read a couple of Alexander Lowen's Books and contemplated going to a bioenergetic therapist ñ but haven't yet. 

Thanks for posting that link. I researched the author, went through the linked pages and read the reviews. (checked out command z, undoing, christopher hyatt etc. -- interesting stuff to say the least). 

While reading the book you posted I came across the page where Jack advises to practice the breathing exercise for about 12 months before moving on to the actual exercises. That seems like a long time. Is this what you are doing? 

I have a lot of tension and tightness in my body. I have a lot of psycho somatic issues ñ and besides Vipassana or I should say with Vipassana I was thinking maybe a body based therapy would be a good idea. 

The testimonials are definitely powerful. Could you share more about your experience with these exercises ñ how long you've practiced and besides letting go of the tension what else have you experienced? 

Thanks!

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Droll Dedekind - 2014-03-25 15:58:30 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

Hi,
Then, when you have read all of it, come back to this chapter and read for understanding (but not memorization) this and the next chapter and start the breathing work. After a few months just with the breathing work, when you have some degree of mastery of the proper breathing cycle, then start the work in Chapter 11 on the forehead and eyes. You now have all you really need for the next, letís say, twelve months.


It's both Hyatt's and Command Z's opinion that Willis' pace is overly cautious. That said, I only do the basic breathing exercises, eye/forehead exercises, and some of the neck/shoulder exercises. I plan to continue with the basics until I notice a marked reduction of tension in whatever area, or I hit the 12 months mark. 

I'd say pick your pace preference. If you are fairly sure you're dealing with some serious repression, lean towards the Willis pace. If you're the kind of person that (to borrow from Daniel) would take psychedelics in public, then lean towards Hyatt's more flexible pacing (and pick up Energized Meditation for his similar exercises [Warning: If you're unstable or don't care to be, don't read it]).

I've only been at the work for a couple months now, but I'll share my experiences. In general I feel less tense throughout the day, I'm more able and willing to express myself, and I have increased bodily awareness.  During the work I've yet to have a clear and dramatic catharsis. But, I have had bizarre emotions and energetic phenomena pop up. I've experienced: unprovoked frustration, the giggles, feeling like I'm about to cry, feeling my throat constricted like I'm fighting back tears, and feeling static-like energy all over my body (especially in the arms, for some reason).

Also, my breathing has gone from paradoxical, heavily using the accessory muscles (esp. in the neck), to almost proper with slightly less use of the accessory muscles. My concentration practice has become much easier now that my neck isn't stiff with tension after 10 minutes of focusing on the breath.

If you have any experiences to share I'm interested to hear them. 

Hope this helps.

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Ashwin R - 2014-03-25 17:32:43 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

Hi and thanks for the reply. 

I hope to read through the first few chapters again and then start the breathing exercises. I'll go with Willis' pace for the moment and see how I do on it. 

In the process, I also want to impress on myself that this is long term work ñ as I have had problems sticking to one thing. 

Interesting what you've experienced ñ I bet I will some of the same. I'll keep you updated on how it goes for me.

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Droll Dedekind - 2014-03-28 03:18:31 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

I thought to give you an update.

I discovered a remarkable amount of tension in my lower back and pelvis region doing one of Hyatt's exercises. Later that night I tried some of Willis' pelvis exercises and I started to feel my lower back twitching, a pulsing energy around my sacrum bone, and general strange energetic sensations around my tailbone. If the idea of chakras has any merit, then it seems my root or sacral chakra is becoming active

Shortly after reading your reply I fell asleep and dreamed that Dr. Hyatt injected me with an ostensible sedative. It become apparent that the drug was intended to put me into a suggestible state so that he could Undo me manually by removing false beliefs and emotional repression. As my consciousness faded I accepted the Undoing with little reluctance

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Rob Njosnavelin - 2014-03-29 22:54:52 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

I've been an occasional lurker on this site for a few years now and this seems like an apt place for my first post.

First off - this book and its technique is a real cracker.

I first came across CS Hyatt's Undoing YourSelf with Energized Meditation almost a decade ago now, and the techniques in it (a hodge-podge of some of the stuff in Wills' book) were my first real kick-start into any kind of practice. When I started out, I'd explored a little hatha yoga and basic zen meditation, but I was pretty screwed up - super-high levels of depression and quite high levels of anxiety. I'd noticed a few months of yoga and meditation had helped a little in that arena, but employing the Reichian techniques was a totally different story.

I practised dilligently, and over the course of the next year I oscillated between phases of extreme bliss and extreme depression/guilt/anxiety (whereas before it was a fairly steady state of depression). It felt like the exercises were doing me good overall so I persisted. Eventually this oscillation calmed down, and I noticed that my anxiety had dropped to very very low levels (and still are to this day, to the point where people frequently comment on how 'chilled out' and 'easy going' I am), and my depression had dropped to low levels (still there today). Along with the exercises I was continuing with a regular meditation practice as well which probably helped balance the whole process.

So CS Hyatt's deranged and wild book and reckless throwing forth of extremely powerful techniques had eventually restored a modicum of sanity to my young mind.

I slowed down with that particular practice for a couple of years, continuing with meditation, but spending a couple of years exploring chi gung and other body-based techniques, discovered some more-interesting-than-average meditation instructors (people like Daniel, and Shinzen Young, among others) did a couple of retreats (a 10-day goenka, a 30-day mahasi), but eventually discovered that Jack Willis book and dove back into committed exploration.

A friend and I started going through the Willis book together, and found his articulation of the system to be far more meticulous and precise than Hyatt's. Hyatt still has some unique things to offer, some of his dvds are good (and he's a pretty hillarious character as far as anti-gurus go), but Droll is right in saying that Hyatt's approach is a bit more... unbalanced - but he does have some unique insights. And his book "Secrets of Western Tantra" is an interesting example of combining this system with Chakra-work and Western Occultism, while his "Energized Hypnosis" is another interesting example of combining the system with Hypnosis.

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Rob Njosnavelin - 2014-03-29 22:59:31 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

Willis book is the real deal. Its very different from Lowen's stuff (which I almost find to be more useful as a warmup for the heavy-hitting hour-long breathing sessions), and indeed from anything else I've encountered. The effects are utterly incomparable to chi-gung, or yoga, or any other body-based practice I've experimented with. One probably would not want do a solid 10-day retreat of this kind of bodywork, 2-3 hours a week of it really is plenty. And having some kind of meditation practice to support it is a really good idea, and also I find it to have massively beneficial side effects on my meditation practice - such as vastly deepened body-awareness, the ability to sit for long periods of time with much greater ease, among other things.

I still find it to be heavy-duty psychotherapy. I very recently went through some extremely traumatic experiences that years ago might have left me a train wreck for months and months ñ since then I've done about 4 reichian sessions (and a whole lot of meditation which has also helped), and the whole thing now seems like a well-integrated memory that I've grown immensely from. The reichian stuff is like a wrecking ball ñ I find it smashes up emotional bundles ñ right to their core- that might otherwise grow into undesirable character traits.

Hmm, a wrecking ball is a good metaphor. Its certainly not a happy easy shortcut to emotional balance, indeed I find it often makes me feel worse before my subconscious processes and integrates things. Usually this takes a couple of days (there's a very good reason why willis suggests at least 48 hours between sessions).

And the sessions can be frickin hard work. I often feel slightly daunted before embarking on one ñ almost similar to diving into a cold ocean, you know you're going to feel so much more alive in a very unique way as a result of doing so, but you also know its going to be a bit of a shock to the system. Developing skill at the techniques is challenging too, and not at all a linear progression.

During a session (or the sense and feel (mindfulness) period afterwards), emotional catharses are not entirely uncommon. Unusual ìenergeticî sensations, tinglings, flows, shards of bliss up the spine etc also happen. Something I find very common is spasming ñ sometimes in parts of the body, sometimes the whole body. Sometimes very gentle, sometimes they look like an epileptic fit. Sometimes they're neutral in flavour, sometimes almost orgasmic. Sometimes they're spontaneous with no apparent cause other than the practise itself, othertimes they're an aspect of the emotional catharsis.

As far as the pacing of the work goes:
Willis is to slow and Hyatt is too fast, depending on who you are. Willis' pacing makes sense to me for someone who has never done anything like yoga, meditation, dance, etc ñ for someone who is quite locked up in their own thought prisons.
From my experience I would advise anyone wanting to explore this stuff to first of all get a very very basic degree of mastery with the breathing technique, do the daily preliminary exercises for a while, and then crack straight into the Eyes & Forehead. Do what you feel comfortable with ñ plus a little bit more. Get used to the highs and lows often experienced after sessions, and work your way up to 2 one-hour breathing sessions (plus a sense & feel of at least 15 minutes after each session) a week. Thats enough for the work to gain its own momentum, but not too much.

Taking my friend through it for the first time, we spent 1 month on the upper half of the face, 1 month on the lower half, 1 month on the neck shoulders torso, and 1 month on the legs. That was a good 4-month tour of the body, giving enough time to explore the whole spectrum of techniques listed in the book ñ which is probably about the amount of time one needs to decide whether the system is worth keeping in one's psycho-spiritual arsenal, or whether its worth chucking in the bin.

Once one is familiar with the system, one can start to take a more organic, experimental approach ñ mixing and matching and expanding on the techniques ñ based on a growing communion with one's subconscious' deeper wisdom & intuitions.
Fun stuff.

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Droll Dedekind - 2014-03-30 00:20:03 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

First, welcome to the DhO. Wow, what a post! I'm glad you took the time to write it. 

I agree wholeheartedly that Energized Meditation is a wild and reckless book. At first I thought it was just a poorly-written RAW rip-off. I've come to realize that whereas RAW writes like a friendly-you'd-never-know-he's-enlightened Zen master, Hyatt writes like a schizophrenic Zen master. Something like that.

I actually just finished skimming through The Language of the Body by Lowen, and I'm onto Bioenergetics next. Do you mind going into more detail about your opinions of Lowen? 

As I read your post I realized that neo-Reichian exercises are probably the most powerful techniques the West has to offer in the realm of meditation-like or yoga-like practices. And, noting is probably one of the most powerful techniques the East has to offer. If I had 6 months to change someone as radically as possible, noting and Reichian therapy would be my goto techniques. If Tony Soprano had went to a Reichian therapist the show would have ended around Season 1. 

If anyone reading this is interested in the prospect of Reichian therapy but is unconvinced or unsure, I recommend The Lazy Man's Guide to Relaxation by Israel Regardie as a primer. The read is short, easy, and relatively content-dense.

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Ashwin R - 2014-03-30 00:59:19 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

Wow, those are amazing postsñ thank you, I appreciate you putting your thoughts here. It's going to be a huge help going forward. 

I feel I am where you were 10 years ago. I have a lot of anxiety, depression etc. and it's all locked up inside. So coming across something like this and with so many great testimonials is really encouraging. 

Now, the important thing for me will be to stay dedicated over the long term. Well, since you say that it takes about 4 months to judge if it is helping you or notñthat will probably be my goal.

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Rob Njosnavelin - 2014-03-30 12:30:34 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

My pleasure. I find this particular 'yoga' pretty interesting, especially as its relatively unknown, and it really does pack a punch.
Hahaha yep schizophrenic zen master is a good description of Hyatt. Peeking beyond his wild ramblings there are glimpses that he was an advocate of hardcore dharma study and practise, along with the western occult stuff ñ it would have been good if someone shrewd, knowledgeable and penetrating had given Hyatt a serious interview that pushed him out of his mad bad doctor role ñ some of the experiments he ran with Regardie with the stuff sounded pretty interesting.

As for Lowen ñ I've only read Bioenergetics and his book containing various exercises. I enjoyed reading his stuff, and I still use his 'bow' and 'grounding' exercises on a daily basis. The exercises he presents seem to make good warm-ups for the full-blown hour-long reichian breathing sessions. I really can't comment beyond that as I don't have any experience beyond the basic exercises and theories presented in his books.

This particular work is pretty open and experimental really ñ its not an ancient established system of bodywork with hundreds of thousands of practitioners worldwide like yoga, including myriads of experts. Its a bit mysterious ñ I think Reich, Lowen, Willis, Hyatt all present some useful theories and frames regarding it but I don't think they or anyone really understands it in its entirity. I really like that ñ it means that everyone who comes to practise it is a little bit of an investigator and explorer rather than a student going from A to B. So I'd be very curious to hear of any experiences with it ñ short or long-term.

I'll also plug that Regardie book you mentioned Droll ñ its a nice primer indeed. Regardie was Aleister Crowley's secretary, and one of the senior movers and shakers of the Western Traditions of the last century. I recall reading an interview with him where he recommended that anyone wanting to get into serious Western Magickal practice should go through about 200 hours of psychotherapy beforehand ñ most preferably Reichian, of course.

Ashwin ñ my psychological state was so dire 10 years ago that it really provided the fuel to keep going with the Reichian work (and with meditation). I realised I had a serious need for some deep level change. I vividly recall the crystal clear realisation that either I could keep going round and round on the same misery circuits while life slid on by, or I could attempt the practice, and stick at it and see what happened. Hmmm good decision...

I'm happy to be a sounding board for anything related to this stuff if anyone wants feedback or suggestions of exercises or anything at any point in time.

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sawfoot _ - 2014-03-30 19:59:49 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

Its all very interesting, thanks. From my reading of it, the "weird stuff" seems to be a physiological effect of hyperventilation (p. 58 home book). My guess is that a lot of A&P and kunadlini type experiences might be related to this.

There seems to be a whole world of these psychosomatic type approaches, but in summarising them, it seems to be primarily about training to release bodily tension, particularly associated with poor habits and tension with breathing and the belly/diaphragm. Is that a fair summary?

In terms of "bang for your buck" - or if you have to choose one exercise for a desert island - it would seem that practicising the basic deep breathing technique described in "Technique for home use" (back on floor, knees up, belly then chest, ah on exhale, no gap between inhale and exhale) would be one to go for?

EDIT:

I found this website which discusses principles behind Reichian and Lowen bodywork (this link about breathing, but there is lots of good material on the site if you are interested in how this all might work)

http://reichandlowentherapy.org/Content/Practices/breathing.html

A relevant quote:

"Second, hyperventilation allows the more ready perception and expression of emotion. For anyone relatively distanced from his or her emotions, this can be very informative. There is also a cathartic release (a release is not the same as a discharge) and there will be a sense of calm and well-being afterwards...Acute hyperventilation has been used traditionally in religious and other movements to create an 'oceanic' less earth-bound feeling. While this may have some utility in freeing work, the insights from these moments certainly are not a reliable guide to growth or living! "


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Droll Dedekind - 2014-03-30 21:41:04 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

Willis goes out of his way to pitch Reichian exercises as psychotherapy:
It is to be appreciated that Reichian therapy is psychotherapy. It is not mysticism, it is not meditation, it is not occult. It is not chakras or auras or meridians. It is psychotherapy. The major difference in Reichian therapy is that it approaches the psychotherapeutic process by working on the body.

Clearly he has an agenda in attributing the weird phenomena to hyperventilation. This makes more sense when you consider Willis' falling out with Hyatt, who did associate Reichian therapy with mysticism, meditation and, the occult.

In my opinion, more than just hyperventilation is at work here. Sit around purposefully hyperventilating for a couple weeks, take note of results. Then, start the Reichian exercises and tell me if you still think it's just hyperventilation.

Yes, your understanding is correct. As I understand it, the idea is that every thought or emotion has a corresponding effect on the body (part of the primary insight in the Cause and Effect stage). In working with the body you naturally end up dredging up your 'stuff'. It also increases bodily awareness in general and separates muscle groups that are unnecessarily fused together. Read the Regardie book in my last post for more info (it's really an enjoyable read; and, Regardie taught Willis).

And, yes. Breathing exercises + eye/forehead are the best bang for the buck. It seems you tend to intellectualize, so it's safe to say you have a lot of tension in the eye/forehead region. Check Chapter 11 for the eye/forehead exercises.

COUNTEREDIT:
Interesting, hyperventilation is definitely part of it
Acute hyperventilation is not well suited to self-help or homework because the likelihood of dissociating and losing grounding and contact is high. While Wilhelm Reich used this practice, Alexander Lowen largely dropped it, using the bioenergetic stool instead to increase depth and excursion at normal rates of breaths per minute.

But not all of it

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sawfoot _ - 2014-03-30 21:59:41 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

Droll Dedekind:
Willis goes out of his way to pitch Reichian exercises as psychotherapy:
It is to be appreciated that Reichian therapy is psychotherapy. It is not mysticism, it is not meditation, it is not occult. It is not chakras or auras or meridians. It is psychotherapy. The major difference in Reichian therapy is that it approaches the psychotherapeutic process by working on the body.

Clearly he has an agenda in attributing the weird phenomena to hyperventilation. This makes more sense when you consider Willis' falling out with Hyatt, who did associate Reichian therapy with mysticism, meditation and, the occult.

In my opinion, more than just hyperventilation is at work here. Sit around purposefully hyperventilating for a couple weeks, take note of results. Then, start the Reichian exercises and tell me if you still think it's just hyperventilation.

Yes, your understanding is correct. As I understand it, the idea is that every thought or emotion has a corresponding effect on the body (part of the primary insight in the Cause and Effect stage). In working with the body you naturally end up dredging up your 'stuff'. It also increases bodily awareness in general and separates muscle groups that are unnecessarily fused together. Read the Regardie book in my last post for more info (it's really an enjoyable read; and, Regardie taught Willis).

And, yes. Breathing exercises + eye/forehead are the best bang for the buck. It seems you tend to intellectualize, so it's safe to say you have a lot of tension in the eye/forehead region. Check Chapter 11 for the eye/forehead exercises.


I had quick skim of the Regardie book earlier, but maybe will have a more serious look. 

Yep, itís a safe bet! Also shoulders and neck, and jaw, pretty much all over really! I think intellectualisers (like me) probably would benefit a lot of from bodywork (which is why I am interested), though often these sorts might be the sort of people to see it as woo. The way I see it as is that a lifetime of overthinking leads to a bodily disconnection, and all this thinking creates tension in the body, and then the tension in body perpetuates negative thinking, which triggers stress in the body, and so on. But the emotional expression angle is new to me, so I am going to read more about that. From my understanding of the link I added in the above post, the hyperventilation induces emotional expression, which is an important ultimate goal of Reichian therapy, and that is the driver for the change (rather than the hyperventilation itself) but I think the attitude and context to the emotional expression is also crucial - i.e. receptivity to it and seeing it an therapeutic context.

Here is another interesting quote from that website on this:

Muscles can be held rigidly in check and this has the effect of suppressing emotion, selectively at first but globally as muscle tension forms into rigid patterns--muscular armor. The same mechanism that stops emotion, muscle tension, also stops pleasure. A tense person may be irritable but this is a problem with arousal, not true emotion. Emotions like grief or sadness are associated with the subjective experience of suffering but the greatest suffering of our time comes from emotionlessness and the accompanying pleasurelessness.
http://reichandlowentherapy.org/Content/Energy_and_Movement/emotion_mood.html
.


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Droll Dedekind - 2014-03-30 22:33:25 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

If I had to match you to a character type from Lowen's Language of the Body (a guess of course) it'd have to be schizoid (I also place myself here). 

Where the schizophrenic in his break with reality will suffer from depersonalization, the schizoid character maintains the mind-body unity by a tenuous thread. He uses his body as I use my automobile. He has no feeling that he is his body, but rather that the body is the abode of his thinking and feeling self. This is not infantile for it in no way reflects the infant's identification with bodily pleasure. The body of an individual his is most immediate reality as it is also the bridge that connects his inner reality with the material reality of the outer world. Here, then, we have the key to the therapeutic treatment of the schizoid personality. First, to bring about some identification with or to increase an identity with kinesthetic body sensation. Second, to increase the depth and range of expressive movements. Third, to develop the body relationship to objects: food, love object, work objects, clothes, etc. The effect of this approach is to strengthen and develop the ego which, as Freud reminds us, "is first and foremost a body ego."


He then goes on to discuss the common physical characteristics of the schizoid type: head held at a slight angle, strong isolated tensions in neck (but no generalized rigidity), deep tension at the base of the skull, lack of expression in eyes, use of arms seems mechanical, deep shoulder tensions (based on the immobility of the scapula), block in the small of the back at the junction of pelvis and spine (corresponds to tension in base of skull, somehow...), little freedom at hip joint (causes immobility of pelvis), in breathing an expansion of the chest cavity corresponds to a contraction of the abdomen cavity, and a general lack of unity in the body (body feels split into sections).

Anyway, as to Reichian as "woo". You won't have much luck finding scientific evidence for the theory or effectiveness of Reichian therapy, largely because the US gov't banned research into the area. As with meditation, the proof is in the pudding, consider it an experiment, etc etc

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Rob Njosnavelin - 2014-03-31 04:13:23 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

sawfoot _:
In terms of "bang for your buck" - or if you have to choose one exercise for a desert island - it would seem that practicising the basic deep breathing technique described in "Technique for home use" (back on floor, knees up, belly then chest, ah on exhale, no gap between inhale and exhale) would be one to go for?


Yeah probably the basic breathing, although once that was mastered one may as well develop it into the "roll the pelvis" exercise - the basic breathing is fundamental, and the basis for nearly everything else in the book but I get much more bang for buck out of the other exercises.

A friend of mine recently emailed me a similar question, suggesting he was considering 'taste testing' the system, and asked something about what 20% of exercises from the book could give you 80% of the results.

Here's my paraphrased response in case its of use to anyone who might have a similar line of thinking:


Maybe not the most best way to approach this complex and arduous system, but that if I had to pick 20% that I thought were indispensible to this system, a 'greatest hits' if you will I'd go with:

*Making faces in a mirror (move face slowly) for 5 mins+ (can be done anytime, especially awesome after sleep, long periods on computer or work, breaks up mask-like tendencies.)

*"Proper" Breathing - as meticulously described in chapter 4, 6 & 7 (and others) of Willis' book.

*Eyes Open Close (also note the "tonic eyes open" & "tonic eyes closed" exercises which this is a combo of)

*Eyes in Directions (&/or Roll the Eyes)

*Croak Hold Flick

*Roll the Pelvis (Hyatt also has an easier version of this exercise, both versions are great)

*Legs Open Close

You could easily create an effective  hour session out of those exercises alone. But I haven't covered jaw-tongue-neck-throat-shoulders, so maybe you'd want to stick something in from those areas. Really depends on what areas need the most work, what emotions are most significant to you, what you want to achieve etc.

An advanced special exercise that is also worthy of the 'top 20% category'
*Mussolini Jaw


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Rob Njosnavelin - 2014-03-31 04:42:37 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

Droll Dedekind:
Willis goes out of his way to pitch Reichian exercises as psychotherapy:
It is to be appreciated that Reichian therapy is psychotherapy. It is not mysticism, it is not meditation, it is not occult. It is not chakras or auras or meridians. It is psychotherapy. The major difference in Reichian therapy is that it approaches the psychotherapeutic process by working on the body.

Clearly he has an agenda in attributing the weird phenomena to hyperventilation. This makes more sense when you consider Willis' falling out with Hyatt, who did associate Reichian therapy with mysticism, meditation and, the occult.

In my opinion, more than just hyperventilation is at work here. Sit around purposefully hyperventilating for a couple weeks, take note of results. Then, start the Reichian exercises and tell me if you still think it's just hyperventilation.


Hahaha yeah I agree with you there. 

Re Willis - I do think that its possible that he wrote this deliberately to preserve the intergrity of his book and his 'lineage' - keeping it in the paradigm of scientific materialism and out of mysticism has several advantages when you think about it. I wouldn't be surprised that if you took Willis aside off the record he'd have been quite capable of talking in depth about magick and mysticism and undoubtedly had a plethora of experiences related that that side of things, many probably stemming from his own Reichian exercises (he was Israel Regardie's apprentice after all - and Regardie supposedly occasionally taught things like the Middle Pillar Ritual to some of his therapy clients!!). 
Using Hyperventilation as an explanation for the results of this system is a bit like saying meditation works by affecting the autonomic nervous system... yknow it like um, reduces stress levels and stuff... *ahem*
Sure there are physically measurable and quantifiable aspects, but clearly there's a who range of very potent subjective experiences and changes that can ALSO result from doing it....

Having said that, I always find it fun to muse about the phsyiological correlates of things like meditation, thanks for that link on breathing sawfoot, looks like a worthwhile read...

-------------------

sawfoot _ - 2014-03-31 08:49:27 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

My perspective on this is to see that you could consider magick, meditation, mysticism as all sub-types of practices of "therapy" - deliberate practices designed to improve or alter self-expression and functioning. And the potent subjective experiences are expressions of activity in your nervous system and brain - just different levels of explanation, each useful and with explanatory power. 

From perusing that (amazing and vast) website I linked to am getting an insight into what an original thinker Reich (and Lowen) was. I get the feeling that their perspective might become increasingly mainstream in years to come as explanations for the kinds of phenomena they worked with become better understand (e.g. operations of the vagal system), and as modern society wakes up more to the fact its pretty fucked. 

To my mind it provides a great way to think about the practices engaged in here on DhO. "Awakening" is a meant to be psycho-energetic process, and the Riechian therapy perspective gives a great insight on the energetic aspect of the process.

I will try some of the mouth and eye things as well, and I noted the hip roll looked important too. It is one of those things that I feel is probably good for me, like eating well and exercising, but I don't always get round to doing...

edit:
a nice video of some full body exercises, including Lowen's Bow, mentioned above. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zD-3j2g9w9U

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Droll Dedekind - 2014-03-31 23:14:12 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

I would have to classify magick and mysticism slightly apart from pure meditation. It's all in your head, you just have no idea how big your head is. I lean towards that school.

Also, check out 
http://radicalundoing.com/
https://www.youtube.com/user/radicalundoing

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Droll Dedekind - 2014-04-01 03:18:23 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_movement_desensitization_and_reprocessing

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy developed by Francine Shapiro that emphasizes disturbing memories as the cause of psychopathology [1][2] and alleviates the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). EMDR is used for individuals who have experienced severe trauma that remains unresolved ... 

During the processing phases of EMDR, the client focuses on the disturbing memory in multiple brief sets of about 15ñ30 seconds. Simultaneously, the client focuses on the dual attention stimulus, which consist on focusing on the trauma while the clinician initiates lateral eye movement.[12] Following each set, the client is asked what associative information was elicited during the procedure.This new material usually becomes the focus of the next set. This process of personal association is repeated many times during the session.[13] 
...

At this phase the goal of the therapist is to identify any uncomfortable sensations that could be lingering in the body. While thinking about the originally disturbing event, the client is asked to scan over his or her body entirely, searching for tension or other physical discomfort. Any negative sensations are targeted and then diminished, using the same bilateral stimulation technique from phases IV and V. The EMDR network has asserted that positive cognitions should be incorporated physically as well as intellectually. Phase VI is considered complete when the client is able to think and speak about the event without feeling any physical or emotional discomfort.


Watching an anime called Ghost Hound, and the main character is receiving this sort of therapy. Interesting synchronicity. Oh, that Reichian is woo-gobbedlygook-New-Age stuff, right?

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sawfoot _ - 2014-04-01 07:17:48 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

Droll Dedekind:


Watching an anime called Ghost Hound, and the main character is receiving this sort of therapy. Interesting synchronicity. Oh, that Reichian is woo-gobbedlygook-New-Age stuff, right?


That command z stuff looks (from initial appearances) like a way of monetiszing  Reichian therapy in the internet age. I understand people have to make a buck, but it leaves me cold. 

My point about mentioning woo, is that if you look into Reichian therapy initially (as I did) there is a lot of "woo" (at least to me - Reich did seem to go pretty nuts later on life), and it puts a lot of people off, and has hampered its acceptance into the mainstream. But then I went onto say that there seems to be a lot value there. 

Tried doing some Lowen stool type breathing exercises (with a foam roller on a platform), and man, that was quite intense. I am starting to understand why I might want to take this slowly.

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Droll Dedekind - 2014-04-01 14:56:35 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

Yeah, they're trying to make a buck but they do seem to know their stuff, and they offer free info
http://radicalundoing.com/podcast-2/

The 'woo' line was more a jab at the entire psychotherapeutic field. They demonized Reich in his time, and either discredit or ignore him in our time. With supreme irony, one of his basic techniques has been rediscovered and made into an entire therapy 60 years later. The founder of EMDR ostensibly hasn't even credited Reich
Without giving any nod to Reich's work with eye movements and their relation to both repressed emotion and overall psychological health, EMDR proponents say that their modality is solely based on Shapiro's observation that eye movement and reduce the intensity of disturbing thoughts.
...
Though it has been scientifically researched, there is no definitive explanation as to how EMDR works. Empirical support and anecdotal evidence is overwhelming, especially in treating personality disorders, anxiety disorders, dissociative disorders, post traumatic stress disorders,  and general emotional dysregulation in both children and adults.


In any case, the research done on EMDR might give some insight into Reichian techniques.

Also, I'm glad to see you're witnessing some results. What kind of intensity did you experience?

-------------------

sawfoot _ - 2014-04-01 17:36:14 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

Droll Dedekind:
Yeah, they're trying to make a buck but they do seem to know their stuff, and they offer free info
http://radicalundoing.com/podcast-2/

The 'woo' line was more a jab at the entire psychotherapeutic field. They demonized Reich in his time, and either discredit or ignore him in our time. With supreme irony, one of his basic techniques has been rediscovered and made into an entire therapy 60 years later. The founder of EMDR ostensibly hasn't even credited Reich
Without giving any nod to Reich's work with eye movements and their relation to both repressed emotion and overall psychological health, EMDR proponents say that their modality is solely based on Shapiro's observation that eye movement and reduce the intensity of disturbing thoughts.
...
Though it has been scientifically researched, there is no definitive explanation as to how EMDR works. Empirical support and anecdotal evidence is overwhelming, especially in treating personality disorders, anxiety disorders, dissociative disorders, post traumatic stress disorders,  and general emotional dysregulation in both children and adults.


In any case, the research done on EMDR might give some insight into Reichian techniques.

Also, I'm glad to see you're witnessing some results. What kind of intensity did you experience?


I don't know much about EMDR but from what I do know a lot of people would consider it to be towards the woo end of things, so I am not sure how much help it would be, but that website I linked to has given me a fair bit of insight.  

I didn't see the podcasts on radical undoing, having listened to part of one I take it back a bit - they seem passionate and sincere - I am more just objecting to certain internet sales techniques (of which a "radical cure/undoing" is one...)

Not results exactly, more effects. The intensity was a reminder of what I call my A&P, and it brought back some negative emotions, primarily fear, loss of control. A couple of questions:

1. in people's experience, is there an association with bodywork, "charging", "unblocking" and so forth with ease of attaining jhanic states?

2. When I do bodywork, I actually tend to find myself more stressed - I become much more conscious of malfunctional postures and patterns of holding tension (and their negative correlates), which are normally masked by lack of awareness, and become a bit obsessed with them (and the need to do stretching and exercises). Presumably this can be overcome long term as the awareness allows changing of bad habits, but I haven't really heard about the short term negative physical consequences in what I have read. Is that common to other people's experience?

-------------------

Droll Dedekind - 2014-04-01 20:37:31 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

1) I don't have any jhanas myself, but I find that my concentration practice goes more smoothly because I can breathe more naturally and fully without my body tensing (outside of my awareness).

2) Yes, I've become stressed or frustrated at persistent tensions or my inability to do an exercise properly. It helps to remember that the process is aimed at eventually helping one let go of the need to control. During whatever exercise, I make an effort (or noneffort) to let my body take control of the movement while I practice choiceless awareness.

-------------------

Rob Njosnavelin - 2014-04-01 22:03:07 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

sawfoot _:
My perspective on this is to see that you could consider magick, meditation, mysticism as all sub-types of practices of "therapy" - deliberate practices designed to improve or alter self-expression and functioning. And the potent subjective experiences are expressions of activity in your nervous system and brain - just different levels of explanation, each useful and with explanatory power. 


Fair comment, I guess the difference in my mind is that "therapy" is usually associated with simply healing/resolving/integrating psychological ailments, whereas magick, meditation, mysticism are often associated with developing a whole spectrum of "extraordinary" types of consciousness... definitely some overlap there though.

sawfoot _:

a nice video of some full body exercises, including Lowen's Bow, mentioned above. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zD-3j2g9w9U


ahaha Elliot Hulse - that guy is like the Morpheus (from the Matrix) of the body-building world. Hillarious character. Considering how many youtube hits he gets, he must surely be the most famous flagbearer of this stuff alive today. Good on him.

edit:
mmm I know what you mean on the Radical Undoing guys sawfoot. I find their marketing style and excessive fees to be rather nauseating. Bit uncomfortable with branding the work with a woohoo self-improvement edge... in the same way I'd be uncomfortable with someone branding insight practices in that light (but I would probably be ok with someone branding yoga or simple shamatha meditation like that) - its more of a practice of "self"-destruction and deconstruction, than a super-upgrade your life style thing. Maybe I'm just an old fuddy-duddy who's being pedantic. each to their own. Target markets right.

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Rob Njosnavelin - 2014-04-01 23:07:49 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

sawfoot _:

I didn't see the podcasts on radical undoing, having listened to part of one I take it back a bit - they seem passionate and sincere - I am more just objecting to certain internet sales techniques (of which a "radical cure/undoing" is one...)


yeah this is it - they are passionate and sincere, and they must have a pretty good knowledge of the stuff, but I personally find that whenever I encounter those types of sales techniques I am immediately skeptical and put-off.
Skype sessions are ok, but no where near as effective as having a helper physically present - which would be the way to go if one had that kind of money to spend on a few reichian sessions IMHO.

sawfoot _:

Not results exactly, more effects. The intensity was a reminder of what I call my A&P, and it brought back some negative emotions, primarily fear, loss of control. A couple of questions:

1. in people's experience, is there an association with bodywork, "charging", "unblocking" and so forth with ease of attaining jhanic states?

2. When I do bodywork, I actually tend to find myself more stressed - I become much more conscious of malfunctional postures and patterns of holding tension (and their negative correlates), which are normally masked by lack of awareness, and become a bit obsessed with them (and the need to do stretching and exercises). Presumably this can be overcome long term as the awareness allows changing of bad habits, but I haven't really heard about the short term negative physical consequences in what I have read. Is that common to other people's experience?


1. Jhanas are the neglected area of my sitting practice and I don't have consistent enough experience or exploration of them to comment, but in the long-run I think the bodywork makes longer sits easier, and definitely instills a "DEEP" level of relaxation level in ones (whereas something like a progressive relaxation exercises instills a "surface" level of relaxation) - so that could definitely facilitate for sure.

2. yep.
I haven't had any negative physical side-effects (although I often need to piss lots during and after a session) - just tensions and emotional bundles coming to the surface - which I treat accordingly as grist for the mill of sensory clarity and equanimity training.
And indeed - consistent practice over a period of time does eventually lead to a diminishing of pondscum of the bodymind. But more than any other stuff I've practised, this stuff works on long-term slow undoing effects, rather than immediate resolution. I've had times of feeling like utter shit afterwards and been convinced that the bodywork was bad news - then a couple of sessions/weeks later discover that my awareness and deep deep global-relaxation levels are stronger than they've ever been in the past, and that I was just temporarily hypnotised by the pondscum that had been churned up.

-------------------

Rob Njosnavelin - 2014-04-01 23:20:09 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

Droll Dedekind:

2) Yes, I've become stressed or frustrated at persistent tensions or my inability to do an exercise properly. It helps to remember that the process is aimed at eventually helping one let go of the need to control. During whatever exercise, I make an effort (or noneffort) to let my body take control of the movement while I practice choiceless awareness.


yeah totally.
I recently went through a couple of months of quite heavily traumatic events, during which I completely let my practice slide (only to be replaced with shoddy health patterns).
Coming back to it it felt like starting again for the first time - even the most basic exercises became incredibly difficult to do. It takes a good amount of persistence, and a certain degree of clearing of blocks/pondscum to really be able to glide through the exercises smoothly.

Seriously, if you ever can convince a friend to do helper sessions with you (also useful to be a helper to their sessions), especially if they can be physically present, that can be really helpful for accelearting 'proper' performance of the exercises. As well as carefully observing your breathing, and ensuring that say - your eyes are rolling smoothly and fully in something like roll the eyes, they can give simple stimulation like a light tapping on the forehead, a soft jab in the diaphragm area to open up breathing, testing accessory muscles and the like (all stuff that one should do on solo sessions anyway, but easier with an observer who can spot what needs work).  Once one has ploughed through the bulk of crap that comes up, then a helper becomes much less necessary, but in those early, or rusty, or difficult stages a helper is really useful.

-------------------

sawfoot _ - 2014-04-02 09:08:14 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

When I first read that bit about the pissing - I thought it was during the actually practice! lol. I think that is just parasympathetic over activation.  

Having listening to more podcasts and reading the first in the email newsletters, I take it back about taking it back (and agree with what you say). This guy is a former anarchist punk who has learned to use or the tricks, marketing tools and bait-and-switch techniques of the "get rich quick/transform your life" internet scam artists. Honestly believing that it works only buys them so much good will. $250 dollars per hour for talking to someone on skype? For something you think it is so effective if could transform the world? I think somewhere down the road they made a wrong turn. 

The thing about these kinds of techniques, is that I am not entirely convinced that the results would be much different from some serious yoga or tai chi or whatever. So if you do them, and you feel good afterwards, you think, yay! its working! If you do them and feel shit afterwards, you think yay! Its working! I am releasing and unblocking all my negative toxins/emotional stress/painful memories. And if you feel good a week later, you think yay! its working! A lot of the "marketing" is instilling the belief that it will work, that it will be life changing, and that belief is very important to its effectiveness, as is your commitment to the "practice", but can only take you so far, unless you buy into it completely and turn it into your "religion", as the command-z guys have presumably done. 

Still, while I remain skeptical about the discharging "emotional memories" side of things, I am convinced of the reciprocal connection (and negative feedback loop) between stress in the body and stress in the mind, and so I am going to make a concerted effort to do the face and neck things at least, and work on my deep breathing with some of the techniques in these traditions. 

rob
Fair comment, I guess the difference in my mind is that "therapy" is usually associated with simply healing/resolving/integrating psychological ailments, whereas magick, meditation, mysticism are often associated with developing a whole spectrum of "extraordinary" types of consciousness... definitely some overlap there though.


Sure, so I would counter that the purpose of people developing these extraordinary states of consciousness is as tools for  healing/resolving/integrating psychological ailments. Even in the case of recreational uses of these states. 

And what they ultimately seem to point to (though I don't know if this is true for magick) to use the extraordinary to get you more in touch with the ordinary. So for example. in the Command Z approach (and its forebears) really the goal is to experience your ordinary reality, the experience of your body in the hear and now (where you could find your "true self", the "real you" or whatever).

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Droll Dedekind - 2014-04-02 16:06:03 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

sawfoot _:
The thing about these kinds of techniques, is that I am not entirely convinced that the results would be much different from some serious yoga or tai chi or whatever. So if you do them, and you feel good afterwards, you think, yay! its working! If you do them and feel shit afterwards, you think yay! Its working! I am releasing and unblocking all my negative toxins/emotional stress/painful memories. And if you feel good a week later, you think yay! its working! A lot of the "marketing" is instilling the belief that it will work, that it will be life changing, and that belief is very important to its effectiveness, as is your commitment to the "practice", but can only take you so far, unless you buy into it completely and turn it into your "religion", as the command-z guys have presumably done. 


On one of their podcasts they mention that the extraordinary part about the work is that it will work whether you believe it will or not. You can judge that for yourself. Also, one of them was talking about how the work became like a religion to them but they recently realized that it's just another belief/trap/attachment to 'undo'.

They seem like alright dudes, but their money grubbing seems off-putting to me

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(D Z) Dhru Val - 2014-04-03 06:42:21 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

Droll Dedekind:
Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use, by Jack Willis

I find that Reichian therapy is a wonderful adjunct to meditation. Many of us unknowingly harbor repressed memories that may be creating tension in the body, and impeding our practice (more info here http://www.energeticsinstitute.com.au/page/reichs_segmental_armouring_theory.htmlhttp://www.energeticsinstitute.com.au/page/reichs_segmental_armouring_theory.html ). The breathing exercises alone have removed an astounding amount of tension in my body. Fans of Christopher Hyatt's Undoing Yourself with Energized Meditation and Other Devices will be interested to learn that Hyatt's book was ghost written by Jack Willis. (More info on that here http://duncantrussell.com/forum/discussion/comment/193525 )

If you're interested in psychotherapy, but (like me) you don't have money for talk therapy, I highly recommend the above pdf. If you (like me), feel you carry unnecessary tensions in your body (or, repressed memories), I highly recommend the above pdf. Finally, if you're (like me) a struggling Dark Night Yogi, I can't recommend the above pdf enough.

The exercises are simple, but powerful. Here are some testimonies 

http://www.reddit.com/r/occult/comments/1wlt8n/undoing_yourself_with_energized_meditation_and/
[url=http://www.amazon.com/Reichian-Therapy-The-Technique-Home/product-reviews/1442137800[]http://www.amazon.com/Reichian-Therapy-The-Technique-Home/product-reviews/1442137800


I have only been doing these for a few days. But they are already quite effective. 

I didn't even know this sort of psychotherapy existed.

Reminds me of mahamudra. Very cool.

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Droll Dedekind - 2014-04-03 13:42:23 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

Glad to hear it! Keep us updated on your results. I'm sure we'd all be interested to read it emoticon

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Droll Dedekind - 2014-04-03 15:38:50 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

Wow, just saw that video, nice find! His whole channel is great. He mixes traditional fitness with bioenergetics perfectly. And, his mentor is

Robert Glazer, PhD, CBT is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and Director of the Florida Society for Bioenergetic Analysis. His training includes 7 years of study with Alexander Lowen and 38 years in practice as a Bioenergetic Therapist. HIs expertise is in the integration of strong Alexander Lowen style bodywork, traditional Chinese medicine theory, and precise character analytic processing. He has conducted numerous workshops in the U.S., South America, and Europe.


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Peter Lynch - 2014-04-08 22:23:26 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

Hi, I'm new here, and this is my first post! I signed up particularly because the book you linked seems legit, and if some of the testimonials I've read are true, its pretty impressive stuff. I have some questions, though I understand that this is relatively new territory for all of us. I've just started the exercises but I was wondering a few things.

The author repeatedly emphasises that it is easy to go too fast, and undo too much too quickly. For example, there are many parts where he says things like - 'To put it bluntly, you are not a super hero; and if you continue to demand that you be one and thus overdo these exercises or jump to advanced work before you are done with the earlier work, well, welcome to chaos. Thatís what you will get: chaos in your life. ALWAYS TOO SLOWLY.' I'm wondering, we are not your typical selection of individuals. So perhaps we need not follow his highly cautious syllabus too closely? 

Many of us here have gotten quite some ways along the path, and are much more emotionally and mentally balanced than those who might be unearthing shadows which they do not have the capacity to integrate. I wonder if the 'chaos' and 'damage' he describes is something akin to a gradation of the well known 'dark night of the soul' which often occurs at a particular point in practice. I am reminded of a passage from Nietzsche's Zarathustra - 'One must be a sea, to receive a polluted stream without becoming impure.' I'm not saying I'm oceanic or anything, but I'm highly emotionally stable. Surely I could push the boat out and fare well on the waves. I suppose I will find out in the course of my practice.

If these exercises are as effective as some say they are, I will definitely be incorporating them into my 'psycho-spiritual arsenal', as someone here brilliantly put it. An aside is that I'm also interested in what this chaos could be... could it perhaps be similar the Freudian unconscious or Jung's conception of the shadow as the sum of repressed memories? What happens when these are released onto the psyche? It is partially destroyed and must reform itself in the light of new evidence. For those with typically inflexible self-conceptions this is surely dangerous, like those people who take psychedelics but try to hang on to their ego while the energies of the universe rip it from their clutches. Here this can perhaps create some kind of splintering, perhaps a retraumatization of the event. But if we are willing and able to let go, to let this process unfold, which is itself much of meditation practice, or if we are not very invested in the self-construct our minds happen to harbour at this time, if we are willing to die in order to be reborn, what of this chaos... Well, these are simply speculations. I will of course push the envelope and pay close attention to my bodies reactions. I'll let you guys know if I have a mental breakdown or anything. 

I have a hunch there is going to be a profound synergy between Reichian therapy and meditative practice in general. The general theory, as far as I gather, is that muscular armoring is often co-occurent with a kind of emotional repression, which is to say, it is a blind-spot in the field of our awareness, a vortex in the river of mind, a diversion of mental energies into unproductive and even counter-productive flows. If the aim of spiritual practice is the gradual progression of awareness, the unity of consciousness or as I like to see it, the absolute integration of body and mind, then meditation is the means by which we allow unity to occur (which it does naturally, given space), while we simultaneously clear this space of blockages and counterproductive energies, something which the gentle force of energetic tendency towards unity may not be able to do because the self-construct is too strong and is thus the primary attractor around which order crystallizes within the field of our minds. Thus instead of trying the erode the construct slowly, like the tidal forces which grind rocks to sand over millennia, we can instead attack the rocks directly, with some kind of explosive device. In this way what is coarse and obstructive can become kinetically fluid much faster. Perhaps there are damages beyond simply the loss of rocks... perhaps we might catch shrapnel in our third eye's! Anyway, I'm intrigued what you guys think about this. And also, thanks so much for bringing this to our attention Droll! You da man ;)

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Droll Dedekind - 2014-04-09 20:31:06 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

Peter Lynch:

I have a hunch there is going to be a profound synergy between Reichian therapy and meditative practice in general. The general theory, as far as I gather, is that muscular armoring is often co-occurent with a kind of emotional repression, which is to say, it is a blind-spot in the field of our awareness, a vortex in the river of mind, a diversion of mental energies into unproductive and even counter-productive flows. If the aim of spiritual practice is the gradual progression of awareness, the unity of consciousness or as I like to see it, the absolute integration of body and mind, then meditation is the means by which we allow unity to occur (which it does naturally, given space), while we simultaneously clear this space of blockages and counterproductive energies, something which the gentle force of energetic tendency towards unity may not be able to do because the self-construct is too strong and is thus the primary attractor around which order crystallizes within the field of our minds. Thus instead of trying the erode the construct slowly, like the tidal forces which grind rocks to sand over millennia, we can instead attack the rocks directly, with some kind of explosive device. In this way what is coarse and obstructive can become kinetically fluid much faster. Perhaps there are damages beyond simply the loss of rocks... perhaps we might catch shrapnel in our third eye's! Anyway, I'm intrigued what you guys think about this. And also, thanks so much for bringing this to our attention Droll! You da man ;)


Welcome to the party. Your thoughts on neo-Reichian exercises mirror my own exactly (all the way to the last sentence).

I'd advise anyone to tread the Reichian Middle Way between Willis/Hyatt. In this cynical interview Hyatt gives his opinion on the exercises and the Willis relationship at 1:47:00. 'If people kill themselves with it, I don't give a shit' Extreme cynicism or testimony to the power of the exercises? Both? You decide

Going to add some Hyatt videos to the OP

-------------------

Rob Njosnavelin - 2014-04-09 23:34:57 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

sawfoot _:

The thing about these kinds of techniques, is that I am not entirely convinced that the results would be much different from some serious yoga or tai chi or whatever. So if you do them, and you feel good afterwards, you think, yay! its working! If you do them and feel shit afterwards, you think yay! Its working! I am releasing and unblocking all my negative toxins/emotional stress/painful memories. And if you feel good a week later, you think yay! its working! A lot of the "marketing" is instilling the belief that it will work, that it will be life changing, and that belief is very important to its effectiveness, as is your commitment to the "practice", but can only take you so far, unless you buy into it completely and turn it into your "religion", as the command-z guys have presumably done. 


Hahaha - this radically applies to ALL techniques really - tai chi, yoga, all forms of meditation etc included. Its easy to imagine someone stumbly across the DhO and go "well look at all these folks who have hypnotised themselves into thinking they're on this stage of the path or attained this state etc etc because MCTB & other sources instilled the belief that spending silly amounts of time examining this facet of experience would lead to stage/state X" - who knows?

Its been fascinating for me to watch myself subtly buy into the hype of various techniques over the years - thinking 'wow as a result of doing this my moods have changed signficantly' or 'as a result of doing this my perception is considerably more vivid and detailed'...
And these may very well be accurate evaluations - the faith that they are is the reason I still dedicate significant amounts of time to meditation, breathing exercises, etc, as well as the fact that I find them inherently fascinating and enjoyable.
Experience dictates to me that they produce a number of vastly different effects (and several similar) from tai chi and yoga - even when one whole-heartedly believes that they produce only pretty similar effects.

But yes these are exercises not to be wrapped up in hype and 'yeah wow these are really good' - instead they're an unknown number. The best approach is experiment experiment experiment, observe, and setting any hype or needs-system-excitement aside - evaluate in as balanced a way as possible, with an earnest spirit of skepticism.
If I were an evangelist for this stuff the motivation would come from a place of extreme curiosity - if you play with this stuff over a period of time - what changes/shifts - (both pleasant/unpleasant, useless/useful) - do you encounter?

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Rob Njosnavelin - 2014-04-10 00:01:05 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

Peter Lynch:

The author repeatedly emphasises that it is easy to go too fast, and undo too much too quickly. For example, there are many parts where he says things like - 'To put it bluntly, you are not a super hero; and if you continue to demand that you be one and thus overdo these exercises or jump to advanced work before you are done with the earlier work, well, welcome to chaos. Thatís what you will get: chaos in your life. ALWAYS TOO SLOWLY.' I'm wondering, we are not your typical selection of individuals. So perhaps we need not follow his highly cautious syllabus too closely? 

Many of us here have gotten quite some ways along the path, and are much more emotionally and mentally balanced than those who might be unearthing shadows which they do not have the capacity to integrate. I wonder if the 'chaos' and 'damage' he describes is something akin to a gradation of the well known 'dark night of the soul' which often occurs at a particular point in practice. I am reminded of a passage from Nietzsche's Zarathustra - 'One must be a sea, to receive a polluted stream without becoming impure.' I'm not saying I'm oceanic or anything, but I'm highly emotionally stable. Surely I could push the boat out and fare well on the waves. I suppose I will find out in the course of my practice.

If these exercises are as effective as some say they are, I will definitely be incorporating them into my 'psycho-spiritual arsenal', as someone here brilliantly put it. An aside is that I'm also interested in what this chaos could be... could it perhaps be similar the Freudian unconscious or Jung's conception of the shadow as the sum of repressed memories? What happens when these are released onto the psyche? It is partially destroyed and must reform itself in the light of new evidence. For those with typically inflexible self-conceptions this is surely dangerous, like those people who take psychedelics but try to hang on to their ego while the energies of the universe rip it from their clutches. Here this can perhaps create some kind of splintering, perhaps a retraumatization of the event. But if we are willing and able to let go, to let this process unfold, which is itself much of meditation practice, or if we are not very invested in the self-construct our minds happen to harbour at this time, if we are willing to die in order to be reborn, what of this chaos... Well, these are simply speculations. I will of course push the envelope and pay close attention to my bodies reactions. I'll let you guys know if I have a mental breakdown or anything. 


Haha awesome, please do!! After fairly religiously adhering to the "ALWAYS TOO SLOWLY" mantra for a decade (never done more than 3 sessions in a week, longest session ever done was about 4 hours), I've also been questioning this and considering doing a couple of hours a day just to see what comes out.
Willis' book is clearly written for would-be therapy patients.
Willis, Hyatt and Regardie were all therapists, undoubtedly with an acute awareness of the collective emotional-instability prevalent in this culture. Maybe they're giving that advice because of some 'point of diminishing returns' on doing the exercises, or maybe its not advice they'd adhere to themselves, or recommend to anyone who does happen to have a strong foundation of emotional stability. 
Only one way to find out.

Somewhere along the line Hyatt casually mentioned his and Regardie's experiments combining these exercises, hypnosis, and certain psychoactive fungi. Was Jack Willis there shaking his head going 'tut tut tut be careful boys, chaos might come knocking...'?
Probably if one is wanting to push the envelope out of an unknown (and perfectly valid) need for emotional transformation then ALWAYS TOO SLOWLY is certainly worth paying attention to. But otherwise.... only one way to find out.

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Droll Dedekind - 2014-05-02 22:23:54 - RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use

I feel compelled to post this update from my practice log

For the first time, I tried Dr. Hyatt's entire first set of exercises in a continuous experiment. By the middle of the last exercise 'Quick Breathing' I started to feel energy move around on my neck and spreading to my ears. By the end of the exercise I felt the energy spreading to my eardrums and parts of my face. I've previously experienced energetic phenomena around most of my body, but never around my neck/face/ears. The feeling was bizarre.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use [Droll Dedekind] [MIGRAT
Answer
7/6/14 9:45 AM as a reply to Migration 6.2 Daemon.
Thanks for sharing this.

For the past two years I tried getting back in Vipassana on and off. The longest stretch was 1h a day for a month or so.

I have been discouraged because everytime I get back into it, I become very sensible to what appears to be a lot of accumulated stress and tension in the body. Usually I start feeling it in late afternoon, as I sit at the computer programming or whatnot, and it becomes a crushing feeling of lots of very heavy sensations. Usually in the top of the head, temples (sides). Sometimes a heavy sensation in the solar plexus, etc.

If I try to "push through" with Vipassana alone, eventually after 5-6 hours split over a few days, I start feeling small tingling sensations, and then I feel like I can finally breathe and "stay afloat" with the circus of sensations. There has been a lot of trembling lately, usually around the shoulders.

I have one shoulder (left side) that always rises up a little bit. I only realized this during my 1st Goenka retreat. Overt he ten days I could feel the tension and as my concentration became better, it was dropping down. If my concentration wavered; I felt the shoulder raising again. I think in the second course, I had my whole left arm trembling for more than an hour. Two retreats and a few years later, and this still happens.

I've always thought I should seek some form of emotional or body therapy to speed up the process, but with so many woo woo out there and self appointed "healers" I just never found the confidence to contact any of such people.

The fact is I've suffered from social anxiety a lot before Goenka retreats, and I think I have a significant block around the throat. At least there is some progress in that I can now feel those sensations in the neck and throat area.

Vipassana is really hard though if you have accumulated a lot of such tension, and I was pleasantly surprised how quicly an hour can pass and how effortless it is to do the Reichian techniques. After a few days of finding the proper "ah" sound I noticed there is so much tension in my belly still and how difficult it is to release completely the diaphragm when exhaling.

I think breathing alone for me is a significant help. It's worth mentioning that I did a bit of Yoga at home as well as a 1h30 class once a week for a couple years or so and while it made me feel better and more relaxed I never felt much release during the practice.

The best I've ever felt in Yoga is after really slow stretching sometimes I would naturally make this "ahhh" sound as I exhale, and once I remember crying as I was stretching a leg, not from physical pain but a sudden emotion that seemed to come out of nowhere. Other than that it seems to me that you have to practice Yoga pretty intensely and stretch really FAR in order to get any kind of emotional release.

For me the main blocks seems to be around the neck/shoulders/throat. It's reallky difficult to do even simple anapana when within minutes after sitting down you feel a heavy pressure in the middle of the chest. It requires a tremendous effort of concentration and motivation to sit patiently with the sensations till the concentration builds up and the body starts to relax.

Anyways just sharing a perspective... after a few days once I found the "ah" sound (I was doing more of a "huh" in the beginning), I start getting the same body shaking than in Vipassana, except without all the incredible tension building up and exploding with a big trembling along the spine that gave a very limited sense of release.

According to the energeticsinstitute site I am a Perfectionist. So my breathing is uniform  but exactly as they describe, I have been hunching over my computer for as long as I can remember and have been shallow breathing all this time. Just sitting straight and belly breathing I get small spasms in one shoulder.

Anyway long story short my main hurdle with Vipassana is that I was sitting during the day outside of meditation still feeling heavy sensations and no matter how much I try to be equanimous, or to stop resisting, I would seem to just wallow in this forever and it was really discouraging. I've started lately to wonder if this was the 'dark night' that people talk about, since it was at times affecting my relationships, making me feel very irritated and/or feeling anger.

Now I finally have another avenue to address the problem. It's just not feasible for me to invest 2h every single day of fine concetration. It would work eventually for sure, but if I miss a single day I'd feel like I am back to square one and next time I sit I'd be sitting through another hour of heavy sensations and barely able to keep my head afloat and feel like I am getting nowhere emoticon

As I have been experimenting last few days I sense that Vipassana can go much deeper but this may be an enormous help when the stuck energy or whatever it is makes it really difficult to sit. The only other option I could think of was to do another retreat since the assistant teachers are helping ... but I haven't had the heart to do so.

Anyway thanks ! And please share related materials if you have any.

Also, it seems like the "POST EXERCISE SENSING AND FEELING" describedi n the book is very much a light Vipassana session isn't it?

Even more so in [url=this vid of Hyatt describing "You mehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmkvkErixvcditation"]this vid of Hyatt describing "You meditation", here he mentions doing it for up to an hour.

DO you know if he has been influenced by Eastern teachings and meditation techniques or is this something he came up on his own?

No problem, I'm just glad others are benefiting from these powerful, if underused, techniques.

My best guess is that you've previously crossed the A&P, and you're cycling around ReOb or you've fallen back and are sitting in Cause and Effect. As Daniel has pointed out in other contexts: if you're hanging out on hardcore meditation forums, meditating for an hour+ a day, and in this case, investigating the body-based exercises invented by an obscure/defamed Austrian psychologist and scientist the chances of you not having hit the A&P is very low.

As this is a meditation forum I'll preface with this: finding your way to Equanimty, figuring out how to stay there, and then landing stream-entry and taking it from there is your best bet in relieving your symptoms. You can find the relevant information on that process elsewhere, but I can summarize my recommendation. Power the mindfulness all day, learn how to surrender at the peak of ReOb, experiment with tweaking the effort/do-nothing in low EQ, stay viligant, stick honestly to the bare/basic/direct/simple/immediate sensations, and practice well. It's also important to make strong resolutions regularly. Have you mastered noting? If not, do that asap.

That said, I find Reichian exercises highly complementary to vipassana. Here's a simple argument to explain the synergy. Vipassana can be defined informally as a gradual process of expanding awareness (defined loosely) to include previously unclear/unconscious mental processes and physical sensations. Mental and physical phenomena are intimately interconnected, and at a certain level, useless to separate conceptually or pragmatically. This insight shows itself early on in Cause and Effect and more clearly later when formations are experienced in Equanimity. Following common sense and the metaphor of chakras, certain parts of the body have certain mental or emotional correlates. When we're emotionally hurt we have a 'broken heart', when someone's flighty they don't have 'both feet on the ground', when we're nervous we get 'butterflies in the stomach', and so on. The metaphor of chakras obviously extends this common sense considerably. In any case, if we tentatively accept the body correlation hypothesis then it stands to reason that certain neuroses will have predictable physical markers. As it turns out, Reich and Lowen demonstrate just that in the books I mention later in this post. Neuroticism manifest as tensions and deadzones of energy in predictable places in the body. Reich also predicted that through simple physical exercises you could gradually elicit repressed emotions, recover repressed memories, and bring increased awareness to the physical tension and associated neuroses. The most difficult patterns of sensations to include within awareness are slippery neurotic processes that, through reinforcement since the childhood events that triggered them, constitute a significant portion of our character. Reichian exercises, in my experience, help tremendously to bring awareness to these processes that are difficult to be honest about and hence difficult to see clearly. It should be mentioned, Reich intended for the exercises to allow people to surrender to more complete orgasms. These theories are fascinating and controversial, but not necessary for an interested dabbler nor directly relevant or contradictory to the meditation connection I'm making.

Here's a relevant passage from MCTB
All that said, there is some debate about what factors or progress allows some people to just notice the Three Characteristics of the sensations that make up their world in the face of their stuff as opposed to those who just flounder in their stuff. Some would argue that you have to have done enough psychological work and deal with enough of your issues to get to the place were you can move on to the next stage. I must reluctantly admit that there is probably some truth to this. However, I didn’t consider myself particularly psychologically advanced when I started insight practices, as I had all kinds of stuff to deal with and still do, and yet somehow, perhaps through good instruction, perhaps through some other factors I have yet to identify, I was able to practice well despite it all and make the shift from being lost in content to noticing how things actually are.
I would argue that Reichian exercises (along with the awareness-expanding and energetic effects) provide an ideal method for precipitating psychological growth without a high risk of getting lost in content.

Although working with our 'stuff' and the practice of vipassana techniques should be clearly differentiated, it seems that working with our 'stuff' is necessary for progress at certain sticking points, and largely unavoidable in the long-run. I would also argue that Reichian exercises can be particularly useful during the DN. There have been times in the DN when my concentration is virtually gone, my body is stiff, and psychologizing is dangerously sticky. This isn't unusual, so I hear. emoticon I've found that a Reichian session can really break up some of those irritating repetitive thought processes. Of course, physical exertion, dancing, walks in nature, and (attempting) socialization all help with this too. But, Reichian work will really target those patterns of mind, whereas the former are moreso skillful distractions.

I've mused about combining the systems of Reichian and vipassana after I reach some degree of mastery in both. The idea isn't completely new. As you mention, 'sense and feel sessions' are essentially vipassana lite. And, Ron Kurtz gave it a go with Hakomi:
Integrating scientific, psychological, and spiritual sources, Hakomi has evolved into a complex and elegant form of psychotherapy that is highly effective with a wide range of populations. The method draws from general systems theory and modern body-centered therapies including Gestalt, Psychomotor, Feldenkrais, Focusing, Ericksonian Hypnosis, Neurolinguistic Programming, and the work of Wilhelm Reich and Alexander Lowen. Core concepts of gentleness, nonviolence, compassion, and mindfulness evolved from Buddhism and Taoism.
I haven't researched Hakomi thoroughly, but I suspect it too is highly potent. Though, the mindfulness component sounds too light for me. 'evolved from Buddhism and Taoism' reads (to me) as 'misinterpreted and watered down from Buddhism and Taoism'. At least they mention the Reich influence, unlike EMDR and most other modern body-based approaches.

If you're interested in exploring character types from a body-based bioenergetic perspective check out Character Analysis by Wilhelm Reich, and Language of the Body by Alexander Lowen. If you match the rigid profile given on that website, check out the chapters in the above about the compulsive and phallic-narcissistic type. I should warn you, both books are technical and dry. Lowen is slightly less dry. Both books are available online if you know where to look (message me if you need).

As far as other resources go, check the prettier version of this thread. I'm gonna make this post in the other thread too; if you respond please do it there emoticon Also relevant are the books of Wilhelm Reich, Alexander Lowen, Peter A. Levine, John C. Pierrakos, Christopher Hyatt (Undoing Yourself and Secrets of Western Tantra), Nick Totton, and Ron Kurtz. Myron Sharaf's biography of Reich is also of interest. Robert Anton Wilson wrote a play called Wilhem Reich in Hell. Here's a noteworthy quote from the preface
When I am in my Reichian or neo-Reichian reality-tunnel, it seems overwhelmingly obvious to me that I live among a species that is desperately sick and desperately afraid of the changes it must undergo to be cured.
When I am in my Buddhist reality-tunnel, the medical metaphor of sickeness in Reich's system seems as over-simplified as the Christian metaphor of sin, and I merely see that the human race at this stage of its evolution has the habits inevitable at this stage of evolution. What is, is, and our evaluations of it are simply -- our evaluations of it.
RAW and Hyatt were friends, and both were familiar with at least Zen Buddhism. Hyatt went so far as to call himself a Buddhist for most of his adult life.

This turned out to be a long post; I've been reading Reich the past few days and haven't updated this thread in awhile. I've also experienced new results from the exercises, if anyone's interested in reading those. Good luck with stream-entry and Reichian!

4 month Practice
Answer
7/4/15 3:40 PM as a reply to Migration 6.2 Daemon.
Hello, everybody, i have only just joined here today but first came across this site when stumbling across the crossover between energy work and meditation, specifically Anapana/Vipassana.  Its this thread that got me into Reichian work! And i have been doing it on and off since about March, combo of Hyatt and Willis exercises but i have been seeing an integrated bodyworker 2-3 times a month off the back of and to support this also. I hand picked her because she has big experience with Reichian Growth work and has worked with meditation masters in India also. I was one of these people who was never going to get a therapist, five years into recovery from a 25 years drink/drugs habit, been doing meditation since 2010 daily but always shunned any counselling/therapy and relied on AA and recently sangha. But practice opens the door...it won't be shut again...and i realised i needed somewhat proffesional help to deconstruct the bullshit that is my head and my reality tunnel. Now, since i started therapy and Reichian, things have got messy, quite messy at times, but my therapist is supportive. She knew when we began that i was ready to go very deep into who and what i was/think i am and i was willing to go through mental hiccups to see my patterning and try to decondition myself where i thought it was necessary. Of course, this is all pretty vague wishy washy descriptions at the moment, but, you know, i could write a book.  For me, i wanted to get something down to this site and get posting as i feel i need the support. Really. I do.  Emotionally things can get very very heavy duty and i don't know whether my perception gets distorted at times or whether in fact things come into clarity, but i see and feel a fair amount of despair about existence in general. I mean, a quick go on the wii u or a snickers bar etc ain't enough to switch it off anymore. My practice and wanting to do the work so to speak probably contributed to my recent relationship break up after three years. And yes, boy could i see the repeat nature of that little manifesting phenomena, lol
So this is just a check in really.  I'm commited to wading through my shit and seeing things how they really are, whatever the price. I just need to keep stable and safe because i'm a single parent and proffesional guy and would like to keep that going and not end up unhinged in a ward or back on the booze or chems.
Maybe sometime soon i will share a bit about my practice and my therapy and stuff like that.
One last thing, i do worry that i get into too much stuff altho i do enjoy looking into may aspects of all kinds of shit-for example i got interested in Chaos Magik and Chaos Theory and looked into some of the occult practices aswell-some people have commented that i need to stop fuckin around and just choose what i'm going to stick with-that i will never get any depth with anything unless i 'chose a side'. But the truth is, i like practicing Reichian then doing some Anapanasati. When i thirst for a bit of drama i will do some ritualistic stuff, i find it excites me. And then i've got the 12 step program, because i need that to stay sober. Today, i did 20 mins shamanic drumming (i've just bought a buffalo drum because it makes me euphoric does the drumming) then just did ten mins anapan afterwards. I LIKE being diverse and my therapist has always encouraged it-that's what she has always been like.  That's me, cheers for listening and big luv xx