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Healing & the Extraordinary Mind

Excerpt: Subtle Impressions Which Obscure Awareness


Because much of the more coarsely held mind, emotion, and energy blockages have been released at earlier stages, individuals at this 5.5 stage of development can easily resolve residual trauma or disturbance directly through their energy field and Awareness by dissolving and clearing what Hindu philosophy calls samskaras and what Tibetan Buddhism calls subtle impressions. Subtle impressions are often unconscious concentrations of subtle energy that potentially unfold into subtle non-conceptual wave-like patterns through the body and energy field. These non-conceptual energy patterns and sensations then give rise to unconscious thought constructs through which the individual creates conceptual stories about the subtle sensations. These stories lead to emotional reactivity which then creates and validates the imagined outcome in one’s experience, leading to potential manifestation of these habitual outcomes in physical reality.

Subtle impressions are generally felt as a subtle disturbance in the clear spacious

Awareness that occurs prior to thought or emotion. They can occur as a feeling of unease in one’s energy field. As a person progresses through this 5.5 stage, breathing and focusing into specific muscular tension still can be useful, but becomes less necessary than breathing into and focusing on subtle sensations in and through their energy field. Especially if they have had experience with conscious breathing and somatic sensing, much of the physical tension has already been worked through so that conscious, full-bodied breath and body-awareness become more regular, natural, and spontaneous. This deep relaxation in body and mind is what allows subtle energy impressions to become more noticeable and prevalent. When a client at this stage experiences a disturbance of any kind even if it has already been elaborated by thought or emotion, I invite them to take a couple of full-bodied breaths and to relax. I invite them to become aware of the clear and empty field of expanded Awareness. Next, I instruct them to become aware of the felt sense of subtle energy of the disturbance whether attributed to a person, an event or even a disturbing felt sense devoid of content, and to bring that felt sense of it into the clear Awareness that permeates the body and subtle energy field. I ask them to allow the disturbing energy to take up as much space as it needs in the body, energy field, and Awareness without thought elaboration. Often, I’ll encourage them to allow the sensation to intensify, similar to my work with people at earlier levels when I invite them to intensify the physical muscular contraction in their bodies. However, now I ask them to be fully present with the disturbing subtle felt sense or energy. I ask them to juxtapose this disturbing energy with their sense of clear, spacious Awareness and note the difference in the qualities of energy sensation. As they remain present with the energy as it moves, relaxes, and dissolves back into clear Awareness, they receive insight. The experience of these subtle impressions often emerges and subsides as a bell curve, coming from seemingly nowhere, building charge and intensity, and finally subsiding back into emptiness. When done well, this technique is much quicker than the more traditional psychodynamic approaches as well as the somatic approach of breathing and focusing into muscular holding because it bypasses elaborated and constructed story, avoids reification of these stories, and gets to the essence of the energy contraction, simply through the clarified awareness of the felt sensation. The individual sees that the issue is non-substantial and that the sense of shame, anger, or fear (for example) are all constructed elements of perception that lead to a sense of separation. Healing occurs through ensuing flashes of insight. A deeper compassion for self and other, and a recognition that in a certain sense “there is no other” result as the disturbing felt sense dissolves and the inter-related, components of the larger picture reveal themselves. Now the breath is used to sense into the body more gently, to flush out any surfacing residue and as a method of integrating and sealing insight. When repeated the process of releasing somatic tension and dissolving subtle impressions can help relieve the individual of deeper layers of shadow material from unconscious trauma which cloud the mind and Awareness.


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