By Nishtha Shukla
When out of sync with this world, you can psychologically assist yourself by attuning your senses to really listen with kinesthetic exercises
People who watch cricket matches in player’s gear are looked upon as comic characters. Actually, they are practicing kinesthetic. That is, they have the ability to feel their limbs and body as if they were part of something beyond space and time. As part of sacred psychology, kinesthetic aim at extending one’s senses to restore inner and outer sensing to fuller use.
The word ‘kinesthetic’ comes from the Greek kineme (motion) and aesthesia (sensing). Its practice involves developing the kinesthetic body for a restored and extended sensorial. The sensorial is the body image encoded in the brain’s motor cortex, which is experienced as the felt body of muscular imagination. Kinesthetic is similar to performing a skill involving inwardly rehearsed movement.
Jean Houston, author of The Search for the Beloved: Journeys in Sacred Psychology, says that many athletes and artists who rehearse inwardly seem to have experienced kinesthetic rehearsal almost as vivid as actual physical engagement. Thus also the feeling some people have of actually participating in an event while sitting in front of their TVs.
Renowned NLP and hypnosis trainer Dr Carmine Baffa, who has researched kinesthestics, shares an experience at a seminar where he asked if anybody wanted to learn something. A participant said she was to go snow skiing for the first time. Dr Baffa started by significantly altering her state of consciousness, asking her to find internal images of someone skiing on snow. She was to convert those images into a series of movies and finally, to fully associate them with the images and get into the movie herself.
The participant repeated the process until “she could feel each and every movement, the cold fresh air, the brightness of the snow as it reflected into her eyes”. She was directed to watch the movie of that person skiing until it morphed into a movie of her skiing. Baffa then went into the participant’s past and installed three different experiences of her having skied successfully. He then marked out the time when she would be skiing and tied it to the past successful skiing experiences. The future event, he says, serves as an anchor for the skills that were just installed.
When the woman actually went skiing, “at first she had total amnesia for not having skiied before. And it wasn’t until after her eighth trip down the slopes that she remembered what they did in the first part of the training. But by then, she had already successfully performed the task eight times”, writes Baffa.
Words like touch, feel, handle and grab are important in kinesthetics. It begins with questioning what you want. Also when seeking an opinion, say, I feel you will like this. And the kinesthetic will begin to mentally process the information from his or her point of view. The idea is to get the person to mentally touch the ideas being provided. It is not so much about seeing or hearing as about feeling. Phrases like ‘how does that grab you’, ‘he rubs me the wrong way’ become important. Pauses are, therefore, frequent because asking the self how you feel about the person or the situation acquires greater meaning.
Kinesthetic personalities are often called ‘touchy feelies’ who do things according to what they feel. Albert Einstein is said to have developed the theory of relativity as he imagined riding a lightning bolt through the universe. Dancers and sportspersons often use kinesthetic. For dancers, it becomes a means for translating profound experience into meaningful performance by utilizing focused improvisational movements and associated imagery in choreography.
Arthur Hull, world-renowned drum circle facilitator, says of group drumming: “The vibration created by a group of people drumming together is a kinesthetic massage. You’re bouncing on a membrane that forces air through this body, and air goes out and vibrates in the room.” Such a group massage releases your personal anxieties and tensions. “So that massage, like water, will go to the places that need it… All you have to do is sit and drum and be open to the healing that will happen from you just being there with a lot of other people. All you’re doing is just sharing your rhythmical spirit, this huge, enormous vibration machine is created and it’ll go to your heart, to your emotions, to your brain, the mental tension, to the very soul of our being…”
In his linguistic analysis, Dr Baffa has found: “The auditory reality is two steps removed from actual experience, the visual system is one step. It is inside the kinesthetic where the true power exists, as it is at this level of communication where experience is being experienced. When you have mastered the ability to influence this level of communication, you will be operating in a powerful way.”
Athletes and artists who rehearse inwardly seem to have experienced kinesthetic rehearsal almost as vivid as actual physical engagement
In teaching, he observes that when communicating, verbal elements of tempo, timbre, rhythm and tonality take precedence over actual words. He suggests that if you want to be good with music, start with the auditory system, and if you want to be skilled in teaching, hypnosis, influence and persuasion, start by mastering the kinesthetic aspects of experience.
The important thing about kinesthetics is practice. Begin with this brief practice that must be tried before getting on to more complex aspects.
Time: 20 minutes.
Materials: Comfortable clothing. Wear soft, flexible footwear or go barefoot so you can more easily sense movement.
Instructions: If you are working alone, you will want to read these instructions onto an audiotape, pausing to leave time for the movement. If you are the guide in a group you will want to remain constantly alert to the time required by the participants for the movement.
Script: Before you begin, stand up to get a sense of your body at rest. Quiet, ready to experience. Now raise you real right arm over your head and feel the stretching of muscles throughout the arm and the torso as you do so. (Pause, allowing time for complete feeling.) Now lower your arm. Repeat several times, remembering to concentrate on the feeling of movement within the body.
Now sense your right arm as clearly as you can with your muscular imagination (pause), and then stretch this kinesthetic arm-the arm of muscular imagination-over your head, trying to experience it as vividly as the real one. Now lower your kinesthetic right arm. Alternate several times between stretching with your real right arm, always remembering to experience it as vividly as you sensed the real one. (Longer pause).
Do the same thing with your real left arm and your kinesthetic left arm, always remembering to experience your kinesthetic arm with as much reality as your real arm. Do the same thing, alternately stretching your real and kinesthetic arms. Let your real shoulders make circular movements forward, down, and around like spinning windmills, remembering to concentrate on the feeling of the movement.
Now do the same thing with your kinesthetic shoulders, trying to feel the same forward circular movement that you felt with your real shoulders. Alternate between real and kinesthetic movements.
Let your real shoulders circle in a backward movement. Do the same thing kinesthetically. Alternate.
Now with your real body make a fencing lunge to the right. Come back to centre. Repeat several times. Now lunge to the right with your kinesthetic body. Come back to the centre. Alternate several times between your real and your kinesthetic body. Do the same thing to the left.
Follow this sequence: Real body lunges to the right. Back to the centre. Real body lunges to the left. Back to the centre. Kinesthetic body lunges to the left. Back to the centre. Real body lunges to the left, back to the centre. Kinesthetic body lunges to the right and comes back. Real body lunges to the right and comes back. Real body lunges to the left and comes back. Now, at the same time your kinesthetic body lunges to the right and your real body lunges to the left. Back to the centre. Now lunge with your real body to the right and your kinesthetic body to the left. Come back to the centre. Now alternate lunging simultaneously with the kinesthetic body in one direction and the real body in the other. Do this a number of times.
Feel free to experiment with this process utilizing as many different movements as you like. Movements can include jumping up and down in your physical body, followed by kinesthetic jumping. Another kind of practice could involve going back and forth between the real and the kinesthetic bodies while raising and lowering your arms spinning slowly in one direction and then in the other, and so on. Gradually you will notice the sense of the kinesthetic body getting stronger until it is almost as vividly sensed as the actual physical body.
The following are more complex exercises from ‘The Extended Sensorial’ in The Search for the Beloved. Says Jean Houston: “While it is designed to be developmental and therefore to be done as a whole, the earlier parts of the exercise may be adapted as part of your daily practice. They are particularly effective for altering the brain and body when you first wake up or when you are feeling stuck or tired. After a while even playing the same music used in the exercise will restore your sense of well-being.”
Kinesthetic people are called ‘touchy feelies’ who do things according to what they feel. Einstein developed the theory of relativity as he imagined riding a lightning bolt through the universe.
Music: Suggested music is Jean Michel Jarre’s Equinoxe followed where indicated by Vangelis’s ‘Eric’s Theme’ from Chariots of Fire.
Instructions: Modifications for doing the exercise alone are included in the notes within the exercise. You will need to tape the exercise as well as the accompanying music before you begin. A mirror will be useful.
Parting the stars and giving yourself away
Script: (To be read aloud, with constant attention to the ‘right timing’). We are now going to enhance and redefine the senses, both inner and outer. Then, with these senses, the extended being that is you will be able to meet and see the extended being in the other. Find a place in the room where you have enough space to extend your arms in all directions.
(Note: Begin music, the opening passage of Equinoxe here.) You begin by becoming the source of creation at the centre of the universe. Standing and becoming fully balanced close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Sense each inhalation filling you with prana, the life force, of Creation itself. (Pause, waiting until all are breathing easily).
Now bring your arms to shoulder level and, placing your hands facing outward on your chest, begin to part the stars as you slowly extend your arms in a vast arc until they meet behind you. As you do this you will feel and imagine the planets, creatures and life in myriad forms flowing from your fingers. Reach behind and clasp your hands, these hands of creation, and bow in reverence to Creation, clasped hands rising behind you.
Straighten and come back to the centre. Again, bring your hands to your chest and slowly part the stars, feeling planets, creatures and life in myriad forms flowing from your fingers. Reach behind and clasp these hands of creation and bow even more deeply in reverence to Creation.
Come up to centre. Again parting the stars, feel realities flowing from your fingers. Stars and planets, whole galaxies even, streaming from your hands until they are clasped behind you. And bow deeply in reverence to Creation.
Come back up to the centre. Step with your left foot to the leftward worlds and part the stars, feeling the planets, the suns, the galaxies, and new forms of life stream from your hands. Reach behind you and clasp your godly hands, bowing deeply, raising your clasped hands behind you, in reverence to Creation. Come up and become centred. Place your right hand over your heart and make a fencing lunge to the right as you fling your right hand outward from your heart, giving yourself away.
Come back to centre. Once again, lunge and fling your hand out from your heart, giving yourself away. You give yourself away in service to the universe, and you grow from the giving. Come back to centre.
Now in your kinesthetic body, fully imagine giving yourself away. Feel the movement just as vividly as you would if you were doing it physically. And come back to the centre. In your real body lunge and fling your right hand out from your heart giving yourself away. Come back to the centre. Do the same in the kinesthetic body.
And now let your physical body lunge into your kinesthetic body, so that you have the two bodies, the physical and the kinesthetic, there together.
Now extend your physical hand in front of you, keeping your eyes closed. As you move your physical hand, feel your kinesthetic fingers move away out beyond your hand to caress the walls. Raise your physical hand and feel the ceiling with your lengthened kinesthetic fingers. Extend your physical hand to the wall and kinesthetically sense the walls. Now do the same with the floor. Let your kinesthetic hand extend in an arc over other people, caressing their heads.
Return to the centre and bring your left hand to your heart. With a great lunge to the left, fling your left hand away from your heart giving yourself away. Come back. And again, as a god, give yourself away because that is what gods do: “Here take all of me.” Give yourself to creation. And come back to the centre. In your kinesthetic body, give yourself away. Return to centre. Repeat, alternating between physical and kinesthetic bodies.
Let your physical body move into your kinesthetic body. The kinesthetic body grows inches and feet beyond your physical body so that you feel the wall with your kinesthetic fingers as you extend your physical hand toward the wall. Now do the same toward the ceiling and the floor. With your kinesthetic left hand, feel the heads and shoulders of all present.
Extending the five senses
Guide: Bring your palms facing each other an inch apart and sense the flow of life between your hands, consciously sending suggestions to strengthen the energy flow. Allow the hands to move slowly apart and then toward each other again to stimulate the flow. (Allow sufficient time for this.)
Bring those charged physical hands up and, without touching your eyes, let the kinesthetic fingers lengthen and gently reach into your physical eyes massaging them, improving them, sharpening your vision. Also let them enhance your inner vision, which enables you to sense the great patterns and meanings behind things. The life energy working through your hands, real and kinesthetic, reaches deep into the sensory brain centres of the eyes, sharpening both outer and inner vision.
Bring you fingers to about a half an inch from your ears. Reach with kinesthetic fingers into your ears, activating hearing and also your ability to listen on many levels and frequencies. Activate hearing now so you can listen with ears of the heart, mind, and soul. With your kinesthetic fingers activating hearing, clarify your capacity to listen deeply to others, to truly hear what is being said: messages in the rain, rhythms of the planets, music of the stars, voice of gods, the heartbeat of Creation. Know that it is so.
Reach into your nostrils with your kinesthetic fingers, clearing and activating the full use of your nasal passages and olfactory centres and the capacity to sniff out a variety of aromas. Clarify these capacities so that air as inspiration can be taken in clear draughts. Prana, the vital air of creation that moves through the universe, is also taken in so that each breath activates the life force within you. Breathe in deeply now knowing that the air is also the life force of Creation, so that clarifying breath and creative life are being taken in with each breath. And all knowing is going in through the nose. Now open your mouth and let your extended kinesthetic fingers reach in and activate the taste buds so that the many subtleties of taste become apparent. Extend now the sense of inner taste, savoring the pleasures of inner knowing. Taste this pleasure now.
Since the tongue is the instrument of expression, clarify your ability to communicate. Just stick your tongue out and tap gently on it, both with your real and kinesthetic fingers, and feel the tapping to be like keying-you are tapping in the capacity to be filled with high speech, and communication that you need to express. Tapping, tapping, and actually touching new keys of transmission of communication, releasing what you really wish to say. And feel the tongue extended, connected with the source level knowledge that can communicate through your tongue the fullness of your knowing.
Begin to move your physical and kinesthetic hands over your skin so that your tactile sense, your sense of being in communication and resonance with the pressures and caresses of the universe is amplified. Reach out and touch another person who is nearby. Now kinesthetically touch someone who is not in the room, so that your touch can transcend both space and time-knowing that your hands have the touch of gods. Feel your own skin and sense of touch being deeply activated so that you can both receive deeply and send fully.
Dancing the extended life
Guide: With eyes closed, let your hands come to your sides. Filled with the Greater Story, with a thousand stories, you have amplified and extended your latent senses, your fields of life, heart, inner organs, and your mind. You have harvested the genius and journeys of your ancestors. Now dance backward and forward with your eyes closed. Dance and feel the connections of life aiming and through you, using your arms to sense the now-extended life fields of others. (Dance for about five minutes).
(Note: If you are doing this exercise alone, continue to dance for a while, sensing the fields around and within yourself, letting your extended awareness flood every cell. After five minutes or so [having taped the music so that Equinoxe ends after about five minutes and ‘Eric’s Theme’ from Chariots of Fire or another joyous music begins], slowly open your eyes and stand in front of a mirror. See the person in the mirror as if for the first time, seeing the God-in-hiding. So, too, that being in the mirror will recognize you as the God-in-Hiding.)
Slowly, keeping eyes closed, find a partner and dance, touching the fields of life around one another. Continue dancing together with eyes closed.
(Note: If partners are not found, the guide can help by bringing partners together.)
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