Level 6: Empowered
Well tinnitus has moved out now and lives in the neighbourhood. But you’ve become friends, and you know that if you get out of kilter with your body it will be there to help you find your centre again and re-establish a good sense of health. Most of the time you are not aware of tinnitus, but if you sit in silence you could probably find it again. Equally, you might just notice silence.
The crucial point here is that you have practically no interest in checking up on tinnitus anymore. Why should you bother? There’s no problem. You know that if you look for it, you might find it there just sounding in the far distance sometimes, but there is no need to check this out. Your tinnitus is no longer important, so you don’t check up on it.
If you are operating at this level, you have probably already established an excellent support network, have plenty of downtime and really know how to look after yourself. Your lifestyle is balanced, in as far as you match the amount of energy you give out through work with plenty of nourishing time for yourself to relax and appreciate all the good things in life. There is an equal amount of give and take. Your central nervous system can rest in a state of neutral so that it can either burn off energy in activity, or switch off and recharge again when resting.
Having given yourself plenty of time to let go, process and relax, your system is able to function “normally” again. Just like a battery, our nervous systems do need to recharge for us to feel well.
The well-being you have at this level is there because you have learnt to let help in, and get support when you need it. You have got into the habit of taking any difficulty or discomfort to a body worker or therapist whenever you feel overwhelmed, and probably air your issues regularly with good friends. Nothing builds up too much for you to handle. When big challenges come along you have some sense of how best to cope with them and know where to go for help. This in itself is deeply comforting and reassuring. In short, you can relax in a position of strength and are ready for action if need be.
Tinnitus has turned into an incredibly useful guide leading you to a much greater sense of health and well-being. Helping you get in touch with yourself at a much deeper level opens up a whole new way of being and a new approach to your sense of self.
All the body work helps you get in touch with your body’s felt sense at a deep level, and you start to become aware of energetic reactions. You can focus on internal feelings in a much more detailed way and feel changes in temperature, tingling, floatiness, a sense of expansion, and an opening up into a more sensitive connection to the space around you.
I have found Craniosacral therapy and Core Process Psychotherapy to be particularly good for developing a greater sensitivity of internal awareness. The gentle hand contacts of cranial work often remain still in the same place for long periods of time. This means you are not distracted by lots of external stimulation and your focus naturally goes inside and you become aware of internal changes as you lie there. Equally a Core Process Psychotherapist can help guide you into bodily experience so that as you are working through each issue, he or she can help you get in touch with how it is affecting the body and how you feel inside. There is always a certain part of our body that is reacting to each situation. Getting in touch with this can really help transform how we hold on to things.
At first it seems like magic, but then you slowly start to realise that the body knows what it needs to do. All you do is just get out of the way and let go into the support. It is like an inbuilt intelligence and organising force gathers momentum, and starts helping things realign effortlessly. It can be deeply inspiring to feel something naturally sorting itself out inside you, without any apparent effort. There is most definitely a force that knows what it wants inside. Learning how to let go deeply allows this life force or dynamic organising system to come more and more into affect. The more I have learnt to let go into this centering and organising force, the more I have been able to release aches and pains in my body and become less dependent on medicines and manipulations to sort myself out. This arising energy or life force is available to all of us all the time. We just need to unblock our connection to it arising at every instant in our core.
These days, when I have a pain in my body, I lie down and settle into a deep state of calm. This involves getting in touch with all the things that feel fine, calm and comfortable in your body. Once I have a strong sense of this, I then go into the pain and really get a sense of how it feels inside. If it is bad pain I will only take my focus to the edge of it, without dropping right into it, to keep things manageable.
Approaching the pain, sometimes you feel like something wants to move inside it, or like a pressure wants to release. I spend time getting in touch with the buzzing, throbbing or tightness that is there. After about ten minutes or so just focussing really carefully on it and connecting with it, I start to link the area of pain up to the rest of the body. So if my heart is hurting and feeling tight, I notice how it connects to each shoulder, how my breathing affects it, whether it feels tight towards the front or the back of my body. I literally feel all around it and explore this felt-sense. Sometimes I can feel something changing. When you widen your field of awareness out to include the whole body, the pain can actually start freeing up before your eyes. It is extraordinary what we can do just by focussing. This is well known amongst people who meditate a lot, and is an ability that develops with practice.
We are lucky having so much available to help our health with all the technical advances in health and medicine. However body-awareness is a huge underrated resource that we can tap into, transforming how we feel. To be really healthy we need to combine external scientific approaches with internal process and awareness. Both are good, and having both working together is best.
I believe we need an integrated approach to health where both an internal awareness is combined with external science and expertise. Ken Wilber’s approach to an integral way of life explains this clearly and simply in his book, “A Theory of Everything.” It makes sense.
Wisdom relating to health has been around for thousands of years and has always worked for those who bother to enquire into it. The problem is that it needs you to start the enquiry. I am not against drugs or surgery, but tinnitus is a symptom that responds directly to our internal process and how we treat ourselves. Rather than resort to drugs or surgery which can be extremely helpful in certain situations, I personally to try and sort things out inside first, and enter a very real possibility of getting better, before resorting to more invasive treatment.
Bodywork and therapy opens up this inner world and is of immense value. Stay with it long enough and you will develop an insight into the energetic realm, if you don’t have it already. This can completely change the way you approach yourself and the world around you. It quite literally opens up a completely different way of being.
The first session of craniosacral therapy was a direct experience of my body not as just flesh and bones, but a container of different kinds of energy resonating in a fascinating and powerful way. Like many people I am sensitive enough to feel this energetic perspective loud and clear and therapy has increased my awareness of the body as a container of moving fluids and energies. This has a big impact on your health, mind and your body.
Understanding how we develop psychologically is of immense help as well. When we start to become aware of our patterns of behaviour and where they come from, this too can really help us develop strength which helps us slowly, slowly, over a period of time, start to let go of our normal way of acting in the world.
Taking a deeper look at the typical tinnitus person for example. As a child he/she was not given enough love early on. As a result he/she grows into a highly driven and competitive person trying to prove to themselves and the remote parent that they are worthy enough of receiving love and attention. They spend their whole lives trying to fill this sense of emptiness inside and create the ideal conditions for symptoms like tinnitus to appear. Every day of their life is filled with a prevailing sense of never having enough, never being satisfied or at peace. In this book I have mentioned many surface causes for tinnitus such as: getting divorced, working too hard, exhaustion.
However if we look into the deeper causes, what really matters underneath is that there is very often a lack of loving continuity, guaranteed on-going protection and safety provided by our parents. Our earliest experience sets up the strongest reactions that form the central structure of our personalities. A less than ideal beginning can set up patterns of neediness and frustration that in later life lead to tinnitus. This is where psychotherapy can be immensely beneficial.
Slowly we can uncover the deep cause for our inner struggle that lies at the core of our being. When we can come to terms with our deepest struggles then something literally comes to terms, that is, something stops, and settles. As tinnitus is something that thrives on internal resistance, if we are able to accept and find peace with our innermost experience, then tinnitus doesn’t stand a chance!
At level 6, the challenge is to work through your innermost issues and find acceptance and resolution so that you can let go of this need to explain and understand your tinnitus. I admit this sounds like a tall order, but if you are at this level your goals in life are much more likely to be about finding peace and satisfaction.
At lower levels it helps to know how tinnitus works and what we do to perpetuate it. It can be really comforting to understand what is happening to you and how to let go of tinnitus. Here, however, in order to move into a deeper sense of peace, it helps to let go of the need to check up on tinnitus. I feel it is much more useful to work with the felt sense of the body. Once we learn to focus on responses that are real and alive inside us, we can work with something that is 100 per cent authentic and a part of us and get direct responses inside. If you stay with how you feel, and work through your internal responses, you will be working as closely to maximum health as possible. Your body is the best doctor you have. Give it the right attention and it will show you what needs to happen.
It’s simple, your body is constantly showing you how it is reacting, providing you with one of the clearest and reliably honest streams of information you’ve got. Use this information to guide you.
Developing your energetic awareness with meditation and having deep body-work therapies like craniosacral therapy or core process work will help you get in touch with this inner intelligence. It is amazing and humbling. I really hope you get a chance to connect with it.