In this paper we describe a psychospiritual, energetic, mindbody framework for healing and transformation called Life Centered Therapy (previously called Guided Self Healing). LCT is based on the following presuppositions:
1. Fundamentally, a human being is a holographic field of energy within which there are centers and flows of energy. It follows that all disease; physical, emotional, mental and spiritual springs from the same cause: traumatic shock which has manifested either as a breaking of the holographic field, leading a person to the paradoxical experience of, while being all here, not being all here, a clouding of centers of energy, leading to relational difficulties and/or a blocking of the flow of energy with a concomitant pollution of the energy in the flow, leading to a shutdown of information. Therefore, to help a person in the healing process, we must help put them back together, clarify the center and/or unblock the flow of energy.
2. We have many levels of wisdom within us which include and are not limited to conscious, unconscious and deepest wisdom. There are many words for this deepest level of wisdom: in the East, for example, chi, ki, shakti, prana; in the West, we might call it the wisdom and energy which quickens/animates us, our life force, and our deepest intuitive knowing. If we arbitrarily give a value of one to our conscious levels of knowing, this deepest level of knowing is virtually infinite, and for our purposes, knows everything about why we are experiencing our difficulties and what we ought to do about them.
3. We all experience this deepest level in essentially the same way, as a ‘felt sense.’ It is not something we figure out and/or have an emotion about: it is the inner voice which says ‘Yes’ and is not a projection. It is what we just know in the deepest gut level in our body. Because this is a body-based knowing, we can access it through the body. We can do this by using a process called Kinesiology (muscle testing or MT), where we ask our body questions and our body gives us the answers.
Of course, it is not the body that is answering, any more than when one is asked a question and the answer comes through one's mouth, one’s mouth is answering. The body is a means of communication, a body-piece, so to speak, for this deepest level of knowing. MT is a simple process where we ask the body yes/no questions. For one answer, typically “yes,” when we press on a muscle (typically the arm), the muscle stays strong, and, no matter how hard we press, the appendage to which the muscle is attached stays like steel. For the other answer, typically “no,” when we press on the muscle, it relaxes, and, no matter how softly we press and no matter how much the client tries to keep the appendage up, it relaxes and goes down.
4. True healing includes every level from the level of Matter to the level of Soul and Spirit. Sometimes the healing manifests in a material way as the physical transformation of a difficulty the client has indicated his/her wish to change; sometimes it manifests as a change in attitude about the difficulty and often manifests itself as both. We can never be sure on which level the healing will be.
5. What does the healing is some Energy greater than ourselves; while we (our personalities and bodies) get to be there, we do not get to run the show. We can invoke Sourcing energies, the Ancestors and all who are here for help and health when we do this work. Moreover, we bring our awareness to the Mystical body. The Mystical body suggests that, just as our cells are part of the larger organ systems and ultimately part of a much greater Consciousness which holds them and which each of them holds in its own unique way, so too perhaps, are we part of a much greater Consciousness which holds us and which each of us holds in our own unique way. In this way, we open the healing to much larger processes and experience it from the smallest cellular levels to the grandest levels of collective consciousness, morphogenic fields, and the Unity which connects us all.
In my experience, the only way to open to all these levels is to bring our awareness to the spiritual Heart Center and open to the experience of being unconditional love manifesting. It is only the Heart Center which can simultaneously hold the physical reality that we are beings of matter who have truly been traumatized and have reactively traumatized others with the soul-level reality that we are cocreators of our reality in the most radical of senses and that everything we experience serves life, even those aspects of ourselves and of life to which we have the greatest aversion.
THE FIVE STEP PROCESS
Life Centered Therapy is fundamentally a simple, five-step process with variations:
1. Highest Priority Intention (HPI) and Safety Checks
We discover why the client has truly come and that all parts give permission to proceed with the work. The client will come with some conscious intentions (i.e. what the client wants to change). Sometimes, muscle testing will validate that one and/or all of these are what the client is to work on; at other times, it will suggest that there is a higher priority, which is out of the client's conscious awareness. Most often this is what we call a Sabotage Transformational Pattern.
2. Checking for Sabotage
In this system, sabotage means any blocked intention about which the client is unaware, that keeps the client from working on the intentions the client consciously wishes to transform. Metaphorically, in this situation, if the client's conscious blocked intention is a house he wishes to build that he has been unable to build, sabotage is a crack in the foundation, which would undermine the whole process.
In LCT, there are three categories of sabotage:
A. Single Center Patterns (SCPs)
These are patterns, which primarily affect one of the three main centers. In the head center, they manifest as reversed beliefs. A reversed belief is when we believe something is true, which, on a deeper level, we know, is not so and then the belief leads to anxiety, shame and/or guilt. There are obviously an infinite number of such beliefs. One example might be: if we believe we are unworthy of love. On a deeper level we realize that everyone is worthy of love, and yet somehow we still believe we are not. When we heal a reversed belief, the belief alchemically transforms into one that can serve.
If we take the above example, our belief about our unworthiness might transmute into a deep sense of humility.
In the heart center, SCPs manifest as an inability to experience an emotion. This can be any emotion; it might be one that we may feel positively about (perhaps joy) or one that we may feel negatively about (perhaps, anger). This phobic response to the particular emotion can evolve in one or more of three ways. First, we can deny the emotion altogether (e.g. anger: I've never felt it, it doesn't exist, I don't even know why it is in the dictionary), second, we can transform it into some other emotion (when something transpires that would make most people angry, instead we cry and say we are sad, guilty, afraid); and third, we can displace it (when something transpires that would make most people angry, we don't realize we are angry at the agent and then we go home and kick the dog or scream at the kids). When we heal our anxiety of feeling our feelings, we are able to experience them at the appropriate level in the appropriate context and then choose how/when we wish to express them.
In the belly center, SCPs manifest as boundary problems; in other words, our energetic container has fractured and we do not get to choose what comes in and what goes out. In response to such fracturing, we may erect walls and/or our boundaries may become too porous. Boundary difficulties can pertain to particular content areas. For example, if you have boundary problems with money, you may not be able to hold onto it; you may become a miser; you may not be able to take enough in; you may compulsively need to take in too much. The number of such content areas is vast, including everything from food, to sensations, to emotions to therapeutic boundaries where we can burnout and/or become too removed.
Boundary issues may also arise around particular individuals, where we compulsively need to approach and/or avoid them. Finally, they may be general, where our boundary issues affect every area of our life.
When our head and heart centers are clear, we have a willingness to be all of who we are and we are open to taking the heroic journey of living our destiny. When these centers are clouded, we shut down, leading to the numbing which we call depression. When our belly center is clear, we open to making our unique contributions in the service of something greater than ourselves leading to a true sense of communion. When this center is clouded, we experience the alienation of isolation or the loss of identity that accompanies enmeshment.
B. Major Energetic Patterns (MEPs)
MEPs are major traumatic stories that affect all three centers, creating reversed beliefs, blocked access to the experiencing of emotions, and boundary problems. The key to the MEPs is that there is typically one core limiting experience, which is the doorway into the whole pattern. Such experiences may include, for example, “A part of me wants to die.” (Deathwish); “I have betrayed a sacred covenant with Source/God.” (Wounded Holy One); “I have been taken over by a much larger force.” (Superimposition). We have identified many such archetypal stories, which significantly impinge on our lives physically, emotionally, mentally, relationally and spiritually.
These stories come in two realms: material and non-material. In the material realm, we can experience the trauma through our five senses and the stories conform to normatively agreed-upon Western reality, even if the stories take place in the imaginal/past lives. In the non-material realms, we can experience the consequence of the trauma with our five senses, though we may not experience the trauma itself in this way (in other words, a person may stick a pin in the back of a voodoo doll in Africa and we experience back pain in Topeka), and the stories typically do not reflect the commonly shared reality of the West.
While we typically believe that these traumatic stories result from our inability to integrate bad things that happen to us resulting in a fear based response, closer inspection lead us to the realization that this is but one of three possibilities. While it is true that certain stories result from the fear that accompanies our inability to integrate bad things, we may also be unable to integrate events that are too good or too much. Our inability to integrate experiences that are too good leads to longing; our inability to integrate experiences that are too much leads to overwhelm. When we are able to open to deep enough levels of discernment, anxiety ceases to be a problem for us. When we open to true connection, longing ceases to be a problem for us, and when we have sufficient energy to open to true presence, being overwhelmed is no longer a problem for us.
What seems to be true is that clearing these patterns (SCPs and MEPs) greatly expedites and facilitates our psychological/karmic work, so that we are cleaner when we come to work on our fixations and deepest fears.
C. Identity Patterns (IPs)
ISPs involve traumatic stories where we believe that, if we allow our true selves to be manifest, our very survival will be threatened; so in that moment of fundamental anxiety, we make the best choice we can: we choose to obscure our True Self with a mask, thereby both protecting and limiting ourselves. The problem is, however, that we make this choice at a time when a part of us has been dissociated because of the trauma we have experienced so that the one that makes the choice is unavailable to us. Therefore, we forget we have made a choice and believe that the obscuring is, in fact, who we are, even if we know that the obscuring fundamentally limits us. This pattern can occur in three realms: the material, the archetypal, and embodiment. In all three realms, the work is the same: to realize that we have made a choice that at one point made sense and now may not, and then to decide if we desire, using our consciousness, to make a different choice, to be our True Selves, with all the responsibility and consequences this choice implies.
(a) Material Realms (Blocked Identity):
In the material realm, we experience an IP when our psychological true self is met with repeated attack and derision and we are too young to protect ourselves and too vulnerable because we need the attacker's approval and love to survive.
For example, suppose we come for healing because, instead of being exuberant in life, we withdraw. We are aware of the pattern; we just seem to be powerless to do anything about it. MT reveals that the problem is a Blocked Identity. We discover that the problem is a pattern of relationship with the father characterized by exuberance being met with disdain, leading to withdrawal. A typical scene might be a four-year-old coming to his father all excited by a drawing he has created and the father screaming, “Leave me alone; can't you see that I'm busy!” The boy chooses to withdraw and to mask his exuberance at this traumatic moment and then forgets he has made this choice; the choice then generalizes to a withdrawal in all moments where exuberance is possible.
What makes this pattern so powerful is the extraordinary variation. We can identify with ourselves as child; we can identify with the aggressor (in this case, the father) and do unto others what was done unto us; we can identify with ourselves in a system (for example, if, when our parents fought and we got sick, they would stop fighting and attend to us, we may generalize this and always get sick when conflict surrounds us); we can identify with our parents' conflicting relationship; and we can move among all of these possibilities.
(b) Archetypal Realms:
IPs in this realm occur when we compulsively live a story that mythologizes our life in order to compensate for a deeper fear. We become deeply involved in our relationship to this identity, which comes to take on a life of its own. Any such identity can serve this purpose; it is particularly prevalent with regard to dis-eases and addictions. The structure, again, is that an identity masks a fear about ourselves, which masks our True Self (see Embodiment Realms). The key element for healing is that we must ask the identity how it has developed, how it has served us, and what is its greatest fear.
(c) Embodiment Realms:
In the embodiment realm, IPs concern the deepest truths about ourselves. We begin with the idea that fundamentally, who we are is everything; in this consciousness, there are no distinctions. When we separate and embody, one part of us experiences this separation as traumatic and experiences itself as limited. This part has two intertwining beliefs: first, it believes that the True Self is not unity consciousness but non-existence and therefore avoids the True Self in every way imaginable; and second, because it experiences the separation as traumatic, it has a limited negative experience about who it is. It counterbalances this experience by compulsively having to be the opposite of the negative experience. Again, the structure is the same: we obscure our Truest Self with a mask and that mask is our deepest fear about ourselves. Then we obscure the mask with a second mask: compensating identities which make up our personalities, our primary modes of perception and our deepest instinctual drives.