Beyond Stillness, Module 2 Montespertoli 2017
Books available to purchase
The Empty Chair and The Feminine Principle, (a little book of aphorisms) are still available to purchase from Barbara, Mike's wife directly. Contact Barbara
Audio version of The Empty Chair
The English audio version of his book 'The Empty Chair' can be ordered through Ryan Hallford's website
Beyond Stillness, Module 2
Montespertoli, January 22nd - 25th 2017
Introduction by Mike Boxhall
The infinite and the dualistic
Manifestations of Infinite Intelligence
There is the dualistic level and there is Intelligence, which we say is absolute.
The Intelligence is that which underlies and creates the Universe, you might call it God or whatever you like, but it is infinite.
Which leads me to the thought that if God is infinite how can I be separate from the infinite? Either there is infinity or there is not infinity so you are God. Must be.
Intelligence has taken many forms: the planet, and everything on it, the stars, the cosmos. Everything we know is a manifestation of Intelligence and that includes you and me even though it doesn’t always seem like this. All manifestations are Intelligence.
The dualistic level of limitations
Now, as well as being infinite we are also separate, at another level you are you and I am me, we have that sense of separation which really is the story of Adam and Eve in Genesis. When Eve discovered that she was separate and different from Adam, she also discovered separation from God. I am Eve and I am here and God is there. That was the realization of the separation; so the story of Adam and Eve is really the story of the formation of the human ego.
That is basically the level at which we work, you can call it the level of limitations. We are limited by our bodies and my body is separate from your body. Within that separateness, that duality, that “not one” there are two great principles, two great forces, two great potencies at work: the masculine principle and the feminine principle, the yin and the yang as many of us would call it.
Without these two potencies in relationship to each other nothing would change, there would be no creation.
The two working together in some form of relationship create all objects, everything. Everything is created by the conjunction of the yin and the yang, all things. When things go smoothly creation appears but every coin has two sides. Sometimes things don’t go smoothly and so instead of creation you have dissolution. Probably the ultimate downside of the masculine is explosion and the ultimate downside of the feminine is collapse.
In the ideal arrangement, which is a quite flexible, balance is creation.
The masculine and the feminine principle
Let’s have a look of what we mean by masculine principle and feminine principle. We need to define a little bit what we mean. There is general agreement throughout the world in all forms of psychology and philosophy that there are adjectives which define masculine and feminine.
We are not talking about gender here, we are talking about principles which are inherent in both men and women.
So it is generally accepted that thinking is masculine and feeling is feminine, that the intellect which is located in the brain, is masculine and that wisdom which is located in the heart is feminine. Certainly, that was accepted by the Greeks. The word for intellect in ancient Greek is ‘nous’ which is a masculine noun and the word for wisdom is ‘Sophia’ which is a feminine noun and is located in the heart.
The electromagnetic power of the heart and the brain
These are the two great energy centres i the body and modern science has discovered that the energy of this world, that comes from the sun, is electromagnetic.
Electricity has no form, you cannot see it. Magnetism has no form, you cannot see it.
The bioelectric field of the heart is 60 times greater than the bioelectric field of the brain. That shocked me when I first read it because I’ve been brought up thinking that the brain was the powerhouse but all the eastern philosophies that I’ve read and the eastern medicines that I have studied had told me that the heart is the prime mover of the system.
Now science is saying the same thing and, even more than that, the magnetic field of the heart is 5000 times greater than that of the brain. The heart sends more information to the brain than the brain sends to the heart.
We have already said that the heart is considered to be feminine and yet we have got to a stage in our civilization where we trust the brain, cultivate the brain and consider the heart merely a pump that sometimes breaks down.
This is not something invented by Mike Boxhall but very modern science, developed in the last 20 years.
Where the leading science, which used to be physics, has now become biology.
And yet we are completely stuck in the masculine and the feminine has been suppressed. The simple conclusion is that we are not nearly as intelligent as we thought we were; in fact we are only half way alive. We are not fully alive, we are our intellect and the rest is something we use to keep the vehicle running.
I have a 20 years old car, it works very well but it is an object which I maintain. We have become a bit like that: we go wrong and so we go to the doctor: “please, fix my problem”.
I am the problem, not my body, because I am only half present or less.
Genetic determinism: a limited construct of the masculine brain
I am this type of person, you are that type of person and she is another type of person and there is nothing we can do about that. This is genetic determinism, those are genes and there is nothing we can do about them.
That was what we were all taught at school “it’s your genes, dear. You got it from your father. There is nothing you can do about that”. This actually is not true.
Again very modern science in the last few years has mapped the whole genome -with the idea that once they had fully mapped it they would have understood fully a human being - but they discovered that the genes are not nearly complicated enough to have made human beings who they are.
We are not our genes; certainly the genes contribute but the Intelligence (not the intellect) at work in a human being is vastly bigger than that which comes from the genes and depends basically on our relationships. That is to say, relationships with everything, everybody and the universe which is outside and what is inside this universe. All depend on relationships; this is what decides which of our genes are actually operative. A very small percentage of the potential that is the genome.
So now we go back to where we started. Ultimately we are infinite.
What has not woken up is our level of awareness.
Awareness and being fully incarnated
In Sanskrit you have an interesting word which is buddha, which comes from bhud. Bhudda doesn’t mean a man with great ears and a large tummy and a golden circle on the top of his head. Buddha is a very simple word which means one thing: awake. Awake to what you really are. And that is the experience of Jesus who at the end was fully incarnated into his body, and the experience of the Buddha who was fully incarnated. They both realized who they were: not separate from the infinity but at the same time in a state of separation. That until the moment when they became fully embodied, fully in the present and realised their infinity. That was enlightenment.
A limited and reactive level of awareness
I would like to suggest a few more adjectives defining masculine and feminine : intellect and wisdom, thinking and feeling, intuition I suggest is feminine, sensation I suggest is masculine (why? Because the senses send messages, it’s an action) telling would be masculine, listening would be feminine, being would be feminine, doing would be masculine.
If you look round you more closely into your family environment most of us are in some kind of relationship and have you ever said: “you don’t listen to me! You don’t hear me!”
We don’t hear because we don’t listen. Then we have our children and most of the familiar problems with children are probably because the child doesn’t feel heard so he/she goes on finding different ways of expressing what he is feeling until it becomes, finally, such a pain in the arse that we tell him to shut up, in some, more or less, politically correct manner.
We don’t feel heard.
These biologists I have been talking about, which includes anthropologists and others, have discovered that the two primary emotional needs of a human being (and don’t forget how important the emotional needs are because the heart, which is the seat of emotions, is also the seat of wisdom) and all primates, are to be held and to be heard.
That comes from both nature and nurture, in other words in the womb we are held for nine months.
Nature has designed that at least for nine months we are held and unfortunately mostly in our society often that comes to a rather abrupt end. That is not the case in some other societies where the babies are not for a moment denied touch for the first three years.
So everything we do or say, our actions and reactions, our mannerisms and our characteristics are all reflections of our relationships.
That is a very good place to start from. I am not these things called me, I am a series of habituations that define who I am and if those habituations are fortunate I am in harmony with the world and if those relationships are unfortunate I am always reacting from the past, from previous relationships. Many of them, sadly, unfortunate.
It is estimated, by scientific research that 95 to 99 % of the time we are not present, we are being reactive to our own past which we have uploaded in our unconscious mind and we continue being reactive to that.
The unconscious is our hard drive that keeps us going all the time. We are not present, we are not aware, we are just being reactive.
Towards a more proactive level of awareness by elevating the feminine in the present
I am suggesting therefore that the only way to be proactive with life is to be in the present.
Most of the past that we have uploaded, or habits, are stuck up here and we think that by working harder or thinking harder (medicine, studying many therapies, for example becoming teachers or lawyers or politicians, and all these are masculine) by following these roads more we finally get to the answer which would be health.
We won’t, we will achieve greater separation because the main work of the intellect is to define, and what is defining? It is limiting. A definition is a limitation. We limit because we are stuck in the masculine which needs to know more and more precisely, like unravelling, opening up the genome. And when we open it up - and this happens all the time - we will have solved a problem! What we find, however, is that we have done has been to discover a new problem because the box is Pandora’s and all we find is a deeper and deeper nest of problems. Not presence or stillness.
I wonder if it would be possible, instead of focusing on (masculine) limitations to find that relationship between the masculine and the feminine so that there is creation. That might mean accentuating the feminine a bit, for a while, somewhat artificially, so that it comes out of dormancy. We don’t want to get rid of the masculine, we need a bit more elevation of the feminine.
Maybe we need to realize that it would be useful to bring feelings into the equation, to bring intuition into the equation, maybe we could try working a little more from the heart, from love.
Tell me in the world where, for example in International affairs, you can see that operating.
Who in the world is listening and who in your family is listening. Are we actually listening or are we analyzing what Is going on, what it should be and what has to be done, preferably, my way?
So that is, I guess, the end of the outline, my philosophy. Let’s move from the philosophy to the possible remedy and I suggest that probably where we can best start is by focusing on listening.
How to move on in a more proactive way?
Understanding the reality of our early and first experiences
When I was putting together this model, which comes entirely from students and started when I was working a lot with babies and I realized that babies don’t think – babies don’t think for quite a long time.
Babies start as sensate cells, every cell has sensations and there are 50 trillions of cells in the body and every cell has sensations - then we go from there to feeling – a baby in the womb is beginning to feel – a baby is not conceptualizing or thinking in the womb. A baby being born is not thinking “Oh, I am going to see mummy. I hope I will have a doll for Christmas”. A baby doesn’t know what Is mummy and what is doll but he senses noises, warmth, heat, hunger,all sensations and towards the latest stages he begins to feel:
anger, happiness, sadness…
Then the baby comes out and gets abandoned, to get washed and other things and all sort of things happen and these go as experiences to the hard drive of the unconscious and it is from this experience, which is preverbal and preconceptual that we react to the world.
Understanding the role of hormones in the way we react to the world
We are no longer subject to genetic determinism as we thought, we can alter which of those genes we are acting out of. We only use about 10-15% of our genes, the rest are inactive and even they are not the whole picture. Which collection of gene we are using is modified basically by our hormonal output. We can alter our hormonal output.
First stage is to be aware of how we are responding to the world. Not what the world is doing to us but how we are responding to it. First thing is to be aware of how we react to the world.
80% of all pathologies suffered by a human being have their roots in stress, which then takes form in this or that and a label is put on it, then something else is triggered and you have a more complicated label. A lot of the actual stress that is branching out into form has been uploaded in our hard drive before we were able to think.
So the first stage is to be aware. Why am I always having difficulties with my boss? Why am I always having difficulties with men with beards? Why am I always having difficulties with myself? This is probably the big one. I am a bit depressed, I never seem to enjoy myself. It’s a habit. Because most of the time we are in a state either of defense or attack, because we have adrenaline running around all the time. And we make sure that adrenaline is running by watching adrenaline producing movies. I live in a big city like Milan or New York so I’m always in a state of excitement and I like that. I have chosen that , something is going on all the time. I am in a state of hyperarousal so of course the adrenaline is running and adrenaline is there to be a friend and to enable you to get out of troubles by putting an amazing strength in your limbs to run away or by putting an amazing strength in your arms in order to fight. But it gets overworked because adrenaline has to get that strength from somewhere in the system so it takes the energy from the digestive system, the immune system, the growth system.
So we have already about 25 labels, diseases, already for what is actually our digestive system not working well, and our immune system not working well etc.
But that is not the world’s fault, we have to notice what we are doing.
Then you have other hormones: serotonin and oxytocin and they improve our growth factors, they make us feel good, they calm us down and we start liking ourselves a bit more, which is very useful because if you don’t like yourself it is very difficult to like other people.
The other good thing about this is that we can get a kind of balance.
Integrating these understandings to cultivate another level of awareness, …
We don’t want doctors out of work but we want to allow them to do what they used to do which is to become friends of the family. In some cultures all the spiritual teachers are doctors. Unfortunately for the doctors in our culture they have to spend so much time filling in forms and reaching targets.
We have to cultivate a more sane approach to how we live our lives and we need to learn to hold more and to listen more.
I chose craniosacral therapy as my take off point because it provides a marvelous model for being able to touch other people without danger. It is sympathetic to the system and it is gentle , nobody is at risk of painful experiences happening to them and it involves touch. It is a useful model for the use of touch.
Then we come to the second part of the need, which is to be heard and my example for that comes from Chinese, from eastern medicine. The Chinese language is written in pictograms and the word for listen has five parts: ears, eyes, full attention, you and the heart.
So listening is paying somebody full attention with all the senses (listening, feeling, seeing) from the heart, not from the brain, not from analysis, not from judgement. Just listening. With love, from the heart.
To be heard is to be healed and to be deeply heard is to be profoundly healed. We all want to be heard, we all suffer to some degree from not being heard. So, what we are going to practice here is listening, basically.
… and to elevate the feminine.
The last piece of this jigsaw is to explain the technique of what we do when we go to the tables. We are not getting rid of the masculine but we are elevating the feminine. We don’t have to analyze what is wrong with the client, we don’t have to do any diagnoses, prognoses and treatment plan.
Clients need to be heard and they have to feel heard without judgement. It is a marvelous feeling to be received without judgement just as you are and then the work goes deeper and deeper and the client begins to trust that there is somebody there for him in this life and develops the trust to go more deeply into the trauma that they have buried and sooner or later – in five sessions or in five years - that trust the client has may go so deep that they are able to bring into awareness and examine the initial trauma that they have buried since the beginning. And when they do that they come fully into the present, not being reactive to the past and they have the revelation that the very heart of their being is peace.
It is a very powerful experience to find out who we really are.