Lai, Pei-xia: 1996 Summer, in India, Pune, the first time I experienced the legendary "Primal Therapy". The reason it appealed to me was because I heard, in that process we are able to experience and relive this very painful past again. Especially those deep wounds created in our childhood, or those denied, forgotten experiences we even wait for them to be erased.
Indeed, to experience again this grievous, broken past requires tremendous courage. Rather to say I was going for revealing my inner wounds, I would say I was more interested in recognizing the courage and wisdom within myself for facing my own traumas. Before primal therapy, I have had quite some years studying in psychology and psychoanalysis. I believe that when one has gathered enough inner strength, this once considered unendurable past will come up to his/her awareness, waiting for him/her to go through. And I have been always upholding the spirit of perseverance.
That year, Pandora's black box opened up, I wanted to make endeavor to follow my path. Because for me life was full of uncontrollable reactions, it often came out of my own parry. Why anger? Why frustration? Why jealousy? Why not happy? Why couldn't I live up to a life I wanted? Who am I? I really did want a good understanding about my own-self.
Later on, I discovered that this whole process was my search for truth, a journey for returning to the state of a peaceful mind. Of course, as I looked back, this type of exploration, in order to be done needs absolutely a friendly companionship and supporting systems, such as a good teacher, friends, groups, etc. If there is no help around us to support our healing process, repressed pain will be forced back, continue staying in the shadow, and it is difficult to go through the division of mistrust with people and the world.
A wounded heart needs tenderness and tolerance in order to be healed. My healing journey took me a lot of time and effort. I went through learning, searching, destroying, creating; finally I was able to regain my trust in others. You also can ask yourself: "Is this world friendly?" Do not rush to answer, first quiet your heart and ask yourself, so allow the answer to emerge from the heart.
"Primal Therapy" was first used by the American psychiatrist Dr. Arthur Janov's in 1970'. He believes that all repressed pains in people stem from childhood trauma. From the point of view of Neurology, depression could only make early pain more fix. The therapeutic approach of "Primal Therapy" is to allow a client to stay under the circumstances of awareness, bringing repressed pain into consciousness, relive what happened in his/her past. Through language, voice, body, gradually induce the long-hidden inner pain. According to his interpretation, any trauma that cannot be fully experienced in the past, will be stored in the body, and appears as a state of chronic stress or emotional burden. Allowing those repressed feelings to be relived and released from all levels of nervous system, mind, can achieve physical and mental balancing effect.
Bela in this interview is a Primal therapist and works with Osho meditations and methods. Through her own life experiences, she tells us how Primal Therapy influenced her and other participants. You might consider yourself facing life problems alone, but through the module "conversations with the master", ETTODAY wants to let readers know, "You are not at all alone." In our mind, we know!
Lai, Pei-xia: Each person's journey into spiritual growth is very different, could you please talk about what kind of moment made you go on the path of inner search, and to become a therapist?
Bela: I was born in a traditional family in a small Dutch village. Since I was a kid, I was often thinking about why everyone is so different, but that time my living environment was unable to give me the answer. So, in my early age, I left the village and moved into the big city to work, wanting to pursue other possibilities of life. But after a few years of working in a metropolis, I still found myself trying to get used to live in a village. So I returned home. Going back there, I still found myself that I couldn't integrate in that world; it seemed I had lost my own direction and position.
At that time, I had a boyfriend who loved me very much, we lived together, and thinking we might get married and have children later, to live a life the same as everyone else has. Seemingly happy future, but without reason I was getting more and more sad, the sadness even made my body arbitrarily couldn't move. As a precaution, I went into the hospital for check-up, I'll never forget what my boyfriend said to me at that time: "No matter what happens, I will not leave you, no matter where you go I will be with you." But when I heard those words, I just could not help to cry and ask myself: "Is it really what I want?"
Since that moment, everything changed. I decided to get off from the shackles of the traditional villages, decided to start acting, to learn how to enrich my own life. Right at that time, I read on the internet about courses offered by Osho disciples. Through group therapy, I began to know the original appearance of life. My heart got deeply touched, and finally I had the feeling of belonging. Thus, by the end of 2000, I decided to fly to India, after finishing a five-year * Primal Rebirth Therapist Training and after this training, I took sannyas. This was something I had never thought of before.
*(wrongly interpreted text in the original interview, it was not the OSHO Therapist Training, that one I finished after 4,5 months in 2001)
Recalling that period of my past, I think I went through the most difficult period of my life, and I was reborn in that process. After I went to Pune, I got to realize that life can be lived so much at ease. Before I was always in struggle, feeling that it is because I am unable to integrate into society, therefore I had a very difficult and heavy life. Through the courses, retrospection of my past, I realized that I undertook many commitments from my family which shouldn't be taken by me, for me as the youngest daughter of the family; it was a great burden, and therefore creating a lot of resistance and pressure in my life. Finally, I gave up my life in the Netherlands, chose to return to India to engage in the work of Primal therapy. Until now, every day life brings me different surprise.
Back to the essence of life. Be true to yourself
Lai, Pei-xia: Please tell us what Primal therapy is about, okay?
Bela: The "Primal therapy" I learned is according to Osho's vision, mainly focused on traits of your personality. Each of us has "an ego" or "the imaginary I"; this "I" usually comes from the teachings of parents or school education. Meaning, we were all born a unique piece of empty paper, via interaction with adults around, we have been shaped, developed into today's appearance. And Primal therapy is the work that helps us to start from the very beginning of our life experience, to explore how people around us had influenced in our life: parents, members of the family, and those who ever took care of us when we were small.
When we were small, naturally we are greatly conditioned, because we had no choice but unconsciously following the expectations of parents or society, to grow up in a planned blueprint. In particular, if the parents haven't settled with their own childhood, it is very easy to project their unfulfilled dreams on their own child. Under such expectations, for the child it is difficult to show their own true nature. Also parents often cannot accept their child as he/she is. At such time, children would feel much pain, and began to hide themselves, and even for wanting to be loved, they gave up their inner true desire, and turned to follow their parents' expectations and eventually become another person.
Because I want to understand the context of Primal therapy, in addition to my training, until now still I often look into my own and listen other's life stories. Primal therapy is the "tool" I use for my own transformation. It overturned my life thoroughly. I anyway cannot imagine, ten years later today, I'll even teach in Taiwan, this is really incredible.
I have found, life at the beginning expands outwardly. We will look for our position, first from the outside world, and then slowly-slowly turn inwards. Recalling experienced stories, thinking what we have done through life: Why unhappy? In the end what is important for me? Once you start the inner quest, you got the chance to break through the limitation of life, to live a different life.
Lai, Pei-xia: How do you use Primal therapy to help people to break through the limitation of life?
Bela: One of the ways is "retrospect". Back to childhood, to compensate defects that has been hidden in the depth of the heart in the past. Because those defects have become a part of your personality, and we try to get out from the previous patterns, you make yourself keep distance; meditation will be a very important tool. Try to look inward and see what you really want to keep within? And what you want to let go of?
In order to meet expectations of our beloved ones, we have hidden some of the inner qualities of what? When we were small, naturally we all knew about our true feelings. We were all born as a Buddha, everything was fulfilled, and nothing needed to be changed. And, the journey of life is a process in which first you lost your inner essential qualities, then you try to retrieve them. Through this retrospect and search, you become more conscious toward your own life.
This is not an easy task. Osho said that the child will depend on parents for twenty-five years of time. This accounts for a third of our lifetime. But most people, after twenty-five years old will still live in the same way. For them, change is very difficult. Most people may have a "passable" life, having a little money, a family; having something "must have" according to worldly concept. But this kind of life cannot ignite passion, or make you feel yourself as valuable.
This is what happened to me in the story. Because I have experienced it, so I can understand. I hope I could share other possibilities of life with people who have the same experience as I had. I use the four-day breathing course and dynamic meditation (designed by Osho, in a process, after a lot of activity, the body naturally experiences silence), to open up the repressed body. Allowing people to experience their emotions again and then going into Primal Therapy. Participants can really return to their true nature, to see their original face, and emanate radiance. I always watch these changes with great joy. I need a photographer, to take photos for participants of their looks before and after the course. They will see after taking away the mask, the revealed real self.
Lai, Pei-xia: What is that causes such a big change around?
Bela: What I am doing is to support people to go beyond themselves. Many people consider to go beyond oneself is very difficult. For example, many women think they do not deserve to be loved. In groups where I use the method of Primal therapy, I allow participants to open their heart to share. So, it not only can achieve the relaxation, it can also help people move away from their judgmental mind, and to see things on a deeper level.
Take the example of victims and perpetrators. In fact, the essence of both of them is the same. A person was not born destined to become victims or perpetrators, but because there were certain factors in their growth process that caused people to change. So once there was a misunderstanding or resentment generated, if they can look at the deeper part of each other, they will be able to understand each other. When the heart is open, love will flow again. The process of reconciliation naturally will help us to grow.
Taiwanese women, the original look is the most beautiful
Lai, Pei-xia: From your experiences, what you saw in Taiwanese woman?
Bela: I saw Taiwanese women still keeping very strong traditional conditioning within. The status of women is still lower than men, especially in the family. Although the concept of gender equality has been spread widely, but still unconsciously Taiwanese women would fall into the female role of the old society. This might be because of their growing environment, which makes them unable to recognize their own unique value.
At some moments, we will resolutely stand out to fight for our own deserved, but at other moments, we choose to fall into a comfortable, easy, safe place. Although some people are aware of it, but do not know what to do. For me, due to different growing environments, I find it difficult to understand why Taiwanese over thirty-year-old still live with their parents. Especially women, they tend to depart from their parents until they get married.
Before the course, I will arrange interview with participants. I found that some people after the course had no other support system that could support them to continue on the spiritual path in their daily life. In such case, I would tell them: "You are probably not ready yet". Their life first must have other support, such as participation of activities in certain meditation center. When I am away, they can still seek the support from meditation centers.
Lai, Pei-xia: Do you see the unique beauty in Taiwanese woman?
Bela: What impresses me the most is that a Taiwanese woman is very powerful. They sustain a lot of responsibilities. This not only happens in Taiwan, the whole of Asia is the same. Women stay home to maintain the family, this is the beauty of dedication of Asian women. I wish they understand that dedication is a beautiful thing; dedicating from a silent heart, is very touching.
Lai, Pei-xia: From your point of view, what is the difference between Taiwanese women and Western women? From the aspect of spiritual growth, what Taiwanese woman in the future will be?
Bela: I think Taiwanese woman can be more alive, for this Dynamic meditation can help one. People of East Asian cultural circle are very polite, though smiling, but often hide inside repression. I think Taiwanese women need to communicate. I found that if you give them enough space, they would have many stories to share with each other. Unfortunately, the value of sharing has not been recognized in their life. Here the "sharing" I mean is not to complain about the marriage or man, but to share their life experiences to each other. In my group, I always encourage women in such way to support each other, through sharing to find their original creativity and gift.
Lai, Pei-xia: You mean, from the process of sharing life experiences to find gifts?
Bela: Yes. In particular in the Primal course I facilitate, I try to support each person to find their own natural self. Sometimes we will ask people to stay in silence. In an isolated state from language, one can only go inside to see; no any given answer, but only teach methods of meditation. I let them find their own answer. For me, the most wonderful thing now is more and more men are also involved, having an opportunity to get in touch with their own most true strength within.
Lai, Pei-xia: For readers who are not able to participate in groups, what they can do to help themselves?
Bela: The first thing they can do is to meditate. Meditation needs to look inward. Although some people can sit silently, but it just is considered by willpower, his mind may not be silent. Dynamic meditation I mentioned before is a meditation to first let the body move a lot, to release suppression, and then after the cleaning, do the silent sitting. In this way you naturally will experience a different state of silence.
The other thing is to share. Sharing can clean the mind. Especially people who encountered domestic violence, sexual abuse or other family problems, it would be very helpful for them to say it. Those incidents have been deliberately ignored, or afraid to face them, one can only hide the pain in the darker corners. Unfortunately, these unspoken problems often get passed on unconsciously from generation to generation. In Primal Therapy, through sharing with each other, we can easily see the impact of the incidents passed on from our ancestors to us. Because the truth will continue to emerge, wanting to be found, to be passed through. Of course, to choose the right person to share with is the most important thing. Otherwise it may make us suffer greater harm. And that is why when people encountered misfortune, would choose to stay in silence.
Lai, Pei-xia: At the end, could you please give our readers some advises?
Bela: I wish Taiwanese women could understand that they are as beautiful as they are. This is also the main core of my work I want to share. If you want to find the most beautiful Self, you need to respect yourself, give yourself more space to see what you really want to pursue, and what needs to be changed? Life really is too short, and some thing you can do in your adolescent and middle age, after retirement you might not able to do it anymore. I often think, to regret for something I haven't done, it would be better to regret for something I have done. I wish more and more readers can retrieve their own nature, to live a more wonderful life.
Published in Amazing Magazine 2-2014