Separated from ourselves
As children we depend so much on our parents, we need their care and love so deeply that in order to get them we are willing to do anything and fulfill any of their expectations. So we try in every possible way to understand what they want and deliver it. This forces us to separate from ourselves because it is a form of adapting to our environment rather than a natural tendency. At the root of our separation from ourselves is our strong reliance on our parents for survival.
The moment we, as children, separate from ourselves and from our potential – around 7 years of age – life becomes fake. Subsequently personality, our pseudo-self, take over.
Ways of separating from ourselves can be many, and we work on them in Primal. But one way that sums them up is the incapability to recognize who we really are and being loved for it.
The challenge of life.
We come into this world with a potential, which is unique to each one of us. Osho says it clearly: it is so unique that nature never repeats it twice, it is nature’s unique expression. That is the potential we carry within ourselves.
As children, though, we are unaware of it. It almost seems as if we need to go away from it in order to become aware that it is there. All that motion that takes us away from our potential is what we call “life”.
But at some point we need to become aware of what we are bringing into this world. It is on our transition to adulthood, mainly between 35 and 40 years of age, that most of us step back and question: “What am I doing here? What is the purpose of life?”.
The easiest way to discover our potential would be to have it mirrored by the environment or by the people around us but, ironically, it doesn’t happen this way.
I always like to say to people that it is out of love that life challenges us and makes us face ourselves. Life wants us to come home and see who we really are. And it cannot do it any other way than by provoking and challenging that very potential inside ourselves so that we begin to see it.
Prior to this phase often is the expression of what we felt as children. Whenever our mother or our father didn’t acknowledge or love us we took notice of it but the one thing we couldn’t do was get angry or say: “Go to hell! When I am 4 or 5 I’ll pack and look for some new parents!”. Yet the emotions we experienced got stuck in our system. With the clarity and the qualities and the abilities we have as adults the Primal process allows us to penetrate the emotional layers in a way that was precluded to us as children. This supports a growing sense of strength and independence which enables us to assert: “I exist. I have a right to exist. I can be whoever I am”.
A burden that is passed on
Once we get to this point we are also able to see that our parents carried the same burden on their shoulders, they were as ignorant as us. We realize that we carry a whole tangle of emotions that gets passed on from generation to generation. And this work is beautiful because of what we may call “diagonal” healing: some of the healing we experience in the group indirectly reaches our siblings too. I often hear about people finding a different quality of relating with their parents. They don’t necessarily become best friends but they see their mutual love and respect renewed. And healing happens this way too. It is a quality that reflects also on the outside, it radiates when people feel at ease and relaxed.
One thing is important that we understand: we cannot heal our parents. We cannot heal our mother, our father, our grandfather, aunt, uncle, brother or sister; we cannot do that. Yet the actual change can take place herenow. It is true that it is not always that simple and easy, but it is also true that life gave us a “gift” in that we don’t need the other in order to heal. This is very important: we are the masters of our own life. Osho says it again and again: we do not depend on anything or anyone other than ourselves in order to come home, in order to be whole. It is something we already are.
The way I lead and understand the Primal process, emphasizes this: we have all the tools we need. Once we understand it, all the “crutches” we were leaning on gradually disappear. The moment we feel at home in ourselves we are less likely to project our parents on our beloved, on our boss, on our colleague, or whoever else, in search for that love and recognition we so desperately sought as children. The more this part within ourselves heals the less we need to search for those things outside. When this happens forgiveness also arises because the “hook” has no longer a grip on which to clasp. And it can happen even if the parents are not alive anymore.
Forgiveness opens the door to our heart and eventually love starts to flow again.
The more I do this work the more I learn to bring an element of meditation and this is what makes Osho’s work so thrilling for me. Osho says it, but I can tell from direct experience, and so can many of the people I meet: years and years of therapy for the sake of therapy lead nowhere. It is about understanding what Osho says: bringing meditation, the ability to put a distance between ourselves and what is happening to us, the ability to watch it. Understanding that none of our dramas are really happening here and now is an amazing tool and it is the space I try to mirror in a group. Identifying with my dramas is something I have experienced too, except now I can see it because I live more in the present moment. I admit that I can still have my “buttons” pushed. There still may be certain situations that trigger some very painful feelings from my childhood, but now I don’t need to be constantly in reaction. I can step back and say something like: “I feel that what you said isn’t very nice”, or: “I don’t like this”.
So not only is the process itself important but also bringing meditation. In order to remain free from our old hooks we need to nourish, cultivate and be constantly connected to that inner space where we feel at home. Thus I always say that meditation at some point is no longer a “luxury” activity we plan for our three-week holiday.
At a certain point it needs to become a part of our life to keep that space of serenity alive, a space where we are free from hooks, detached. I always tell people: “It’s your decision, your choice”.
And meditation to me is not just sitting in silence like a statue for one hour with eyes closed. It’s like what Osho says: it can be making a cup of tea, washing dishes, cleaning the house.
A great passion
The issues of childhood and deconditioning from childhood have always been such a great and deep passion for me that it surfaces also when I do other types of work, such as breathwork or opening to intimacy. I always want to see how we recreate childhood issues in our relationships as adults.
So what I do revolves, one way or another, around growing out of childhood and the ways we recreate our childhood in our daily life. I am very fascinated by these dynamics, partly because they helped me understand my own difficulties in life. It took time but eventually I got myself the tools to understand what had happened to me in the past and why.
And as a facilitator I can only take people to a “place” that I have been and explored myself and then see from there what needs to be changed. This means that when I work in a session or a group I myself dive into it completely. Clearly I offer my ability to hold the space, but I need to open as well as participants.
Going through the pain
What I notice is that the more I am able to be present to people the easier it is for them to go where they need to go; it gets less scary. After all everybody says they want to heal themselves but once they know that to bring healing you need to see the pain and be with the pain they say: “No, thank you”. But the more I can be at ease in that space of pain the easier it gets for people to go and explore it. They feel encouraged by the fact that I have gone through it and survived. This is the example I try to set. Regardless of what kind of experiences we have gone through the tool remains always the same.
Many people are determined to look inside themselves, as if the search for truth, for what is real, is above everything else. This allows them to shed light on many dark corners. Very often it is something they are not supposed to talk about because it happened in the domestic environment and it has become a family secret. Therefore it often comes with a huge “no” in the person who has experienced it.
So I am learning how powerful the “conspiracy of conditioning” still is, that is protecting our wounds and whoever inflicted them to us. But this too is what makes this work so precious and interesting.
It changed my life
The reason why I am so passionate about Primal work is that I myself did the group in 1996, at a time in my life when I had no other choice. And it changed my life. Obviously it didn’t happen overnight and then I appeared here doing groups as by magic. But it was life-changing to such an extent that everything I am living now was basically unimaginable for me at the time.
And if on the one hand the group turned my world upside down, on the other hand it brought out something very precious and absolutely alien to the context of the family I grew up in. That made the life I am living possible. So I am in a place in my life which I wouldn’t have been able to get to otherwise.
Something intrinsic to the quality and the force of life allows the mystery to happen. Working with people I myself often have no idea what is going to come out. The beauty of it is that I don’t need to “know”. In fact, the more I am in a space of “not knowing” the better it is. Naturally I give my support, I hold the space, I question many things and bring them to a plane where people can begin to digest them. But then they themselves have to come up with the answers, they don’t get them like one does out of a book…
So I always say: “You have the answers. You just need to look inside and you will find them”. And it’s amazing because everybody has the ability. It’s true, for some people the answers are far away and deep down in their being because they suffered a lot of damage. But in the end they are also able to find the answers.
And to be there, the moment they get it is incredibly beautiful, absolutely amazing… their purity, their light… each one of them shines in their own light.
Published in Italian OSHO Times December-January-2016