In this essay we will be exploring the importance of trust and intuition in the healing process. Whether we find ourselves in the role of Breathwork client or Breathwork practitioner, these two qualities are essential components of the wellness journey. When we recognize their importance and consciously choose to develop them, we are equipping ourselves with invaluable tools for creating fulfilment in our quest for wholeness.
Trust is essential for happiness
Trust is one of the essential virtues we need to cultivate in order to experience true happiness. Without trust, we are condemned to a solitary existence bereft of the warmth of heart-centred connection that is fundamental to our wellbeing. It may be that our lack of trust – in our selves or others – serves as one of the catalysts in bringing us to personal development work. In this case, we will find ourselves repeatedly confronting the issue of trust as we examine our biographical repertoire in search of a happier and more light-hearted self.
Relating from a foundation of trust is as important for the practitioner as it is for the client. In fact, trust is critical for both parties if we wish to get anywhere in the therapeutical process. Learning to trust begins with making the decision to trust more in our selves, and the development of self-trust is intrinsically linked to the presence and development of our intuition.
Intuition is innate
Intuition is the function of our innate capacity for clear and insightful perception. It is a natural and spontaneous manifestation of a present, aware and focused mind. Intuition is an aptitude we all possess rather than a competency we must strive to acquire. Our intuition is always present, always functional – and thus always on call (Gee 1999). It enables us to discern – with penetrating depth and meticulous precision – events unfolding within our consciousness. With amazing rapidity, it helps us to capture the true sense and relevance – the essence – of what is unfolding within both our inner and outer worlds. Thanks to this insightful capacity of intuition to cut right through to the truth of things and reveal the essential nature of reality to us, it is a marvellous tool for gaining knowledge, understanding, trust and wisdom.
Because intuition is quick and operates on an almost subliminal level of consciousness, we must be very attentive in order to register the perceptions it gives us. Too often, the busy chatter of the restless, distracted and excitable mind distances us from our intuition. Like a dependable yet unobtrusive friend, intuition waits faithfully in the background of our field of consciousness while the greedy monkey mind grabs all the attention for itself. The more we rush from one idea to the next, from one enticing possibility or repelling memory to another, the further we drift away from the strikingly vivid felt-sense of life in the here-and-now moment that intuition can bring us. So habituated are we to the relentless noise of the untrained and chaotic mind, we forget that it’s possible to function from another perspective.
We are fortunate these days in having easy access to a wide range of time-proven methods of consciousness training, many of them specifically designed to calm, contain and train a restless mind. With even an elementary meditation practise, we can ascertain that the mind eventually settles, creating space for the experience of other more subtle aspects of consciousness to emerge into the foreground of our awareness. One of the first of these aspects to appear will be our intuition.
The most essential life-skill we need to cultivate in order to establish a favourable environment for the emergence of our intuition is that of paying attention to whatever is arising in our inner world. We apply attention by sitting (or lying) quietly, closing our eyes and focusing intently and patiently, with an attitude of non-judgemental curiosity. We are attentive in the same way we would be when listening to a compelling yet elusive melody we yearn to hear more clearly. We listen not only with our ears, but with all the five senses we have at our disposal: seeing, touching, tasting, hearing and smelling.
We listen also with the senses of instinct and intelligence. And we listen with the wisdom of the heart. Our attention should be penetrating, without being intrusive. It needs to be intense, yet not tension creating. Once focused, we hold our attention with an open mind – poised and patient, curious, alert and available.
Intuition and self-healing
There are several significant events that occur when we attend to our inner world with such focused and careful attention. The first is that our awareness shifts away from the hustle and bustle of the busy mind and accesses a space of stillness, poise and peace. As we continue to hold the focus, we become present and centred. Time may appear to stretch, stop or expand. And then something settles, opens and relaxes within us, giving us easy access to the here-and-now moment.
At this point we may if we so choose, initiate an intuitive process of personal enquiry. Formulating in our awareness a clear sense of the existential issue we are currently grappling with, and connecting with our heart-felt desire for resolution and transcendence of the problem, we invite our intuition to furnish us with the insights and understandings we need in order for such a transcendence to become possible. In this attentive atmosphere of inner listening, intuitive impressions are quite accessible and emerge fluidly from the depths of our consciousness. We can shift our attention with ease from one aspect of arising impressions to another, and as long as we stay present, concentrated and connected with our intuition, it is possible to modify our inner world in a significant way through using the healing power of focused intention.
There is nothing that has been lost or broken within us that cannot be returned to wholeness if we are willing to give it our full intuitive attention and apply focused intention to the healing process.
When we turn our intuitive insight towards the task of repairing wounds to the psyche that have disabled our confidence, weakened our integrity and rendered us fragile, there are three specific notions we are encouraged to adopt:
- The human organism is inherently oriented towards a state of health, happiness and wholeness.
- Our intuitive wisdom knows the right pathway to follow for our journey back to wholeness.
- All the inner resources we need for healing can be accessed directly within ourselves.
The application of these notions not only empowers us to become pro-active in the healing process, it may well trigger a sense of renewed enthusiasm with regards to our potential for carrying our healing process – or that of our client – towards fruition.
Whether in the role of client or practitioner, our intuition can serve us. In either of these roles we may find ourselves overwhelmed by a myriad of impressions (sensations, feelings, memories, thoughts…), and unable to discern what exactly is the most relevant information we should be focusing on. If this is the case, we need to develop the reflex of falling back into our ‘default’ intuitive state and asking internally for clarification as to the most essential issue we should most concentrate on. Then, we must trust the answer we receive. Through this practise of regularly honouring our intuition and also cultivating trust in it, we develop competency in navigating through our inner world, staying on track and getting to the essence of the issues we are working with.
Should we find ourselves in the opposite situation of being underwhelmed – and with the sense that there is nothing of much significance happening at all, we can also fall back on our intuition. In this case, we use our intuitive capacities to tune into the more subtle realms of energetic perception and use the process of inner enquiry to trigger deeper insight into the unfolding process. Practically speaking, this means settling in more deeply into our selves. We achieve this by breathing consciously and focusing more intently on whatever impressions we are experiencing, however subtle they may appear to be. By maintaining such a focus, our concentration gains in penetrative power and the intensity of our experience is adjusted accordingly.
Our innately wise and all-knowing intuition will point us in the right direction. It will show us the way to integrity and healing. If we can only listen – and listen in the right way – we will be guided step-by-step in the retrieval process we need to follow in order to regain a healthy sense of wholeness and well-being.
Along the journey our intuition will also bring us valuable insights into our habitual ways of thinking and functioning that contribute to our chronic felt-sense of self as fragmented, distracted and separated from the world. Such knowledge is priceless as it contains all the keys we need for understanding our dysfunctional tendencies, correcting our maladapted habits and installing behaviour more conducive to wellness and happiness.
Conscious connected breathing
Conscious breathing has been used since antiquity as a tool for going beyond the limits of ordinary perception in order to access transpersonal realms of so-called extraordinary reality.
One of the fundaments of Insight meditation (Rosenberg 2004) and Mindfulness training (Boyce 2011) is the development of the capacity to maintain a conscious, open-minded and uninterrupted focus on the breath cycle. Such a practise helps to develop concentration, calms the mind and leads to deepened awareness, heightened lucidity and equanimity of spirit.
Conscious breathing that is also connected (no pause between the inhale and exhale) is an especially powerful tool for intensifying our felt-sense of self. When applied intentionally as a healing tool, it helps us to go beyond our habitual world of tangential thinking and penetrate into the deeper realms of our inner self. In these realms we can gain access to a much broader spectrum of felt-sense experience, including contact with instinctive and primal emotions, pre- and peri-natal memories (Grof & Grof 2010), childhood traumas and other important incidents experienced during our formative years. In fact, when we initially take the plunge into these deeper realms, we invariably contact a multitude of repressed and unresolved past experiences that are continuing to impact negatively on the way we perceive and interpret our more present-day experiences in the here-and-now. From the perspective of intuitive self-healing, it is precisely these unresolved and painful past experiences emerging into our awareness that most need to be addressed in order for our return to wholeness.
The path to wholeness
As we learn to pay attention to the unfolding of our internal experience and allow it to spontaneously emerge into our awareness, we discover that all of the deepest inner realms of our consciousness gradually open and reveal themselves to us. Not only can we resolve and integrate traumatic past experiences, low self-esteem, negative self-talk and limiting cognitive tendencies. We also encounter the richness of our unlimited potential for adaptation, innovation and creativity. We discover the bottomless treasure chest of our personal inner resources, as well as the liberating freedom of transpersonal states of consciousness as they bring us to communion with the bigger whole. And if we commit to a full discovery tour of these inner realms, we are inevitably reconciled with the most perennial of our inner qualities such as trust, light-heartedness, compassion and wisdom.
As we gain trust in the nourishment gained by this intuitive process of investigation, intensification, allowing and acceptance, we become fearless in our willingness to delve deeper and further into the unfolding of ourselves. There is nothing of ourselves – no concept, habit, idea or belief – we will not willingly surrender as we realize that our harvest can only be one of greater wholeness, deepened integrity and liberated awareness.
It is the alliance between conscious breathing and the intensification of the breath cycle that marks the specificity of Breathwork as an extremely effective method for gaining and maintaining health and wellness. When we add the ingredient of trained intuition to our toolbox of skills, we have access to a transpersonal therapeutic modality of particularly great efficacy. With these life-skills at our disposal, we are able to navigate intelligently, sensitively, respectfully and effectively through all the dimensions of the psyche, becoming the true autonomous authors of our own transformational journey.
The beauty of conscious breathing is that we can do it anywhere, anytime and anyhow we choose. The marvel of intuition is that we all have it and can instantaneously access it. Once we decide to develop these tools – and gain trust in our capacity to use them skilfully and appropriately – we are giving ourselves unlimited access to some of the most potent natural medicine that exists in our world.
Do all that you can, with all that you have, in the time that you have, in the place where you are.
Intuition: Awakening your inner guide – Judee Gee, Samuel Weiser Inc (1999)
Breath by Breath: The liberating practice of insight meditation – Larry Rosenberg, Shambhala Classics (2004)
The mindfulness revolution – Edited by Barry Boyce, Shambhala Publications Ltd (2011)
Holotropic Breathwork – Stanislav Grof & Christina Grof, State University of New York Press (2010)
Intuition: Knowing beyond logic – Osho, St. Martin’s Press (2001)
Calming the mind – Gen Lamrimpa, Snow Lion Publications (1992)
Buddha’s Brain: The practical neuroscience of happiness, love and wisdom – Rick Hanson, PH.D., New Harbinger Publications, Inc (2009)
Thoughts without a thinker – Mark Epstein, M.D., Basic Books (1995)
The complete breath: A professional guide to health & wellbeing
Edited by Jim Morningstar Ph.D., Copyright 2012