"A moment's insight is sometimes worth a life's experience."
-Oliver Wendell Holmes
To date, the most important improvements I have had as the
result of feeling my repressed feelings in primals have been the elimination
of some psychosomatic symptoms and a reduction in severity of others.
One result of primaling which I find intellectually valid and intriguing,
are the insights which I have unexpectedly received as a result of
these primal relivings.
Often those "so that's why" perceptions come into my mind
when least expected, but many times they are experienced during the
primal feeling itself. I received the largest number and deepest insights
and understandings with the greatest amount of clarity during my first
six months of primaling. Since that time insights have become somewhat
more expanded and clarified. The dimensions of the insights have enlarged
as I continue to relive those early infancy and early childhood feelings.
New primals sometimes bring the same insights to mind, and often
appear from a different perspective.
An individual insight may seem bizarre, incredulous, ridiculous and even preposterous to a non-primal person. However, the perception gained as a result of
connecting one's conconscious to one's blocked repressed traumas of infancy remain such a individual matter that it is difficult to convey to another person
its significance and meaning in one's own life and the establishment of our personality. Others who are undergoing their own primal process will "understand" even though they might not identify with others' particular insights. And perhaps I could not fully understand the significance in their life of their particular primal insights.
WOMEN ARE JUST PEOPLE -- I'm sure you've always known that truth,
but to me to have this everyday reality understood and accepted was
a great revelation. Attractive and desirable women had always been
perceived as Goddesses who could "make my day" with a smile or devastate
me with a look of disapproval.
WHY I FIND CROSS-EYED WOMEN ESPECIALLY ATTRACTIVE -- This insight dribbled in over a long period of time. The insight began connecting after
I had a deep visual infancy primal of my mother's young face and especially
of her eyes viewing me with indifference. This was one of my most
vivid early infancy primals.
The primal vision was different
from others as it was composed of a portfolio of changing montages of her face. During
the primal, I "saw'' her face as it appeared during different periods
of my infancy and childhood. During the last of the series of changes
pictures, I took particular notice of my mother's eyes. Her eyes looked
tired, but their most important characteristic was their appearance
of indifference. During the primal I saw her eyes from different
angles. The tiredness was usually there. The uncaring indifference
was always present.
During the primal I remembered my early childhood phobia of people
looking at me. The dread was so severe that I did not attend my grammar
school graduation. In college I sometimes dropped courses if an oral
presentation of a report to the class was required. Being the center of attention
for more than a few moments would embarrass me and make me anxious.
Since primaling began, it has become necessary to make verbal presentations.
The dreaded chore has become easier. I used to not look at the audience,
but I do now and have found that no one there was out to get me,
so I am able to concentrate on the presentation which then becomes
The unconscious reason why cross-eyed women appealed to me was because
they could not show me their indifference with their eyes and thus
could not trigger that early hurt. I always felt that the most attractive
movie star was Karen Black and her slight cross-eyes was an important
part of her appeal1.
THERE WAS A TIME WHEN I DID NOT EXIST -- By experiencing primals which
related to the formation of my own personality, I was able to experience
the beginnings of my psychological birth. These insights were
not as deep and profound as others but they had the effect of grounding
me in time. I felt in those primals that my personality had a beginning
and thus my individuality and being also had a beginning.
WHY? WHY? WHY? -- I have had any number of primals in which I simply
asked the question, Why? Sooner or later the collorary arrived which
was "Why don't you like me, Mom?'' I have spent a lifetime trying
to find out "why'' on a wide variety of subjects. I feel that there
is so much to know. There are so many books, with not enough time
to read them all. But, invariably the connection comes back to the
content of so many of my early primals when I re-lived my attempt
to figure out why Mom does not like me. (And yet consciously, outside
of a primal feeling, I have never once felt or believed that I was
disliked by her!). I had never been struck, spanked or whipped by her.
I noticed that I always begin conversations with
a question. At various meetings I can always be depended on to ask
many questions of the speaker. On any subject there is always more
I want to know. I can't seem to get enough information. And my "wanting
to know'' had its' source in wanting the answer to my most important
question, `"Why Don't You Like Me Mom?'' In those infancy and toddler
primals, I felt that if I could find out the answer to that question,
I could change what I was doing wrong to ensure her liking me. Other
related primal themes were: "I'll Do Anything If You Like Me Mom,''
and "I'll Be Anything If You Like Me Mom.''
HOUSES AS SYMBOLIC MOTHERS -- Before primal therapy I used to have
repetitive dreams (almost every night) of old decrepit Victorian houses
which were in a state of disrepair. The roofs were often caving in
and the floors were rotted out. The exteriors of the houses were never
painted. The more I'd explore the houses, the more deterioration I'd
find. In these dreams I was usually alone as I walked around and explored
the various rooms.
About five years ago I began having non-symbolic dreams of my mother
as a person. At the present time it is very seldom that I dream of
old houses. When I do, invariably a powerful second line primal is on-line
and is usually felt the next day. Many years ago, I bought a number
of older rent houses as investments. Naturally, at the time they were
purchased, I did not realize that they were symbolic mothers. I still
enjoy studying the details of the exteriors of gingerbread victorian
Primals have been triggered by thinking of my parents' house where
I was born and lived for many years. The house in which I presently
reside is quite different from other houses in my neighborhood. Its
exterior is constructed entirely of unpainted cedar wood, with a cedar
shake shingle roof, which gives it a rustic atmosphere. I realized
later that even my choice of home decor and objects of art such as
paintings, small statures, etc. were chosen for unconscious primal
DESIRE FOR ENTHUSIASM IN OTHERS -- I used to resent individuals being
less than enthusiastic about a subject in which I was interested.
After many months in primal therapy I realized that this was a trigger
to feelings of indifference which I felt from my mother during early
FALLS DURING CHILDHOOD AS REMINDERS OF A TRAUMATIC BIRTH -- Young
children are always falling and hurting themselves. But as a very
young child, I could not tolerate anyone trying to assist me when
I'd fall. Normally very placid, I would then become angry and lash out at the person trying to
lift me up. After I began re-living my traumatic birth I realized
that I was acting out the way I had felt just after I had been born.
BIRTH PRIMAL INSIGHTS
Immediately after birth, I needed rest to recuperate from the painful
ordeal. Handling and touching, at that time, were very low on my list
of needs and having to endure additional touch made me upset and angry.
But as I became older, being touched evoked in me much more than un-connected birth memories. Being touched during infancy was a powerful need. This frustration of needing touch but not being touched led me to conclude, as an infant, that it was the result of not being liked by my mother. It was thus natural that in later life the proof that I was liked by a woman was whether or not I was able to touch or be touched by her. Touch was the proof that I was not being rejected and the more intimate the touch the greater the "proof" of acceptance and of being liked.
Over the years, as I felt my early traumas in primals, the need for touch was replaced by a discomfort of being touched as I became closer to my feelings of severe birth pain. The cycles of need for touch and discomfort in being touched replaced one another depending on my nearness of access to those ascending birth feelings.
AVERSION TO PHYSICAL EFFORT -- Another birth primal insight is why
I usually so dislike physical effort and physical activity. When I
become fatigued due to physical exertion, unconscious memories of
unending painful efforts relating to birth are triggered. The main trauma was my birth being impeded by my shoulder(s) stuck by my mother's pubic arch. When these feelings are triggered mental distress and anxiety are experienced. These birth related symptoms are still present in varying degrees and at times are more severe than
Presently, these birth primals can only be experienced for seconds or a minute or so at a time, in contrast to earlier less intense birth primals which could and would continue for many hours.
One of the most onerous tasks of my daily routine is the short 20 minutes
I spend on an exercise bicycle. I look forward with happy expectation
to a computer chore, but the anticipation of almost any work involving physical activity
brings up anxiety. The cycling program requires a great effort since
it is very tiring. During the last five minutes of the cycling exercise,
I find its continuation pure drudgery since it exhausts me both
physically and mentally. On a number of occasions, during the latter part of this exercise, when fatigue has been built up, birth primals have been triggered.
Usually, however, I am only able to feel the discomfort in a disconnected
Occasionally, the feeling is that I am unable to tolerate any
more discomfort and it is only with an act of the will that I am able
to finish the twenty minutes exercise program. Many times during the last five
minutes of exercise, I feel like giving up and quitting. This is exactly how
I felt during my birth process. The feeling is one of "I can't take
it any more.''
USELESSNESS OF EFFORT -- Another birth insight is why my motto has
always been: "You Can't Fight City Hall.'' During my difficult birth,
I concluded that there was nothing I could do to help myself get born.
I decided that the way to survive was to go along with what life brings
me. As much as I strained and tried to get out and get born, I just continued to
get battered in the birth canal. Every effort to stop the painful
compression I was receiving was useless. There was nothing I could do to help my birth process along. So the futility in the
birth canal gave me a life maxim and belief that the way to come through
is to accept whatever life dishes out to me. That is the way to survive in the present since that was the way to survive the first time. Effort in the birth canal had been useless and any effort in life would not be more successful. Therefore, I should just roll with the punches and move with life's tides. Of all my birth primal insights this is the only one which revealed
itself to me during the course of the actual birth primal. Most of
the other birth insights dribbled into my mind hours or days after
the actual birth primal.
Some of my dreams which symbolized the feeling of compression and
inability to control my birth included: "I am driving, but am unable
to stop my car because the brakes are inoperative." "I am driving
but suddenly find myself in the back seat, unable to guide the veering
out-of-control car." "I am in a small room when the walls begin closing
in." "I am walking in an office and suddenly desks appear which block
my way." Such symbolic birth dreams always portend birth primals of
greater than usual intensity.
BEING AT HOME MEANS BEING AT COMFORT -- I have found that in my unconscious
mind, leaving home for traveling is associated with what I felt when
I left the comfortable environment of my mother's womb to begin my
painful birth process. I usually do not look forward to trips of over
an hour or so and am usually anxious to return home. In the uterine
environment, I experienced comfort and ease. Immediately outside of
the womb lay distress and physical pain.
DEPRESSION UPON AWAKENING -- Arthur Janov has written that sleep can
be a defense against repressed feelings and that we usually awaken
as close to our primal feelings as we can get. In my case, I have
found this to be true. For many decades of my life, I used to always awaken feeling depressed,
close to death-like feelings, and extremely tired.
The depression would
linger until that first cup of coffee, but after a few years of birth
primals, I began to awaken feeling normal most of the time. When I
do awaken feeling depressed, it usually means that a primal is on-line
and that I will usually connect to it soon.
BIRTH IS LIKENED TO BEATINGS -- Immediately before I fall
asleep, occasionally images of my head and upper torso being whipped and flogged
with a heavy chain or rope intrude into my mind. Most of the time
it is very difficult to connect to the primal feeling of being traumatized
in the birth canal which these "flogging fantasies'' represent.
requires a painful and onerous pressure to my back and chest areas.
At these times, such intense pressure on my chest is required for connection
that I fear that I may injure my chest and rib-cage. It is often
this moment of maximum pressure and maximum physical pain when I am finally able to connect to that birth feeling. At that moment I
know that soon, with connection, the pre-primal body tension will
After 20 plus years of feeling birth primals I finally connected to the cause of my hypochrondria. (See On the Fear of Death and On Dying in the Birth Canal.)
1 Psychiatrist Frank Lake's patients, while under LSD's 'encouragement', relived a message they had received as newborns from their mother's eyes. He writes: "Acceptance by the mother...is essential to its being...a response to all that the light of love and acceptance and welcome IN HER EYES tells it about itself."
[From a chart in Appendix 3, entitled The Womb of the Spirit, in Frank Lake's Mutual Sharing, p. 111 - edited by Stephen Maret, Ph.d., (2009)]