"People are usually certain that they are living rational lives of reason and do not realize that every day they are being controlled by unconscious associations which had their origins during their earliest beginnings."
For a number of weeks I had been looking forward to attending a forthcoming primal week-end workshop. It had been three years since I had begun feeling the most difficult primal material encountered during over twenty-six years of feeling my early pain.
Three years ago I had reason to believe that I might have had a brain tumor. Even though the illness turned out to be glaucoma (an eye disease), Pandora's box of primal pain had been opened and I was terrified of dying. For the past few years I had become the bane of physicians, but as a result of the possibility of soon dying, I was continually regressing to peri-natal material. As a result, I found that my chronic and sometimes extreme hypochondria as well as my fear of death and dying had had their origins in the birth canal. (See my article, On the Fear of Death and On Dying In the Birth Canal)
Even after I was assured that I did not have a brain tumor I was left in a very depressed state since my defenses around this severe trauma had been greatly lowered. With help from a primal friend in California, I was able, with telephone primalling, to re-live the near dying in the birth canal which I had discovered was the source of my hypochondria and fear of death. Soon after that series of primals began, I attended one of Dr. William R. Emerson's traumatic birth workshops in Madisonville, La, and there met a primal therapist who was William's assistant and whose monthly week-end workshops I would be attending for the next three years.
In addition to the primals I experienced at those workshops, I continued to have primal regressions on my own at home relating to this birth trauma. When I first began that series of regressions, death and dying trauma was being felt about four or five times each week, but due to their pain level the primals only were a couple of minutes in length. As I lowered the stored pain of the trauma, the primals of death and dying during birth began diminishing in frequency. The feelings also began lasting much longer - oftentimes one-half hour and more. However, three weeks ago my primals had stopped completely and old symptoms of heartburn, severe hypertension and anxiety had returned with a vengeance.
So it was because I had stopped primalling that I had great expectations of getting my therapy jump-started during this particular week-end workshop in St Tammany Parish, La. There was more anxiety than usual attached to this trip because the weather forecast was not good. Driving has always been a metaphor for my birth and the three-hour trip to the workshop was accompanied with the most severe weather I had ever endured on such a trip. The rain was incessant - my mood not good. [See my article, Intimations of My Birth: Traveling and Elevator Rides As Primal Triggers ]
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When I arrived at the location where the primal week-end workshop was to be held, no one was there! Due to birth anxiety I always arrive early for any appointment as arriving late always brings up anxiety. I waited and waited outside the building but still no one appeared. Had I misunderstood when the workshop was to be held? Because of the inclement weather, dusk was rapidly approaching and although it was still early, I decided that the workshop must have been canceled. I reluctantly began the return trip home.
The rain was very heavy during the return trip so after driving only some minutes, nightfall descended suddenly. Because of my vision problem (glaucoma) I knew I could not safely continue the trip, so I spent a night at a motel. Anxiety and depression intensified. I felt better the next morning; the rain had stopped and at daybreak I continued the trip home.
As soon as I arrived at home I checked the date of the workshop again, then telephoned the therapist and left a message asking about the canceled workshop. The therapist soon returned my call and was very apologetic. She had forgotten to let me know that the workshop had been canceled and re-scheduled for the following week-end. Her sincere apology made me feel better. I relaxed somewhat and began reading a newspaper from the previous day.
The letters section contained an interesting letter about abortion from a Jesuit priest. It dealth with how more pre- and peri-natal psychologists are beginning to believe that the fetus knows that it is to be aborted. The priest had written that the fetus senses that it is unwanted and how such "major conflicts in the mind of the mother" can have a negative impact on the future health and happiness of the unborn fetus even in those cases when the mother-to-be changes her mind and decides not to abort. His full letter follows:
"Many of your readers. might find interesting some data recently gathered from different people and different sources concerning the awesome phenomena of so many of our fellow Americans taking upon themselves the profound judgement as to who shall live and who shall be put to death even in spite of the fact that the last word we have heard on the subject from Almighty God, the only legitimate author of all life and death which He spoke to the world through his son, Jesus Chlist, when He said to us all: "Amen, amen I say unto you a new law I give unto you: No more of an eye for an eye or a life for a life but that you love one another as I have loved you." And does not a new law abrogate any and all laws on the same subject? Then, according to this, it would seem that all who approve of capital punishment are automatically guilty of murder.
From an article by Father Frank Pavone in the April 11 issue of the National Catholic Reporter we read: "A woman reportedly told her nine-year-old son about an abortion she had years before he was born He responded: 'I knew Mom that there was something wrong. I always have nightmares about knives and my mother killing me. I have an imaginary brother who wants to kill me. If you had not aborted the other, would you have aborted me?"'
And Fr. Pavone says that this is a story reported more times than most people realize
and represents a societal and pastoral problem whose proportions are greater today than at any previous time in history, the phenomenon of tens of millions of abortion survivors.
There are people whose parents carefully deliberated about whether or not to abort them. They may have calculated, consulted, and discussed the possibility. Interestingly there is growing evidence that unborn children are affected by the hormonal changes that result from major conflicts in the mind of the mother.
In one case study a person who had tried to commit suicide on the same day every year discovered that the day was the date his mother had once set an appointment to abort him. Since children born of a mother who had previously aborted one or more children can suffer such weird and unbelievable tortures of the mind for as long as they live, and since many women in their 90s still want to confess (almost weekly) an abortion they had half a century or more before and since they are seemingly mentally tormented for the rest of their lives by an abortion they had as a teenager and since other children can suffer such unbelievable tortures of the mind for the remainder of their lives, one might wonder whether a woman who aborts a child should "reconsider" the possibility of a future conception.
And yet . . . how sad that all of this could be so different if women would choose "1ife" over death and award unwanted babies to the mlllions of couples waiting, willing, and wanting to have, and to give life and love to a child."
Fr. XXXX, S.J.
I was excited as his letter dealt with issues of pre-natal psychology -- issues which I personally had explored during the three years of dealing with death and dying in the birth canal -- although, in my case, I was neither an abortion survivor nor a victim of a planned abortion.
I remembered how I had always attacked my church's position on artificial birth control. In the theology classes at Loyola University in New Orleans, I never had been convinced that the church's condemnation of contraception was correct. Soon, thereafter, I had become obsessed with this issue. During the past thirty years I had written a number of letters to both Catholic and secular newspapers in which I argued that the church should change its stance on birth control. My position was that the church's arguments against birth control were not rational.
I wrote this reply to the priest's letter:
"I was both pleased and saddened to read Jesuit Father xxx's recent letter to the xxx newspaper concerning abortion and adoption issues.
I was happy that he acknowledged an important discovery in pre-birth psychology -- that even before they are born, babies in the womb are affected by the negative feelings and emotions of their mother. Fr. xxx speculates on the implications of even the consideration or discussion of aborting a fetus by the parents. There is increasing scientific evidence that these imprints do occur and that the unborn baby will know that it is not wanted! I congratulate him for expressing the implications of this almost unbelievable reality!
But I was also saddened since I believe that part of the responsibility for the prevalence of abortion can be traced directly to the doctrines of the Catholic Church because of its condemnation of the "pill" and other methods of birth control, except the rhythm method. There would not be as many abortions since there would be fewer unwanted pregnancies if the Church would approve the use of all contraceptive methods. It is time that birth control be no longer considered a moral evil but rather a positive virtue. All accidents, and that includes accidental pregnancies, are by definition, unwanted.
Father xxxx is very much in favor of adoption of those unwanted babies. He writes that women should '. . . choose ‘life' before death and award unwanted babies to the millions of couples . . . waiting to give life and love to a child.'
In cases of adoption, the rejection of babies by the birth mother also qualifies as a negative imprint which can be transmitted to the unborn baby. Father xxxx, because of what he has written, would probably agree that such a child would also automatically know, on some level, that he was not wanted. So he should also realize that the adopted child is also sometimes subjected to mental and emotional problems laid down many months before birth as is also the case with the failed attempted-abortion victims which are even more negatively affected. Sentient life does not begin at birth. Life in the womb is a most important part of one's beginning. (See The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adoptive Child by Nancy Verrier).
Since both the abortion of and the adoption of unwanted babies leave effects which can last a lifetime and perhaps even, as Fr. xxxx wrote, have an influence on unborn siblings, the Catholic Church is guilty of fostering lives of unhappiness and abject misery to countless unwanted individuals.
Contraception is a solution to both the problems of failed abortion attempts and the pain and unhappiness of many adopted children. Those who survived an abortion attempt also suspect, in their heart of hearts, that their birth mother wanted them dead! As a result, often some failed abortion infants grow up to live lives of unconscious rejective despair.
Instead of being part of the problem, it is time for the Catholic Church to become part of the solution by approving all forms of birth control."
As I was writing the letter, I knew that I had to be acting-out some unconscious primal trauma, but I did not have an inkling of what was driving my imperative need to respond to the letter. I had invested so much energy into the reply; I felt excited though both agitated and restless. When I finally finished the letter, after endless re-writings, I decided to have a late lunch. But I felt too tense to enjoy a meal.
The month before I had attended three Reiki workshops at a nearby Jesuit Spirituality Center and noticed that I felt very relaxed when I either gave myself a Reiki treatment or received one from a practitioner. So I decided that I would reduce my anxiety level with a self-Reiki treatment before having lunch. I was listening to relaxing music as I began the self-Reiki hand placements on my body. After only a few hand position changes, I began screaming. "I Want To Die!" I tried to continue the treatments but a primal regression had taken precedence.
The three weeks of accumulated tension had connected to a birth primal of my pleading with my mother over and over to "Please Help Me To Die." I could not get born as it felt that both of my shoulders were stuck in the birth canal; I could not move and knew that I was dying. In other primals I had begged for my mother's help to get out of this predicament so that I would not die, but this primal feeling had skipped that part of needing her help to live and went directly into wanting to end the torment by annihilation and begging for help from her to that end - to help me to die. The primal feeling though short - only about five minutes - was extremely deep and resolving.
Almost immediately after the primal began, insights began flooding my mind. Spontaneous answers to why, for so many years, I had had such an obsession with the twin issues of birth control and abortion. In recent primals I had felt my mother's indifference to the pain of my suffering when I was stuck and indeed had projected such feelings onto God as the originator of the sufferings in this world.
The symbolization of Mother = God and God = Mother was also a factor in the disagreement I had with my "mother" church's position on birth control. ( See my articles, My Mother As God - God As My Mother and On Bill Clinton, Jimmy Swaggart and Sin. )
The same feelings of my mother's indifference to me I had had in the birth canal continued after I had been born. Many years earlier I had experienced countless hours of infantile primals of begging her to like me. The major insight I received during today's primal was that my almost lifetime interest and obsession with birth control and abortion were the act-outs of the feeling of "I should not have been born if I was not wanted." My philosophical position on the birth control and abortion issues had been cast even before I was born !
Another obsessional concern which had had the same primal roots was my fascination and preoccupation with the issue of world overpopulation viz á viz abortion. I joined organizations such as Population Reference Bureau and read a number of books on the pessimistic scenario which was to spell the eventual doom of mankind because of the ultimate limited availability of raw materials and food clashing with the rising demand for such products.
From the U. S. government printing office I had ordered and read all fifteen volumes of a congressional hearings on abortion. The day after the primal, as my unconscious mind became unblocked, I realized that the real source of these interests was actually the concern of the burden of only that one unwanted person screaming for the love he hoped for and needed. It had all been about me !
Some who had learned of my obsessional interest in the morality of birth control had shared their feelings with me. They confided that it seemed strange that I, though unmarried, had spent so much time and thought about this particular issue!
Yet in spite of the new found insight into the origin of these particular obsessions, I still had an imperative need to mail the letter to the newspaper. But, that night I felt differently. I seriously considered not mailing the letter. The primal I had had, had lowered the charge value of the trauma! But the next day I felt as I had felt earlier; it was imperative that I mail that letter even though I fully realized that it really was a way of telling my mother that she should not have given birth to me if she did not want me! How useless is insight alone in preventing acting-out behavior! I did mail the letter and it was published.
The canceled workshop had been an important trigger to the insightful primal feeling which I had had. The anxiety around the trip and the disappointment about the workshop, coupled with the priest's letter and my reply to it, had placed me above the primal zone. I believe that the self-Reiki treatment had brought anxiety and tension down into the primal zone and I was then able to have a full and resolving primal.
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Primals can only occur when one's body is in the "primal zone." [a primal theory concept of neurologist E. Michael Holden] This means that very high blood pressure or much anxiety can cause one to be "overloaded" and not able to primal. After tension is blunted slightly and the body physiology returns to an optimal or more normal state, primalling becomes possible.