How Do I Get Into a Primal?

From Dr. Gordon Van Rooy's Primal Primer

1. The Physiological Route

Get comfortable on the mattress. Lie flat without a pillow. Make sure that the lights are dim so that you are not distracted by light or tempted to open your eyes.

Your defense system will resist your getting into a primal, like a child balking at going to the dentist. So avoid head tripping, or chatting with your therapist. Assume the attitude that you are here to do business and every minute you don't is a waste of time and money.

By this time, the therapist has put music on. The music is designed to facilitate your getting into a primal or responding to primal scenes. So, don't hesitate to ask for music which makes you responsive; better yet, bring your own nostalgic, irritating, depressing music. Your therapist will welcome this.

Now close your eyes and tuck your eyeballs into your sleeping position, which is a mildly cross-eyed and upper position. Feel the comfortableness of this position. For years you conditioned yourself that when your eyes got into that position you transferred authority from your conscious mind to your subconscious. Then you went to sleep.

In this case, you use your eyeball position (which will become a conditioned response to help you move into your subconscious - and this is where you want to be throughout your session.

Now, consciously feel yourself beginning to sink into your feeling world - the fourth dimension. Say to yourself, "I am sinking deeply into my feelings. I am on a marshmallow bed of feelings. I give myself to my feelings. My feelings are taking over. 1 am not afraid of my feelings since I must feel them before I can release them forever."

By this time, you should be breathing deeply. Deep breathing, which is called, "breathing down," is the highway that leads into the primal pool. You may want to begin with breathing that gives you twice the oxygen you usually get. Breathe with an easy rhythm. Hear yourself breathe. Concentrate on the rhythmical sound of it. Become aware of each breath like a pneumatic pump, pumping you deeper into your feelings, into your subconscious.

Try this for about 20 breaths. Now increase your breathing tempo. Deeper and faster. You should be taking in three times more oxygen than normally. You will continue breathing this way for about ten minutes or until you discover your emotions beginning to surface.

As you continue to breathe, you will probably notice one or more physiological changes. You needn't be alarmed at any of these. Some common sensations are: (1) A feeling of coldness usually accompanied by shivering. This is a psychological coldness and is often associated with loneliness. Blankets and heating pads won't help since it is coming from the inside. (2) A feeling of heaviness in the limbs. (3) A feeling in the hands, then the lips and around the mouth or in other parts of the body. (4) A tightening around the mouth. (5) Hands may contract. (6) Head may begin to ache. (7) Sinuses may begin to hurt. (8) You may feel like yawning. This is a passing phase and may be a defense mechanism.

Now a word about breathing. The best way to breathe is the way that feels the most effective and comfortable to you. If you breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth you will keep your air passages moist longer. If you know how to breathe from your diaphragm, great. As you move into your primal, you won't have to worry about conscious pacing of your breathing since you automatically and instinctively will adjust your breathing according to your primal need.

2. The Emotional Route

You have breathed down. The right half of your brain is sufficiently oxygenated to activate its file of memories. You move into the primal mode and you sense that feelings are working their way upward. You are aware that release brings healing. You begin to let go. Emotions flow in a wider stream. As they do, one primal scene follows another and a variety of emotions splash out. If your emotions do not come spontaneously your therapist will guide you with suggestions. He may take you back to your first day in school. This may trigger memories of feeling inadequate. Soon the early feelings begin to flow. Once they do, it is relatively easy to go from one primal pain pocket to another.

Incidentally, when you have touched on Pain related to one subject, for example, humiliation, try to discover other scenes on the same subject. Take your time in this search. You are, in fact, on an archeological dig. When you find some bones and artifacts, keep digging gently around them because you are likely to find more. See if you can find more on a deeper level.

3. The Imagination Route

Imagination is helpful for getting into a primal. It is particularly useful for those who find it difficult to let themselves go and get into a primal. You need not plot out a scenario for your imagination to follow. After you have breathed down to primal level, allow any thought to come to your mind. These need not be monitored by your inner parent.

Some clients say, "This scene is ridiculous." Whereupon the scene fades away and the primal on the subject is delayed. As in dreams, bizarre, absurd, ridiculous, and vulgar scenes are part of God's internal scavenger system to rid us of the need to act out. So no matter what the imagined scene is, let it flow uninhibited. Most often these scenes are catalysts to elicit feelings which may not otherwise appear.

Usually, your subconscious mind, with its great wisdom, will project its own pictures on the screen of the imagination. After all, you never have to tell your subconscious what you should dream about! However, if the screen remains blank, here are some suggestions to give you a scenario; the script can go in any direction.

      1. You are walking on a foggy beach with the wind in your face
      2. You are climbing a mountain.
      3. You are in a luxuriant valley with a log cabin ahead.
      4. You are deep in a forest.
      5. You are in a cave or tunnel.
      6. You are in a fantasy land of dwarfs and gnomes.
      7. You are an infant abandoned in the woods.
      8. You are your favorite animal.
      9. You are at the crawling stage. Someone comes into your room. Look at their feet and move to their face. Who are they and what are they doing?
      10. You are your parents a month before your birth.
      11. You are a soaring bird.
      12. You are back at home where you lived as a child.

4. The Physical Route

Your first primals tend to be rigid. You are still on your guard. Relax and get in touch with your body. Every cell in your body remembers everything done with it. A client goes through a birth primal and discovers bruise marks where forceps clamped. Another, raped as a child, shows the finger bruises of the rapist on her legs. Such phenomenon proves that your body has locked in it the injuries related to your hurt. As you lay on the mat; roll, stretch, move your arms, sit up, get on your hands and knees, double up in an embryonic position. Rub your legs, arms or eyes. When your body motion simulates something of the insult causing your Pain, something clicks into place and your feelings begin to flow.

5. The Analytical Approach

Analyze your life according to various approaches as listed:

    A. Chronological - Go back through your life in five year periods. Let your memories drift back to five years ago, then ten, fifteen, twenty and so on. The closer you get to your own birth, the slower,you should go. Each period has its own pockets of suffering. Search them carefully.

    B. Topical - Trace your hurts down the line topic by topic. "The time I was rejected by a friend." "The time my friends made fun of me." "The time I got lost." "The time my grandmother died." "The time my wife said she wanted a divorce." "The time I almost died." By going through the topics of life you can uncover much hidden anguish and pain.

    C. Geographical - Go back to the various cities you lived in. What happened there? Go to the various homes you lived in. Scan the events that happened. Go into each room. Recall what happened in each. Go to the schools and the classes you attended. Some stumble into their Pain in the most unlikely spots such as Church and Sunday School classes.

    D. Recreational and Celebrational - Return to birthday parties, to camp outs, hikes, picnics, and don't forget the possibilities of Pain connected with Christmas, Thanksgiving, Fourth of July and New Year's.

    E. Relational - Scan all who are or have been related to you - aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, brothers, sisters, children, parents, teachers, bosses, pastors, peers, etc. What encounters did you have? Were any painful?

    F. Experiential - Go through some of the main events of life. Some, like a well camouflaged snake, appear to be nothing significant but have deadly poison in them. Here are some stones you should check under:

      • Surgical Operations
      • Separations
      • Accidents
      • Love rejections
      • Failures
      • Hurtful sexual incidents
      • Deaths
      • Funerals
      • Near drownings
      • Near electrocutions
      • Muggings or beatings.

    And don't overlook the little experiences in which someone made you look like an idiot or made you feel inferior!

    G. Emotional - Think of a dominant emotion and let it grip you. Feel the grip and then associate the grip to a face. Who do you see? Feelings such as love, hate, fear, anger, loneliness, pending doom, rejection, grief, sorrow, guilt, embarrassment are all rich primal sources.

6. A Final Word

Assume the responsibility to get into your primal. Only you can get into your own head. The moment you put your head on the mat, assume the mental attitude that you are your own therapist. Your therapist becomes a co-therapist. As you start breathing down, allow yourself to search yourself. Do not wait for the therapist to initiate getting you into the primal mode. Now, give yourself time. If you can't get anywhere after 15-20 minutes, tell your therapist - but by that time you will likely be emoting from your fountain of hurts.

When you get through one primal scene, move to another, or float around until you find a place to land. You may want to resort to fantasy. Many good primals have started from a fantasy scene which leads into a labyrinth of hurts.

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