TRE and back pain

Therapeutic tremors – the ones all mammals have after stress or shock, and is initiated through the Tension & Trauma Release Exercises (TRE) – heal the organism, and doesn’t seem to differentiate between body and mind. The healing happens wherever it’s needed.

One healing that happened early on for me was my lower back. I have scoliosis (still there), and used to have days where my back seized up and I stayed in bed for half a day or a full day to recover.

During the first few weeks of doing TRE, I had periods of soreness in the lower back, and trusted that it was part of the healing process. (While I also monitored it, and adjusted the frequency and length of my TRE sessions, so it wouldn’t get too uncomfortable.) After some weeks, or perhaps months, I noticed that the muscles in my lower back felt much softer and healthier, and it has continued to be that way.

There are still areas of chronic tension in my body, most notably in my shoulders. The shaking goes up there, as it has for a while, but I have – for whatever reason – taken that process a bit slower.


Breath and tension as the doorway

There are certain things that happens when mind identifies with images and thoughts, and creates beliefs. This is the doorway out of paradise, leaving a natural clarity.

And the reverse of these is the doorway back into paradise, into our natural clarity.

For instance, tension of certain muscle groups seems needed to support identification and the creation and maintenance of a belief. And release of this tension, for instance through neurogenic tremors, invites the identification to soften or release.

Likewise, shallow or held breath supports identification and beliefs, and a more free breathing – perhaps even an intentionally more full breathing – softens or invites the identification to release.

Releasing tension and opening the breath may support entering through the door again. And yet, something else is vital, and that’s examining the identification itself.

Mind identifies with an image or thought to protect the (image of a) me. By doing so, mind perceive, feel and act as if the identified with image or thought is true. It can only do so by not examining the image or thought very carefully for its validity. So the way back through this doorway is to examine the image and thought thoroughly. Is it true? Can I be sure it’s true? What happens when I believe it’s true? Who would I be without the belief? What’s the validity in the turnarounds of the initial thought – turning it around to myself, the opposite, the other.

This is why the simple process Barry and Karen shows people can be so effective. It includes sensations, breath, a natural relaxation, and noticing and taking a closer look at beliefs.

(1) Notice identification or contraction. (2) Bring attention to where it is in the body, to the densest and darkest parts. (3) Stay with the sensations, and breathe. Make the breath a little fuller. Notice if/how the sensations change over time. (4) Notice any images and thoughts behind the contraction. What does the fear say? Write it down, stream of consciousness style. (5) Look at these images and thoughts. Can you be sure it’s true? What would the divine/Christ (your higher self) say? Notice what happens when you believe it. Stay with the sensations and the belief in the knowing that the belief is not true. (6) Repeat. Find the place in your body that asks for your attention. Find the place that appears most contracted and dense.


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Tension and beliefs

I notice for myself that tension in my body supports and makes beliefs possible. Through tensing up parts of my body, I create the conditions for believing a thought. I see this especially well through TRE.

And beliefs leads to tension. They lead to stress, bracing myself, and physical tension. I explore these dynamics through answering question #3 in The Work – What happens, how do you react, when you believe that thought?

A military stance and marching is a good illustration of how making our body tense and rigid, and reduce feelings, makes it possible to mindlessly follow orders and temporarily set our individuality and natural kindness and wisdom aside.

So when I notice physical tension, I can shift into noticing that this is already allowed. There is a noticing of what it already happens within and as. And that releases some of the identification out of the beliefs that goes with this tension. I can also find the beliefs behind the tension, write them down, and take them to inquiry.

TRE – Tension and Trauma Release Exercises

I had my first TRE session today, led by a friend, and – wow – it was very powerful.

From about halfway through and for the rest of the day, I have felt a sense of grounding, a nurturing soft fullness, relaxed wholeness, flow and ease – on my own and in my interactions with others. There is also a sense of spaciousness in all directions.

The idea behind it is simple: Children and animals shake and tremble when they experience something stressful, while adults have learned to control, freeze and shut down. And through a set of very simple exercises, we can set the stage for that trembling and shaking, which in turn releases tension. This resets and reprograms how we experience ourselves and the world, relate, and live our lives.

There is more info on the TRE website. I especially enjoyed the Carte Blanche Medical video on TRE.

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Taking the effects of beliefs as support for beliefs

I have written about this before, but wanted to look into it again for myself.

When a story is taken as true, it has several effects. Mainly…

My stories tells me it is true. I find supporting stories. I find allies who believe the same. I deny the truth in the reversals of these stories. And I deny the limited truth in these stories. In short, attention goes to stories aimed at proving a position.

My emotions become reactive. (Reactive anger, sadness, depression, frustration.)

My body tenses up. (Tensions, jitteriness, dullness, shallow breath.)

And since these effects are always associated with beliefs, I come to take them as support for the initial belief.

Life shows up a certain way. It triggers reactive emotions, tension in the body and stories aimed at proving a point, and all of this is taken as support for my initial belief.

My stories tells me it is true. My emotions tells me it is true. My body tells me it is true. So it must be true.

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Is war neccesary to get things done?

There is an often unquestioned, and unnoticed, assumption that war is necessary to get things done. Not the type of wars we find in Iraq and other places, but the war within each of us, the war with reality.

There is a difference between our stories of what is and what should be, and the tension between these is what drives action. If this is all we know, or have noticed, then it can be difficult to image actions and engagement coming out of anything else.

Yet, when our attachment to even a single story is released, we come to see how life unfolds without war. An impulse comes up, and if there isn’t a good reason not to engage in it, we do it. All within a sense of ease, clarity, simplicity, intimacy with life.

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In our own immediate awareness, there can be a range of discrepancies…

  • Between stories of what is and what should be.
  • Between a belief in a story, and the truth in its reversals.
  • Between what I take to be true (a belief), and what is already more true for me.
  • Between beliefs in any story, and Ground (awake void and form).
  • Between what we take ourselves to be (content of awareness) and what we are (Ground).

Each of these create a sense of tension and discomfort, and is an invitation to see what is already more true for us, and, eventually, to find what we already and always are… temporarily clouded over by beliefs in stories.

Tension allowing for, and amplifying, beliefs

I find it very interesting how tension allows for, and amplifies, beliefs.

A sensation combined with a thought, allows for a belief.. a story taken as true… in several different ways.

  • It creates a sense of a center in space, located somewhere in this physical body.
  • This sense of center allows for a split of space, into I here and Other out there. I is now somewhere in/around this physical body, and Other is the rest of the world of form.
  • This split also allows for the appearance of “right” here (in what is now me) and “wrong” out there (in what is now life, the world, others)
    • And in addition to right/wrong, it allows for any polarity to be split, with one pole here and the other out there… male/female, good/bad, desirable/undesirable, and so on.
    • It also allows for the appearance of I as a thing, and no-thing (void) as Other, and even awareness as Other (something that is somehow possessed by this human self)
  • The sensation also gives a sense of base for action in the world (including resistance to experiences), which in turn supports a sense of an I here and Other there, and the appearance of a doer placed upon the doing

If an appropriate sensation is not available, the appropriate muscles tense up to make it available.

And if the sensation/story complex needs to be amplified, it can be done by tensing up further to amplify the sensation, and also by amplifying the story through additional supporting stories.

(Also, a sensation, when amplified by tension, creates a sense of density in space… a sense of something solid and substantial, which provides a more solid companion for the story, which in turn allows the story itself to appear as more solid, real and substantial.)

As I have mentioned before, it seems almost comical when seen… which is also why the whole appearance of a belief (and the content of the belief, such as a separate self) tends to fall apart when clearly seen in this way.

Mutuality of (physical) tension and beliefs

I am exploring an interesting mutuality of tension and beliefs…

Through The Work, I see how beliefs create tension… both mental and physical. Any belief brings a sense of something to protect (an apparent truth or identity), which in turn brings tension.

And through labeling practice, I see how sensations combine with stories to create the appearance of emotions, moods, and even a sense of separate self. If an appropriate sensation is not available for a particular story, the body tenses up to make it available. And if the sensation needs to be amplified, the body tenses up more right there, which in turn allows for an amplification of the story.

The sensation/story complex allows for a sense of a center in space (located somewhere in the body), which in turn allows for a split of space, with an I here and Other out there. All of which is essential for the existence of the belief.

So beliefs create tension… by creating a sense of something (a truth or an identity) to protect, which naturally brings tension.

And tension allows for the belief… by creating (and amplifying) sensations which the story can combine with. When sensation and story combine, it creates an appearance of a separate self, emotions and moods, all of which are essential for the appearance, and maintenance, of the belief.

Beliefs amplify tension, and tension amplify beliefs.

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Sensations as anchor

I keep coming back to this throughout the day, and especially as I fall asleep in the evening… The exploration of the sense of a separate self placed on sensations, and combined with certain thoughts.

It can sound abstract when I try to put it into words, but it is very alive in immediate experience.

I see how there is a vast of rich landscape of combinations happening… shifting anchor from one sensation to another, and attaching thoughts and stories to each one… richly, fluidly.

It is amazing to see how a whole world is created in this way, or rather a rich and changing interpretation of this world.

Some sensations, typically in the throat and calf areas, are used as anchor for stories that trigger stress and a sense of resistance. Other sensations, especially in the nostril area, are used as anchor for a sense of an atmosphere (often a sweet one.) And there is also more stable background stream of a sense of a separate self, placed on sensations in the center of the upper throat/lower head area.

It even seems that if there isn’t an appropriate sensation ready as a requested anchor, then it is made through muscle contractions. Tension in certain muscles create particular sensations, used as anchor for certain stories or even a sense of a particular atmosphere.

It is strange to observe, but also clear… all happening in an differentiated way, right here, within the wide open space of awake emptiness and form.