By Hélène Demetriades, a therapist influenced by non-dual teachings
Right from the beginning our biological urge for survival primes us to be guarded against life: one day our bodies will die.
Until we fully embrace the flow of life, which includes physical death as part of that movement, we will continue to have the embedded belief that we are separate from each other, from life itself – like a vase standing out from its background. This goes hand in hand with the belief that there is something inherently wrong with us, that we are bad, unworthy, guilty of something undefinable, and that as a result something dangerous ‘out there’ will attack us.
We were born into ‘sin’, or separation, or brought it upon ourselves like Adam and Eve.
Our bodies contract, muscles and nervous systems pull back from life – beliefs are reflected in bodies.
Added to this to a greater or lesser extent, we have all lived through traumatic experiences that confirm the perception that life is dangerous. Our bodies and minds contract further. We feel isolated, lonely, homesick, in need, under resourced, unable, weak.
Kindness is the great melter of loneliness, of trauma related dissociation, of emotional pain. It dissolves the experience of separation between each other and within ourselves. It removes fear, relaxes our nervous systems. It is the great leveler. Kindness means ‘of the same kind’. It refers to kinship. We join each other, enjoy reciprocity, experience equality. We are safe. We open up…
In the field of kindness we realize there is nothing to strive for, that the journey is about emptying our cups, removing what’s in the way of deep rest.
Kindness has the deepest of listening ears. And in that listening we are received.
As a therapist, I often invite my clients to consciously explore a sense of welcome in the therapeutic space. Do they feel welcomed by me, by the space, can they welcome themselves in? I encourage them to bring awareness to their ‘felt’ bodily sense, often in the area of their lower bellies.
In this exploration clients may recognize their holding patterns, which don’t allow them to relax, or they may experience the deep relief that they are welcomed by another. They may also realize that they have been focused on wanting to be welcomed by others – and though being welcomed by others is a deeply meaningful and healing experience in itself, discovering the possibility of being kind/welcoming to ourselves can be revolutionary – we discover our own power, our own already inherent completeness. What a relief. We discover the aloneness of being ‘all one’ rather than abandoned.
In this field of ‘welcome’, the deeper truth may also be discovered that it is neither myself as the therapist, nor my client themselves who is ‘doing’ the welcoming: hanging out in the field of kindness we discover that we are the welcoming itself. That there is no doing involved, no separate role to be played. Is there anything more equal, or more intimate than that? Can you imagine anything kinder than that? More liberating, more radical? We discover we were never these separate people who had to struggle against life.
When we realize we are the welcoming, we are able to dis-identify from our habitual selves/patterns/conditioning/problems. Kindness shines a non-judgmental, befriending light on everything. It gazes with patient understanding, like an ideal parent. It is not trying to fix anything. It simply sees things as they are. It gazes with acceptance. No shoulds, no regrets.
Kindness equates with forgiveness. At its most radical level forgiveness simply describes the experience of being in the present moment, of letting go of our contractions or resentments (holds in time) so that they may be washed away by the flow of life.
Kindness also invites sadness in. When we are able to ‘be’ with life without resistance, sadness gently or wildly washes over us, undoing our resistances to wholeness, allowing us to grieve for any losses inherent in the system of duality (for instance death of a loved one) a fact of our human lives, while at the same time allowing us to feel the vibrant aliveness of completeness .
I am a BACP Senior accredited transpersonal psychotherapist who has been in private practice for over 20 years. I am also trained supervisor. I studied english literature at university, then trained and worked as an actor, before training in Psychosynthesis at the Psychosynthesis & Education Trust in London. For some years I worked as a university counsellor at Goldsmiths College. I have continued to deepen my understanding around patterns of trauma , developmental attachment, spiritual emergence, and have embraced the new discoveries in neurobiology. I meditate and bring mindfulness based practices to my work.
In London I worked for 16 years with Hilmar Schonauer, working with specific meditative and healing practices to connect to biological, emotional and spiritual realities.
Coming to the non-dual teachings was a natural development arising from my explorations. Over the years I have spent time with Gangaji, Mooji, Jeff Foster, Jaya Ashmore, Adyashanti, Rupert Spira, and my supervisor of 19 years, Serel Khavedgioglou.
The expression of each one of these fellow human beings and teachers has deeply touched and transformed my experience of the world.