Combining Autogenic Training and Primal Mind Awareness
Why is it important to combine Autogenic Training (AT) and Primal Mind awareness (PM)? Because each on their own are incomplete. Autogenic Training takes us deeper inside our physiology and Primal Mind awareness informs us of how we relate to the world/how the world relates to us. Techniques that bring the two together have the power of true transformation. By adding Primal Mind awareness to classical Autogenic Training we discover a new way to create moments of psychophysiological homeostasis--a balance between mind, body, the natural world, and the spirit of all things. That balance is the main goal of this book.
AT-PM practices produce altered states of consciousness. In this respect we may generally say that an AT-PM technique that produces an altered state is one that disrupts the normal stream of thoughts by producing a new rhythm or quality of psychophysiological awareness. Our initial goals for AT-PM in the experiential portion of this book can be divided into four main areas--body, mind, environment, and spirit. Through AT we realize that we can control physiological aspects of our body, reclaiming the awareness that our physical body is the most obvious and intimate component of the natural world we have access to and that alienating ourselves from our body also alienates us from nature. We learn that our body is capable of an awareness that is distinguishable from but complimentary to the awareness of our mind. Through experiences of primal mind we dispel the illusion that the human psyche is somehow separate from the natural world, overcome our deficient childhood psychological development stemming from insufficient relationships with nature, and critically assess both our lifestyles and philosophical views.
AT-PM experiences help us uncover the moment-to-moment awareness that every one of our thoughts and actions are tied to the web of life that encompasses the entire planet. These practices allow the controlling aspects of our ego to dissolve and our consciousness to flow outward, developing a deep and genuine spiritual connection with the sacred elements and entities of the natural world--air, water, sun, fire, earth, moon, and the spirits of trees, birds, animals, insects, and flowers. This connection allows us to listen to and understand what the Earth and her living entities are telling us. We are then able to reconcile with and recognize the value of nature’s cycles of life, death, and rebirth as well as to create and utilize rites of passage and initiation in order to grow into wise and mature members of the Earth community.
Breathing--The I Breathe Me Experience
The first training is so simple that from the outside it might even seem silly, but as you get inside and go deeper you will understand how important it is to the whole series. The importance of the first training with our breath sets the stage for passive volition--the cornerstone of Autogenic Training.
There are many relaxation, healing, and meditative techniques that employ altering the breath as part of their process and are quite effective. But in AT we do just the opposite. In this training we try to do nothing at all with our breathing!
Breathing is an autonomous activity of the body that we know we can control so it is the perfect activity of the body to begin learning AT but more importantly passive volition. During AT the muscular and vascular systems, along with heart relaxation, naturally integrate with our breathing. During AT it is undesirable to alter our breathing intentionally since we want to self-regulate our body through passive volition and not active adjustment.
In this training we try to do nothing at all with our breathing and so we use the passive sounding phrase “I breathe me.” The statement “I breathe me” makes it clear that regulation of the breath will come naturally and spontaneously during the training. We use this phrase while concentrating not on our chest but rather on the air that comes in and out of our noses and mouth. In a comfortable AT position, and focusing on our breath without trying to alter it, we can enter deep states of relaxation and ready ourselves for the other trainings by entering the state of passive volition.
It’s recommended to do this training many times during your first day. It will be the first step to all the other trainings so it’s important to take your time and get used to it. When ready:
Get into a comfortable position--if you are new to the training it can help to lie flat on your back on a relatively hard, carpeted floor.
Concentrate on the breath coming in and out of your nose and mouth without trying to regulate it, just let it flow in and out while slowly repeating the phrase “I breathe me” to yourself for a minimum of two minutes or for as long as you want. Do not vocalize the phrase; simply hear the phrase in your mind. It is not necessary to say the phrase to yourself on each breath because it becomes too repetitious. I usually say it on each breath for the first few and then maybe after every three or four. Whatever feels comfortable and natural for you.
Cancel (the AT term for ending your session): Open your fingers with a stretch of your hands. Bend your elbows so your forearms form a right angle with your chest. Take a deep breath while at the same time bringing your hands together in a prayer position with your thumbs firmly touching your chest. Exhale deeply while throwing your arms out in front of you and allowing your hands to separate. Open your eyes. This can be done once or as many times as needed until you feel fully alert.