By Mary Ann Gray Voorhies
Unique Self Somatology is a path that is not tied to any one culture. The main thrust of the practice is to overcome “bad” habits or habits that do not serve us well. In somatic language this is called habituation. The goal of this somatic learning is somatic freedom. It occurs by reprogramming the whole brain. Clinical Somatic Education is a discipline that helps to reprogram the sensory motor cortex. When the reprogramming of the frontal lobe/neocortex occurs and when both of these disciplines are practiced together, this is called somatology or holistic somatics. The reprogramming of the neocortex is commonly known as growth and spirituality.
I have practiced both of these disciplines and am certified in both of them. Education for Living seminars is a series of workshops that helps to provide somatic experiential learning that leads to more wisdom, self-understanding, love for others, and somatic freedom from automatic knee-jerk behavior. It also leads to freedom from emotional suffering as clinical somatics leads to freedom from physical suffering. My passion in life is to help to spread these two new fields of somatic learning.
Just as Marc Gafni talks about the democratization of enlightenment, I too, envision through the practice of these two somatic disciplines that the process of becoming more healed and whole human beings can happen at a remarkable rate. This freedom from our own conditioning is what Thomas Hanna called THE FAIR STATE. In the article WHAT IS SOMATICS? Thomas Hanna said that somatics is optimal, physical, and MENTAL health. He also says that this is a great leap for mankind and because of the knowledge that we have now, we have landed upon a new continent. In his book BODIES IN REVOLT, he talks about the fact that the human race is evolving and mutating. And it is because of our new somatic understanding that somatology will provide a giant leap for mankind.
Barbara Marx Hubbard and Marc Gafni every week during evolutionary church explain that the new human will become more like Jesus Christ. And too, St. Paul said in the New Testament “that Jesus is the first among many brothers”. In John 14 someone asked Jesus, “When will you show us the father”? He answered, “ I am in the Father, the Father is in me, and I am in you”. This is where the Latin phrase Imago Dei – which means made in the image of God – came from. The following is a very incomplete list of all the people who have said similar things in the past:
- William James wrote the Varieties of Religious Experience
- Mary Baker Eddy founded the Religion of Christian Science
- Paul Tillich wrote The New Being
- Scott Peck wrote the Road Less Traveled
- Victor Frankle wrote Man’s Search for Meaning
- Moshe Feldenkrais’ writings
- Love, Medicine, and Miracles
- The new science of psychoneuroimmunology, which is mentioned in Hanna’s book Somatics
- Thomas Hanna’s The Lyrical Existentialists
- Last but not least, the award winning book Your Unique Self, by Mark Gafni
All of these books are very somatic in nature in that what they teach and what they point to is that, as explained in the book The Buddha’s Brain, somatic learning is based on neurophysiology and neuroscience.
“The New Being” is a very interesting book by Paul Tillich, who was a Lutheran minister, where he exclaims that the Christian message for our time is two words – “NEW CREATION”. St. Paul writes in his second letter to the Corinthians “if anyone is in union with Christ” he is a new being. The old state of things has passed away: there is a new state of things. Tillich goes on to say, even though he is a Lutheran minister, that no religion matters – only a new state of things. Let us think about this striking assertion of Paul. Christianity is more than a religion: it is the message of a new creation. There are the great religions besides Christianity – Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism and Islam that all teach this. In his book the Lyrical Existentialists Hanna states that the central insights of lyrical existentialism (somatics philosophy) which is from western culture and tradition, has painfully groped it way towards a point of view which is largely identical with the insights of orthodox Hinduism of primitive Indian Buddhism, and of Zen Buddhism (this can be found on page 286 of the Lyrical Existentialists by Thomas Hanna). And what Tillich tells us is that the only thing that really matters is this New Creation.
The goal of these religions is also is to achieve inner peace and therefore peace with your neighbor. In somatic terms , this peace is called living more with the parasympathetic nervous system being in dominance. Jesus was the Prince of Peace, Shalom means peace, Islam means peace, Zen means peace, Namaste means peace. Somatology is the science that underlies them all. IT IS THE HUMAN (SOMA) science that is the scientific unpinning for them all of these seemingly different paths.. AND if this path is embraced multicullturally using the same terminology and a shared language that would be a huge chance that there would be greater world peace and wouldn`t that be wonderful!!!
I end with a quote from “Your Unique Self” by Marc Gafni: “Are you tired of feeling trapped in the maze of your own self contraction? Are you tired of your constant reaction, which creates your constant contraction? Are you tired of feeling like little more than a living cluster of habits and preconditioned reactions” (as B.F. Skinner would say)? No – you are here to be the poem that only you can be. Your Unique Self is God’s love signature written all over you. God loved you so much that He personalized Himself as you. You are the individualized heart and mind of God. This is your Unique Self. To live as your Unique Self is to align yourself with that process, with the ecstatic evolutionary impulse that initiated the cosmos, with the ecstasy of God. “
So, this is my hope for the new human: that they will embrace the disciplines of Clinical Somatic Education (Hanna Somatics) and spiritual somatic education, which I experienced at Education for Living seminars. I envision when these two great somatic disciplines when practiced by more and more people, that Homo Universalis, will not be far behind.
I am not suggesting that in any way we should abandon our beloved and cherished religions but be open to the possibility of being all inclusive by learning about and employing this “new” path that has the possibility of bring more understanding————-and it could be taught in any school!