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(which will aid in the evolutionary unfolding of homo universalis)

by Mary Ann Gray Voorhies

Mary Ann VoorhiesLet me start off by saying that you might think that I am jumping from one subject to another. Since many of us have been conditioned to believe that the body and the mind are separate, we have a tendency to understand things in a certain way. What I will try to do in this paper is to weave these two seemingly separate entities together so that the reader will understand that they are really ONE.

Many of the world’s religions teach that the spiritual journey involves transcending the ego. What is the ego? It is the learned historical self that tyrannizes us. We become enslaved by habits, fixed beliefs and knee-jerk reactions that don’t serve us. When we are under the tyranny of the ego we are enslaved by habitual perceptions and ways of being. These ways of being, which are these habituated patterns of acting, are the somatic structure of what we call personality and character (see Thomas Hanna’s “Body of Life: Creating New Pathways for Sensory Awareness and Fluid Movement”). If we understand this, we realize that we are our own worst enemies. When we are under the ego’s control, we are on automatic. We are puppets or automatons. The only way out is so look within.

For a more comprehensive description for what the ego actually is and does, see the book “Your Unique Self” by Marc Gafni. Thomas Hanna also wrote a book about the how the ego tyrannizes us. The title of this book is “The End of Tyranny.” Hanna also writes about how sensory motor amnesia tyrannizes us and causes bodily pain the disease. So, the whole human (SOMA) becomes tyrannized by habits — habituation that enslaves us in every way — body, mind, and spirit. This is known as the false self. It is my purpose in this article to show how we can gain freedom from this inner tyranny that causes so much human suffering. It is also my purpose to show a way out of this suffering through SOMATIC EDUCATION.

In the beginning of the book “The End of Tyranny,” there is a statement by Carl Rogers, “This book reminds me of Tom Payne, the prophet of the American Revolution. It takes on our government, our schools, our military, and our corporations. It sees us sliding rapidly into a ‘Dysamerica’ which wants to be out from under the burdens of freedom and responsibility and desires a humanoid state in which authority will mold human beings into compliant entities

“Hanna sees the ‘New Americans’ who have emerged in significant numbers in recent decades as holding a hope for the future,” he continues. “He sees the development of humanistic trends in psychology, education, and other fields as positive signs that we are in the midst of a humanistic revolution in our whole lifestyle. He knows that we are at a juncture of ‘epochal transformation’ or an ‘epochal degeneration,” and there is no doubt which side he is on. He sees the possible end of tyranny in all fields. ‘To believe in one’s own selfhood is the end of tyranny. Those who believe in the autonomy of their person, who are committed to the ideals of freedom of thought and the responsible exercise of that freedom — the ideals upon which this country was founded — will find strength and courage and hope in this book. It is a highly provocative and exciting volume.”

There are many ways to transcend this “false self” that causes us so much trouble. The world’s great religions, when understood and practiced according to the originator’s teachings (like Jesus and Buddha) are some ways to do it. But here is another way: a more secular way but just as spiritual. I have attended many workshops and seminars based on Martin Heidegger’s teachings and philosophy. He was a somatic philosopher who managed to explain transformation of BEING as related to linguistics or language. I must say that is was very effective for me and for the majority of my fellow students. I learned how to be more autonomous, more powerful, freer, and a much better communicator. The result was this changed the course of my life in so many positive ways. In so many ways they cannot be counted. This happened through dedication to the practice and coaching with small groups at these workshops. I went for nine years. I realized I had a lot of work to do! Through this somatic learning I became a much more successful human being with a greater sense of self worth. The greatest thing that came out of it was that I realized I could contribute to society.

But, I would not be writing this if it had not been for clinical somatic education (Hanna Somatics). I have had several accidents, and somatics was the only thing that was truly effective in putting me back on my feet again. In a sense, these two schools of thought and educational processes actually “saved” my life. It was not only one of them that saved my life, but both of them. Both of these somatic educational tools depend on the use of CONSCIOUSNESS. In clinical somatic education we focus on consciousness on parts of the body that hurt and are out of alignment. In the workshops that I attended based on Heidegger, we experienced transformation of consciousness. The first occurs in the sensory motor cortex and the latter occurs in the frontal lobe. So, I learned by experience that in order to change and grow and be healthy and pain free one must attend both of these somatic educational schools. Both of these schools are based on modern somatic technologies that can be proven by neuroscience.

Thomas Hanna writes in his book “The Body of Life” that thoughts are a physical act. More significantly, it means that thinking is a motor act, triggering the motor neurons in the sensory motor cortex, which directly connect with the muscles of the body. In other words, what we think and believe effects the whole body. Stress can sicken and even kill us.

Hanna writes, “Our total beings can be transformed by our daily experiences in what we focus our consciousness on.” We can redeem ourselves and take control of our sensory motor growth just as easily as we can abandon ourselves and lose control. We simply need to know how. It is a question of learning, somatic learning — learning those patterns that are easier and more efficient and unlearning the patterns that are painful and inefficient. (This somatic education goes for the entire brain — neocortex and sensory motor cortex).

Since this tyrannical habituation happens in the entire brain, as I see it, in order to free the entire human being (SOMA), I propose that we design and combine these two schools to produce somatic holistic educational disciplines that will reprogram the entire cortex. I envision that when we combine these two schools and though and practice that we will have created the new scientific spiritual path that will propel us into the future of homo universalis.

Because we all start off with our unconscious ego, let me end by quoting Thomas Hanna’s ending of his powerful book “The End Tyranny”… “Our religious traditions are correct: mankind does stand in need of forgiveness. The prophetic injunction to love one another always seemed to be both a promise, destiny of mankind, and a forceful necessity demanded of mankind. The God of love compels us to “love or die!” By this historical event of the coming together of mankind, love becomes the obvious rule of law undergirding the new cultural mores now developing. Learning to love human beings and achieving the happiness of friendly, helpful positive community bonds with others is the crucial need for all of us.

“I believe that it is the destiny of humankind that love the power and growth will be the rightful possession of individuals. After these millions of years of human evolution, we can see the clear answer to that searching; my family is the family of humankind and my ultimate home and refuge is the human species. Until now, this was only a prophetic vision, but from this moment onward it is the promised destiny of us all.”

Let me end by saying that if we are to survive as a species, we must not only look outside of ourselves and see the enemies outside, but that we must look WITHIN ourselves for the solution to the world’s problems.

“The Kingdom of God is within you” – Jesus of Nazareth

For more information, visit:

Mary Ann Gray Voorhies: Muscle Pain Relief | Back/Neck Problems | Somatics Lafayette, Louisiana

Full-Spectrum Somatics by Lawrence Gold

Lawrence Gold –

The Novato Institute

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