CONTINUING THE PHILOSOPHY OF REGINALD O. KAPP

9.27 CATHARTIC MEDITATION AS PREVENTION AND THERAPY

Paper for the Journal of Holistic Healthcare         10.4.08

John Kapp, 22, Saxon Rd, Hove BN3 4LE, East Sussex
  johnkapp@btinternet.com   Tel: 01273 417997


Biography
I have been leading drop in Osho dynamic meditation three times per week for the last 5 years. The outcome for me has been a healing change of attitude from a victim to a beneficiary, improved health, curing a cataract, clearing my mind, improving my memory, listening, tasting, and quality of life.

1 Abstract
The Chinese model of disease is blocked energy (chi, life force) which has to flow freely for health. No-one is allowed to express emotions, the chi of which is suppressed (blocked) in the garbage can of our unconscious minds. What the mind suppresses the body expresses later as disease. Cathartic meditation empties the garbage can, so is therapeutic. Osho dynamic meditation should be made available in workplaces and on the NHS to prevent illness and as group therapy.

2 The problem – we are getting ever madder
Despite record spending on a 60 year old NHS the nation is getting sicker. Road rage, domestic violence, attacks on hospital staff, suicides, violent crime are all increasing, and prisons are overflowing. The news bulletin on 3.3.08 that ‘Prozac is no better than placebo’ confirmed that mental health services are not worthy of the name, given the year long waiting times for talking therapy. The materialist, reductionist, mechanist paradigm does not work. New understanding of wellness, illness and healing from the holistic paradigm are required to develop effective interventions in mental health.

In the holistic model, people comprise a visible, material body, and an invisible aura of a non-material mind, soul and spirit. In the computer analogy, the body is the hardware, the mind is the software, the soul is the operator and the spirit is the internet which can connect everyone together telepathically.

Our physical body comprises a hundred trillion cells within our skin. Our aura is a complex information technology (IT) system like the cyberspace of the internet, including vast memory storage. Every cell has the equivalent of a mobile phone with which it can receive subtle energy from the life source in the cosmos, download broadcasts and podcasts, talk to our organs (brain, heart etc), and also communicate with other people by telepathy. This is how channelling, clairvoyance, and other paranormal activities work, but we are unaware that all this is happening..

Our only awareness of what is going on deep down in our unconscious mind is a general feeling of either ‘ease’ (wellness) or ‘dis-ease’(illness) These are not objects which can be scientifically captured, but are subjective, personal feelings of each individual, and they are constantly changing with emotional mood swings.

3 Definitions of wellness, illness, madness
A holistic definition of good health, (wellness, wellbeing) personal to me, is ‘feeling at ease and in harmony with myself and others in my community and environment.’ These feelings depend on my attitude in my mind, and have little or nothing to do with the physical condition of my body.

For example, in the film about Douglas Bader, he radiated wellness, despite having lost both legs, because he fulfilled his ambition to fly in the war. He accepted his infirmities and took responsibility for them, so was well. (This is also a sign of maturity and wisdom) If we reject our perceived infirmities, blame others and feel that we are a victim, then we are not well, but ill, even if our body is without defects.

A corresponding holistic definition of illness, (including dis-ease, disease, sickness) is ‘feeling ill at ease with myself and my condition, threatened, disturbed, troubled, worried, anxious about it, and unable to take responsibility for these feelings’. Illness gives me a ‘short fuse’, and is a sign that I am harbouring unconscious negative thoughts and limiting beliefs. These are the result of my conditioning and repressed emotions (such as anger, fear, sadness, grief, guilt) which I was not allowed to express and release at the time.

The energy of these undischarged emotions did not disappear, but was suppressed or repressed into my unconscious, which acts like a garbage can. Suppression was a temporary solution to the immediate problem of not being allowed to express them, but it stored up trouble for me.

Decades later, (in 2000) my garbage can got full, and the repressed emotions overflowed. It felt then as if I could not move without wading through garbage. This is when I got sick, mentally and physically. I was lucky to discover cathartic meditation (Osho dynamic in 2001) doing which repeatedly gradually transformed me from illness to wellness. From this personal experience I would generalise as follows.

What the mind represses the body expresses later as disease. These usually start as mental disorders, such as lost tempers, tantrums, compulsions, obsessions, inferiority complex, low self-esteem, thoughts of inadequacy such as ‘I am guilty, not good enough, not worthy of pleasure, love, money, etc’. The cliché: ‘disease is all in the mind’ is true; it is a mental attitude.

Unless healed, dis-ease can lead to violence triggered by a trivial incident. Examples are road rage, domestic violence, attacks on hospital staff, trashing the place, suicides, murders. Someone pushes our buttons and we cannot control ourselves. This is an altered state of consciousness, like sleep walking, when we have gone mad temporarily. Unless healed, these episodes can lead to mental illness (depression, neurosis, psychosis, dementia etc, which is suffered by 6 million people in England), and long term chronic conditions, (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, ME, MS etc, suffered by 16 million people). By this definition, half the population are mentally sick.

In the above metaphor, such behaviour indicates that our garbage can has burst or overflowed. Garbage has flooded the rooms of our ‘house’ (body) so that our subtle energy life force cannot move freely therein. When it piles up so high that we cannot get in through our front door, we have gone mad. (our soul or operator can no longer get into our body)

4 Where do repressed emotions come from?
Repressed emotions of traumatic events accumulate in our garbage can from many sources, as follows:

a) Earlier in our lives from conception, babyhood, childhood.
b) Our parents, which we pick up telepathically
c) Our past lives, which is why young children sometimes get sick
d) Our community, which if deprived is likely to have more repressed emotions
e) Our country’s historical events, like the world wars in Europe, the Spanish civil war, holocaust, apartheid.
f) World events like 9/11/01 which make everyone more fearful.
g) Every time we watch the news we add to the emotional garbage in our cans.

Every successive generation represses more emotions, and they go into our children’s garbage cans. This is why western society is getting ever sicker and more angry, violent crime is continually increasing and prisons are overflowing.

5 How can we heal from illness into wellness?
We have seen above that the cause of illness is repressed emotions in our unconscious minds. (the garbage of negative thoughts and limiting beliefs) To detoxify and cure ourselves we must empty the can. To un-repress emotions, we simply have to express them as we would have done at the time we felt them, (time does not exist in the non-material world) This process is known as catharsis. A dictionary definition is ‘discharge of pent up emotions to relieve symptoms or alleviate the condition’.

We are born with an emotional safety valve, natural catharsis. The gentlest form is talking to ourself out loud. We may be embarrassed if overheard, but children are less inhibited, and use natural catharsis as self-therapy from babyhood. They talk out loud while playing, and the meaning of the words does not matter. They fight, run, throw themselves around, shout, scream, swear, cry, laugh. When prevented they sometimes throw tantrums when they lose control of themselves.

Sporting events, like football matches, horse racing etc, are expressions of natural catharsis, taking people through cycles of emotional arousal / de-arousal. In Spain it is bull fights. In the old days men would naturally cathart their anger in pub brawls, street fights and wars, but these are no longer socially acceptable. Society does not allow enough natural cathartic expression to keep its citizens sane. The remedy is to make cathartic expression available to everyone, as therapy and prevention.

6 Catharsis as therapy
Catharsis is a simple and effective method of emotional stress release which is healing and prevents mental illness. It should therefore be provided as therapy. In the old days of lunatic asylums it was done in padded cells, but when the asylums were closed it was not continued. The baby (catharsis as therapy) was thrown out with the bathwater (incarceration).

There are two myths which mental health clinicians seem to believe: First that if they stop people getting mad it will prevent them going mad. The opposite is true. People are getting ever madder because they are not allowed to express their emotions.

Second, if they allow people to cathart they will go out of control and hurt people. That is not true because therapeutic catharsis is projected into the air, and is not taken personally by anyone. The body is blind when expressing emotions, and makes no difference whether or not anyone else is on the receiving end. The trigger for doing therapeutic catharsis is being given permission to do it. We are always in control, watch ourselves catharting, and know that we can stop at any time.

This is the opposite of a tantrum (say domestic violence) Your wife says something trivial which you perceive as threatening your survival, you lose control and beat her up. The pressure of your repressed emotions had become so high in your garbage can that what she said caused it to burst. Garbage was scattered everywhere, preventing you from getting into your body, so your conscious mind could not control your body.

The purpose of therapeutic catharsis (eg in anger management) is to avoid tantrums by releasing the pressure and emptying the can before it bursts or overflows. After being expressed in catharsis the energy of the repressed emotion is gone for ever. It is literally a ‘weight off your mind’, and you feel unburdened, lighter, and wonder why you did not get rid of it before.

All you need to do catharsis is a safe space where you will not be disturbed, and no-one calls the police. It helps to have a cushion to beat, bite, kill, and use as a club to beat against the floor or wall. A car can be used, parked well away from others.

7 Dynamic meditation
In 1973, after years of experimentation in meditation camps, an enlightened Indian meditation leader (Osho, 1931-90) developed a scientific method of emptying our emotional garbage can by therapeutic catharsis. He incorporated it into the first half of a one hour meditation, (called ‘dynamic’) to release tensions in the body/mind and make it easier to go into meditation in the second half hour.

Dynamic meditation is a compact disc recording (CD) of specially composed arousing music including drums, percussion, bells, gongs with overtones. These sounds help to release the stuck energy in our cellular memories, as do devices such as shouting a mantra, jumping, sudden silence, and dancing, all of which are included.

The traditional methods of getting into meditation are sitting silently, repeating a mantra, contemplating a candle, watching the breath. These are the methods known as pranayama in yoga, promoted by Patanjali, and vipassna, (now known as mindfulness) promoted by Buddha.

Those methods were designed thousands of years ago for illiterate peasants. Osho designed new methods for contemporary highly stressed people who find it more difficult to get into the no-mind meditative state (like a blank screen or screen saver on your computer, rather than a home page).

8 Instructions for dynamic meditation
Dynamic meditation is designed to be done first thing in the morning, as a cathartic clear out of emotional garbage to start your day. It is normally done standing, but can be done sitting if you have an infirmity. It should be done whenever you feel that pressure is building up and an emotional detox is needed. At times of high stress and illness it should be done daily.

It is done in a darkened room, with eyes closed, or wearing a blindfold. Nobody is watching, listening or judging, so drop your inhibitions and really go for it and do it totally. It is in 5 stages, with a change of music marking the next stage, with instructions as follows: 10 minutes deep, fast chaotic breathing, 10 minutes catharsis, 10 minutes jumping, shouting the mantra ‘hoo’. 15 minutes freeze in silence. 15 minutes dancing to music.

9 The evidence base for meditation as therapy
Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) was approved by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) in 2006. It is increasingly being used the NHS in courses for groups of patients with mild depression, and others who want to prevent getting ill. (1)

Prof Kathy Sykes is a doctor who has studied the evidence base of efficacy for various alternative therapies including meditation, and presented her findings in 2 TV series (2). Dr Mark Williams said that he had had ‘most inspiring’ results with MBCT, which would be ‘useful for anybody’. Researcher Dr Sarah Lazar found that meditators had significantly (‘huge’) permanent effects in their brain structure ‘changing the kind of person we are’

A compilation of what Osho said about dynamic meditation is published in a book (3) The meditation has been successfully used in prisons. It is said to have halved the accident rate among bus drivers in Stockholm, and improve staff morale in a bank in Oslo. (4) Therapist Maneesha James worked closely with Osho for 15 years, and now leads meditation courses all over the world.(5) I have written a paper entitled ‘The Evidence Base for Osho Meditation. (6)

10 Healing requires love and meditation
Continued good health requires the free flow of subtle energy (life force) through the body. Disease is caused by repressed energy blocking that flow and making us tense. Healing requires removal of those blocks by catharsis,.which allows the meditative state to be achieved. This is confirmed by cranio-sacral therapist Howard Evans, who writes ‘when they relax into stillness, an often quite extraordinary process of healing occurs’ (7).

That stillness is the meditative state. It has been shown (8) that in this altered state of consciousness the following things happen in the body:

a) the brain waves balance left to right and halve in frequency from beta to alpha
b) adrenaline is eliminated from the body (tears contain adrenaline)
c) emotional energy is released
d) endorphins are released into the body fluids
e) the immune system reaches optimal functioning
f) healing happens.

Generalising, all CAM therapists offer the active ingredients of healing, which are love (attention and appreciation) and meditation. The prerequisites of healing are as follows: Unless the body feels that it is loved, it cannot relax. (touch is said to be ten times more powerful at expressing love than words) Unless the body is relaxed, it cannot release endorphins. Unless it releases endorphins, it cannot let go of cellular memories. Unless it lets go of cellular memories, it cannot heal.

11 Dynamic meditation as a de-traumatisation therapy
We are all traumatised to a greater or lesser extent. Dynamic meditation appears similar to a therapeutic description of de-traumatisation (9) using the cycle of emotional arousal and de-arousal. It mimicks the experience of pre-historic man for whom our nervous system (and the software for our minds) was designed. The scenario is ‘out hunting he meets a predator who provokes the flight, fight, or freeze, response, who chases him back to safety, where exhausted he relaxes and heals himself.’

The first half of dynamic meditation is the arousal (of the sympathetic nervous system, and the production of adrenaline, rising to a climax, and a sudden stop, in safety. The second part is de-arousal, when the parasympathetic nervous system takes over, producing healing endorphins. People report experiencing emotional release then.

There is no need to analyse the emotions that are expressed, which sometimes pour out like a fast forwarding video. What matters is the outcome, which is that tensions reduce, obsessions and compulsive behaviour fade away, and contentment and better health arises.

12 Conclusions
Dynamic meditation is a healing intervention by which anyone can detraumatise and heal themselves. It has been practiced for 35 years in many centres worldwide, on a drop in basis, without screening. No contra-indications or adverse reactions have been reported. Those doing it are always in control, and can leave the room if they feel overwhelmed. Those with the CD can do it themselves whenever they feel that they need it.

As a group therapy it is cheap and simple to organise. It does not need a therapist. All that is required is a room before work for one hour, a CD, a CD player, and a leader who can hold the space, give the instructions, start the CD and clear up afterwards.

Ideally people should be able to make noise uninhibitedly for 20 minutes in the second and third stages (‘loud’ dynamic) If you are afraid that the neighbours will call the police, you can either warn them beforehand that no harm is happening, or do it silently, visualising that you are shouting out loud, which is still effective.

Meditation is easier to do in a group for two reasons. First, doing it regularly with others gives you support (love) to continue and make greater effort on a shared journey. Secondly, it has been shown by research which wired meditators up to EEG machines that their brain waves became synchronised. This implies that meditation is infectious, and that one experienced meditator can pulls others into the meditative (alpha) state with him.

If everybody did dynamic meditation whenever their emotional garbage can needs emptying, crime, violence, illness, would all be reduced. If workplaces provided dynamic meditation before work for their staff, their sickness rate would go down and their productivity would go up. Yoga teachers are well placed to lead dynamic, which they could incorporate into their practices. The CDs are available from www.osho.com or me at about £10. I offer to introduce dynamic meditation into any place of work, and train the staff to continue.

13 Recommendations
a) A clinical research trial should be done on dynamic meditation to prove its efficacy, and become NICE approved, (like MCBT.) I have written a proposal for one. (10) and am seeking a supervisor.
b) Dynamic meditation should be made available at workplaces for the staff, (like tai chi in parks in China) both in corporate businesses and in NHS hospitals etc (who typically have a staff sickness rate of 5% from stress and burnout).
c) Dynamic meditation should be commissioned by PCTs for patients on the NHS as therapy and prevention.

14 References
1 www.ontopofthemountain.com
2 Prof Kathy Sykes ‘Alternative Tharapies - Meditation’ TV programme BBC2 31.3.08
3 Osho ‘Osho Dynamic Meditation’ 370 pages 2006, available from www.osho.com.
4 Stockholm Radio Newsbulletin 1994, video clip available from author.
5 www.active.meditation.com.
6 John Kapp ‘The Evidence Base for Osho Meditations’ 2005, section 9.3 www.reginaldkapp.org,.
7 Howard Evans ‘Cranio-sacral touch’ Journal of Holistic Healthcare p19 Nov 07.
8 William Bloom, ‘Endorphin Effect’ 2001.
9 Peter Levine ‘Waking the Tiger, 1997
10 John Kapp ‘Proposal for a research trial’ 2006 section 9.9 www.reginaldkapp.org,


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