Metamorphosis - a Healing Art from the
by Cindy Silverlock
I recently gave a lecture on Metamorphosis and thought I would print an adaptation of it in the journal. Metamorphosis is a self-healing art, a philosophy on creation and a way of life. It was founded in the late 1950’s by Robert St. John in England. Metamorphosis was originally called Prenatal Therapy. As St. John further developed the philosophy it took on greater depth and he aptly re-named it Metamorphosis. I refer to Robert St. John a lot because this is his work and it evolved out of his observations and creativity. ***
Knowing the history behind Metamorphosis helps one to understand the nature of it. There were 3 approaches to healing he was working with in the 1950’s that let him to create his own approach to healing. Naturopathic Medicine, The Bates Eyes System and Reflexology.
What he noticed while studying Naturopathic Medicine was that all the attention was on treating symptoms, and although they went away, new ones usually emerged because the underlying patterns were not being addressed.
With the Bates Eye System he observed that the attitude of mind was reflected in one’s eyesight. The way in which we use our mind becomes the way in which we use our body. He felt the attitude behind far-sidedness was a compulsive withdrawing or retreating which created a foreshortening of the eye. Near-sideness was a compulsive forcing forward which resulted in an elongation of the eye.
This observation became the basis for the philosophy of Metamorphosis. He felt that this compulsive nature of retreating and forcing forward was the basis of all conflict globally, interpersonally and within. He termed the retreating afference and the forcing forward efference. These attitudes are reflected in our personalities, emotions, physical bodies and state of mind. They come in with us at conception and influence how we come into life and then how we deal with life.
When St. John came across Reflexology, he felt he was getting closer to his intention of finding a means of erasing or changing these primary attitudes of mind. He noticed that there were many physical maps of the feet, with reflex points in different places, yet they all worked. What he surmised was that it was the intention behind it that made it effective. He appreciated that Reflexology recognized that the body is self healing. He felt that it was limited by it’s focus on physical symptoms and decided to create his own version of Reflexology, one that shifted the focus and intention to the underlying stress patterns rather than the physical body. In doing this one could create permanent change on all levels.
He borrowed the idea of reflex points but used them as symbols for a period of time rather than for the physical body. He felt that reflex points acted as symbols and the level at which they worked depended on the specific intention behind them. Symbols are a means to address the unconscious mind, which is where our underlying patterns operate. He reasoned that the prenatal period is when our bodies and attitudes are formed. All that we will become starts in physical form at conception and moves on from there.
Preconception is the primary aspect of what we are working with. The idea is that the level of stress or tension that comes in at conception determines how we move through gestation, experience our birth and deal with life. This means that traumas of gestation, birth, childhood and life are secondary stresses and not the root cause of our problems.
Here is an analogy Donna told at a Meta conference which demonstrates the idea of pre-conditioned influences determining our perspective: A woman has two 4yr old identical twin boys. She is preparing for company in an hour and is making scones. She realizes she is out of butter and getting short on time. She asks the boys to sit tight while she quickly runs to the store. While she is out they decide to help her and get flour all over the kitchen. When the mother returns she is livid because now she also has to clean up this mess. In her frustration she grabs the boys by their shirt collars and hangs them out the window, shakes them a bit and brings them back in.
Thirty years later one of the boys is a pilot, loves strong women and danish pastries. The other one is afraid of heights, hates domineering women and is allergic to white flour products. In therapy he realizes his mother tried to kill him when he was 4 years old.
What was exciting for one boy was a trauma for the other, based on their perceptions of the situation. The influences that condition our perceptions come in with us at conception, what we call pre-conception.
One of the primary principles of Metamorphosis is healing from the inside-out. This sounds like a simple statement but it completely changes how we approach healing. If we treat things from the outside-in we are treating symptoms. If we treat things from the inside out we focus on the underlying pattern causing the array of symptoms we all experience. This means that change is permanent. It also means that we heal and change our lives with little effort. The only effort involved is the hands-on aspect of Metamorphosis, which is simple in its approach and easy to incorporate into any lifestyle.
Typically we treat our disturbances in 4 categories; behaviorally, mentally, emotionally and physically. Below is a contrast between working from the inside-out and the outside-in. I want to be clear that this exploration of other approaches is not to make any better than another, but to demonstrate the difference in the inside-out versus the outside-in approach. Often times people think this idea makes sense right away and as I clarify it in this manner it becomes much more clear to them.
The benefits of working from the inside out are:
2) Responsibility and credit for healing
3) Little effort in healing
4) Metamorphosis can be done on oneself at the time of disturbance rather than wait for a scheduled appointment.
5) Changes are permanent
6) It is a ‘wholistic’ approach because it does not break down disturbance into categories.
Typically we treat behavior problems with modification techniques or medication. Behaviorally: for example, if one is overweight they typically try to lose weight. I realize weight has an emotional element, but I am talking about the approach we take. Usually an overweight person tries to alter their behavior of diet and/or exercise. This is difficult for most and takes discipline and effort. This is also going from the outside-in. Using food & exercise to effect change. This does work but as soon as we give up that regime we typically go back to being overweight. We become dependent on that approach to maintain our desired outcome.
On the other hand if we go from the inside out there is little effort and no dependency. If one is in balance we don’t find movement a chore and we are naturally drawn to foods that are healthy in the amounts that are appropriate for our size and needs. As one comes into balance the eating and movement habits change automatically. It does not become a challenge to eat right, we just do. A weight problem is simply an expression of an imbalance. Addressing the imbalance rather than the symptom means we no longer have to continually struggle with the weight.
If one struggles with addictions we don’t try to stop the behavior. Addictions can be to food, sex, relationships, alcohol, cigarettes, any substance usage or behavior that one depends on that also creates disharmony in their. Typically we try to curb the behavior, which takes a lot of effort, often a for a lifetime. With Metamorphosis we see addictions as coping mechanisms. It never works to take ones coping mechanisms away because they are needed and are usually replaced with another one. We often transfer our addictions to a support group and then rely on others to cope. The undesired behavior stops but the pattern of dependency is still there. If we change from the inside out, we come into balance within and we no longer need the object of the addiction. Going from the inside-out makes this a permanent change without effort. It also means that one will not have to make a life long effort out of it.
St. John had several phrases that were in sync with this principle. One was "enjoy your sin". This means that if you have a pattern of indulgence that you are engaging in, really enjoy it while you are doing it. Then work on yourself. This takes the negative attention off of it and allows the pattern to begin to move.
Understanding that behavior problems in children are due to an underlying stress means that we don’t need to teach children behavior modification methods or medicate them for Hyperactivity or ADD... Most importantly we take the focus off what is ‘wrong with them.’ Trying to make someone be ‘other’ or ‘better’ than they are adds to the tension.
I will share a story of a young boy I worked with. I was observing an adult karate class where a man had brought his young son who was obviously hyperactive and disruptive. At one point he fell down and a lot of BB’s came rolling out of his pocket on the floor. I took that moment to approach him and ask him if I could rub his feet. He said yes and proceeded to describe the sensation to me, saying it felt like ocean waves. I saw in his eyes that he was beginning to settle into his body. Shortly after he walked away, knowing he had had enough. He did not bother the class further. I got a report that he was much less disruptive the next time as well. I never mentioned his behavior or brought attention to it in any way. I simply did Metamorphosis on him with his permission.
When working from the inside-out tension subsides and the person functions in a more natural manner. No one wants to behave badly, we are subject to our blocks until they are gone.
Emotional problems: Typically approaches aim for emotional release or catharsis, trying to determine the origination of the trauma and focus on releasing it from the body or psyche. From the Metamorphosis point of view emotional disturbance is a symptom of an underlying pattern. With Meta there is no need for emotional ‘release’ or catharsis, when lone lets go of the thought pattern the emotional element goes with it. A ‘release’ may occur but it is not the aim nor is it necessary.
St. John felt there was no real benefit for re-experiencing traumas. Another of his sayings was, "When you wash the dishes do you inspect the plate to determine how each speck of food got on it or do you just wash the dish? Just get on with it!" The more attention you give something the less room it has to go away. Focusing on the past serves no benefit. Allowing the past to let go means we can get on with the present. Allowing is different than doing.
We seem to have a curiosity within us that wants to know WHY about everything, but it is not necessary from this point of view. I have found that I organically just know the nature of my patterns but I don’t know the ‘why’ and I no longer care. I find getting on with life more interesting.
Mental illness is an imbalance as well. Typically we treat this with medication or institutionalize people. With Meta we recognize this as an Afferent disturbance. This is not a category though, because it does not determine the course of treatment. It is an understanding of it’s nature. The hands-on approach is always the same regardless of the nature. We tune in and work with reflex points. As one comes into balance they function optimally on all levels.
Mental tension creates muscular tension. That is why in some cases massage does not alleviate chronic muscle tension for long because the tension is not physically based. Addressing the symptom means we often become dependent on a form of relief. Addressing the underlying pattern means that we will cease to have discomfort.
In contrast to chiropractic, they force the vertebra into alignment for optimal physical function. We work on the underlying pattern that is creating the muscular tension that pull the vertebra out of alignment. In doing this they cease to go out of alignment.
Those that have these problems know that the same vertebra frequently go out. Working on the underlying pattern from the inside-out stops that cycle. Having someone keep putting them back into place is coming from the outside-in approach.
Physically: If one is injured we don’t focus on the injured area. Typically we focus on the injured area and try to rehabilitate it. Injuries that do not heal have an underlying pattern that is affecting the healing. The body is tremendously self-healing and would recover from most any injury, unless a pattern was in the way. If we address the underlying pattern from the inside-out the body heals naturally.
If one is ill we don’t try to cure the illness. Typically we have an entire industry devoted to finding cures, medically and holistically. We take things into our bodies to heal and/or we surgically remove things. Someone or something is doing it for us.
With Metamorphosis we do not try to cure or diagnose anything. We address the underlying disturbance. As one comes into balance they cease to create illness.
Healing from the outside-in is the way we have approached healing from the beginning of time. The history of healing has had periods with more natural or chemical approaches but the theme of healing from the outside-in has not changed. This is what Metamorphosis is proposing, that we change the focus, that we do not need to seek things outside of ourselves for healing. We carry the innate intelligence to do this within. St. John felt that healing from the outside in weakens our capacity to do it for ourselves. He created a simple hands-on approach that most can relate to, as a means to address the underlying patterns and begin to take responsibility for ourselves. This is why no-mixing is important. It is not the mixing of modalities that matters so much as the mixing of intentions, from the inside-out and the outside-in. If we weaken our capacity to do it for ourselves when we seek other things to heal us we are defeating the intention of Metamorphosis when we mix.
The use of products is the same thing,looking to something outside of ourselves. Using them on occasion to treat a symptom is normal as we transition out of the thought pattern of healing from the outside-in. Paying attention to this is important so that the choices we make are conscious ones. Selling products to Meta clients defeats the primary intention behind what is taking place by giving them sessions.
It is the intention behind Metamorphosis that makes it so effective and unique. St. John observed that the initial stresses for humanity occurred at the beginning of time. So this is the scope of our intention. If the intention is physical relief or healing at that level than that is the outcome. Some approaches look at symptoms, some at incidents as far back as childhood, birth or conception. We consider stresses back to the beginning of humanity and the creation of time to the separation of oneness into duality. This brings a more complete healing to the person and eliminates the need to separate healing into physical, mental, emotional and behavioral. It makes healing quite simple!
I see Metamorphosis as a gift to humanity. We have been repeating the same patterns of illness, tension, chaos and destruction throughout history. If we each individually begin to take responsibility for what we bring to that collective disharmony we will find peace and harmony in our lives and for the planet. Part of healing from the inside-out is not focusing on saving the earth, other people, or other things, but healing our own imbalance, which in turn benefits the rest.
As we collectively come into balance we will no longer have to fight for causes like saving the environment, animal testing or abuse in any form, for the patterns will no longer be around to create this disharmony. Part of healing from the inside-out means that we don’t need to spend time fighting causes. Although the temptation is often great, as long as the patterns are in existence they will continue to find new ways to manifest, so it is an endless cycle. Addressing the underlying patterns means that eventually this cycle of need, dependency and disharmony will cease to exist. If we collectively come into balance we will no longer create a means of existence that is not in harmony with all living things!
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