Dolores Krieger On Silence
From the TTNO Vision and Reality Conference, 2000
"The Deep Dee" is described in Dr Krieger’s book Therapeutic Touch Inner Workbook: Ventures in Transpersonal Healing, Bear & Co., 1997. ISBN 1-879181-39-8
I chose to speak on Silence today. . .
In the beginning is silence. I chose to speak on silence because it is silence that is the junction between "vision and reality" - two perennial themes that have been with the The Therapeutic Touch Network of Ontario (TTNO) for many years.
Once you have given preliminary instruction to your students on how to do Therapeutic Touch™ and the students begin to practise, a very strange thing invariably happens. There is silence – absolute and complete silence reigns in the room as the students begin to practice and to find out for themselves that they don’t stop at their skin. This has happened so often that it has almost become a characteristic of Therapeutic Touch . For the students, as they start to explore the vital energy energy field of a person with whom they are doing Therapeutic Touch , they find that instead of an expected emptiness that a whole universe of subtle phenomena stimulates their sense of awareness and teases their curiosity.
Now the therapist realizes that there is a forest of information waiting to be deciphered and to be given meaning in this space that most usually we ignore and think of as being nothing – as being just a sea of emptiness. The result invariably happens upon this lesson, finding that the consequent concentrated effort is to decode that information. It’s fascinating and what one finds is that rather than just being a series of facts that you are picking up, that you begin to become focused, alert and attentive. The essence is attitude that attends in silence and you become often oblivious to what is happening around you.
It’s a very singular kind of thing that happens – it doesn’t happen once or twice. As you go on teaching you find that it’s a constant and it is in itself a mystery. We become involved in a state of absorption – in the discernment of this subtle information which is encoded here in the patterning, in the flow of a vital energy field. We call this deep listening. It’s a term that arose very spontaneously and, as it turns out, deep listening is more a description of the attitude rather than the actual act of listening.
This occurs very early in the Therapeutic Touch process. The therapist is in a state of sustained centredness and has begun her initial assessment of the problem by passing her hand chakras through the vital energy field of the healee. (Not passing the "hands" but passing the chakras which enables you to pick up data.) The major characteristic of that interaction is that it happens in silence and the silence is not only on the part of the person who is engaged, it also happens with the healee. This is a very noticeable fact.
There seems to be a quieting as it happens. Both the healer and the healee seem to be caught up in that healing moment and it’s only later that you begin to realize that you are participating in this silence. This realization is often very unsettling for someone who is looking on, because it’s not really the expected performance in our frenzy-driven world. Usually we’re doing something – if nothing else, we’re changing from moment to moment. It’s not so much that silence is counter-culture as that it is "other-culture" oriented, and somehow it has the power to stop us in our tracks.
One might intuit that herein lies the mystery. The silence has the capacity to be influential and this aspect actually manifests sometimes as very funny. Situations arise that are quite unexpected. The following story might put any pretensions you have in perspective.
Several years ago I did a month – long lecture on Therapeutic Touch for a group of South African medical doctors. It was very very successful and by the time we got to a town we had well over 400 people signed up and the hotel gave us the ballroom. The people were very highly motivated. There were mixed ethnic groups – one of the reasons I came with the provision that people of all colour be allowed in because they were all health professionals and we got off to an excellent beginning.
There was no air conditioning so the door to the corridor was left open. As people began to form themselves into small groups around the room and I played the role of the "wise woman" going from group to group – a word of encouragement here, a bit of a correction there, perhaps listening to a problem, I managed to go around the entire room, then stood to one side to see what was going on in the room as a whole. I realized as I glanced at the open doors that there was a whole parade of people going by in the corridor impeccably dressed – the men in tie and tails, the women in beautiful chiffon afternoon dresses and they marched with head high – rather like a stately parade to watch. However as they got to open door they uniformly reacted in the same way. As each couple approached the door they did a "face-left" and what they saw was hundreds of silent people intent upon attending to something nobody could see.
As they moved their hands through this nothingness a few inches from the body the ‘feelers’ took on very knowledgeable looks sometimes they nodded to themselves. The onlookers eyes would widen, their mouths drop open as they silently travelled to their "high tea". It has amused me to imagine their after-cocktail conversation. "My Dear, did you see those mutes! And near sighted too! Extraordinary . . . very extraordinary!"
Silence is an invariable characteristic. and once students begin to practice, this silence envelopes the group. This silence follows the student therapist at first and becomes a ‘mark’ of what it is she is doing.
The silence is a mark of an act of quietude enveloping the therapist and it it is obvious that what it is reflecting is an inner state of tranquility. People comment that they feel a sense of peace; they feel an inner stillness, and a sense of a hushed timelessness. Time is not even relevant. Things happen faster than you think they do. . . or slower, it doesn’t really matter. And as one immerses oneself in the practice you become aware of a whole other dimension that you somehow are slipping into.
This characteristic is so reliable - it happens so frequently - that about five years ago I began to realize that some kind of intrinsic factor was somehow built in there and so embedded in the Therapeutic Touch that we don’t take notice of it. It’s not until it’s brought to our attention that we even realize we are engrossed in this kind of manner. But the idea of the silence intrigued me and I began to look at - actually to set aside time in my meditation - specifically look at what was happening. Over time I have begun to realize that indeed silence is an inexplicable descriptive of several processes that are on-going during the practice of Therapeutic Touch. It merits considerable study beyond what I have been doing.
And today I want to intrigue you ! It’s so subtle that it seems to escape the usual ways in which we come up with answers; there’s no high tech - no machine we can turn on - that says, "Aha! I’m now going to observe that particular thing! It’s actually to look for something in another dimension; it challenges your curiosity - a compelling appeal as a subject for in-depth source.
So far, the study of silence has not reached the depth that I would like it to be; however it is that absorbing and thought-provoking that I thought I would like to discuss it with you, with the hope of interesting you - of intriguing you - to initiate your own study on the "mystery of silence".
Part of the problem is hinted at by the Dalai Llama who wrote ". . . touch is sharing deep silence together, as words can hope to but never quite express". Even if we were to attempt a qualitative study at this time, the necessary depths of silence would not be available to research as we know it right now. Perhaps however one could study chapters that are one step, one degree removed from silence itself . A prime choice would be a distinguishing attitudinal stance of the therapists - almost frozen for a moment in space as they are attending to this deep listening.
This deep listening usually occurs during the assessment, as you are trying to pick up the cues of the vital energy of the patient. In observing this singular component of Therapeutic Touch during innumerable workshops in the past 30 years, it has often occurred to me that what the Therapeutic Touch therapist is portraying is something that in Sanskrit is called an asana . This is a posture of deep interior experience; you do it for instance when you sit to meditate in the lotus (cross legged) position. Physiological parlance of this deep absorption with your practicing of Therapeutic Touch experience would be consistent, I believe, with those related to studies on focussed attention - that is on attention as the central component of human consciousness. It might give us a beginning insight into the arcane facets of silence, so naturally a part of the Therapeutic Touch process.
It intrigues me to search the unknown reaches of silence in the depths of human consciousness, for I know that in silence during the moving meditation that accompanies Therapeutic Touch interaction . . . I move into the recesses of my own chakras, and I begin to use them to search out the healee’s vital energy field for various indications of imbalance and congestion, and the various kinds of metaphors that we use. How I did this - named by others the Deep Dee - the phases of the Deep Dee, I begin by doing sustained centering; that is I centre my consciousness before I begin to do Therapeutic Touch and I maintain that state throughout the entirety of Therapeutic Touch.