Stage 5, Merging with the Illusion, happens when we are strong and whole enough to experience and actually feel what was behind our suffering. It requires that the bodymind be flexible and adaptable enough to handle this without avoidance. We are re-uniting with a part of ourselves that was alienated or disowned when we created our separateness. This stage occurs when we have the power, courage and desire to move through the illusion of our separateness and to merge with the side of our “self” we were most afraid to see. Our motivation is our wholeness.
The Somato Respiratory Integration (SRI) exercise involves us on our backs with our arms and legs above us in the air making swirling motions. It is much like we are just moving in a current, and the position is similar to the images of a baby in utero. The breath, in the mouth and out the mouth, is a pattern that supports a merging process. Donald Epstein describes the concept as, “We are swimming in the primordial sea, which existed before we anchored our experience of ourselves as a separate person or body.”
As in the prior stages, there are three phases to the Stage 5 exercise experience. These are recognition, communication and completion.
In the recognition phase we get the sense that we are confronting something within. We experience and face it with an excitement and power combined with an incredible fear. The readiness for this stage requires the energy and power from Stage 4 to propel ourselves forward. It’s like the point when you are standing at the edge of an open air swimming pool in spring contemplating a jump into the water. You want to do it for whatever reasons, but you are scared that it will be cold and you won’t like it. You can either do it or not do it. Suddenly, you feel the lurch forward in your muscles and you know it is going to happen. Then you bypass your mind; start the run forward and…
… you jump and, for the few seconds you are in the air, you have the “Oh sh#$!” feeling. The stories and thoughts about what you are doing are gone. You’ve committed and you can’t go back. You’re just going to experience what is on the other side. Arms and legs are thrashing and you scream like you are about to die. People come out to see if you are alright! But inside, you are actually quite okay with what’s happening. You feel the satisfaction of, “I did it!” and the acceptance of/dedication to, “I’ll deal with whatever happens afterwards!” This is the communication phase of Stage 5.
As you move to the completion phase, you’ve submerged and, the shock of the cold has reverberated through you. Your thrashing and screaming has subsided and now you are almost comfortable and at peace with just being in the water. You may think, “It’s not so bad! It was way scarier in my head! I think I’ll get out before I turn blue. But maybe I’ll do it again.”
Real life examples of a stage4/5 transition could include the person who has successfully had a career in an area that pleased their parents but finally says enough of this and takes the plunge and retrains in a field that they are passionate about. They give up the job security, financial security and sometimes social respectability but at the same time it feels so right that the chaos associated with it is just not an issue.
For the most part, people are trying to live their lives in the illusion and will do anything and everything to avoid seeing what’s really going on. Unfortunately, supporting the illusion takes immense energy and causes problems in our health, happiness and relationships. But we will do anything to keep life from changing because a total disruption of life as we know it seems devastating or overwhelming. For this reason, merging is not too popular. It often requires people being brought to the point where they have to make decisions or else suffer great loss before they will contemplate taking what feels like such a radical or formidable step. Even then, we may be compelled to hang on for dear life to the illusion.
Merging can’t be forced. Making people go into their suffering when they are not whole enough is traumatic. Indeed, it can be devastating and actually amplify the suffering. But if the time is right for you to connect to the rhythm of this stage, it will just take over and merging will happen. If not, that’s okay too. You will gain significant healing in the earlier stages that will be life changing, and your time to merge will come!
Original article Paul Newton, based on the work of Donald Epstein
Rachael Talbot & Olaf Frank
Re-organisational Healing, Wellness & Chiropractic in Wilmslow, UK