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Living from the soul
Geschreven door Berenda Dekkers   

These days workshops and trainings are often concerned with personal growth. There are many different techniques and approaches that are used and they are all in their own way very valuable for different groups of people.

However in all that is presented there is one very essential aspect that is often understated. I wonder how often it is questioned whether personal growth  is in all cases the most important thing to happen. Maybe it is not always in our best interest to be busy with our personality. Maybe it is time to look at ourselves in other ways than as beings that need to grow and improve. Maybe too much energy today is spend on "therapy" : looking at ourselves  from a point of view that we need healing . Often we assume that we need to face what happened in the past and re-experience the trauma's in order to become free.
What if the only requirement would be to learn to live with one's limitations? To live with our imperfections knowing that it is through them that we will find direction in life.Is not it time to listen more to the requirements of the future than to those of the past?
In this article I will first give attention to some  basic assumptions and conditions , before briefly describing  some elements that need to be trained if we want to be able to deal with the requirements of the future.

Basic assumptions

First of all I want to look at human beings as energy beings. In this I assume that all the possible vibrations of energy that are present in the universe are part of our system too. Some of these vibrations we are used to, we "wear" them often, others are more alien to us, we may not even know that they are part of us.
It is very important,  in my opinion, that we become aware of these different vibrations and that we learn to  play with them. So that we feel invited to contact vibrations,  that are of quite a different quality and level than those we are  used to  . After all we  human beings are so small in such a vaste universe that we need to assume that there are forces at work ,that affect our lives in ways we cannot understand at all. These forces, present, but beyond our intellect , can bring us to quite a different level, if we know how to draw upon them.  They can move us in ways that are far beyond us, so that we grow beyond ourselves. The limitations of the personality are surpassed.
It is time to expand to such a level that is not limited to the realm of psychology. To allow the unknown to enter , so that the "known" is placed into a new frame of reference and becomes a whole different experience in itself. This proces of opening up to new energies is not necesseraly  a difficult process in which we have to work through obstacles that we have build up in the past. Rather it is a process that takes place by itself, once the conditions that are needed have been taken care of. It happens as if it is magic. Maybe it is!

Conditions for the work

For this "magic" to happen the quality of the atmosphere in which the work is done is very important .Total acceptance of everyone , and not in the least of oneself is an absolute condition. We need  an atmosphere of respect, where there is no pushing or pulling but confidence in each person that whatever is ready to be revealed will be revealed in its own time.
Another essential factor in the work is the intention.
So often we are focussed on the past, in an attempt to deal with the wounds life inflicts on us, and although this is essential at a certain stage, it is also very seductive . It can become  very convenient to keep looking at oneself in terms of "not whole". It relieves us from a certain responsibily. We can stay victims of the past. "Look at what went wrong,  at those elemental needs that were not fulfilled". And we can try to find ways to fulfil them. It can be a lifelong process of " progress". Progress in a "circular way ": discovering more and more about oneself in, what I would call, the same dimension. The dimension of the personality, me, myself. And by doing so it is quite possible to forget that we are not a separate entity in itself. We are part of all kinds of groups, of society of a culture , of the universe. In short  of a system of energies that is much larger then ourselves. A system that  forms us, nourishes and needs us. We are also part of a process, an historic development. Maybe we need to look at the past in a new way. It is important that we take our experiences  seriously. But rather than hanging on to them I suggest that we could look at them as signposts. Signals that show us in which direction we need to go forward. Searching and growing within the limitations of the personality is, as I see it, a limited process that won't bring us much further today. We need to break out of that and move on. To experience the now in the light of the future, not in that of the past. We are on the brink of a new era and enormous changes are taking place. We need to be alert and open , so that we can  use our potential to stay in touch as much as possible and listen to the signals that are in the air.  It is time  to accept our imperfections and our weaknesses and learn to live with them. Not as a handicap but as a  doorway into the future.

The intention of the work: living from the soul

The intention of the work is to find an anchor inside ourselves. To find that uniqueness that makes me me and you you. So that in our actions we are not dependant on others to tell us what is wright or wrong, but that we can feel inside what needs to be done. In other words it is important to train people to become leaders in their own field of expertise, whatever that is. To bring every single person in touch with something so beautiful and unique in themselves, that they cannot help but choose to live it. Each and everyone of us then, just by being who we are sets an example in  what I call: " living from the soul". It is not about learning behaviours that makes us fit better in society, it is about learning to be in touch with something so essential that it can be drawn upon as a source in whatever situation. Trusting that it provides the tools for right action at any given moment. Learning to act from an inner knowing rather than from outer authority.

How can we get to this point, the point  where we become beings at ease with ourselves and the world we live in; capable to be and to act from a place of deep knowing within? What do we need to learn, to do , not to do? In the rest of this article I will try to describe some of the basic skills that need to be developped in order for us to become who we are in the broadest sense of the word.

Basic skills that need to be trained

If I look at the process that leads to " being oneself ", there are some very important issues we need to look at and work with. I will mention a few of them with a brief description.


  • Learning to learn
    One of the prerequisites to participate in this kind of work is that one already  has a relatively well developed sense of self. That does not necessarily mean that one has been exposed to a lot of therapy or trainings. In fact it can be quite an advantage not to be so "contaminated" by the language that is used in so many training programs. It is an advatage to have a"beginners mind ", an open mind. For example, if we would use meditation as part of the work, it can be , say 15 minutes of silence in which we do the usual: we meditate. We already know what that is, we have done it before. Or it can be an exposure to stillness in which anything can happen. An openess to the movement and colour inside that can be quite surprising. A new experience because we open ourselves for that possibility. One of the things that is essential in the work is to learn to learn again, to learn to be open.
  • Open to the unexpected. 
    Learning a new skill can be very enlightening in discovering the elements  that make it possible to learn.  Let me use the exampleof learning to play the didgeridoo. Blowing air into that instrument, does not necessarily result in any sound. The only way to get any sound out of that hollow tree is to relax. To not push, to let go  and yet to keep practicing. Then when one is not paying attention.....all of a sudden it happens, and in the excitement of the moment one tries to hold on to  what happens , to do it again.......and it is gone.Yet in order to learn one needs to pay attention to what happens. It is this paradox of letting go, not being in the way and at the same time being fully present and aware that is essential. It is about knowing yourself so well that you do not have to be blocked anymore with all of your qualities and hang-ups. It is about letting go of your ideas and concepts of how things should be, so that there is space for something new to emerge.Paradoxically this happens when you have taken yourself so absolutely seriously, that you realise, " it is not me that makes me tick, something entirely different is involved". Maybe we need to use our ego, our history, the patterns we are locked into,  as an anchor .To make us feel secure within the richness of who we are, with all our imperfections and limitations. That then can provide the basis to enter into the future with an open mind.
  • and the unknown

    It is a natural phenomenon that action provokes reaction.On an energetic level , where  no consciousness is involved, that is exactly what happens, always. But we have been given the capacity to move beyond that level, to see and feel what is happening and to respond from a different place. A place of freedom. What is necessary to get there?
    Let me use again the image of a person as a conglomerate of a wide range of energy vibrations. From very high to very low. The high ranges representing the area of light, higher energies and the lower areas representing earthy, instinctive energies of a darker kind. Dark in vibration, not as a judgment. And let us assume that all those different energy levels carry a different kind of information.
    From this whole range of energy vibrations we most likely use maybe only 10 percent. .
    The rest we cannot feel nor  receive on a conscious level. Which does not mean that it does not effect us. If  we  were  able to receive the whole range  consciously, we would most likely go crazy because the instrument of our body and our personality is not used to those vibrations and will explode. So if we want to be able to use a wider range of energies we need to extend the awareness of our bodies and to stretch our personalities in a new ways.It requires courage to face aspects of ourselves  we would rather not know about.   We  could say that very often when we are presented with an energy that is unknown or unfamiliar to us , a deep fear is evoked in us. In response, the body prepares itself for action.Dependent on what kind of personality we are we will react in a mode of fight , or flight . But whichever one of those we choose it will be reaction . In order to stay out of the reaction we need a different way of dealing with our fear. Not to get rid of it, why should we? It has been given to us. To get to know it better. The more we know our fear, the more we can stay with it and accept it. The more we are able to create a safe energyfield within a scary environment the less likely it is that we need to react. So an acceptance of our fear on a very deep level, an acceptance of who we are, the security of knowing that there is a place for us here on this planet, that we are loved and wanted, that we are needed to be who we are in all ways, will  enhance the possibility that we can act rather than react.
    What needs to be practised is to pay very close attention to what is evoked within oneself in response to a situation or the words and energy of other people.
    In this way one learns to recognise fear and deal with it rather than to move away from it by a (re)action. It is a learning to be in the moment, to be with what is, to allow the feeling of not knowing what to do. To allow emptiness.
  • The art of listening

    Sitting still on a cushion for 15 minutes, or standing on one leg for a few minutes are excellent ways to discover the noise inside of us. It is amazing how much you can learn about yourself by simply being quiet. Gradually, once you do that often enough you will learn to distinguish between the different tones inside. Some of them sound false, and with others you can hear how  beautiful they are or may become. Just by creating space inside and by allowing the sounds to be, somehow things start to shift. Often we are afraid to listen. Because when we do we will hear and feel everything, including those things that we do not like or dare to live. We may start to feel our anger, our pains, our fear, our joy, our tenderness. Some of those feelings we desire, others not, but they can all be scary in their own way. And it is hard to feel those things because we usually feel that we need to do something about it. But maybe we don't, maybe they are just part of us and we need to accept them, to allow them to become part of our orchestra, rather then holding on to the sounds of the few instruments we like so much. Yes it will take some training to make them sound o.k. with the rest of the orchestra, they will need some space and practice. But then we will have created a much fuller sound, we will feel more grounded, more flexible and richer inside. 

    In the same way as we need to learn how to listen to our own music, we also can practice hearing the songs of other people.  We will hear what has been practised and what sounds are missing or need more training. We will learn to listen through and beyond the words into the source of one's existence.
    An example comes from one of the trainings I conducted: a woman told us about her experiences, that were very fascinating . Her voice, however was so dull that it was very hard to listen to her and the beauty of the story was  going to get lost. Many people were getting distracted and hardly anyone could stay attentive. Somehow , I then asked her to stop talking and to sing her story instead. Surprised, she took a moment to be still, went inside and then the most incredible voice came out. No words, just sounds. Everyone in the room was totally with her and knew exactly what she was talking about. Simply because she had taken us on a journey to the land she, in vain, had been trying to describe in words .
  • Exploring the dark, the importance of the body

    Once we are willing to experience the unexpected, to go beyond action-reaction, and to listen, the work will open up to a whole new dimension. There is room for magic. When we open up to forces beyond our understanding we open for the light as well as for the dark. The darkness is where the primitive energies are, those qualities and feelings that do not follow the laws of logic and reason. We live in a society where everything that is not rational and civilised tends to be suppressed (until it releases itself in war and violence). This means that in opening up, we might be presented with energies that we are not prepared for.  For example, if we are not used to dealing with our own anger, then we will have a hard time dealing with vibrations of that kind on a more universal level. The experience is no longer limited to the security/prison of the personality. It goes beyond it, and although it is scary and difficult,  we do need it . Dark forces are the forces that  can ground us . We need them to be able to cope with the quality of light and information that will enter when we open ourselves .  We also need them because they  will  provide the power to deal with the problems of today.   However, this work is not without danger. We do need to take great care when we enter it. It is not an area to play around in. To stay safe two things are important. One is our fears. They will be our guides. As long as we take them absolutely serious and be with them as long as is needed, we will be allright. They will stop us from going  too far too soon. Number two is the body. The body is the anchorpoint for any exploration we do. As long as we are sufficiently in touch with our physical structure we cannot get lost. The body provides a safe entrance into the work. It wil make us feel our basic needs: our need to find and protect our own space, our need  for touch and sex. But also our impulse to destroy or kill when those basic needs are violated. We need to experience those energies. If they stay suppressed they will find expression within and lead to  self- destruction in obvious or perhaps rather subtle ways. They may create feelings of inferiority.  They may stop us from moving on, allowing us only the illusion of growth whereas in fact we stay exactly where we are. Often they work on such a deep level that we do not even realise they are there. If we want to be open for the future, we cannot allow that to continue.  We need those powerful energies as our allies rather then as a source that feeds into subversive elements in our system. It is essential that we allow ourselves to feel what is inside: the feelings of destruction, of unworthiness; all  those things that are not accepted socially. Who are we to judge? So much has been given to us. It is up to us to explore and discover it, to find the gold in the middle of all that which seems so dirty.

Conclusion: to lead is to learn to follow

The trainings I have been talking about are not confined to the area of psychology. Quite clearly other dimensions of reality are involved. The work is about finding a connection between the reality of our body, mind and soul.
What is required of the trainer is enough knowledge of and experience with psychology and psychotherapy to know when it needs to be applied and when something else is required. In other words, the trainer needs to own the field so well that he/she feels comfortable to let go of it. As long as we need theories, or past experiences or techniques to prove ourselves we cannot do this kind of work. An openess is required , a willingness to not that "the work can do the work"**.
The preparation for  the work is the teaching: to finetune one's own instrument, the body and mind. That is what the work is  about.  When we are in good shape, attuned to ourselves and the energies of heaven and earth, we can follow our impulses, and allow ourselves to be guided by what presents itself. We can learn to lead by following the energies. We will learn to allow  the inner sound to become so clear and strong that there is no place for hesitation or doubt: there is only one way, to follow the song that wanted to sing us all along.

* Hal and Sidra's Stone concept of "bonding patterns" is very enlightening around this theme. It is described in their book: " Embracing Each other"

** A saying of Ronald Beesley

The trainings conducted by Berenda Dekkers are focussed on leadership, processes of change and empowerment. Her work has been found very valuable and inspiring for lots of people, but especially for those that work professionally in one capacity or another with other people: managers, organisational advisers, lecturers and people in the healing arts. Berenda is a clinical and social psychologist, she has more then 20 years of training in Vipassana meditaton, over 15 years in taijiquan and she is an experienced trainer in the"voice dialogue" method.

Berenda Dekkers, ‘96


Berenda Dekkers
Sociaal Psycholoog/Trainer

Mansholt-Nes 10
1862 AD Bergen

Telf.    : +31 725815897
Mobiel: +31 629096976


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