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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Hallelujah! I am Reborn! (with a definite craving for treacle tart and custard)

Life, Death & Rebirth by Musicmuse on Flickr

Indeed I have been Rebirthed therefore I must, by definition, be Reborn.

I will just put this into context. In pursuing a hot new show topic to discuss on Wednesday at 3MDR, I went along to have a rebirthing session with Parvati Pauline Win who will be my guest on the show. Quite the experience I must say. Pauline has led a very interesting life, including stints living in Nepal and Tibet, and her journey to becoming a rebirther (which she has been for over 20 years now) is another story altogether. Likewise, her teacher, Leonard Orr, the man who basically discovered rebirthing spontaneously when he got stuck in his bathtub for 2 hours, has led an extraordinarily interesting life. Notably, the Indian Guru Babaji once materialised in his living room in Texas! Whilst this and other very bizarre and spiritually fascinating experiences remain well outside of my personal experience, I am determined to keep an open mind even with one eyebrow cocked in sceptism. So, onto the experience itself.

I had a chat with Pauline about my birth, or more accurately, my mother's birthing of me and then I lay down on the bed in the room and was covered with many, many blankets and duvets, for I am a cold blooded creature and felt decidely chillsome. I think that some of the cold I felt was my soul shaking in fear at having its dark corners poked and prodded personally, but I could be wrong. We then commenced with a strange sort of breathing. Fast, shallow and not dissimilar to the Yogic Ujjayi breathing though perhaps a tad less throaty. I personally dislike this type of breathing and I really dislike having to breathe consciously, in a particular manner, for extended periods of time. In the end I was breathing like this for nearly 2 hours, sometimes fast, sometimes slow and deep, as directed by Pauline herself. The first, well to be honest, I don't know how long it all was because there were points at which I simply disappeared and then reappeared and then went again. I do know that the first part of it was uncomfortable in both body and mind. My body felt very cold despite the unbelievable amount of layers Pauline piled on top of me. I also felt like I had been filled with concrete. My legs were solid blocks and I felt so heavy that I was sure I was sinking deeper and deeper into the floor with every breath. My left arm hurt and my left kidney hurt. Then, after what felt like an age, I started to think about and want cake. I know. Bizarre. Pauline asked me to say a few affirmations around 'I deserve to be here' and one specifically about my father, 'Let me breathe Dad' or words to that effect and she occasionally touched me gently or murmured encouragement of my progress. She asked me what I was feeling from time to time and I had to answer her through a mouth that felt strangely tight and 'O' shaped. It was as if the energy had puckered my lips together and I had to talk through the small gap between them. I talked about my mum's love of making High Tea on a Sunday, complete with sandwiches, trifle, jelly, jam tarts and little iced fairy cakes. She used to do this every weekend not just for when company was coming and it was a child's dream. I had this vague realisation that I was thinking about this because though my mother struggled to show her affection physcially sometimes, cooking was her way of showing us all love. She nourished us through treats and I realised that when I am in distressed, I too nourish myself through treats. It's my way of making myself feel better in a 'there, there love. It will all be alright,' kind of way. So that was interesting. I associated being nourished with eating sweet treats. New bit of information for the journey.

Rebirth by Sam Kennedy

The whole time I was breathing my body was literally buzzing with energy. Especially around my neck and jaw which I noted with interest. I also felt like my face was covered with cobwebs. I found myself eventually awakening from a period of complete absence feeling warm (finally!) and a bit internally glowy, as if someone had turned on a nice warm light inside of me. I then disappeared and reappeared, sometimes accompanied by random dreamlike images, sometimes stirred by Paulines breathing, until I finally opened my eyes. When I asked her about it later, mentioning somewhat embarrasedly that I thought I had fallen asleep once or twice, she replied that I had not fallen asleep but that I had merely stopped breathing for a while. What?! Yes, apparently, a little known fact about rebirthing is that the rebirthee often stops breathing for short periods of time, accompanied by blue lips. Pauline believes that this is due to us reliving our own birth and the times during that process when we would have stopped breathing for a time due to lack of oxygen or early cutting of the chord or whatnot. I was just a bit stunned that I had actually stopped breathing during my rebirthing breathwork and not a little uncomfortable at the thought of it.

So, there you have it. My rebirthing experience in a nutshell, all sleep apnea and treacle tarts and custard.

I returned home feeling a bit lighter, quite energetic and generally well. We shall see what effect it has on me in the coming days. Really, for it to be effective, I'd have to undertake about 10 sessions in order to learn how to breathe effectively like this for myself. I don't think that I will. I'm not that interested in it as a spiritual practise. It's not really my cup of tea and some of its philosophical and spiritual tenets don't sit well with me. Perhaps I am simply not ready to become Immortal. Again, a long and strange story for another time!

Rebirth by Euphorian Chic


Gorilla Bananas said...

Strange that humans should wish to go through that again. I dig myself a hole in the ground when I'm looking for a surrogate womb.

Eliezer Sobel said...

I married a breathworker, and during the whole first year of our marriage, my wife was constantly reminding me to breathe, which was incredibly annoying, as I believed I was already breathing. She started doing sessions with me, similar to rebirthing, and it seemed I was the only client she had ever failed with. As a result, she abandoned her highly successful practice to pursue a PhD in psychology instead!

I saw Leonard Orr speak shortly after one of his trips to India to visit with Babaji, who presumably was (is?) thousands of years old and keeps dematerializing and rematerializing in new bodies. Orr also claimed Babaji was the Creator of the universe, the very voice that spoke to Moses in the Burning Bush. I have to say, it was a bit over the top for me.

Nevertheless, after all these years, I've come to the conclusion that I do agree: breathing is good. :)

Eliezer Sobel, author of
The 99th Monkey: A Spiritual Journalist's MIsadventures with Gurus, Messiahs, Sex, Psychedelics and Other Consciouess-Raising Adventures

(read the prologue here: http://www.the99thmonkey.com )

docwitch said...

Don't think I could attempt such a harrowing journey meself. Could probably learn to breathe better though. My skeptical (and skittish) mind tends to go into overdrive with this sort of thing.

My kind of re-birthing involves a glass of bubbly and a hot bath. Although, I am probably a philistine.