Yoga Ananda Balasana Pose

RELAXATION AS A HAVEN

In the course of my training, I learned a great many massage, meditation, and relaxation techniques that intend to create a sense of inner harmony. I have myself been able to appreciate the restorative pleasure that these states can bring about. They often relate to a sense of profound psychophysiological relaxation, like being cleansed from the inside, like being at peace with oneself and with what surrounds us, and finally offer a powerful impression of inner unity. When I practice one of these exercises, I am like a ship’s pilot navigating out of life’s storms and finding a quiet port where I can rest and regain strength. I try to help my patients discover such havens in the course of therapy; not only because such peaceful moments are pleasant but also because they have a powerful healing effect on the soul’s wounds, and they sometimes foster the rediscovery of the will to live, and to feel anew, from within, the flowing vigor of life.

For most people, a port is a stopover and not a goal. It is a place to load and unload merchandise. These states of inner harmony nurse consciousness and calm psychological turbulence, but they are not states that satisfactorily support the confrontation of life’s complexities. People who would like to spend their life in such a state protect themselves not only from anxiety but also from all of the creative impulses that promote their existence.46

In general, a psychotherapist chooses a type of psychotherapy with which his conscious and nonconscious potential finds resonance and that may have a beneficial effect on most of his patients. This criterion is not one of truth but of convenience. Some work well when they seek a harmony between the elements presented, as Eryximachus suggests; others are more effective when they support the tensions that keep an organism alive, according to Heraclitus. Some patients sometimes have the need of one style of therapy more than another; for others, in other situations, this distinction is irrelevant.

This type of dialectical way of thinking had already been developed in China and in Japan, for example, by acupuncturists. My teacher of Chinese massage during the 1980s, Hiroshi Nozaki, taught us the theory of the elements used in Japanese medicine. He gave us the following example:

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