How does the Zapchen practice work?
This approach is not pollyanna or pie-in-the-sky.
It recognizes the tenacity of engrained habits and structures,
but without dismay, and returns attention to what can be done
now that does support the well-being that is immediately
possible. It places the problems of history and conditioned reaction
a definite second to action in the moment that renews well-being.
That is to say, we move to free movement, breath and sound, strengthen
ground, restore alignment, and renew pulsation, then we
consider what problem or dilemma may be felt to remain.
The means of working are playful and
humorous. We identify the holding patterns -- the restraints
on well-being -- that we are most aware of. These holdings may
be muscular, visceral, neural, fluid, neurochemical, energetic,
or attitudinal. We usually become aware of where we are holding
by noticing discomfort.
When we have located such a withholding,
we move gently and playfully to bring pulsation into the tension.
This pulsation automatically dissolves contraction to the extent
that we feel safe to do so. The spectrum of possible ways to
introduce pulsation is flexible and extensive, involving literally
thousands of possible interventions, but includes the very simple
and accessible means, such as humming, rocking, jiggling, and
speaking the unspeakable. What is appropriate depends entirely
on the individual, the situation, and the relationship of trust.
Changes tend to become stable because pulsation is the process
by which living bodies structure and restructure themselves.
Through relationship and practice, we
strengthen the willingness, not repetitively to explore old stories
of experience (however fascinating), but to move past identification
with history and, insofar as is possible in the moment, to dissolve
the patterns of body, energy and mind that tell us we "are"
that history and experience. This does not mean that stories
are not considered or heard. Stories are felt to arise as a way
of creating meaning out of direct experience. Although we prefer
to support direct experience when that's possible and desirable,
stories are told and re-told and created as part of freeing perception.
This includes the stories and attitudes that are perceived in
body tissue and energy patterns, as well as more obvious spoken
Zapchen can and does form the basis of
a renewed approach to such established fields as somatics, somatic
psychotherapy, relationship counseling, sexuality, child rearing,
shock and trauma, visceral regulation, physical and energetic
yogas of self-regulation, mind training and meditation -- and
story-telling. It also forms the basis of work that is (or so
we feel) entirely new outside of mystical traditions, such as
regulation of neurochemistry.
Practitioners of Zapchen usually emphasize
one or more of these avenues for applying the principles, depending
on their previous training, or they may prefer to teach the principles
themselves alone. We experience that Zapchen easily shapes itself
to the personal and professional needs and circumstances of anyone
who takes an interest. This is because the principles arise from
an immediate and practical observation of what serves to support
and maintain well-being whatever the circumstances.