If one wishes to pursue a life direction of raising their own consciousness, the avenues that often come to mind are some form of meditation or prayer. Another assumption is that these practices must be done in solitude. It may, therefore, come as a surprise that a very direct and effective way to learn how to become present (which is the natural entrance to higher consciousness) is by practicing a partner bodywork called Breema.
What is Breema? At first glance, Breema might look somewhat like other forms of bodywork, where one person, using leans, stretches, and holds, manipulates another person’s body. However, in Breema, the aim of the person giving the bodywork is not to heal or relax the recipient but to use the activity as an opportunity to be present with the movement of their own body.
Of course, those who pursue solitary practices readily discover the distraction of their own mind! In many methods one waits for the mind to become quiet; in Breema another mechanism is employed, that of mind-body connection. Instead of trying to empty our mind, we give it a job to do—observing the activity of the body.
The first thing we do in Breema is experience our breath and weight with our mind in a relaxed state. Any kind of mental forcing interferes with mind and body becoming truly connected. The mind habitually seeks to dominate in our lives. As with seeking any fruitful union, some equanimity is best. When mind and body do connect, there is a notable shift in perception, but even this remarkably grounding experience is not the ultimate goal. It’s when our feelings enter and participate in the process that the true magic occurs: the experience of being present.
Despite what many of us assume, being present is not an experience of time between past and future; it’s an experience of a dimension above the flow of time. It’s an experience in the direction of direct knowing. In religion, it has been called grace or nirvana. In the new physics it has been referred to as a quantum leap. It is the experience of the Timeless.
In Breema we touch our partner, but not in some spaced-out state. We connect to our own breath and weight, then we touch our partner. But Breema provides more than this as support; Breema acknowledges nine universal principles that are integral to the experience of being present. They are: Body Comfortable, No Judgment, No Extra, No Force, Firmness and Gentleness, No Hurry/No Pause, Single Moment/Single Activity, Full Participation, and Mutual Support. These principles can be practiced while doing the bodywork. They are attributes of the present moment.
If we take the example of two people relating and one is doing all the talking and refusing to listen to the other, then we can say the talker is not being receptive. It is similar within ourselves; our mind is always "buzzing" and will not be receptive to our body or our feelings. We might think it is being too active, yet its randomness is better described as passive. A truly active step for the mind would be to come into accord with the other two parts of ourselves. First bringing the mind to the body is the most practical step we can take, as the feelings are much more comfortable entering in when mind and body are together. When the three are together, we are receptive to higher influences. From passivity there is no road to receptivity. We have to first come from passivity to the active state by bringing the mind to the body. From there, we can come to the receptive state.
This saying might express it best: "When you hear truth, you wake up!" But one last thing about Breema is important here. We have stated the importance of body-mind connection, but we have also seen that in our ordinary daily life body and mind and feelings usually function as if they are separate. We have also stated that a relaxed mind without a past-based or future-oriented agenda is necessary for mind-body connection. The body itself is hampered because of years of crystallized postures brought on by this very separation from mind and feelings. Breema is particularly effective in loosening up these postures. The receptive mind connecting to the decrystallized body produces an experience some have described as “taking the cotton out of my ears” and allowing them to hear and understand, as if for the first time.