Most of my client consultations start with the Aura Cards. My favourite spread is the seven-card chakra spread, where I cross-reference aura colours with chakra positions. Using seven cards allows me an insight into the state of each chakra and provides plenty of scope for the fine art of reading colour combinations! Aura colours combine to create new meanings, and an insight into intra- and inter- personal relationship dynamics. This guides me through the spiritual counselling process, so that the client and I can work together to define what their underlying issues are and how we might approach them on the healing table.
These two Aura Cards ‘Loyalty’ and ‘Freedom’, are a small snapshot from a client’s recent Aura Card reading. Talking together about these two cards, we realised they were representing an internal conflict. In this instance, the client’s life experiences had led her to believe she couldn’t have freedom and loyalty in a relationship at the same time. If she wanted freedom, she couldn’t have it in a loyal relationship. Internal conflicts create internal tension and are a common source of ill-health for clients. On the plus side, grappling with an internal conflict and rising above its paradox can bring about profound growth and positive change in a person’s life.
Looking at this client’s other aura colours, I could see this client is a free spirit. We talked about how the modern western concept of loyalty in relationships often involves a sense of being owned or possessed by the other person, almost as though ‘if I don’t get jealous it means I don’t love you properly’. My client loves connecting deeply with other people, including people of the opposite sex, and needs to find a relationship where this depth of connection is allowed and honoured.
Part of my job as a therapist was to find a balance between validating her fatigue and grief and reframing the situation in order to rescue her sense of hope. So often in these situations, people become exhausted by repeated disappointments in relationships. They withdraw from hope because they can’t cope with the idea of being let down yet again. In effect, they close the door on romantic relationships altogether and choose to stay single. This is a perfectly valid option and may well be safer; people often instinctively know where their breaking points are and will self-protect via withdrawal.
As a practitioner, I also recognise that these voyages inwards to lick one’s wounds can be temporary, however permanent they might feel to the client at the time. I need to honour their fatigue by allowing them the time and space to make their own decisions, while making best use of the tools I have to help them become more whole and complete within themselves. External conflicts are reflections of internal conflicts, so rather than focus overtly on the external situation between themselves and another, I work on the underlying internal conflict.
My client has two different regions in her aura (and/or her brain). One is labelled ‘freedom’. The other is labelled ‘loyalty’. In the aura, we would say there is no bridge between these colours; they aren’t in contact with one another and they aren’t co-operating with one another. In the body, we would probably find these colours lodged within particular organs, with a lack of communication (or even an antipathy) between these two organs. In the brain, the ‘freedom neurones’ and the ‘loyalty neurons’ aren’t wired together, nor are they firing together. The brain is failing to associate these two qualities, values or feelings together.
My primary tool for resolving these impasses, is to engage the client’s imagination. For some clients, this will involve me embodying their freedom self, then their loyalty self, and acting them out, with some humour to lighten the mood and help them see the funny side of the situation. This helps them see the distinct character, values, strengths and weaknesses of each aspect of self, as well as the dynamic between them. This dynamic (the attitudes each self has towards the other), tends to externalise itself in the client’s outer world, playing itself out in relationships.
Quite often, I get the client to tell me about these inner characters. What are their strengths and weaknesses? What are their values? How do they feel about each other? We tend to swing back and forth between warring aspects of self, with one character first gaining the upper hand and taking over your self-expression, then the other. The feelings that each self has towards the other are experienced as an internal dialogue of self-judgement, self-criticism and resentment. These feelings and thoughts then get launched onto people in our external world who reflect each aspect of self back to us.
In some instances, I introduce the two aspects of self as fairy characters or archetypes and ask the client to write me a fairy tale featuring these two characters. The story-telling process can reveal the dynamics between each character . This helps the client understand themselves better. Some clients see these dynamics as they write and respond in an instinctual healing manner, resolving the conflicts between each character within the story as they write. Other clients have less self-awareness and have to be guided to see the dynamics and then given a second writing exercise where they re-write the story with greater self-awareness.
My favourite technique for healing the impasse between two disconnected or warring aspects of self is to give the client an imagination exercise which helps them practise holding both aspects of self in their psyche at the same time. (Usually we swing back and forth between them like a yoyo). I ask them “How would it feel if…” or “What would it look like and feel like if you could…”. With the client in this case, her exercise was “Imagine what it would look like and feel like if you could be in a committed relationships and have freedom at the same time.”
This can be challenging for the client because they have to simultaneously engage two parts of their aura/brain/body that don’t usually co-operate. The struggle to imagine feeling these two feelings at the same time can destabilise the old aura patterns (neurone pathways), while laying down the first beginnings of a new, more harmonious possibility. The dialogue I use during these sessions sounds something like this:
“What would it feel like if you could have commitment and freedom in your life at the same time? Make this a really positive feeling. How would your body feel? Imagine you can breathe this positive feeling in with each inhalation. If the feeling of freedom with loyalty (or loyalty with freedom) were a colour, would would this colour look like? Imagine being surrounded by this colour (eg sky, fields of flowers, water, mountains) and imagine you can breathe this colour in with every inhalation.”
“To help your mind stay focused, let’s turn this feeling into a mantra you can focus on with every inhalation. For example, let’s try “It is easy for me to have loyalty and freedom in my life at the same time.” Repeat this inside your mind, every time you inhale.”
Really good mantras often begin with “It is easy for me to..” “It is safe for me…” or “I give myself permission to have (or be or feel)….”
“With every inhalation, scan through your body and listen to its response. Notice where the resistance is. Mantras like this can press your buttons and show you where your blockages reside. You might notice a discomfort in your body, emotions coming up or some arguments arising in your mind. Take note of your response and let go of it on the out-breath, almost as though you are blowing it away. On the in-breath, come back to the mantra and the positive feelings that go with it.”
Today I was working with a client who couldn’t correlate the idea of accepting praise and accolades with her values around humility. She was afraid not to appear humble, partly due to parental messages from childhood, and partly because people can get jealous if you look like you are enjoying a good soak in the lime light, and they shoot you down. Her job was to practise embodying a feeling of being able to safely enjoy and saviour her accomplishments and the recognition that comes with them, while also feeling humble. Every time she inhaled the mantra we created, she started coughing and then had a good laugh, because she knew this was her resistance coming up!
When resistance comes up, we take a meditative approach, one of non-attachment. We don’t want to feed these emotions by going into dialogue. In this instance, a non-constructive dialogue might sound like “I really don’t want people to think I’m full of myself! What if they think I’m a bad person?! Maybe I am a bad person?! Maybe I’m just a fraud and I don’t deserve this praise at all!” To avoid feeding your old stuff with mental dialogue, give the mind a job to do in the form of staying present with a mantra, creative visualisation and/or the task of observing body sensations. It’s important to take note of the resistance and any dialogue that does come up, because it helps you understand itself better, but don’t get caught up in it. Take note and let go on the exhalation. Come back to the task at hand.
I tell my clients “Don’t feed it or fight it.” If this client had tried to suppress her coughing, this would have been a form of ‘fighting’. The coughing was her bodies way of communicating its distress, and it may have even been a way to release some blockages from deeper within. Rather than suppress this release, the client allowing her coughing to evolve into laughter. While I was guiding this through the imagery and mantras, two healing students were scanning through and shifting blockages and imbalances. At the end of the healing process, the client noticed her pre-existing back pain had almost disappeared.