Psychophysical Method Exercises (VOL I-VI)

Citation preview

Robert Masters

PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES

Robert Masters



Psychophysical Method Exercises

Table of contents Table of contents..............................................................................................................................2 Foreword ..........................................................................................................................................5 About the Author .............................................................................................................................6 Psychophysical Method ...................................................................................................................7 Comments ........................................................................................................................................8 VOLUME I ..........................................................................................................................................9 1. [#1] Sitting Foot Exercise ..........................................................................................................10 2. [#2] Improving Movement and Body Image — Toes and Foot ................................................14 3. [#3] Ankle Mobility ...................................................................................................................18 4. [#4] Improving Knee Movements..............................................................................................22 5. [#5] Hip Rotations — Legs Extended........................................................................................29 6. [#6] Hand and Fingers (Extended Version) ...............................................................................35 7. [#7] Improving Movement in One Elbow..................................................................................41 8. [#8] Seated Shoulder Exercise: Part I ........................................................................................45 9. [#9] Seated Shoulder Exercise: Part II — Experimental Variations..........................................49 10. [#10] Seated Neck Exercise .....................................................................................................53 11. [#11] Eyes #1 ...........................................................................................................................57 12. [#12] Eyes #2 ...........................................................................................................................63 13. [#13] Improving Eye Movement and Vision: #3 .....................................................................67 14. [#14] Integrating Body Image..................................................................................................70 15. [#15] Coordinated Symmetry: Second Integration ..................................................................76 16. [#16] Differentiating Muscles and Movements of Back and Shoulder ...................................79 17. [#17] Arms Above Head ..........................................................................................................82 18. [#18] Completing Body Image: Sensing the Head ..................................................................86 VOLUME II.......................................................................................................................................89 1. [#19] Psychophysical Profile .....................................................................................................90 2. [#20] Brain Focusing: Furthering the Mind/Brain Dialogue ...................................................112 3. [#21] Orchestrating Multisensory Awarenesses ......................................................................122 4. [#22] Opening the Spiral..........................................................................................................131 5. [#23] Face, Head and Body Image...........................................................................................136 6. [#24] Journey Inward ...............................................................................................................142 7. [#25] Giant Luminous Body ....................................................................................................145 8. [#26] Entering the Silence........................................................................................................148 9. [#27] Memories and Projections ..............................................................................................154 10. [#28] Body Meditation...........................................................................................................158 11. [#29] Working with One Hand: Differentiation and Symmetry ............................................161 12. [#30] Altering Perspectives: Upper Head and Eyes...............................................................166 VOLUME III....................................................................................................................................170 1. [#31] Head and Neck Movements (Extended Version) ...........................................................171 2. [#32] The Great Pelvic Liberation Movement.........................................................................179 3. [#33] Upper Back: Body Image and Differentiating Movements............................................186 4. [#34] Rib Cage: Movement and Awareness ............................................................................196 Continuation (Optional) ...........................................................................................................198 5. [#35] Shoulder Rotations and Body Image..............................................................................200 6. [#36] Lower Spine and Back — Flexibility and Lengthening.................................................209 7. [#37] Repositioning the Shoulders...........................................................................................214 8. [#38] On Stomach — Repositioning Shoulders.......................................................................218 9. [#39] Differentiating Thoracic Vertebrae ................................................................................225 10. [#40] Widening the Back .......................................................................................................231

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Table of contents

11. [#41] Lengthening Spine, Differentiating Vertebrae .............................................................235 12. [#42] Heightening ..................................................................................................................243 13. [#43] Differentiating One Arm ..............................................................................................247 14. [#44] Lips...............................................................................................................................250 VOLUME IV ...................................................................................................................................254 1. [#45] Learning Transfer and Sensory Discrimination .............................................................255 2. [#46] Segments of the Spine ....................................................................................................262 3. [#47] Thumb and Wrist............................................................................................................270 4. [#48] Improving Walking by Working Mainly with the Big Toe............................................276 5. [#49] Freedom through Awareness: a Practical Demonstration ..............................................281 6. [#50] Breathing Awareness......................................................................................................286 7. [#51] Neural Reprogramming..................................................................................................290 8. [#52] Expanding and Enriching Visual Perception — Circling Mostly ..................................297 9. [#53] “Sensing” Skeleton and Arms above Head (Extended Version)....................................305 10. [#54] Releasing Tongue and Integrating with Body Image...................................................312 11. [#55] Brain: Imaging and Movement (Feet) ..........................................................................320 12. [#56] The Arch.......................................................................................................................330 VOLUME V.....................................................................................................................................337 1. [#57] Learning Transfer #1 (Feet) ...........................................................................................338 2. [#58] Learning Transfer #2 (Spine) .........................................................................................343 3. [#59] Learning Transfer #3 (Hands) ........................................................................................349 4. [#60] Learning Transfer #4 (Hips)...........................................................................................356 5. [#61] Learning Transfer #5 (Arm) ...........................................................................................362 6. [#62] Learning Transfer #6 (Leg) ............................................................................................369 7. [#63] Learning Transfer #7 (Shoulders) ..................................................................................375 8. [#64] Learning Transfer #8 (Knees) ........................................................................................380 9. [#65] Learning Transfer #9 (Upper Back) ...............................................................................385 10. [#66] Learning Transfer #10 (Circling) .................................................................................390 11. [#67] Brain Imaging...............................................................................................................395 12. [#68] Establishing Selective Brain Control ...........................................................................400 13. [#69] Creating and Experiencing an Imaginal Body and Its Transformations ......................404 14. [#70] Making the Body with Twelve Arms (Shoulders and Spine) ......................................411 VOLUME VI ...................................................................................................................................423 1. [#71] Sensory Changes: One Hand..........................................................................................424 2. [#72] Sensory Changes: One Elbow ........................................................................................426 3. [#73] Foot and Ankle Movements ...........................................................................................428 4. [#74] Positions of the Foot.......................................................................................................430 5. [#75] Toes: Initiating Movement .............................................................................................432 6. [#76] Toes: Movement Explorations .......................................................................................434 7. [#77] Toes: Increasing Flexibility............................................................................................436 8. [#78] Observing Breathing.......................................................................................................438 9. [#79] Head and Neck: #1 .........................................................................................................440 10. [#80] Head and Neck: #2 .......................................................................................................442 11. [#81] Body Scanning/Body Image: Part 1 .............................................................................444 12. [#82] Body Scanning/Body Image: Part 2 .............................................................................446 13. [#83] Body Scanning/Body Image: Part 3 .............................................................................448 14. [#84] Body Scanning/Body Image: Part 4 .............................................................................450 15. [#85] Body Scanning/Body Image: Part 5 .............................................................................453 16. [#86] Brain Focusing: #1 .......................................................................................................455 17. [#87] Brain Focusing: #2 .......................................................................................................457 18. [#88] Brain Focusing: #3 .......................................................................................................459 19. [#89] Brain Focusing: #4 .......................................................................................................461

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Robert Masters



Psychophysical Method Exercises

20. [#90] Brain Focusing: #5 .......................................................................................................463 21. [#91] Brain Focusing: #6 .......................................................................................................465 22. [#92] Talking to the Body......................................................................................................470 23. [#93] Visualizing Body Movement........................................................................................473 24. [#94] Exercising Kinesthetic Imagination .............................................................................476 25. [#95] Interrelatedness of Eye, Tongue and Neck Movements...............................................479 26. [#96] Shoulders and Cervical Spine — Remedial Exercise ..................................................482 27. [#97] Face #1 .........................................................................................................................489 28. [#98] Flapping Legs (Pelvis)..................................................................................................494 29. [#99] Right Hip/Left Shoulder: Integrating Walking ............................................................499

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Table of contents

Foreword These volumes of Psychophysical Method exercises are being published as teaching and training manuals to be used by teachers and researchers experienced in that area of the author's work. The exercises are transcripts of sessions taught by him to his students and their use presupposes some knowledge of the work — timing, repetitions of movements, quality of awareness, etc. Without such a background of knowledge the exercises cannot be effectively done, much less taught. Nevertheless it is just realistic to acknowledge that these exercises are going to be used by persons who have not had what should be the requisite amount of firsthand training. An absolutely minimal background, however, would need to include careful study of the book, LISTENING TO THE BODY, co-authored by Robert Masters and Jean Houston, and further careful study and practice of audio-taped Psychophysical Method exercises. Thus anyone wishing to acquire these volumes must acquire also, at the same time, a copy of LISTENING TO THE BODY and at least half a dozen of the exercise tapes selected to cover various aspects of the work. The decision to make the volumes more generally available was made reluctantly and for two main reasons: first, as mentioned, there is no adequate way to limit their acquisition to trained teachers exclusively; second, it is of great importance that the work reach a wide audience. The risk that the work will sometimes be diluted and otherwise distorted is fully recognized and has been weighed carefully. It should also be said that it is possible for largely self-directed students to achieve mastery of the work. Much self-discipline, rigorous and lengthy practice and various personal qualities and perhaps gifts are required for such achievement, but it has been done by some and will be done by others. The author will always be most pleased to certify as a teacher any individual who, by her or his own efforts, achieves a proficiency equal to that demanded of those who participate in teacher training programs. Finally, acknowledgement is made to those who have been of particular importance in shaping the philosophy, psychology, and other knowledge and techniques of Psychophysical Method. These range from disciplines stressing “mindfulness” and “awareness” — Egyptian, Buddhist, Taoist — on to such modern and contemporary teachers as G. I. Gurdjieff, F. Matthias Alexander, Milton Erickson and Moshe Feldenkrais. Those sources should be explored by any serious student. There is also a Psychophysical Method one-on-one “table work” that can only be learned directly from a teacher. That work, however, must always be preceded by re-educational “work on oneself,” including mastery of the exercises. Robert Masters, Ph. D. Pomona, N. Y., 1983

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Robert Masters



Psychophysical Method Exercises

About the Author Robert Masters has been, since 1965, Director of Research of The Foundation For Mind Research, first in New York City, then in Pomona, New York. From 1962—1966 he was Director of The Library of Sex Research, New York City. From 1965-1968 he was also Director of The Visual Imagery Research Project, New York City. He is author or co-author of eighteen books and more than one hundred papers and articles dealing with aspects of human behavior dealt with in his research and psychotherapeutic and teaching work. Dr. Masters' many years of close collaborative work with his wife, Dr. Jean Houston, in the area of making accessible and extending latent and productive human capacities, has made its way into many school programs at all age levels and into programs for the elderly and for persons with behavioral problems, as well as for the specially gifted. He did pioneering research with mescaline, LSD and other psychoactive substances from 1954-1965. His work with hypnosis — clinical, experimental and developmental — began in 1952 and continues up to the present. The main thrust of his research activities has been human potentials or capacities — the study of genius, creativity, altered states of consciousness, sensory imageries, accelerated mental processes (time distortion) and psychosomatic processes. For the past decade he has been especially involved in research and applications of psychophysical reeducational methods, particularly neural and sensory re-education, and has conducted many workshops and training programs for students and teachers of his Psychophysical Method in the U. S., Europe and Asia. Psychophysical Method is synthesized with hypnosis, or trance, in his psychotherapeutic practice.

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Table of contents

Psychophysical Method Psychophysical Method is a very potent, and also pleasurable, approach to improving human health and functioning. Grounded in subtle and sophisticated understandings of the workings of the human mind-body system, it offers adventures in self-exploration and self-understanding, while moving the person closer to an optimal use of the self. The best introduction in writing is the book, by Drs. Robert Masters and Jean Houston, Listening to the Body. Briefly, Psychophysical Method: — Facilitates movement and generally improves the organization of the musculoskeletal system. Brings the body image into better correspondence with the actual physical body. With almost all people living under present-day conditions, there are many and serious discrepancies between the body image, or body as sensed, and the body as it actually is, leading to movement impairments, excess tensions, squandering of energy, and other misuses of the mind-body system. —Corrects distortions of the kinesthetic sense, also almost universally present, and makes conscious many actions which people do without being conscious that they do them. —Teaches awareness and use of mind-body interactions which are also typically unconscious and so beyond self-regulation. Demonstrates the fundamental importance of awareness as the ground for autonomy and health, and also its therapeutic functions. Greatly increases awareness of self and world. — Because of the interrelationship of movement, sensing, thinking and feeling functions, all of these functions are benefited by Psychophysical Method exercises working with movement primarily. — Disinhibits blockages in the brain's motor cortex, thus enlarging the movement repertoire and releasing muscular and some other inhibitions. — Re-educates the nervous system and requires qualitatively high-level use of the brain's right hemispheric processes — processes notoriously neglected by academic education. — Gradually establishes permanent capacities for self-correction and selfregulation of body mechanics, posture, mind-body interactions, release of muscular tensions and movement impairments, elimination of excessive use of force, and many other improvements, leading to a better integrated and more effective use of the mind-body.

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Robert Masters



Psychophysical Method Exercises

Comments Comments about the work of Robert Masters and his wife, Jean Houston, as the work is described in several of their books: Listening to the Body: “A brilliant work by two pioneers of modern consciousness research. A book that can revolutionize psychotherapy, psychosomatic medicine and education." — Stanislav Grof, M. D., Esalen Institute "… important and highly original — one would appreciate the erudition, the width of the approach and the originality of the content. For many, this… will be a real education at last." — Moshe Feldenkrais, Sc. D., Tel Aviv Mind Games: “I think that Masters and Houston actually have broken through to a new understanding of the sense and uses of the disciplines of inward-turned contemplation — an understanding that leaves the Freudian schools of technique and theory far behind. Their accent is not on the curing of disease but on the enlargement, rather, of our health." —Joseph Campbell, New York City The Varieties of Psychedelic Experience: “It may well be that this is one of the most important books of the century; it is easily the most brilliant volume dealing with the psychedelic experience." —Stanley Krippner, Ph. D., Director of Psychiatric Research Maimonides Hospital, Brooklyn, N. Y.

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VOLUME I

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

1. [#1] Sitting Foot Exercise Teaching time: about 60—75 minutes

In this exercise we will be working throughout with the right foot. Another time when you do it, you will want to do the left foot. Each time, try to do the opposite foot so that they both get work. This exercise will do something with the right foot that will improve the way that it functions, improve your ability to walk, the flexibility of the ankle, the movement of the toes, and some other aspects of the foot. Then we will try to transfer that improved capacity over to the left foot. To begin with, just rap on the floor with the ball of your foot. Rap once, and twice, and three times, and four times. One rap, two raps, three raps, four raps. Remember to breathe easily and make it as easy on yourself as you can. Keep going. Now, instead of rapping with the ball of the foot, rap with the heel. One and two and three and four. Then see whether you can rap just with the toes. Keep the ball of the foot on the floor and rap with the toes. Now, rest a moment. Raise your leg to bring the foot a little off the ground, and rap with the toes in the air… one and two and three and four. Then just make a simple arc with the foot, flexing and extending it, the big toe just making a vertical semi-circle in the air. Bend the foot and extend it. Do not rotate the ankle, just move the foot up and down in the same direction it has been going with the rapping. You make an arc with the toes. Keep doing that, but instead of paying attention to what the toes are doing, pay attention to what the heel is doing in the air. Just make an arc and pay attention to what the heel is doing. Then put your foot down a minute. Raise the foot off the ground and extend your leg again. Make some circles with your toes. Rotate the ankle. Just draw circles in the air with your toes, and then reverse the direction. Go several times in one direction and several times in the other direction. Notice that, when you do that, you are also making circles with your heel. Pay attention to the circles that you make with your heel instead of the circles that you make with the toe. It is the same movement, but you shift your attention from the toes to the heel. And remember to make them in both directions. Do a few one way and do a few the other way. Now, let your foot rest on the heel. Let it rest there with the heel on the floor wherever it is comfortable. Leaving the heel on the ground, try making a few circles with the toes. Do some in one direction and some in the other direction. Just rest your foot comfortably on the floor, and rap lightly a few times with your heel. Rap quickly. And rap quickly a few times with the ball of the foot. Also try rapping quickly with the toes. Leave the ball of the foot there and just rap — quick, light, easy raps — with the toes. Then stop and rest a bit. – 10 –

1. [#1] Sitting Foot Exercise

Leave the foot on the ground. Let your foot rest comfortably so that the foot is flat on the floor. Then move your toes off to the right and back to the middle. Let the heel be like a hinge and slide the toes to the right and back to the middle. Do not pick the foot up off the floor, just let it slide over and back. Pay attention to the sensations in your body as you do that. See how the bottom of your foot feels as it slides across the floor. Then try to use your foot to learn something about the carpet, or floor, as you do that. Explore the floor as you slide the foot over and back. Pay attention to what the floor feels like, and then bring your attention back to the bottom of your foot and see what that feels like. Then stop and rest a little. Now, instead of moving your toes to the right, move your heel to the left. Let the ball of the foot be the hinge. Just keep bringing the heel out to the left and then back to the middle. Move the heel to the left and then back to the middle. Do it with the ball of the foot again and, this time, let it go as far to the left and to the right as you can without straining. And do that with the heel of the foot — to the left and to the right. Slide the heel to the left and to the right. Your foot rests on the ball of the foot and you move the heel. Rest a moment. Shake the foot, stretch it out a little, do anything you want to give the foot a little rest, and let it stand on the floor again. This time bring the foot over to its outer edge and back again. Do that a number of times. Bring it to its outer edge and let it stand. Try to keep the movement in the ankle. Just do whatever is easy for you. And stop. Try to bring the foot onto its inside. You go over to the inside of the foot. Do it easily. It does not matter how much you do it, so long as it goes in that direction. Then go from right to left. Move onto the outside of the foot and onto the inside. Try to do it quickly. Do it lightly and easily. Extend your leg, hold the foot off the ground a little bit, and do the same thing. Move onto the outside of the foot and onto the inside. Imagine that there is a floor under the bottom of the foot and you are going onto the outside and onto the inside of the foot while it rests on that floor. And then have another rest, making yourself comfortable. Now rap a few times with your heel and notice whether it is somewhat lighter and quicker than before. Try rapping with the ball of the foot. Then rap just the toes. See if you have more movement in the toes now. Can you feel that the toes are moving better than they were? If you get more freedom in the toes you will be able to walk better. Now pick your foot up and extend the leg. Just flex and extend the foot again. Make that a simple arc with the toe. Try just bending the toes and letting them go. Keep the ankle still and just move the toes up and down.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

Now flex and extend the foot, and bend the toes. When you get to where the foot is extended, keep bending the toes. Do it slowly. You flex it — that means that the foot comes towards you — and bring the toes back towards the body. And you extend the foot. When you get to the end of the extension, let the toes curl away from you. You curl the toes on the extension of the foot and flex them back on the flexion of the foot. Then put the foot down. Raise the foot again and make a few circles with your toes, first in one direction and then in the other. Notice that you are making circles with your heel also. Pay attention to the heel. Make some circles one way with the heel and some the other way. Put the heel on the floor and make some circles with the toes. Make some in one direction and some in the other. Then stop and let the foot lie on the floor. Now move the ball of your foot from right to left again, using your heel as a hinge. Then use the ball of the foot as a hinge and move the heel from right to left. See if, now that you are doing it more completely in the ankle, the hip does not need to do anything. Turn the foot several times onto the outer edge and onto the inner edge. Stop that, and just rap a few times with the heel, with the ball of the foot, and with the toes. A few times, just slide the foot up and down on the floor. Sense the floor with the toes and with the bottom of the foot. Observe whether the foot is more sensitive now. Note whether it is more sensitive to what it is touching. Then stop. Close your eyes and let both feet stand on the floor. Using only your imagination, I want you to do the movements I am going to describe to you with your left foot. Just imagine that you are doing it. Try to imagine what it feels like. First of all, imagine that you are rapping with the heel of the left foot. Do not do it, just imagine. And imagine that you are rapping with the ball of that foot. Then imagine that you are rapping with just the toes. Now stop. Imagine extending the left leg and raising the foot into the air. Flex and extend the foot, making an arc with the toes. Bring your attention to your heel. As you flex and extend the foot, you make an arc with the heel. Now, imagine putting the foot down. Lift the foot again in your imagination. Extend it. Make circles with the toes in the air. Make some in one direction and some in the other direction. Now imagine doing it with the heel. Imagine bending your toes and extending your toes. Imagine flexing and extending the whole foot and, when the foot is extended, imagine curling your toes. Then bring the foot back down to the floor.

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1. [#1] Sitting Foot Exercise

This time you roll it over onto its outside and bring it back to the standing position. Try to imagine rolling it onto its inside, and then roll it from one side to the other. Now stop. Using your heel as a hinge, slide the ball of the foot from right to left in your imagination. Then stop. Imagine rapping with the heel, quickly, lightly, nimbly. Imagine rapping with the ball of the foot. Imagine doing it just with the toes. One more time, imagine extending the foot and the leg and making circles in the air with the toes, first in one direction and then in the other. And, still holding it in the air, imagine rotating it so that it goes first onto the outside and then onto the inside, as if the foot is standing on an inclined board and you just roll it from left to right in your imagination. Now put it down. Imagine very lightly and quickly rapping with the heel; imagine rapping very quickly and lightly and nimbly with the ball of the foot; imagine rapping just with the toes. Now, with your right foot, actually rap a few times with the heel and with the ball of the foot. Then rap with the toes. Now rap with the heel again. See if you are rapping more quickly now than you could earlier. Slowly get up and walk around a bit. Observe whether you notice any difference in the way you walk. Note whether you can sense that the right foot is more flexible, the toes are more flexible, the foot makes better contact with the ground. Also sense the left foot, whether it, too, has improved at all. Just walk a bit and try to be aware of the two feet.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

2. [#2] Improving Movement and Body Image — Toes and Foot Teaching time: about 30 minutes

This exercise will require a chair, preferably a straight-backed chair, on which a pillow can be placed for comfort. The exercise must be done with bare feet, so please remove your shoes and stockings before beginning the exercise. Before seating yourself in the chair, walk around the room and observe as much as you can about how you walk. Compare the movements of the right foot and leg with the movements of the left foot and leg, and also the sensations. Pay particular attention to the movement of the toes and the contact each foot makes with the floor. Note whether each knee bends equally when you walk, how the arms move, the sensations in the shoulder joints, and anything else you can bring into your awareness. Try to be aware of as many components of your walking as possible. Then try to maintain your overall awareness while giving special attention to the feet and, most particularly, to the toes. Stand, for a moment, in front of your chair and observe the sensations in your two feet as you stand. Do you stand equally on both feet or do you stand more on one of them? Do you lock your knees? If so, let them flex ever so slightly. If one of your shoulders is lower than the other, so that one hand hangs slightly lower than the other, try to make your body symmetrical and see what effect that may have on the way you stand on your two feet. Observe whether one hip goes out to the side, and so on. Sit down. Notice whether your feet now make identical contact with the floor or if you can detect a difference. Do the two feet sense the floor equally well, so that the information the floor provides concerning itself is equally accessible to each foot? Try to really determine what the left foot knows about the floor and compare that with what the right foot knows. Raise your left heel and bring it up as high as you can while leaving the left toes on the floor. Then lower it. Continue raising it and lowering it. And then let the foot rest on the ground. Looking straight ahead of you, rap with the toes of your left foot on the floor — not looking at your toes, but sensing what they are doing. Now, look down at the toes and continue with the rapping. Observe whether the movement of the toes is what you had sensed it to be. Do the toes come up off the floor as much, or less, or about the same as you had sensed? Had you sensed that there was any particular distance between toes and floor? Now, let your foot rest. Notice whether you can rap with just your left big toe. Rap a few times with just your left thumb and observe that. Observe how the adjoining fingers lie still, or almost so. Is there any reason, then, why the toes – 14 –

2. [#2] Improving Movement and Body Image — Toes and Foot

adjoining your big toe need to move when you rap with the big toe? Try it and see to what extent the big toe can move without involving the other toes of your left foot. Now, leave the big toe on the floor and observe whether you can rap with the other four toes of your left foot. With your left hand, for a moment, leave the left thumb on your leg and rap with the four fingers. Then, try doing the same with the four left toes, leaving the big toe at rest. Now stop and let the entire foot rest. Then put the left foot on top of your right leg, letting it rest on your leg — it is on the top of your right leg. Then, insert the small finger of the right hand between the big toe and the toe adjacent to it of your left foot. Slide the right small finger in and out between the toes. If you have toes that are cracked or that crack easily, you will have to be very careful or even wait to do this exercise until the cracking has healed. Now, slide the little finger of the right hand between the middle toe of the left foot and the one that is next to the big toe. Keep sliding it in and out. You will find that the space is greater near the tops of the toes. Let the finger go down as near the base of the toes as it can go without being painful. Now, slide the little finger between the middle toe and the one next to the small toe. Keep sliding it in and out, doing each of these movements about twenty-five times. Then do the same between the small toe and the one next to it. With the finger of the right hand next to the small finger — the ring finger — repeat the whole process, sliding that finger in and out between the big toe and the one next to it about twenty-five times. Then proceed to the next space between the toes, and so on, until that finger has moved in and out between all four spaces. When you have done that, do the same thing with the middle finger of the right hand, but start in the space between the big toe and the adjoining toe of your left foot. Then do the same thing with the thumb of your right hand. Make the movements with the fingers quick, and penetrate as deeply between the toes as you can without pain or risk of tearing. Put the foot on the floor a moment and rest. Sense the contact of the left foot with the floor. Sense its clarity in your body image and compare it with the right foot. Now put the left foot back on top of your right leg. Place the little finger of the right hand between the big toe and the adjacent one. Slide it in and out, but this time, try to continue all the way down to your wrist — ten or fifteen times for each space between the toes is enough. Stop. Now, with your left hand, from the top of the foot, insert the small finger between the toes of the left foot and do the same — about fifteen quick movements in and out of each space between the toes of the left foot. Then do it with the ring finger of the left hand, sliding in and out of the spaces from the top of the foot. Next do it with the middle finger, always returning to begin with the space between the big toe and the next one. Then do it with the left thumb.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

Put the left foot down again, for a moment. Then just pick it up and set it down a few times, so that the bottom of the foot raps on the floor. Let the foot be as flat on the floor as it can be. Move it forward and backward a few times, sensing what the floor feels like, and the feelings in the bottom of the foot. You may find that those feelings are much more pleasurable now, and if you push a little harder the pleasure will become even more. Stop and compare the sensations in the left foot with the sensations in the right foot. Look at the two feet. See whether you notice any difference. If you feel that the left foot makes more complete contact, then you may also be able to see that the left foot is lying flatter than the right one. Pick up your left foot again and put it on your right leg. From below, move the thumb of the right hand in and out a few times between each of the spaces between the toes. Then slowly interlace the fingers of the right hand with the toes of the left foot. Do it as completely as possible — with maximum penetration towards the bottoms of both toes and fingers. When fingers and toes are well interlaced, use the fingers to flex and extend the toes. You will find that the more the heel stands on the leg — as distinguished from the foot lying on its side — the more you can flex the toes, and the whole foot will bend more. You can flex and extend the ankle as well. However, emphasize mainly the movement of the toes. Stop and note if your thumb is outside your big toe. If so, withdraw the fingers and interlace them, so that the thumb will be inside the toe. In any case, interlace fingers and toes again, so that the relationship of the thumb to the big toe is the opposite of what it was. Again, use the fingers to flex and extend the toes. Stop and let the foot just lie on the leg or, if you need to, put it down on the floor for a moment. Then, once again, put the left foot on the right leg. Now, from above the foot, interlace the fingers of the left hand with the toes of the left foot. Once again, use the hand to flex and extend the toes, to bend the foot and also to move the ankle. Once more, reverse the position of the thumb and the big toe, so that whichever was on the outside now is on the inside as you interlace the toes and the fingers. Continue to use the hand to move the foot and toes. Withdraw your fingers and, for a moment, take hold of the small toe with the thumb, forefinger and middle finger of the right hand. Hold it so that you can most easily rotate the little toe around its base. Use the fingers to rotate the toe clockwise a few times and then counterclockwise. Then do the same with the adjoining toe, then the middle one, and so on — until finally you do it with the big toe. Now, one last time, slide the small finger of the right hand between the big toe and the adjoining one. If there is room between the toes, let the hand slide right on through, also the wrist and any part of the forearm that will go through that opening. Do it with the next space between the toes, and the next one, and finally the space between the small toe and the one next to it.

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2. [#2] Improving Movement and Body Image — Toes and Foot

How much of your hand can you now put between the small toe and the one next to it? Some people may even be able to put some part of their wrist between the small toe and the next one, while putting it between the big toe and the next one can be achieved without any difficulty whatever. Possibly even the arm all the way to the elbow can go into that space. Stop and put the foot down. Move your left leg from left to right a few times. The foot stays on the floor and the knee goes from side to side Then just pick the foot up and set it down a few times. Let the foot stand, and rap very quickly with the heel of the left foot on the floor. The toes and ball of the foot remain on the floor as you rap with the heel. Make some circles with the sole of the foot on the floor, several in one direction and several in the other. Let those pleasure sensations on the bottom of your foot override any negative ones resulting from holding the foot on the leg for such a long time. Now, one more time, just sense the two feet — the heels, the bottoms of the feet, the tops, the arch, the toes. Then get up and walk around a little, observing your walking. Compare the suppleness of the left foot to the right, the contact each foot makes with the floor. Observe the movement from beginning to end, when you walk, in terms of what the foot does — what comes down first and what leaves the floor last. Observe whether you come up onto the tip of your big toe when the foot leaves the ground. Do those movements consciously. Again, compare the two Finally, stand still. Observe the contact of the two feet with the floor. Observe the awareness you have of the feet, the legs, the buttocks, the left and right hands, and whatever else you may be able to take note of. If you feel a bit taller on one side than the other, be assured it is a temporary condition. Next time you do this exercise, work instead with your right foot. After that, alternate, unless there is some special reason to emphasize working on one side.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

3. [#3] Ankle Mobility Teaching time: about 60—75 minutes

This exercise will require that you be barefooted and that you be seated in a straight-backed chair. If you like, a cushion can be placed on the chair to make it more comfortable. Seat yourself somewhat forward on the chair so that your legs can move easily. Let both feet rest flat-footed on the floor. Carefully sense the right foot and the left foot — especially the right and the left ankles. Notice whether you can really sense the ankles — both the outside surface of the skin, and in the joints themselves. Then get up for a moment and move around. Observe how you walk. Compare the movements and sensations on the entire right side of your body with the movements and sensations on the left side. Pay attention especially to the movements in the ankles, also how the feet and toes move, and the knees. Then return to your chair and be seated. Now simply rap with the heel of your right foot on the floor, and do it repeatedly. Stop that and rap instead with the toes and the ball of your right foot. If that is difficult for you, then move your foot further away from your body and you should discover that the movement is much freer, easier to do, and also more extensive. See how far you can move your foot away from your body while continuing to improve that movement. At what distance away from your body does your ankle move most freely? Now, leaving the foot some distance from the body (out where you can rap quite well with your toes), try to rap instead with your heel. Now you are likely to find that rapping with the heel has become comparatively quite difficult, so bring your right foot closer to you in order to make it easier to rap with your heel. Experiment as you did before, this time bringing the foot closer and closer to your body to find at what point the ankle moves most freely and extensively. Note that when you go beyond that point, bringing the foot in still closer to your body, the rapping with the heel is first inhibited and after that it becomes impossible for the heel to make contact with the floor. Now put your right foot alongside your left one and rest a while. This time move the toes and the ball of the right foot to the right and then back to the middle, so your foot slides along the floor on its bottom with the heel remaining mostly in place and acting somewhat as a hinge. Rest. Then try doing the same thing, except that you turn the right foot inward to the left instead of outward and to the right. Observe that this movement is less extensive and less free than the other one. Stop.

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3. [#3] Ankle Mobility

Now let the ball of the foot be the hinge, and move the heel to the left and bring it back to the middle with the bottom of the foot sliding along the floor. Note that the heel moves left much better than the toes did, that the entire back part of the foot moves better to the left than the front part of the foot did. Now try moving the back of the foot to the right and observe that that movement is less free. Thus, the front part of your foot goes freely to the right and not very freely to the left; while the back half of your foot goes freely to the left but poorly to the right. Observe whether you understand why that is so. And if it is helpful, be aware of the movement of the entire foot rather than focusing on just one segment of it. Then have another rest. As you rest, observe the comparative contacts being made by the two feet with the floor. Which one touches more completely? What else do you sense? Do your two buttocks make equal contact with the chair? Close your eyes and observe which foot senses the floor better and which one, if either, is more clearly in your awareness. What about your knees? Your eyes? And the two sides of your face? Does one shoulder feel lower? Or one leg, or one knee? Extend the right leg. Let the foot rest on its heel and make circles in the air with the toes of your right foot. Do you circle to the left or do you circle to the right? Whichever way you spontaneously circle, make circles in the opposite direction. Are the circles better in the first direction, the one you spontaneously chose, or in the second direction? Or is there any difference? Do you relate this to the greater ease with which the front part of the foot moves to the right and the lesser ease with which it moves to the left? As you think about that, and the logic that would seem to require that clockwise circles would be easier, see if it becomes more difficult to make circles in a counterclockwise direction. If so, why? Is it typical that logic or what we think to be logic tends to obstruct spontaneity as well as feeling and action? Now stop. Let your right foot stand on the toes and the ball of the foot, and make circles with your heel. Do you spontaneously circle counterclockwise, and is that the opposite of what you spontaneously did when you first made the circles with your toes? Now reverse the circling and compare the circles made by the heel in the two opposing directions. Are the circles made with the heel more equal than the circles made with the toes? Does it mean that you have triumphed over logic or is there some other explanation? Now stop circling and let your foot rest on the floor, placing the two feet side by side. Now let the right foot roll over onto its outside, however far it can easily go. Now bring it back so the bottom of the foot is on the floor and continue to do that, rolling it onto its right side or outside, and then bringing it back again. Stop. Then try rolling the right foot left onto its inside. Observe how much more difficult that is. What will make that movement easier? Move the whole foot right – 19 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

some six or nine inches and try again, turning it onto its inside. See if that, now, is easier. Then move the foot still further out to the right until it becomes much easier to roll the foot onto its inside or in that direction. Once the foot moves more easily to its inside, bring it a little closer to your other foot again. Continue turning it and observe now whether greater mobility has been preserved, or at least some of it. A few times let the foot roll both onto its outside and onto its inside. Then bring it still closer and see if it still rolls better onto its inside than it did in the beginning. Bring it back to where you began and observe whether it still moves better to the inside. Flop it from inside to outside and see how much your knee moves from right to left. Now minimize the movement of the knee and observe whether you are able to turn the foot to the inside considerably more than you could just a minute ago, before your brain released that mental vise in which the foot was held. Now, stop and rest. Get up for a moment and stand behind your chair, holding onto the chair with your hands. Put your weight on your left foot and let the right one come up onto the tops of the toes so that the leg just dangles there. Then let the foot come down flat on the floor. Then bring it up onto the tops of the toes. And keep doing that for a while. Then stand very lightly on the right foot, keeping most of your weight on the left. Just rap very quickly and lightly with your right heel on the floor. Come up onto the tips of the toes again. Then let the toes bend so that you roll forward onto the tops of your toes and then backward onto the bottoms of your toes. Let the movement in the toes be very free and, as you do that, sense the movement in your ankle. Also sense how your knee moves, and the movement in the hip joint. Stop. Note how you are standing and whether you now spontaneously put more weight on the right foot. Observe whether the entire right side of your body now seems more complete, more alive, more there, than the left side. Then sit down again. A few times just rap with your heel on the floor, very quickly and lightly, placing the foot wherever it most facilitates the rapping. Then stop. Now put your leg and foot wherever it most facilitates rapping with the ball of the foot and the toes. As you do that, sense the ankle and any movement in the knee and in the hip joint. Let your right foot remain with its sole on the floor and, keeping the sole of the foot on the floor, extend your leg as much as you can. Then draw the foot back toward you as far as it will come without the bottom of the foot beginning to lose contact with the floor. That is, bring it as far back as you can to the point where the heel must begin to raise up off the floor. Then extend it in front of you as far as it will go. Bring it back again. And keep doing that without raising any part of the bottom of the foot so as to lose the floor contact. – 20 –

3. [#3] Ankle Mobility

As you do this movement, pay attention to what you are learning about the floor. Then pay attention to the feelings in your foot. Observe whether pressing a bit harder increases the sensation and the pleasure the sole of the foot feels. Also note, as you do that, the movement in the ankle, the knee and the hip joint. Stop; rest a moment. Then rap lightly with your right heel. Rap lightly with your toes, with the ball of the foot. Make just a few circles with the toes while the heel is on the floor. Make just a few circles with the heel while the toes are on the floor. Extend the leg, let it stand on its heel and let the foot flop a few times from side to side. Bend the leg, let it stand on the foot, and let the leg flop from side to side a few times. After that, get up, walk around, observe the contact your right foot makes with the floor — how your ankle feels, your knee, and your hip — the sensations as well as the mobility. Compare the right side to the left. Note the movement in the toes, the foot, and anything else of which you may be aware. For instance, is there a difference now between the movement in the right shoulder and that in the left? Just continue to observe your walking and whether there is anything else that you notice.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

4. [#4] Improving Knee Movements Teaching time: about 90 minutes

To begin with, stand in a way that is close to your habitual way of standing. Observe whether your knees are locked or not. If so, are both knees locked, or just one? Try to stand with the two knees equally flexed. As you know, you should not stand with the knees locked. However, if you are used to standing that way, it is burdensome to try to deliberately stand with them flexed. Walk around a bit. Do the two knees bend equally when you walk, so that you lift them to the same height? If you stand with only one knee locked, observe whether that knee moves any differently in walking. Does it bend less, or in any other way seem less flexible? Lie down on your back, with all of your body lying fully on your mat, if you are using one. Scan your body. Do you lie symmetrically? Note especially if the backs of the two knees lie the same as each other in relation to the mat, or floor, beneath you. Is there a space under one and not the other? Or is there a larger space under one than the other? Or do they both lie flat? Rap lightly with the backs of the knees on the floor. You can rap simultaneously or alternately. Does the rapping give you any clue to the comparative condition of the two knees? Bend your legs so the soles of the feet are standing on the floor. Draw the left leg back to the chest. See how far it goes. Now do the right one. Do each several times, and see whether the thigh approaches the chest equally on the two sides, or if one comes closer than the other. When you take the right leg back, leave it there for a minute. Put your right hand on top of your right knee. Draw the thigh back towards the rib cage, not using any excessive force, however. See if, with the hand's help, it rests on the rib cage, or how much distance there is in-between. Then let go of the knee, and put the right hand under the head. Bring the right knee and elbow towards one another. See how high you have to raise the head off the floor to make contact. Do that several times. When the knee, elbow, shoulder and hip joint are sufficiently mobile, you should not have to raise the head off the floor at all. Try the left side now, first bringing the leg back towards the chest, then using the hand to bring the knee back, and then putting your left hand under your head and trying to make the elbow touch the knee. See if it comes closer or not as compared to the right side. Do that a number of times. Do you have to raise your head more or less on this side? Always, as a matter of general body mechanics, if you are folding your body like that, you should exhale so that it folds more easily. When you bring the knee and elbow together, you exhale and thereby eliminate some resistance. Leave the foot standing on the floor and take hold of one knee with each hand. Sense the knees. Do they feel the same to you? Kick your feet up and down a bit. – 22 –

4. [#4] Improving Knee Movements

Does the movement seem to be the same in the two knees? Do your hands sense the knees as moving equally well? (So that it is not a matter of different sensing by the two hands, use just one hand to alternately sense each knee.) Do they move and feel the same now? Put the hands down, but leave the legs up. Note whether you can touch your right heel to your bottom. How close do you come? Do not force it and do not use your hand to help you. Raise and lower your right leg and just let it drop and note how close it comes. Then do it with the left leg. Assuming that you do not touch with both, see if one comes significantly closer than the other. Is there any relation between the locking of one leg and the flexibility of that leg's knee? And between the way the knees move and how close the foot comes? Stretch out your legs and rest a moment. We will work on the left knee for a while to differentiate it from the right one. Then, after that, we will bring the right one close to being as good as the left, but still leave some differentiation between the two. Bend the legs and raise and lower the left leg a number of times, letting the heel move towards the bottom, and then lifting it again. Make some circles with your foot from the knee. As you do that, let the left hand lie on the knee. Go in one direction, and then in the other. Use the hand to sense what is going on in the knee as best you can. Then put the legs down and rest a minute. Rap lightly on the floor with the left knee. You will find that if the leg is lying at its full extension, then the rest of the body will be uninvolved in that rapping. Bring your heel toward you two or three inches. Bend and extend the leg. In other words, rap some more with the knee, or back of the knee, but leaving the heel in this new, closer to the head, position. The body should rock up and down. Experiment, trying the heel in various places on the floor, so that your body rocks, and you are also able to put the leg flat to the floor when extending it. (Do not flex and extend the ankle, just the knee.) You should find that, when you lower the knee, you feel it all the way through the body and the chin goes away from the chest. And when you raise the knee, there is a downward pull — the chin comes down and you feel the movement in your shoulders, too. The rocking up and down is all throughout your body. Put your feet where you can rock the body all along the floor by raising and lowering your left knee. It is simply a matter of where you place the heel. If the heel is too far away from you, the body will not rock; if it is too close, you will not be able to bend and extend the knee. Do not let the heel slide along the mat; it has to stay fixed in one place. The movement is in the knee and that pushes the spine through the body like a skewer through meat, or that is the feeling of it. Stop and rest a minute, and then try it again. It should be an easy, simple movement. Your chin should first be moving away from your body and then back down toward your breastbone. If it is not, move the heel until it is correctly placed

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

and the whole body is rocked up and down along the floor by that bending of the leg. Now, rest a bit. Let your right leg stand, and do the same thing again. That will make it even easier, as you raise and lower the left leg, bending and extending the knee. See if, with that, you do not feel your body rocking along the floor. Try bringing the heel a bit closer and see if it rocks more. Bring it right to the place where the knee can no longer extend. Let it be a smooth movement. The heel will push down. Now, just let both feet stand. Make a movement as if you are riding a bicycle with the left leg, so that you are bending at both the knee and the hip joint. Then stop, and take hold of the knee with the right hand and put the left hand under it so that the backs of the fingers are under the knee. Then simultaneously pull on the knee with the right hand and push up lightly with the left, so that you just flop the knee up and down. Do not move the hip. Just make the knee bend and extend by helping with the hands. The fingers push up and the hand on top pulls back, and both movements facilitate the movement of the knee. You should be pulling back towards you with the hand that is on top of the knee. Take the knee from above, not from the side. Then change hands and do the same. Use the backs of the fingers below to push the knee, and the bottoms of the fingers above to pull it. Just make it a light up and down movement until the knee is going as smoothly as possible. Put both hands on top of the knee and raise and lower the knee and see what you sense. Can you sense the movement within the knee with any greater clarity than before? Then put the foot down on the floor alongside the right one. Leave your legs standing. Can you touch your left heel to your bottom? Try it two or three times. Extend the leg all the way up straight. Hold it there a minute and then let it fall. See if you can kick your bottom. Try it again. If you could already do it, is the contact better now, so that there is more flexibility in the knee? Let your legs rest. That is one of the movements that will allow you to instantly reorganize the structure of the knee. If we had done it right at the start, you might have had a foot that could touch. However, we want to achieve something more permanent and longlasting in the way of altering the knee — although those movements are very good to know about in case of injury or stiffness. You can sometimes instantly free yourself from a trauma that is beginning to stiffen that part of your body. Those trigger movements alter the cells of the motor cortex of the brain in a dramatic way so that what is impossible one instant becomes possible the next. Now lie on your right side with one knee on top of the other and the legs bent a bit. Keep the knees touching, and move the left leg from the knee down back and forth, parallel to the floor, in front of you and behind you, however far it will go. Now let the left leg rest on top of the right one for a minute. Leaving the left knee on top of the right one, raise the foot as high towards the ceiling as you comfortably can, and make circles with the foot, rotating from the – 24 –

4. [#4] Improving Knee Movements

knee. Make circles with the foot, although actually what you are making is a knee rotation, and the foot just happens to move because the knee rotates. Do them in one direction and then the other. Do slow and quick ones; small and large ones. Do all the kinds of circles you can think of and that your muscles and skeleton will allow and that your mind can conceive. Regardless of the quantitative aspect of the movement or the magnitude of it, make it qualitatively just as good as you can. Any time you have to rest, do so, and imagine performing the movement. Then actually do the movement again. Then roll over onto your stomach and rest. Now bring both legs back towards your chest, leave them up, and observe how close your heels will approach your bottom. Do them alternately. Take hold of your feet with your hands, if you can. Do not do it if it hurts, and certainly do not do it to the point of inflicting any injury on yourself. See how close to the bottom you can bring the heels without undue strain. Then let go. Roll over onto your right side and take hold of the left foot with the hand. Now bring the foot to the bottom and see if that is easy to do. Then move the heel up and down over both buttocks — just let it slide up and down over both of them. Also let it slide between them if you can, since that makes an even greater demand upon the knee. If you put the heel into the rectum, then that is indeed the furthest penetration the heel can make, and thus the greatest demand is then made upon the knee itself. See if you can do that. Slide the heel up and down and place it in-between the buttocks as you go. When the heel is on the right buttock, place it between the buttocks, and then on the left buttock. Leaving it there, see if you can roll over onto your stomach, without losing contact between the heel and the left buttock. Do not force this; if you cannot do it now, you will surely do it later. You may find that it is now rather easier to have your heel touch your bottom as you lie on your stomach than it was when you tried a moment ago. Now put the foot down and rest. Now see if you can kick your buttock with your foot. It will be easier with both legs up. You may also be able to do it better with the right one now, but you should certainly do somewhat better with the left. Put the right leg down and just make the biggest circles you can make with the left knee. You can let the rest of your body move a little to cooperate with that, making the largest possible circles. Go in one direction and then in the other. Note whether the way that your head is facing assists or impedes the circles depending upon which direction you circle in. If you sense it clearly, you will see that it makes a difference which way the head faces, depending on which way you circle. Also try circling in both directions with your elbows bent, and one hand on top of the other, palms down, and the forehead on top of the hand. Reverse the hands, and observe whether you can discriminate finely enough to detect that which hand is on top can also affect the circles, depending on which direction you circle. It is a considerably more subtle discrimination than the one that you make when the head is facing left or right, but some people are able to do it. Then again, circle with the head turned in one direction and then the other, and circling one way and the other, making the biggest – 25 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

circles you can make, letting the pelvis be free as you move, and your head and shoulders — whatever wants to move with the circling. Then stop, put your foot down and rest. For a moment, lie on your right side. Take hold of your left heel with the left hand and move the heel up and down over the buttocks and in-between. Observe, by the way, what difference it makes whether you hold the foot down by the toes or in the middle or up around the ankle. If the heel makes better contact in one of those positions, then that means that the knee is bending more. Then roll over onto your back. Draw your legs back towards your chest. Observe whether you can easily kick the left buttock. Put the legs down a minute, extend them, and sense how they lie. Is the left leg substantially longer than the right one? Can you verify that by bringing the feet together and seeing that, in fact, the left leg is longer than the right one, and considerably longer? In some cases, the left will be as much as an inch longer. Now bend your legs so the feet are standing. Take hold of the left knee with your hand. Raise and lower the leg slightly. Sense what is going on in the knee. Sense the movement in the leg, and what the knee feels like. Do the same with the right one. Does one knee feel different? Observe whether the right one now feels somewhat larger and more awkward and just not as good a knee as the left one. There is a subtle change in the body on the left side so that it seems lighter and in a way less substantial — as if it is made of a subtler and more refined kind of matter. However you want to describe it in your own language, observe whether you understand what I mean. Now take hold of the knee from above with the left hand, put the right hand underneath the knee and pull it and push it with the hands. Pull it from above and raise it from below, and let the knee smoothly rise and fall. Toss it up with the backs of the fingers and pull with the palm and underside of the fingers so the knee just smoothly moves. Now put the left hand under your head and take hold of the knee with the right one and bring the knee and the elbow together. Bring the leg as far back as you can, and the elbow towards it. Observe whether you need to raise your head off the floor to make the contact. Bring the knee toward the elbow and the elbow toward the knee. If you do have to raise your head, do you have to raise it as high as you did in the beginning? If you do not have to raise the head, do not raise it at all. Let your elbow move toward your knee so that you can see whether, as often occurs, the hip joint has benefitted from the work done on the knee, and the thigh lies much closer to the rib cage now than it did in the beginning. Put the legs down and extend them. Rap very lightly with the back of the left knee on the floor. Once again, compare the length of the two legs, both what you sense and also what you feel when you bring the feet together. Then roll to one side, get up and walk around a bit. Notice whether you walk the same way on the left side as you do on the right. Compare the bending of the left knee to the bending of the right one. Also note the – 26 –

4. [#4] Improving Knee Movements

movement in the hips, and whether one side of you wants to walk more quickly than the other. Notice whether you feel any other differences on the two sides — your breathing, the feeling in the eyes, the sides of the face. Then come back and lie down. Lie completely on the mat. Bend the two legs once again. Lightly take hold of the left knee with both hands so that you use your hands as sensors. You want to sense what is going on in the knee as you raise and lower it. Now raise and lower the left knee, resting your fingers lightly on it. Do not clasp your fingers. Sense it in as many different ways as you can think of. Rub the hands over it and note what the leg and knee feel like in that area. Then do the same with the right knee. Observe whether it feels as if it is made of cruder stuff. Now we will note if, by some psychophysical alchemy, we can transmute base flesh into subtler substance in a fairly short period of time. Put your legs down and rap lightly with the right knee on the floor, breathing freely. Then alternately rap with the left knee and the right. Then bring the right foot just a little closer to you, so that by raising and lowering the knee you can rock your body up and down along the floor. Do that movement with the knee now. Find that position of the foot that allows you to rock the body the most. Let the neck, jaw, face and tongue be free, so you can really feel the movement in the cervical spine as the chin goes away from the body and comes towards it. If you are just raising and lowering the knee and the body does not rock, do it with both knees a minute. What is happening is that the spine is bending and straightening, especially in the lumbar region and in the cervical spine. Rest and sense the two sides. Now bend your knees. Make contact with the right knee from below with the right hand and from above with the left hand. Pull from the back of the top of the knee, and push from below with the backs of the fingers. Then reverse the position of the hands. Now bring the right leg up high, straight as it will go, and let the heel flop down towards your bottom. Do that several times. Then stop. Put your left hand under your head, and take hold of your right knee with your right hand. Bring the left elbow toward the right knee. Do that several times. Then reverse the position of the hands and do it, so the right hand is now under the head and the left hand is holding the right knee. See if the knee will approach the elbow without picking the head up, or hardly picking it up at all. Let the hand move under the head so that the elbow can move toward the knee. You do not have to pick the head up; you can let the arm move from the shoulder joint. Keep the hand under the head, but let the elbow move toward the knee by letting the shoulder move. Do it several times. Put the hands down and roll onto your left side, with your right knee on top of the left one. Keeping the knees together, take the right leg back and forth, parallel to the floor. As you do that, move the left leg in the opposite direction so that the legs are like a scissors. Observe which leg feels better. It is probably still the left one, even though it is bearing the weight of the right one on top. If they were equal, the one on top would feel freer. Now rest. – 27 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

Make a few circles from the knee with the right foot. Circle in one direction and then in the other, with the foot as high towards the ceiling as possible. When your foot comes back toward your bottom, take hold of it with your right hand and bring it into contact with the bottom. Move the foot up and down over the two buttocks and let it go in-between as well, as deeply as it will go. Breathe freely. See again if it makes any difference where you hold the foot with the hand. Try not to separate the thumb from the other fingers. When your foot is on your right buttock, stop, and hold it there. Note whether you can roll over onto your stomach without the foot and buttock losing contact, always without straining or hurting yourself. Bend your left leg and see if you can take hold of it, so that that foot also makes contact. Roll, rock a bit, slightly, from side to side. Stop. Let go of the legs. Alternately kick your bottom with the two feet, if you can. Do not do it hard. Make some circles with the legs, separately and together, either way. You can make them in the same or in opposite directions. Do it with the head lying one way and then the other. Stop and roll onto your left side. Take hold of the right foot and rub the heel up and down over the buttocks. Just let it slide up and down. It should go very easily now. Go over onto the right side and do the same with the other foot. Then lie on your back. Bring your legs back toward your chest. Take hold of your knees and see how closely the thighs will approach the rib cage. Let go, and alternately raise and lower the feet. Can you bring your heel down to your bottom? Let your ankles be very free so that the foot can move freely as it makes contact. Note whether you can touch the heel higher and lower, up on the backs of the thighs a bit as well as on the buttocks. Now put your legs down. Rap very lightly with the backs of the knees. You can do them simultaneously or alternately or both. Stop and sense how the backs of the knees lie on the floor. Are the sensations of length equal? The left side will probably still be a bit longer. Roll to one side and get up and walk around a little. Walk quickly and observe how your knees move. Also notice the hips. Stop a minute where you are. Stand normally and observe whether you lock your knees or not. If you locked one of them before the exercise, note now whether it is flexed. When the knees are in good condition, the body will spontaneously stand with the knees flexed. There is no effort to it at all; it is just as it should be. Walk around a bit more and let your nervous system and brain, your consciousness, experience that increased mobility. Come back and sit or lie down and rest.

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5. [#5] Hip Rotations — Legs Extended

5. [#5] Hip Rotations — Legs Extended Teaching time: 60 to 75 minutes

Lie on your back with your eyes closed. Put your arms and your hands down at your sides. Do the body scan. Observe where the body image is strongest, where it is weakest. Scan from head to toe, from the bottoms of your feet to the top of your head. Include in that symmetry and asymmetry, feelings of length on the two sides, and how the two sides comparatively lie. Include such things as distance of the hands from the body, how the feet go out, spaces between the fingers, breathing, sensation in the two eyes, where the tongue is. Develop the ability to make a quick, but accurate and comprehensive, assessment. Pay particular attention to the pelvis. Assess the rotation of the hip joints, both as you sense it at the hip joints and as you can determine it by whether the feet go out equally or the outside of one foot is closer to the floor than the outside of the other foot. If the hip rotation is different, if it is unequal so that one foot goes onto its side, follow the contact all the way from the heel up to the buttock. Notice how the back of that leg lies in a different way in relation to the floor than your other leg does. Go up and down one leg with your awareness, and up and down the other leg. Observe whether the backs of the legs lie similarly or, if not, in what way they are different. Then, doing just what is easy, not forcing anything or having any goal, take the outside of the left foot towards the floor and bring it back to where it now is. Do that repeatedly. Just do what is easy. Go back only to the place you started from. Do not take the inside of the foot towards the middle of your body. Come back only to that forty-five degree angle or wherever it was that you started from. Do it gently. Emphasize the quality of the movement. Now, let the right leg stand a minute on the bottom of its foot. Take the left leg over to the outside. At the same time, turn the head in the direction that the foot goes. Let the right knee go a little left, so that it sinks over slightly. Now stop and put the right foot down. Extend the right leg. Bend the left leg slightly. If you bend it slightly, then you can bend it a good bit more later on. Take the foot over onto its outside. (We are only working with the left foot.) Then bend the knee a little bit more, and take the foot over onto its outside. Sense that it is a movement in the hip joint. Sense how much you should bend the knee to most easily bring the foot over onto its outside. When you find the place where the foot most easily goes onto its outside, flip-flop it back and forth from the hip joint. Let that be a very easy movement. Bend the knee enough so there is no difficulty. Go onto the outside of the foot. Continue to do it. Stop only if there is pain. Keep the left foot on its heel. Do not put it on the bottom of the foot. Now stop a minute. Extend the legs. Keep a little distance between them. Let them rest on their heels. Take the left leg over to the outside, moving it from the hip joint. Be sure that it is a conscious movement from the hip joint. Do not take the foot all the way to the – 29 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

inside. If it does not go onto its outside, bend it a little so that it easily goes onto its outside. Use the left leg. Bend the leg just enough so that the leg easily goes onto its outside. When it is easy to do it with the leg bent, straighten the leg and then do it. Now stop and rest a minute. Sense the leg and hip joint. Leave your arms at your sides and try not to fidget. Take the left foot out to the side several inches. Just place the leg out to the side several inches to give you room to turn the foot onto its inside. Do not force it. Do what you can do easily. Take the leg a little further out to the left, and then take it onto its inside. Keep taking it out a little further and see how the movement is affected. Now bend the leg again. See if, by bending it slightly, you can turn the foot onto its inside. Find what the optimum amount of bend in the knee is to make it easy to take the foot onto its inside. You should not have to look at it. Keep experimenting with the amount that you bend your knee. Sense whether you can find a place where it is easy to bring the foot onto its inside. When you do that, deliberately rotate from the hip joint. Do not think of yourself as moving your foot. Remember that the movement is originating in the hip joint. Stay in a place where you can turn the foot onto its inside. Then extend the leg and do it. Take the right leg out a little and note whether that affects it. Take the right leg out to the point where it is optimal for the rotation of the left hip joint. Take the right leg out to the right, to the place which most facilitates the inward rotation of the left hip joint. When you find that place, then bend the left knee again. Leave the right leg where it is. Bend the left knee and go onto the inside of the left foot. Go from the hip joint. Some of you should find a place where you can easily make contact with the inside of the foot. Then, just abandon it and go back to what inhibits the movement. Remember not to force it. Find a place where it is easy to do it. I am speaking now to the ones who have trouble with it. Get a clear sense of your hip rotating and what it feels like for the inside of the foot to make contact with the floor. Then extend the leg and see if you can still do it, or at least come much closer than you could before. Now stop and rest. Bring the right leg in so that you are lying in a normal way. Let the palms rest on the surface beneath you. Then bend the left leg so the foot is standing. Let it drop towards the floor on the left side and bring it back again. Take it from left to right, however far it will go, while the bottom of the foot is standing. Then put the left foot on the outside of the right leg, and take it over to the right and then to the left. Let your pelvis and lower back move so that you bring the knee over towards the floor on the right side. Do not roll onto your side, but let the body be free otherwise to move so that the knee can approach the floor. You should let the shoulder come up a little. The head will turn with the knee. Let the knee and the head go over to the floor or towards it. The shoulder comes up. Put the foot inside the right leg and take the left leg from left to right. When you go right, take it over so that the knee approaches the floor. You want the knee to go as close to the floor as it will easily go on the left side and on the right side. Keep – 30 –

5. [#5] Hip Rotations — Legs Extended

the right leg extended. If it goes on the right side, cross over the right leg, the same as you did when the foot was on the outside. If you have forgotten it, put it out there. Then bring it in and do the same thing. Now stop and rest a minute, resting always with the arms down so you can sense comparatively how you lie. Let your hands lie along the sides of your thighs. You can lie so that the thumbs touch the outside of the thighs. Move the right leg right about six inches. Try to accurately sense this distance. Move the left leg and foot left to right, rotating from the hip joint, so that the foot approaches the floor on the inside. Move it from the hip joint. Those who can do it easily now, stop. Those who cannot yet do it, bend the leg and do it so that the foot goes onto the inside and the outside. Then diminish the bend in the leg a little, and see if you can continue to do that. Keep going until the leg is as straight as possible, but still the foot goes onto its outside and its inside. Now, move both feet right and left, rotating from the hip joint. Move them in the same direction. It is too difficult the other way in the beginning. When one goes onto its outside, the other goes onto its inside. The two feet go left and then they go right. Roll your buttocks. Feel the hip joints turning, and the buttocks rolling across the floor. Leave yourself room so that the feet do not bump into each other. Try to rotate the hip joints so that you very clearly roll the buttocks. Remember, you are doing both feet at once. Keep them both in your body image so that you know what each one is doing. Be sure that each hip rotates as much as you can do it without forcing it, and each foot comes as close to the floor on each side as you can do it without forcing it. Bend the knees as little as possible. Be sure that you clearly feel that you initiate the movement in the pelvis. You rotate the hip joints and roll the buttocks; what happens with the feet is just the end result of the movement. Then stop and rest. Take the right foot onto its outside, or however close you can come to that, and bring it back. Rotate from the hip joint. Breathe freely. If you have to bend the leg a little bit to go over onto the outside of the foot, do it. Leave the left one extended. You can easily go onto the outside. Then see if you can do it with the leg extended. Now, leave the right one alone and take the left one over to the outside. Move it from the hip joint. Now do whichever one moves better. Take that one onto the outside and bring it back, rotating from the hip joint. Very carefully, sense and observe what you do with the one that functions best. With the one that functions best, do it many times. Observe the movement and also take that one onto its inside. Go from the inside to the outside with whichever one moves best. Then take them both to the left and both to the right. Leave enough room between them so that the feet do not bump each other. Rotate the hip joints simultaneously and feel the buttocks rolling across the surface beneath you. Bend the knees as little as you can. Try to keep the backs of the knees on the ground as you do it. Now stop and rest again. Bend both legs and take the right one over to the right and bring it back. Then take the left one over to the left and bring it back. Let the knee approach the floor, – 31 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

first on the left side and then on the right side. Let each knee give the other one a friendly nudge when it comes up to send it on its way. Then, first with one knee and then with the other, make a few circles in the air. First, pick the foot up and do some circles clockwise and some counterclockwise. After you have done that with both legs, extend them and take a rest. Rest with both legs extended and the arms down at the sides. Put a distance of about twelve inches between your legs. If you are lying with your ankles together, you do not have enough room to take the right foot from left to right, rotating from the hip joint, flip-flopping it back and forth. Be sure that you move from the hip joint and take the left leg however far left you have to take it to facilitate that movement. Do not move the left leg. Just put it there, out of the way. This will make the movement of the right leg easier. Do it slowly and very consciously. Be sure that it is a hip rotation in the right hip joint. Then, do it with the left one instead. Do it smoothly, with awareness. Take the right leg a little further right, if that will make it easier. Once again, if need be, bend the left knee a little so that you come easily onto the inside and the outside. Bend it however much you have to, so that the problem just diminishes and goes away. Once the knee is bent, it is very, very easy. Try unbending the knee and doing it. Now do it with the right leg. Bend it at first, if necessary, to get the feeling of the inside and the outside of the foot on the floor. Then extend the leg. Spread the feet far enough apart to give yourself room to do it. Flip-flop them left and then right. Do both legs at once. You have to leave enough room between the feet so that there is the possibility of the insides of the feet touching the floor. Just throw your body lightly from the pelvis, crossing the buttocks, left to right. Again, keep enough room between the feet so that you can make contact. Breathe easily. Eliminate any kind of compulsiveness from the movement. Now stop. Try, for a moment, something more difficult. Try to take both feet onto the outside and bring them back. Keep taking them onto their outsides. If you can do it once, you can do it over and over and over again. You have demonstrated the potential and it is just a matter of using the same quality of awareness and not letting the brain stop functioning. Then do them alternately. Take one onto its outside, and then the other. Do that smoothly, bending the knees as little as possible. Rotate first one and then the other from the hip joint. Try taking one foot onto its outside and one onto its inside, and doing the same thing with the other foot. Again, alternate the movements and move from the hip joint. Now, spread them far enough apart so that you can bring both feet to the inside without bumping each other. Then try, without losing control or de-emphasizing the quality in the awareness, to take them to the outside and then to the inside, simultaneously. They both go to the outside at the same time and to the inside at the same time. They have to be far enough apart so that the toes do not collide when they come in. Just alternately take them to the inside, rotating from the hip joint. First the right inside of the foot approaches the floor, and then the left inside of the foot approaches the floor. You just move one leg at a time. Then, alternately take them to – 32 –

5. [#5] Hip Rotations — Legs Extended

the outside. Take one foot onto the outside and then the other. Let the buttock roll and bend the knee as little as possible. Move from the hip joint. Then alternately take the legs in. Now, bend the right leg so the foot stands. Take the left foot onto its outside and then onto its inside. Let your head go with the movement. Also, take hold of your elbows and let your arms and shoulders go with the movement. Breathe freely. When the head goes right, the foot goes right; when the head goes left, the foot goes left. The shoulder movements, of course, go with the head and the foot. Keep all of them in your mind at the same time, so that you do not neglect the foot out of concern with the head and the shoulder and the arm movements. Then reverse the position of the legs and do it. Take the right foot to its inside and outside while you move the head and the shoulders with the foot. The elbows should go all the way over to the side. Be sure that the foot goes all the way onto its outside and all the way onto its inside. Then leave the head and the arms alone, and do it just with the legs. Reverse the legs again. Do it with the left foot going onto its outside and inside, and the arms going with the foot. Go all the way onto the outside and all the way onto the inside as far as you can go, rotating from the hip joint. Bring the inside of the foot towards the floor as the head and the arms go in the same direction. Remember the foot. If you do it once, you can do it many times. Then stop and rest. Leave your arms down and the legs extended. As you rest, just lightly roll your head from left to right. As you do that, oppose the eye movement to the head movement so that you look left when the head goes right, and you look right when the head goes left. Be sure that you do not hold your breath and that you really oppose the eye movement to the head movement. Let the head go as far as it will easily go. Now stop. Be sure that there is at least a foot's length between your two heels. Take hold of the elbows with the hands and let the head move freely. Take the head and the arms and the feet to the left and then to the right, all the way. Be sure that the feet go onto their outside and onto their inside. Be sure that it is a hip movement. Keep aware of the feet, but also rotate from the hip joint. Then leave the head and the arms alone, and lightly flip-flop the legs from side to side. Rotate from the hip joint and go all the way onto the outside and the inside, or as close as you can come to that. Remember where your feet are. Do it qualitatively, as well as you can. Now stop. One more time, spread the legs a little bit. Take the left one onto its outside and onto its inside. Rotate from the hip joint and keep the foot clearly in mind as you do that. The hips and the buttocks roll across the floor. You have a clear image of where the foot is in space. Then stop doing it with the left one and do it with the right one. Bend the knee as little as possible. Then, for a moment, do the left one again. Then flip-flop them together. Keep the feet in mind. If you can do them separately, you can do them together. If they will go onto the inside when you do one, they can go onto their insides when you do two, provided that you keep the foot in mind. Rotate from the hip joint and roll the buttocks across the floor. Do not let the impediment re-form in the nervous system. Stop. – 33 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

Just bend your legs a minute, and let the left one drop over to the left side. Then take it back and let it nudge the right one over to the right side. Just let one knee drop to one side and the other knee drop to the other side. See if it can just fall like practically nothing is inhibiting the drop of the leg movement, as if the muscle is so released that it does not inhibit the movement. The leg just falls. Let the knees meet before you start the movement down on the other side. Now extend your legs and rest. One last time, put a distance of twelve to fourteen inches between your heels. Turn your head from side to side, letting the eye movements oppose the head movements and breathing freely. Do it quickly and lightly and easily. Then stop and, rotating from the hip joint and rolling over the buttock (also quickly, lightly, easily) take the left foot side to side. Bring it onto its inside and onto its outside. Then do it with only the right one, rotating form the hip and keeping the foot clearly in mind. Know exactly where it goes, onto its outside and onto its inside. Stop. Scan your body. Pay particular attention to the pelvis and the hip joints. Note whether you can sense them clearly. Rap lightly a few times with the backs of your knees, simultaneously. Hooking the floor with your heels, rock your body up and down along the floor so that the chin goes away and down towards the chest. Let the cervical spine be as free as possible. Be sure that the jaw, tongue and face muscles are free, so that the head can move freely. Bend the knees a little, if you like. Do whatever facilitates the movement. Then, as you do that with the legs, make a few circles with the head, first in one direction and then in the other. Make a few one way and a few the other way. Use the pushing and the pulling to facilitate the circling of the head. Then stop and just turn the head from side to side lightly and easily. Stop again. Now, those of you who could not do it at the beginning, confirm for yourselves that it is possible to take the left leg over to its outside and its inside. Then do it with the right one. See what a difference there is in what you did in the beginning and what you can do now. After a brief rest, slowly roll to one side and get up.

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6. [#6] Hand and Fingers (Extended Version)

6. [#6] Hand and Fingers (Extended Version) Teaching time: about 60—75 minutes

To begin, stand up. Stand in a normal way, with your arms at your sides, and notice whether you have any sense of one hand being heavier than the other. Then, extend the arms in front of you and see whether you have any sense of one being heavier than the other. When you get a sense of that, notice whether the one that seems heavier is also the one with the wrist that is the least flexible. If you are sensing it accurately, the less flexible of the two wrists will seem heavier. Now, put your arms down at your sides again and try to get yourself exactly in balance, so that there is no more weight on one foot than on the other, and so that one hand seems no heavier than the other. When you think that you are in a perfect balance, then imagine, as vividly as you can, that you are making a fist with your right hand. Do not do it, but imagine it. Then let go of that fist, let your right hand hang loose, and imagine that you are making a fist with the left hand, a tight fist. Do it a few times with your eyes closed. Make the fist with the right hand and then make it with the left hand and note whether you sense that your body shifts to the side that you are making the fist on. Even that little bit of tension in your body created by your imagination, and the organization of the muscles which it gives rise to, disturbs the balance in the body causing you to tilt to that side. And now, sit down. Extend your arms out to the sides of your body and try, once again, to find a perfect balance. Then, actually make a fist with your right hand and then make one with your left hand. Note whether you can be so sensitively balanced that when you make the fist, your body will actually begin to shift to that side. Balinese temple dancers, for example, and some of the Indians, can send the whole body to one side just by slightly shifting the position of a finger. If you are sensitive enough to your own balance, you can do it. Then, put your hands on the floor. Put them out flat on the floor and close your eyes and observe which hand is more clearly in your awareness. Try to sense the whole hand and all of the fingers in one of them, and then the other, and note whether there is any difference in your body image. Some people will sense the two hands with almost identical clarity, and with some of them one hand will be much more present in their awareness than the other. If there is any difference in your experience, note whether you relate that to the heaviness of the hand and the lack of flexibility in the wrist. And now, observe whether it is the left wrist or the right wrist that is the least flexible. Are they exactly the same, or is one different? We are going to work on the left hand, which is the clumsier one with most people. – 35 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

Now, to begin with, put the hands on the floor again, and with the little finger of the left hand rap once, twice, three and four times. Do this with the finger next to the little one, then with the middle finger, once twice, three and four times. Continue with the next finger and then with the thumb. Then, rap with the thumb and the small finger, and then with the thumb, the small finger, and the middle finger. Try to differentiate those three fingers from the other two, so that the two fingers on each side of the middle finger do not move or try to move. Then, rap with those two fingers on either side of the middle finger. Breathe normally. Now, stop the movement and try to imagine that you are rapping with those two fingers on either side of the middle finger. You have to vividly imagine it. Close your eyes. Then, try to vividly imagine that you are moving the middle finger, the small finger, and the thumb, rapping once, twice, three and four times, without holding the breath, making faces, or doing anything with the mouth. Now, try the actual rapping again, with the two fingers on either side of the middle finger, and see if it is easier. Then rap with the thumb, the small finger, and the little finger. Then, let both of your hands lie flat on the floor. Just let the palms lie flat, resting on the floor. See if you notice any difference in the way that the two hands lie, whether one hand lies any flatter than the other one. See if the left palm makes a better contact with the mat than the right palm or whether they lie equally. Now, close your eyes and, once again, sense the two hands. Observe whether there is any difference in the clarity of how you sense them. Note whether one of them touches the mat in such a way that you are more aware of the mat than you are with your other hand. Now, lie down on your back. Sense how your body lies and see if you notice anything different between the left side and the right side in terms of the length of the body and the contact with the floor. Then, with your eyes closed, try to make circles with the small finger of the left hand. Make circles with the small finger of the left hand, and then make circles with both the small finger and the adjoining finger. Continue to make circles and add the middle finger, then with all four fingers, and then, with the thumb as well. See if you can sense simultaneously, all five of the circles, whether the size of them is the same, whether they all go in the same direction, and whether they are the same kinds of circles. Then, stop making the circles with the thumb. Then, make it only with the three fingers on the left side, the little finger and the two next to it. Then, eliminate the middle finger, and then, the next finger, so you are only making circles with the little finger. Now, once again, do it with all five fingers and see if you can be clearly aware of all five circles at once. Now, without moving your head, open your eyes and see where you are looking. See whether your head is tilted to one side. Look straight up, arrange your head so that it looks straight up and, once again, let the hand lie still and examine the – 36 –

6. [#6] Hand and Fingers (Extended Version)

body image. Observe whether one hand is more clearly in your awareness than the other one. Sit up. Now, put the thumb of the right hand between each of the fingers of the left hand and sense how it fits there. Then, take the little finger of your right hand and put it between the little finger and the next one of your left hand, and keep moving it in and out between those fingers. You can move one hand or both hands, just be sure that the little finger keeps going between those two fingers. Then, insert it between the next two fingers and do the same thing; and then, the next two; and then, between the thumb and the finger next to it. Then, take the finger next to the small finger of the right hand, and insert it between the thumb and the next finger of the left hand. Then, move it over to the next two fingers. You will find that with the great majority of people, more than anything else that you can do, this movement will increase the width between the fingers. Now, move it over to the next two fingers. Remember to keep moving the finger in the right hand between the fingers of the left hand. It is the left hand that we are changing. Put the right finger between the little finger and the next one. Now, do the same thing with the middle finger of the right hand. Put it between the little finger of the left hand and the next one. Then, go to the next two fingers, remembering to breathe normally. Go on to the next two fingers, making sure to go back and forth between the thumb and the next finger of the left hand with the middle finger of the right. Now, take your right thumb and put that between the thumb and the next finger of the left hand. I am not forgetting about the other finger of the right hand. To use it would be a step backwards because we are moving increasingly to larger demands upon the left hand, and the finger next to the thumb is smaller than the middle finger. Put the thumb between the next two fingers of the left hand, and then the next two fingers, and then between the small finger and the next one. If your arm gets tired, be sure to rest. Now take the fleshy part of your right hand below the small finger, put that in the space between the left thumb and the adjoining finger, and move it back and forth between the fingers. Then, move to the next two fingers. It does not matter whether the movement is in the left or the right arm, just so that this part of the hand goes between the fingers. You can move both arms or one. Go on to the next two fingers, and then between the little finger and the next one. Now, let the movement lengthen so that the left hand begins to travel along the right arm up to the elbow. Pass the whole arm between the small finger and the next one. You can also turn the arm over and do this with the wide part of it or with the side. Go to the next two fingers and do it, and then to the next two. Then, let your forearm travel between your thumb and the adjoining finger. Then stop and rest a second.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

Then let the thumb and adjoining fingers go up and down the upper arm. Put the upper arm between your fingers. Go on to the next two fingers, the next two, and finally between the little finger and the adjoining one. Now, do that with the lower part of your leg. Put your lower leg between the two fingers and come up and down the leg. Continue with the next two fingers, breathing easily and looking pleasant. Then use the next two fingers, and then go between the thumb and adjoining finger. Now, put your thigh between the thumb and the adjoining finger and come from your knee up to your hip. See if you can do this with the next two fingers and then the next two. Try it with the small finger and the adjoining one. It is easier to do this with bare legs, and more effective as well. This is partly because it is more pleasant and partly because the clothes do not obstruct the motion. Now, just for a moment, remember how it was; put the right thumb between the two fingers and see if you notice a widening of the spaces. Then, lie on your back and rest a minute. Once again, notice which hand is more clearly in your awareness. Open your eyes and see if you are looking left, straight ahead, right, or somewhere else. If your head is more to one side than the other, move it back to the middle. Sit up again. This time, take hold of the left thumb with the thumb and adjoining finger of the right hand, pull out on the left thumb, and rotate it at the same time. Lengthen and rotate it simultaneously. Do this a few times in a clockwise motion and a few times in a counterclockwise motion. Be sure that you lengthen it; do this gently so as not to force anything. Then, do that same thing with the finger adjoining the left thumb. Pull out on it and rotate it. It should rotate better when you lengthen it. Do it clockwise and counterclockwise. It is called twiddling the finger. Twiddle your middle finger, clockwise and counterclockwise, always remembering to pull out while lengthening and rotating the fingers. Twiddle the finger next to the middle one, and then the small finger. Twiddle your fingers a few times with your eyes closed. Try to sense that hand clearly. Sense what that twiddling feels like to the finger of the left hand that is being twiddled. Sense what it feels like to the fingers of the right hand that are doing the twiddling. Shift your awareness back and forth between the left fingers and the right fingers. Then put your hands down and rest them for a little bit. Now, with the right hand, take hold of the thumb of the left hand down near the joint that attaches it to the hand. Pull on that joint in such a way as to pull it away from the hand. Observe whether you can sense that the joint separates and enlarges. Try to articulate the joint and feel that you increase the space between the joints. You can put your right hand anywhere on your thumb that will help you to do this better, but it has to be down near the joint, so that you are working on the joint next to the hand and not on one of the ones further up on the finger. Now do this with the next finger. Try to separate the finger from the rest of the hand in such a way that you sense that space between the joints. You can do it with

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6. [#6] Hand and Fingers (Extended Version)

the eyes closed or open, but remember to breathe Do it with the middle finger, then the next one, always working on the lowest joint. Then do this to the small finger. Come up to the second joint on the small finger and do the same thing. Try to separate that joint so that you can feel the separation as you pull or push on it. When the joints are flexible you should be able to pull on it and feel it extend; and then when you let go of it, it will snap back with a rubber band effect, or you can push it back. Continue to do this with the second joint of the next finger, then the middle finger. If you are unable to definitely feel the distance between these joints increase then the joints are not as flexible as they should be and they need to be worked on. Go on to the next finger, and then do the thumb. Then come back and work on the top joint of the finger next to the thumb, then the middle finger. Whether a person succeeds in getting that separation or not the first time they do it, does not matter; it still helps the joints. They will get it later on if they keep trying. Go on to the next finger and to the small one. Then, pull out on the small finger and see if you can sense, simultaneously, all of the fingers' joints separating. See if something has changed in that finger so that, now, all of the joints are more flexible and they separate simultaneously. Try it with the next finger, and then the middle finger. The finger between the small finger and the middle finger is always the difficult and clumsy one. It takes the most work. If you put your hand on the floor, it is always the hardest one to rap. People who play the piano a lot may overcome that. Go on to the next finger and then to the thumb. Now go back to that finger between the little finger and the middle one and try to get more articulation between the joints. Then stop and rest a minute. Put your hands down on the floor, flat, and close your eyes. Once again, compare the image of the two hands. Sense your two hands, the clarity of each finger, each wrist, each forearm, each elbow, each shoulder. Sense the mat beneath the hand. Compare one side with the other. Try to rap with those two fingers of the left hand on either side of the middle finger. See whether this is easier than it was. Then do that with the middle finger, the thumb, and the little finger of the left hand. Make sure that you are breathing freely. Now, make a little hole with your right hand. Stick the thumb of the left hand into it and push it in and out. Do this with the next finger. Try, with that finger, to learn everything that you can about the inside of the right hand. Twist it around so that you sense the different fingers of the right hand, the palm of the right hand, and the thumb. Do this with your middle finger. Exert different degrees of pressure on the left middle finger with the right hand as you do this, making the hole larger and smaller. Then, do this with the next finger, and then with the small finger. Then, with the thumb and forefinger of the right hand, take the small finger of the left hand and make it ripple. Make it ripple as if there was not a bone in it. Do this with the next finger. Notice whether it works better with the arm resting on the body or away from it. Go on to the middle finger, the next finger, and then ripple your thumb and make it move as if it were almost boneless. – 39 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

Now put the hands down and, one more time, rap once, twice, three and four times with the two fingers on either side of the middle finger — just those two. Then just imagine doing it. Imagine rapping with the middle finger, the small finger, and the thumb, and then really do it. Sense once again, as the two hands lie on the mat, which one lies closer and which one gives you a clear impression of the mat. Now, one last time, lie down and sense the two hands. Observe which direction you are looking, whether your head is to one side and how the two shoulders lie. Then, sit up and flex the left wrist and sense whether it feels more flexible. Feel the spaces between the fingers, whether the fingers open easily and feel wide. Put the arm between the fingers of the left hand and then put the arm between the fingers of the right hand. Sense whether you retained any of the widening. Touch your leg with your left hand and rub it up and down your leg. Then, rub your left leg with your right hand and sense whether you notice a difference in the weight of the two hands and in the pressure that you exert on the leg as you do this. Observe whether one is a comparatively heavy-handed approach to your leg, and whether there is one hand that would be better to be touched by, and also to touch with. See if one gives better sensations and if there is a feeling of energy tingling in one hand, comparatively.

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7. [#7] Improving Movement in One Elbow

7. [#7] Improving Movement in One Elbow Teaching time: about 30 minutes

For this exercise you will need a straight-backed chair. You might want to put a cushion or pillow on the chair to give you some additional comfort, but it should not be an upholstered chair or a chair that you sink into deeply. First walk around the room a bit and observe what you do with your arms when you walk. Observe how each arm moves in relation to each leg, and especially take notice of how much movement there is in your elbows. If the elbows bend when you walk, do they bend equally? Try locking your elbows so that they do not bend at all, and walk around a bit that way. Also immobilize your shoulder joints for a moment, so that the entire arm is rigid. And even extend and lock the wrists and the fingers, as you walk — both arms and hands rigid like a stick. Observe whether that affects your breathing and your walking. Now release the fingers, the wrists, the elbows, and the shoulders. Walk around, letting your arms and hands move normally. Observe whether you are now any more conscious of the movement in the elbows that you were before. Are you only more conscious of the movement, or has the movement perhaps increased a bit? And now be seated in your chair. Bend first your right elbow and then your left — so that the left hand comes up towards the left shoulder and the right hand comes up towards the right shoulder — bending the elbows alternately. Sense whether you notice any difference in the flexibility of the two elbows. Now bend them both simultaneously, bringing both hands toward your shoulders and then extending the arm so that the hands go down towards the floor. Keep on doing that a while. Stop and let your hands rest on your knees. Close your eyes a moment and sense how you are sitting. Note whether you can sense clearly your hands, your forearms, your elbows, your upper arms and your shoulders. Observe whether they are more or less present in your body image than your feet, your ankles, your lower legs, your knees, your upper legs, your hips and your pelvis. Now let your left elbow rest in the palm of your right hand, and flex and extend the arm. Try to sense with your right hand what it is that happens in the elbow. Also make some circles with your left hand — some in a clockwise direction, some counterclockwise — sensing with the right hand what is occurring in the elbow joint. Briefly make your left hand into a fist and rotate it left to right. Sense the elbow and also try to sense what is happening in your forearm. There are two bones – 41 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

in your forearm. Can you feel what happens with those two bones when you rotate the fist? Put your left arm down and rest. And now imagine that there is a basket in your lap and, to the left of you, a bucket full of cherries or some other small fruit. Reach down with your left hand, take a cherry from the bucket, and put it into the basket on your lap. Keep doing that for a while. Pick at least twenty-five fruits. At any time, or course, you can rest from the picking and the resume doing it again. While resting, imagine transferring the fruits from the bucket to the basket, and imagine the sensations and the whole movement involved. Then actually do it, and see if what you do coincides with what you imagined. Then take a rest with your hands resting on your legs and compare your awareness now of the left and right hands, forearms, elbows, upper arms and shoulders. Try sensing the left side of the neck and compare it with the right side. Where does your tongue lie in your mouth? And now, several times, just flex and extend the left arm. Then take hold of both elbows with your hands, or take hold of the arms with your hands as close to the elbows as you can reach without straining. Let your arms hang so that the forearms are across your body, a little below your chest. Then raise the arms in front of you until the upper arms are parallel to the floor and move them from left to right. Gradually lower them and keep doing it. Observe whether, as you lower the arms, the movement becomes easier and more extensive. If you are holding the elbows, use your right hand to sense the movement in the left elbow. Let the hands slide down to take hold of the middle of the forearm, and continue to move the arms from left to right, observing whether it becomes still easier and still more extensive, and whether the elbows bend more than previously. Then take hold of your wrists and do it. Notice whether the movement is still more extensive. Then stop and rest, with your hands palms down on your legs. Now imagine that overhead on the ceiling there is a bell with a long rope attached to it. You may ring the bell by pulling down on the cord and then letting the cord move back up again, maintaining your hold on the bell cord at all times. Reach overhead, take hold of the cord with your left hand, and ring the bell a number of times. You reach as high as you can overhead and pull the cord down to shoulder height or a bit lower. Then stop and rest. Now slide your left hand up your leg all the way to your hip joint. Then slide it down your leg as close to your ankle as you can reach, and continue to do that. You extend the arm as you go down your leg, and you flex the arm as the hand moves back towards the left hip joint. Be sure that, as you go forward, you exhale. Let your body bend forward while keeping your back straight. Also keep the back straight as you come back up the leg. Try several times inhaling as you bend. Then exhale as you bend. Notice, now, whether your hand spontaneously slides further down along your leg, perhaps even to the floor. Stop once again and rest.

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7. [#7] Improving Movement in One Elbow

Now hold your elbow in your right hand. Make a light fist with the left hand, then make some circles with the arm and fist. Circle first one way and then the other way. Pause for a moment. Put your arm down, if you like. Then pick up the elbow again with your right hand, extend the fingers of the left hand, and make some more circles. Then let the fingers and the wrist go limp and notice whether that affects the circling movement. Put your hand down on your leg and rest a moment. Now, once again, let the left elbow be held by the right hand. Let the left hand and wrist be limp. Circle. This time, realize clearly that the movement in the body is in the elbow joint. Make circles with the hand and then make circles placing your consciousness in the elbow joint. Do it one way, thinking of the hand, and then the other way, thinking of the rotation in the joint. Note whether shifting consciousness from an emphasis on the hand to an emphasis on the elbow joint makes a difference. Stop making circles, but continue to hold the left elbow with the right hand and flex and extend the left arm a few times very quickly, though without urgency. It is a light, quick, easy flexing and extending of the arm. Observe whether the movement in the elbow now feels any different. Then let both hands rest, palms down, on your legs. Close your eyes. Examine your body image once again. Which side of your body is more clear? Note whether the left buttock sits differently from the right, whether it makes a different kind of contact with the chair and whether you sense it more clearly. It may be that that buttock has rarely been so clear in your awareness. What, then, is the relationship between your buttock and your elbow? And now imagine that out in front of you someplace there is a spool of rather heavy rope that hangs suspended from the ceiling. By pulling on the rope with both hands, you can unwind it and pull more and more of it toward you. Take hold of the rope with your two hands, and pull, encountering a fair amount of resistance. Observe the comparative movement of the left arm and the right. Now the resistance of the rope is much less; it becomes much easier to pull. And now the resistance is zero. You can pull the rope, which offers no resistance at all. Unwind a good bit of the rope, comparing the movement of the two arms, and also which one feels lighter and moves better and is more clear to your awareness. If the left arm feels lighter, why should that be so, since it has been working for almost thirty minutes while the right arm has done almost nothing? Once again, take hold of your two elbows and just let your upper arms hang while the two forearms rest against your body. Then move the arms side to side. Compare the movement to the left with the movement to the right. Note whether the movement to the left is naturally more extensive as well as easier. And if you try to make the movement to the right as extensive as the movement to the left, do it very carefully, because you could actually injure yourself attempting to do that. Compare the movement in the two elbows. Now, to equalize it somewhat, take hold of the forearms with the hands and move the arms side to side. Then take hold of your wrists and do it. Then hold hands – 43 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

with yourself, the undersides of the hands touching, and move the arms side to side, also letting the head turn. Note whether the head turns more readily to the left or to the right. One last time, let the hands rest on the legs and compare the two sides. Although the left side is doubtless still more clearly in your awareness, the right side now should be comparatively more distinct in your awareness than it was. Your eyes and your tongue should be more centered, although for some they still will move considerably to the left. Focus your attention for a moment on your right foot. Observe what that does to the position of the eyes and the tongue. Now note how you sit, whether the two buttocks are more equal in terms both of how you sit and the awareness you have of them. They will doubtless not be entirely equal but probably considerably more so. Now stand up, walk around the room, sense whether there is any more movement in your arms than before, and a few times quickly flex and extend the elbows, first the left and then the right. Compare the difference. Also do them simultaneously, then alternately again. Even though we have equalized them to some extent, for most people the difference between the functioning of the two elbows still will be considerable. Compare the sensations of weight between the two, and whatever else you may notice. Walk around a little more, and complete your observations, including in them the entire body — the movement of the left shoulder as well as the arms, and when you turn to the left, is that movement any different from when you turn to the right? What other questions might be asked and what more might be observed?

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8. [#8] Seated Shoulder Exercise: Part I

8. [#8] Seated Shoulder Exercise: Part I Teaching time: about 30 minutes

To begin with, sit comfortably in your chair. Let the hands rest in your lap and the feet stand on the floor. Rest the palm of the right hand on the right leg and the palm of the left hand on the left leg. Now raise the right arm up to shoulder height in front of you and lower it. Raise it several times and bring it overhead, also. Now do the same thing with the left arm. See if you notice any difference from the right arm to the left. Which one feels better, or do they both feel the same? How does it raise? Let the hands rest on the legs. Lift the right shoulder. Just raise it up and down. Do it with the shoulder and breathe as you do that. Do that without straining — it should be an easy movement — however high is comfortable. If you raise it half an inch, that is all right. Stop and rest a moment. Now stretch your right leg out in front of you and put your right hand on your thigh or your knee, wherever it goes to. And slide it down the leg however far it goes. Keep your back straight and bend at the middle as you slide the hand down and back. Make the movement in your shoulder. See what happens if you do not bend your body at all, so that the shoulder has to move. Try to keep your body still, and go up and down the leg. See if you can keep the movement in the shoulder. Keep your arm straight and do not bend the elbow. Slide up and down without bending the elbow. As you do that, do not only go down the leg but move the shoulder back when you come up. Go down, bringing the arm forward and keeping the elbow straight, and come back. The shoulder goes forward when you go down the leg, and the shoulder comes back when you come up the leg. Stop and rest. Try to just make the movement back with the shoulder. If you are not sure how to do it, straighten the right arm again and let it go down the leg and then come back up the leg as the shoulder comes back. Now stop moving the hand and try to just move the shoulder back. Breathe freely. Move the shoulder forward and backward, just whatever is comfortable. And any time you want to stop and rest, do so, but then start again. Just the shoulder goes forward and comes back. Rest a bit with the two hands on your lap. And while you are resting put the right arm out over the arm of the chair so that it points away from your body and out to the right. Then reach out with the arm and bring it back, the movement being in the shoulder. Let the arm extend out to the right while it rests on the arm of the chair. Breathe freely and look pleasant. When the arm goes away from you feel that the movement is in the shoulder. And when the – 45 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

arm comes back, feel the shoulder move back towards your ear. Bring it on up and towards the ear. It is all right to rest whenever you feel like it. Then continue, putting the arm out over the arm of the chair and moving it straight out away from you and back towards you. The shoulder goes away and back toward your ear. Stop and rest a little. Put your right hand on your hip and now try to touch your right ear with the right shoulder. Swing your elbow in towards your body and that will make the shoulder come in. Try to make the shoulder go towards the ear, rather than the ear going towards the shoulder. Swing your elbow in, trying to make a kind of rotating movement with the elbow that brings the shoulder closer to the ear. Then forget about the ear and just swing the elbow back and forth. Sit a little bit forward in the chair so that you can swing freely with the elbow. Try putting your hand on the arm of the chair and doing it. And put the hand on the knee and do it. Flap the elbow. Move it towards the front and back, flapping. Then stop and rest. Rest your right hand on your leg, and try to move just your shoulder up and down. Move your shoulder up and then let it come back down. Up and down. And then try moving it forward and back. Forward and back, forward and back. Stop. Now move it up, and forward, and down, and back. Up and forward and down and back. And make sure that the movement is in the shoulder. It goes up and forward and down and back. Just make a few nice circles with the shoulder. Stop a minute and try to do it in the opposite direction. That means that you move the shoulder up and back and down and forward. Up and back and down and forward. Just circling in the opposite direction. Do it slowly until you get the feel of it and then do it a little bit faster. And circle the other way, as you were doing it a moment ago. Up and forward and down and back. Breathe freely. And rest a bit. Now put your arm behind you so that the back of the right hand is in the small of the back. Move forward in the chair so that there is room for the hand and arm. Now move the shoulder forward and back, with the back of the hand in the small of the back. Try to let the elbow swing as you do that. And then put the palm of the hand on your stomach and try to do the same thing. Move the shoulder forward and back. Now just reach down your leg a few times. See if you naturally bend from the middle of your body, which is the right way to do it, instead of trying to bend with the head, as you lean forward. And be sure that you exhale when you bend and inhale when you come up. You should be letting air out, rather than in, when you bend yourself.

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8. [#8] Seated Shoulder Exercise: Part I

Try inhaling when you bend once or twice. And try exhaling. Do you see any difference? Do it inhaling and then do it exhaling. Do you see that you go further down when you exhale than you do when you inhale? And go down the inside of the leg. Go down the outside a few times. See if you can go around the back of it. Then stop and rest. Now put both hands on your lap. With the right hand, make a fist and extend that arm so that it is not bent. The fist should be resting out on the right leg somewhere. Now rotate the fist. Feel that the rotation is in the shoulder. Sense that the whole shoulder is turning in a completely different way than it was turning before. And just make an easy thing of it, sitting there rotating the shoulder, first in one direction and then in the other. The fist turns. And then let the fist release. Let the hand hang very limp and turn the shoulder. Rotate the shoulder the same way you have just been doing. You were rolling the fist. Make a fist and turn it from side to side to see how you were doing it. See what that movement is in the shoulder. Now do it without the fist. Just flip your hand back and forth. Move the shoulder to turn the hand. Twisting the shoulder makes the hand turn. The head does not need to do anything, just the shoulder. Do it again with the fist, if that is not clear to you. And gradually release the fist as you keep doing it. Put the arm out on the arm of the chair again and extend it out, keeping the elbow straight. Move the arm straight out away from you and back. The hand reaches away from you and then comes back. And then move the arm so that you are reaching towards the back, as far to the back as you can reach with your arm resting on the arm of the chair. Just move the arm out away from you, and back towards you, with the arm towards the back. Then bring the arm up to the front of the chair arm and reach as far front as you can. The arm goes out and back. Put the hand on the lap or the arm of the chair, wherever is comfortable, and make a few rotations with your shoulder. That means bring it up and forward and down and back. Put your hand in your lap and rotate the shoulder, then rotate it the other way. Now stop. Raise the arm several times. And raise the other arm. Sense the difference now between the right and the left. The right one is a lot freer and easier to raise. Then turn your head to the right and to the left. See if you notice any difference in the movement of the neck. Slowly get up and walk around. Turn to the right and turn to the left. See whether or not you turn better to the right side. The side you have been working on will often feel better coordinated and turn better, while the other side will feel rather lumpish.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

Sit down again and put the hands on the hips and move the right shoulder and the left one. Compare the two shoulders. Sense the difference in the way that they move. Gradually some of the improvement on the one side will go through your body and transfer over so that both sides will be better. Still, when you practice this exercise, do it one time on the right side and one time on the left. That means that wherever it says right you just use the left arm, just reversing the instructions. And after you do that a number of times you will retain that freedom in the shoulders. That will mean that the neck will be freer and it will tend to straighten out the spine and improve a number of things in the body.

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9. [#9] Seated Shoulder Exercise: Part II — Experimental Variations

9. [#9] Seated Shoulder Exercise: Part II — Experimental Variations Teaching time: about 30 minutes

This exercise is a continuation of the seated shoulder exercise just done. However, it can also be done by itself as can, of course, Part I. Now move around some more, sensing the movement in your shoulders. Raise them overhead, both by raising them out to the front and raising to the sides. Which movement is easier? Stop and sense how you stand. Compare the two shoulders, how you stand on your feet, whether you lock your knees or slightly flex them. Note if you can sense the muscles in the backs of your legs, the muscles in the lower legs and the muscles in the upper legs. Sense them in the back, the front and at the sides. Bend over once or twice to touch your toes, however close you can come to that. It does not matter whether you reach only to your knees, to your shins, to your ankles, or to your toes, or whether you can place the knuckles or the palms of your hands on the floor. The point is to observe what you easily do at present, so that you can compare that present performance with what you achieve later. And now be seated in your chair. Let your fingers rest lightly on the tops of your legs and make some circles with your elbows. The elbows should be pointing out beyond the sides of your body. Make small circles and larger ones, slow circles and quicker ones. Move clockwise and also counterclockwise. Observe if you can go one way with one elbow and the other way with the other elbow. Make small circles with the one and large ones with the other elbow. Quick ones with one and slow ones with the other. With a little concentration you may be able to make quick large clockwise circles with one elbow while making small slow counterclockwise circles with the other elbow. Now, instead of making circles with the elbows, focus on rotating the shoulder joints. The elbows will still be making circles, but by focusing on the rotation of the shoulder joints (which is the actual place where the movement begins, at least if there are no superfluous preliminary movements), then you will do it quite differently from when you think of making circles with the elbows. Rotate your shoulders counterclockwise, and let the circles be as complete as possible, the shoulders moving up, down, forward and back to the farthest points they can reach without forcing. Then make the circles progressively smaller, until you are making the smallest circles with your shoulders that you possibly can make. See if you can make circles the size of a pin-head. Is it easier to make these tiny circles in a clockwise or counterclockwise position? And can one shoulder do it better than the other? If so,

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

does that shoulder usually excel over the other one, or only in certain ways? Now stop. Sit forward in your chair and extend your left leg, letting the heel rest on the floor with the bottom of the foot as close to the floor as it goes without your forcing it. And now, with your left palm on top of your leg, slide the hand down the leg as far as it will go. Let it slide back up the leg and continue to do that. Sit however far forward on the chair makes it easiest to sit with your leg extended. How far down the leg do you reach? When you have reached as far as you can without any undue discomfort, see if you can go further by releasing any inhibition in the shoulder joint. Just move forward from the shoulder joint and see if the hand now goes further down your leg. Should it go all the way to the toes, then let the hand go on past the toes to touch the bottom of the foot. Remember that the bottom of the foot remains as close to the floor as it will stay without being forced. Now flex the left ankle so that the foot comes closer back towards the rest of your body. And continue doing that, reaching with your hand. See if you reach farther down. Do you really reach farther down or does it only seem so because you have flexed your ankle? Continue with the movement as you consider the question and how it might be answered. The answer, of course, is to unflex the ankle and again let the sole of the foot be as close to the floor as it goes without forcing. Go up and down the leg with your hand and see if you reach farther than before. Stop and rest briefly. Now leave the leg extended, with the bottom of the foot near the floor, and go up and down the outside of the leg for a while. The palm of the hand is moving up and down the leg from the hip to wherever it may reach with the aid of the free shoulder joint. Then go up and down the inside of the leg. Flex the ankle and note where your hand reaches. Note also where it reaches when the hand goes up and down the outside. Unflex the ankle, move the hand up and down the outside of the leg, and see where it reaches. Then do the same on the inside of your leg, and also on the top. A few times, with the hand, go down the back of your leg with your arm between your legs. Than go down the back of the leg with the arm on the outside, the left side of the leg. Stop and rest, with your two legs bent and the feet and legs standing side by side. Compare the left buttock with the right one, the left hand with the right, the left foot with the right, the left eye with the right, and whatever else you may notice. Did you take note of how your tongue lies in your mouth, or of how your breathing may have been affected. Is it possible to notice a difference between the breathing on the left and right sides, including the air passing through the nostrils? Extend your left leg again, and let the left foot hang close to the floor. And now go down the top of the left leg with your right hand, and see how far it goes. – 50 –

9. [#9] Seated Shoulder Exercise: Part II — Experimental Variations

Does it go as far as the left one went before you rested? Does it go farther than the left one went at the beginning of the exercise? Flex the left ankle and see where the right hand can go, moving up and down the top of the leg. And unflex the ankle and observe if it now can reach farther. Observe that with this arm, too, you make use of the awareness and freedom of the shoulder joint. Now with the right hand go up and down the inside of the left leg a while. Then go up and down the outside, and up and down the back. Go down the front again, and continue to do that with the left ankle flexed. Unflex the ankle and do it a few times. Then rest. Extend the left leg, leaving the foot near the floor, and with both hands go down the sides of your left leg. Let one hand go down the bottom of the leg while the other hand goes along the top. Alternate them so that each hand alternately takes the top of the leg or the bottom, the hands going up and down simultaneously. Let the hands also exchange positions, going up and down the sides of the leg. Then let them go together, up and down the top, with the left ankle flexed. Then unflex the ankle and see where you have reached. Then rest a moment with the leg extended. Now reach down the leg with the left hand only and see how far you can go, the shoulder joint being free. Pause and stand up for a moment. Now bend over to touch your toes. Observe if you can touch equally or reach equally on both sides, or whether you reach lower on the left side or the right. Note if it is a strain to try to reach as far down to the floor with the right hand as you can easily reach with the left. Then stand up straight and sense your body. See if you now have the curious sensation of being taller on the left side than the right, or of the left side of your body being longer. If so, is it only the left leg that is longer or is it the entire body. How about even your head? Note whether your face and head feel longer on one side than the other. Or does the difference, if any, extend only up to your shoulders or perhaps to your ears? Walk around a little and see what it feels like. And you may learn what it would be like to have one short leg. Is it really possible to walk well as you are now? Then be seated in your chair. Extend your right leg and see now how quickly we can establish body symmetry and lengthen the right side. Let the right foot lie as close to the floor as it will without forcing. Move the right hand up and down the top of the right leg. Flex the right ankle as you do that, and see where the hand goes. Then stop flexing. Observe if it goes farther, the right shoulder being free. Now let the right hand go up and down the inside of the leg and see where it goes. Flex the ankle as you do it and see where it goes. Then stop flexing and observe that movement. Take the hand down the outside of the leg, flex the ankle, see where you reach. Again stop flexing the ankle, and observe that movement also.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

Once or twice, go down the leg with both hands. Flex the ankles and do it. Then do it with the ankle unflexed. Now stop. Let your two feet stand on the floor. Several times, move the right foot forward and backward, noticing the sensations in the bottom of the foot, and then using the foot to learn about the floor. Let your fingertips rest on the tops of your legs and make a few quick shoulder rotations. Do a few counterclockwise, a few more in a clockwise direction. And then stand up. Now bend over to touch your toes, or however close to them you come, and see if now you touch about the same with the left and right hands. Or if you do not touch the floor, they approach the floor about equally. What is the sensation in your body? Has that been equalized to a considerable extent? You may still be slightly longer on the left side, but as you walk around you should find that any difference no longer is crippling and will soon disappear altogether. Observe, now, how your shoulders can move as you walk. Let your arms swing freely. Raise the arms overhead a few times and observe whether that movement is now somewhat better than it was at the start of this segment (although in Part I, there was a much greater emphasis on the shoulder movement). Let your arms move in many different ways to sense the mobility of the shoulder joints. Then once more stop. And observe the differences between left and right and whether they continue to alter. Once more, let your hands go to the floor a few times. As you do that, exhale as you bend forward and let the shoulder joints go free. In five or ten minutes remember to pause and again experience the two sides of your body, comparing them for length and clarity of the body image. Try to decide whether the increasing symmetry is more a matter of the left side becoming more like the right side, or the right side becoming more like the left side. Doubtless there are changes in both directions, but try to decide which is greater. In attempting this, it will be helpful to compare your present body image and movements as they were at the beginning of the exercise.

– 52 –

10. [#10] Seated Neck Exercise

10. [#10] Seated Neck Exercise Teaching time: about 30 minutes

To begin with, sit up in the chair. Move your left ear in the direction of the left shoulder and the right ear in the direction of the right shoulder. Just go from side to side. Try to move the ear towards the shoulder but not the shoulder towards the ear. Try not to move the shoulder. Sense whether you are raising the shoulder to the ear or not, and then do not do it. Now stop a second and hold the arms out at your sides at shoulder height. Try to hold them straight out at shoulder height. Now see if you can touch the ear to the shoulder, or how close you can come. The left ear to the left shoulder and the right ear to the right shoulder — the same thing you were doing. How close do you come to touching? Do you touch on both sides? Put your arms down. Now just let your head come forward towards your chest and then raise it up. Lower the head and raise it up. Observe whether you inhale or exhale when you lower the head. And stop. Slowly turn your head from side to side in your normal manner. See how far it goes. Slowly turn it from side to side. Now, when you get over to the left look left with your eyes. Notice that your neck moves a little more when you do that. And then go over to the right and look right with the eyes. Again, observe whether you get a little more movement in the neck. When you look further with the eyes the neck should go further. Let the eyes go way over to the side and you will see that it releases the neck. Now try something for a moment. Just tell your head to look left and tell it to look right. Just speak to it and say, “Look left,…… Look right.” Now do not say anything and turn it left. Then tell the head to turn left. See if it moves any differently when you tell it to move. Can you feel any difference? Does it move more smoothly when you tell it. Then leave it in the middle. Your body will do a lot of things that you tell it to do. And it can do those things better than you know how to do them if you try it yourself. You can talk to your body about other things and you may find that it is helpful. Sometimes it will do just what you tell it to do without any other effort. Now make some circles with your nose. Imagine that right out in front of you there is a clock dial and you are going to use your nose to move the minute hand around the clock. Your nose is right against the clock and the clock will not turn if you do not push it with your nose. The whole head moves in a circle. Circle with your head so that the nose makes a circle. Do it in such a way that you can turn the minute hand with your nose.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

Do it in one direction a few times and then in the other direction so that you do not get dizzy. Stop a minute. Now turn your neck and your head from right to left and let the shoulders turn also. You turn from the spine and feel that the whole upper body turns together. First to one side and then to the other. Think of turning the shoulders with the head and do not worry about the rest of the body. Breathe freely as you do that. Now, when you turn the shoulders one way, turn your head the other way. The shoulders go right and the head goes left, the shoulders go left and the head goes right. Just do it slowly. Move the head with the shoulders so that you feel what that is. Then oppose the movement of the head to the movement of the shoulders. The shoulders go one way and the head goes the other. It can be very easy to do, no effort. One of the purposes of these exercises is to help you get a better sense of your physical self. Then you will be much less likely to fall or have accidents, and will be generally healthier. None of these movements are very difficult unless you are alienated from your body. Anybody can do them. Difficulties mean an inhibition, or kink, in the brain because of disuse. Now continue to move the head with the shoulders. Turn the head and shoulders right and turn the head and shoulders left. Stop moving the shoulders and turn the head to the right and look left with the eyes. Head left and look right with the eyes. Head right and look left with the eyes. Just turn the head from left to right in a normal way and oppose the movement of the eyes to the movement of the head. Move the eyes in the opposite direction. Forget about your eyes for a moment and just move your head from left to right several times. Just look from left to right the way you ordinarily do, no jerky movements, slowly and easily. Now do it the same way only looking the other way with the eyes. Stop and rest a moment. Put your hands behind you on the chair and try to make a circle with your nose. That just means rotating the head. Put your hands in your lap and try rotating the head. And then put your hands behind you and do it. Can you feel that the neck is more free when the hands are behind you? Try it both ways. Put the hands in front and circle, then put them behind you and circle. Remember to change directions from time to time so that you do not get dizzy. You should have a lot more mobility in your neck with your arms behind you than in front. Rest again. Lower and raise your head several times. Keep doing it. When you lower the head look up and when you raise it look down. Move the eyes just the opposite of what you usually do. Do not make it any great effort. Now stick out your tongue and imagine that there is a sheet of paper out there and you are going to make a circle on the paper with your tongue. Hold your tongue – 54 –

10. [#10] Seated Neck Exercise

stiff and move the whole head. Make circles. Do some in one direction and some in the other, some little circles and some big ones. That is the same movement as making circles with the nose. Do some with the tongue and some with the nose. And do not make hard work out of it, it is not hard. The movement is almost exactly the same whether you do it with the tongue or the nose. Try to make some more circles with your nose and let your shoulders be free. Let your whole body from the waist up participate in that so you can make bigger circles with your nose. Do not hold the shoulders rigid and do not hold the spine rigid. Move the head to make circles with your nose. And do some in the other direction. See how big a circle you can make without straining. As you do that, try to sense whether you are making a circle with your right ear. Make the circle with your nose and try to feel whether your right ear is also making a circle. Remember to go to the right a few times and to the left a few. When you go to the left, when the head is rotating towards the left, notice if you can tell whether the left ear is making a circle. And when you go to the right, notice if you can tell whether the right ear is making a circle. And now imagine that clock out in front of you — that you are going to turn with your nose. Push the minute hand to one o'clock, and two o'clock, and three o'clock. And go back to twelve. Just go from twelve to three. Then come back to twelve and go over to nine; eleven, ten, nine. And go back to twelve. Go back and forth between nine and three, passing through twelve. Go from nine to twelve, and back from three to twelve to nine. Just imagine that clock in front of you. And then go from twelve over to three and down to six, and back up to three and to twelve. Go back and forth from twelve through three to six a couple of times. This means that you make a semi-circle to the right. And come back to twelve. Go over to nine and to six, then back to nine and to twelve. Start at twelve, go to nine, down to six, back up to nine, back to twelve. Keep going back and forth between twelve and six, passing through nine. And then push the hand all the way around the clock a couple of times. Push it clockwise and push it counter-clockwise. Make a circle to the left and a circle to the right. And then stop and rest a moment. Now turn your head from left to right. Observe how it moves — the movement in the neck. A couple of times tell it to go left and tell it to go right. Suggest the movement left and then right, until it goes smoothly. It just glides along, left, right, left, right. Now let it go over to the side again, the ear towards the shoulder. The right ear goes over to the right shoulder and the left ear to the left shoulder. Do not raise the shoulder to meet the ear. – 55 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

Stop that for a moment and I will show you something to make it very easy for you. Lift your left arm, extend it overhead, and put it against the left ear. Hold the arm against the left ear. Keep the ear against the arm and bring the arm over to shoulder height. Then raise the head, keeping the arm where it is. Then lower the head to put the ear against the arm. Do that one more time. Come up with the arm; touch the ear to the shoulder; go over to shoulder height; raise the head to a normal position, leaving the arm where it is; then let the ear go over to touch the shoulder again. Now, can you touch easily? Do it with the right arm. Raise your right arm alongside your right ear, extend it overhead. Now bring the arm and head down together to shoulder height. And raise the head to normal position, leaving the arm where it is. And bring the ear over to the shoulder. Notice whether that one touches more easily now. Once more, put the arm up; come over to the side, keeping the ear against the arm as you go; raise the head; and bring the ear down to the shoulder again. Several times, just raise the head and lower it. Notice how it raises and lowers. Turn it left and right and observe whether the neck moves more freely. Sense any change in the way the head turns. And do a couple of circles with the nose — so you remember what they are. Rotate your head to the right and to the left. Try to do a big one. One or two in one direction and then one or two in the other direction. Let your head flop from left to right a couple of times. And let it fall forwards and bring it back up a few times. Sense the freedom of movement in the neck, the neck just loosened up. If you do this exercise regularly it will help to free both the neck and the shoulders and will also improve the movement in the back.

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11. [#11] Eyes #1

11. [#11] Eyes #1 Teaching time: about 45-60 minutes

Sit in any position that is comfortable, sitting erect with your head up and just look up and then look down. And keep doing that a few times. See how far you look up and where you look down. Now, as you do that, observe your breathing, whether you notice any relationship between the movements of the eyes and the breathing. Try inhaling when you look up and exhaling when you look down. It can be just normal breathing but be sure that you inhale when you look up and you exhale when you look down. Then try it the other way, so that you exhale when you look up and you inhale when you look down. Do them simultaneously. Exhale and look up. You inhale and look down and see how that limits the movement of the eye. Then, inhale and look up and exhale and look down. Try both ways so that you see what a difference that makes. Exhale looking up and then, when you come to the exhalation, leave the eyes up and inhale. And you see that they go much, much further up. You get a clear sense of the relationship of breathing to movement of the eyes. When you come to the end of your inhalation, continue to look up and up, as far up at the ceiling as you can look. And be sure that the movement is in the eyes and not in the neck. Then lie down. Now, continue to do that same thing. Inhale and look up and exhale and look down towards your feet. Look up and down in terms of your body rather than the room. You inhale and look up. Exhale and look down. And then reverse it again so that you exhale as you look up and inhale as you look down. Note again how limiting that is to exhale and look up. So do it the better way. Inhale and look up. Now put your hands above your head on the floor someplace and try to determine at what point you can see both of the hands. Find them; wave them, like you are waving at yourself. Wave them on the ground and wave and place them wherever you can see both of your hands at once as you wave. Put them whatever distance out and up, but on the floor. Leave them on the floor, rest on the floor and wave with the hands or wave with your thumbs or whatever. Now inhale and look up and see what is the farthest point that they can be and you can still see them. Move them just as far as you can until they disappear. Remember, move your eyes to look at them but do not tilt your whole head back. Put them where you can see them by moving the eyes and not by arching your neck a lot.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

Now, put your hands down at your sides and you can, during this exercise, lie in any way that you like. Cross your legs or let the feet stand or let them be extended. It does not matter. We are going to begin with just one eye for a while so that the next time that you do this exercise you just do the reverse of what the tape says. You work on the other eye and you alternate it each time and you do it so that one eye does not improve too much more than the other one. Close your eyes. And try to sense the outline very clearly of your left eye. Try to sense the outer corner of the whole surface of the left eye. Try and sense the weight of it, whether it feels relaxed, or tense, or what it feels like. Now try to sense the outer corner of the left eye in relation to the tip of your nose. Then try to sense it in relation to the lobe of your left ear. And then imagine that from the outer corner of the left eye, a line is drawn to the point on your forehead where the hairline begins — a straight line from the outer corner of the left eye up to the hairline at the middle of the forehead. And then another line from the outer corner of the left eye down to the chin, the middle of the chin. And as you imagine that and sense it, try to get a notion of what points on the face that would pass through. Imagine a line running vertically up and down your face and head, running through the outside corner of the left eye, just a line running vertically down through the corner of the left eye. Imagine the one running to the middle of the forehead, again, and then the one running down to the middle of the chin. Then take one of your fingers and run it over that line and see if the lines go where you thought they would go. Do the vertical line, and the one to the middle of the forehead, and the one to the chin. See if that is the way that you sensed it or if it is different. And do the vertical line also passing through the outside corner of the left eye. And put your hand down and imagine a vertical line passing through the inside corner of the left eye. Then imagine a vertical line passing through the outside corner so that you have two parallel vertical lines, one passing through the outside of the eye and the other through the inside corner. And then, with your fingers, make those lines, actually. See if they go where you sensed them to go. Make them simultaneously — vertical lines running up and down your head, passing through the corners of the left Now, with the left eye, look over to the left and then back to the middle with the eye closed. (The eyes will be closed unless I tell you to open them.) Look down towards the big toe of the left foot with the left eye. And then, down towards the big toe of the right foot. Look towards the ceiling. And then imagine that you can look down below you into the earth. And look up towards the top of your own head with the left eye. And now you are going to do some more movements, but as you look with the left eye, try to sense what your right eye is doing. Look down towards your feet with – 58 –

11. [#11] Eyes #1

the left eye and look up towards the top of your head. Look over to the left towards the wall, and then over towards the right. Now, put your finger on the eyeball of the left eye so that you can be aware of what is happening. And, with your closed right eye, look down towards your feet. And then look up, and do that several times. And then look left, and look right. Do that several times, keeping the finger on the left eyeball so that you can sense what the eye is doing. Now take the finger away a minute, leave the left eye closed and open the right eye and blink with it. And blink rapidly. See if you can do it with little or no movement in the left eye as you blink the right one. And then put your finger on the left eyeball and continue to blink with the right eye. Observe whether there is more movement in the left eye than you were sensing. And you see that whatever one eye does, the other eye has to do. First lie there and sense your body, how it lies on the floor. Sense the two sides and the length, how it lies and the length of it, and then get up and walk around a minute. Observe how you feel as you walk. Try turning to the right and turning to the left. Look at the two eyes in the mirror and see if you can see a difference between the left eye and the right. Which one is a little brighter? Which one has more of a sparkle? See if one eye does not look a little more alive than the other one. And then lie down. Sense the change in the left side of your body as compared to the right. It is longer and it is easier to turn to the left than to the right. And you also notice that you have done exactly the same movements with both eyes. So that the only difference is the factor of awareness — attention directed to the left side. That shows you why exercise without attention gives you very little in the way of results and attention is what enables change to take place — paying attention to the body. Now rub your palms together. Then place them over your eyes in such 2 way that light is excluded. You cup them and put the two edges of the hands together on the inside, so that you neither close off your breathing nor do you press down on the eyeballs. Keep the eyes open to ascertain when all light is excluded, or just as much light as you can possibly exclude. Also, try to make it as easy on your arms as possible so that you would not have any difficulty maintaining it. Then close your eyes. And just observe for a while what you see. When the eye muscles are perfectly relaxed, as you should try to learn to do it, then you will have a pitch blackness; but with virtually everybody there will be some colors and forms and things that will come and go until one learns how to do that. So look for the darkest spot that you can find. Look for any place where it is black. Do not press on the eyeballs. There should not be any pressure on them. – 59 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

Breathe freely and look for the darkest spot or spots that you can find. And suggest to yourself that the darkness will expand, that the whole thing will get darker and darker, blacker and blacker. This palming, as it is called, was discovered by a Dr. Bates, whom you may have heard of. It is one of the most beneficial things that can be done for the eye. It should be done several times a day, if only for very briefly. Continue to look for the darkest areas that you can find and suggest that it will get darker and darker. Then put your hands down and rest a minute, leaving the eyes closed. As you rest, sense your eyes, the outlines of the eyes, the relation to the eyebrows, the ears. And rub the palms together again. And, once again, find the position where, with the eyes open, light is excluded, free breathing occurs and there is no pressure on the eyeball from without, from the hands. And when you have excluded light, close your eyes and, once again, look for that darkness. Your eyes should be sensitized enough now so that you can feel if there is any tension in them, and relax the eyes. Try to let the eyes be just as relaxed as possible so that it can get darker and darker. Then put your hands and arms down at your sides again. And look down at your feet. Look down at both big toes and then think about going to sleep. Remember we did that once before and if you observe carefully you notice that when you think about going to sleep your eyes do what they do when you really go to sleep — they tend to go up and out towards the corners. Think about the feet and then think about going to sleep. Alternately do that several times and see if you can get a sense both of the movement of the eyes down towards the feet and then the movement of the eyes up and out as you think about going to sleep. Then put your hands above your head on the floor, again, and open your eyes and inhale and look up and wave at yourself with your fingers — leaving your wrists on the floor — and observe where you can see your hands. Take a deep inhalation and when you get to the end of it keep looking up and see how far behind you can look. Move your hands out to the sides a ways and keep them in your vision. Bring them as far out as you can go and still see them, and bring them back together overhead. Now put them down at your sides again and close your eyes. Now look over to the right and then back just to the middle. You can look down towards the ground by your right ear, and then back towards the middle. Look down to the ground and back to the middle. And try to see how quick you can make that movement without any hurrying. Make it just very nimble, and breathing normally. Then do the same thing looking left, just looking over to the left and then back to the middle. Start slowly, then try to see how quick and nimble you can make it, again, without any sense of hurrying, forcing — easy and nimble.

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11. [#11] Eyes #1

Then let your eyes go from side to side as if you are watching a ping pong match or a tennis match where the ball is going back and forth, back and forth — following the ball with your eyes. See how fast you can imagine the ball going back and forth. If you observe closely you will notice something interesting — that you cannot think any faster than you can move your eyes. You cannot really think of a movement any faster than your eyes will move. You can talk about it happening faster but you cannot really think it. Do the same thing looking up and down; that is, towards your feet and then looking along a line that passes through your left hip and right shoulder — a diagonal line, as long as you want to make it, through the left hip and the right shoulder. And then look along another diagonal line that goes through the right hip and the left shoulder. And let your eye travel up and down that. And then look up towards the ceiling and imagine that you can look through the ceiling far, far into space. And that you can look beneath you quite far, far down into the center of the earth. Now stop and, without too great a pressure, squeeze your eyes closed and release them. Do that a number of times — not with your hands, just with the eyes themselves. Keep them closed, but squeeze them and release them. Now stop. You are going to do it again but, this time, try to sense or at least imagine, if you cannot sense it, that when you squeeze, the eyes actually retract back into the head further and when you release them, they not only release but they protrude out in front — they extend further out In front than they normally do, so that you draw the eyes back into the head. Then you push them further than they normally go, with the eyes closed. A couple of times, do that: inhaling as you draw the eyes in, exhaling as you push the eyes out. And then try it the other way: exhaling as you draw them in and inhaling as you push them out. And notice the difference in the movement of the eyes. Do it, inhaling as you draw the eyes back into the head, exhaling as you push them out. Then just forget about the breathing and continue to do that a few more times. Then, a few times, look down toward your feet and up towards your head. Do it slowly. See if you notice the tendency to inhale when you look up and to exhale when you look down. Briefly rub your fingers together, your palms and, one more time, put them over your eyes, closing the eyes and looking to see how black it is, looking for the blackest black you can get. Remove the hands and notice how much light comes through the eyeballs normally.

– 61 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

Then, once more, put your hands above your head and look up. Inhale and look up. Observe the hands waving and then slowly roll to one side and just get up and walk around. We call that Eyes #1. This should relax the eyes, make them more mobile, and strengthen the muscles. I would say if you wanted to do it a lot, it would probably improve the vision. Mainly it is a good thing to do to establish the coordination of movement with breathing and to relax the musculature of the whole face and down into the neck.

– 62 –

12. [#12] Eyes #2

12. [#12] Eyes #2 Teaching time: about 30 minutes

Assume a comfortable seated position, preferably on the floor or in a chair. Rub your palms together a number of times. Then place your palms over your closed eyes in such a manner as to exclude light, so that even if the eyes were open it would be dark. You can check that by opening the eyes. Close them again. The palms should exclude just as much light as possible while neither putting pressure on the eyeballs nor interfering with the breathing. Open your eyes. It should be, as nearly as possible, completely black. When you close them it is also black. If you see colors or lights when you close your eyes, make sure you are not pressing on the eyeballs. Try to let the eyes relax as completely as you can. Think about your field of vision with the closed eyes as becoming blacker and blacker — as black as the blackest ink. Just think of it as getting darker and darker and darker. Leave the eyes closed and rub the palms together a number of times. Rub the palms back and forth very quickly, so that there is quite a bit of friction and the palms and hands feel hot. And then put them over the eyes again so that the eyes are bathed in that heat. Let the closed eyes relax. And slowly, the eyes remaining closed, remove the palms. Continue to think about blackness, about releasing the eyes, so that they are very, very relaxed. Slowly, slowly, open the eyes. Open them a bit at a time. Keep increasing the opening until they are very wide. That does not mean to bulge the eyes, just open them very wide. Open your mouth wide and yawn at the same time, and see if the eyes go wider. Close the mouth. Inhale deeply and see if that helps the eyes to open wider. Now look up as far as you can when you inhale and look down as far as you can when you exhale. Do not move your head as you do this, only your eyes. Try to sense whether you tense the back of your neck when you do that. If you are aware of tension in the neck, especially at the back, try to minimize that tension as you continue to move the eyes. Just look any place you like with your eyes, and observe the neck as you inhale. And, as you inhale, think of the neck getting longer. Think of the neck relaxing as you exhale. Try to look up when you inhale without tensing the neck. Make sure that the jaw is relaxed, and the mouth. Inhale when you look up and exhale when you look down. Then stop. Blink the eyes a number of times. Try doing it slowly. And see how fast you can blink them, but breathe normally as you do that. Squeeze the eyes tightly shut and open them. Do that three or four times. Close the eyes as slowly as you can and then open them as slowly as you can. Continue to – 63 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

do that while you breathe normally. Open the eyes as wide as you usually do and close them as slowly as you can — very slight gradations of change. Keep doing that, and pay attention to your breathing. Notice if you inhale as you open and exhale as you close. See what happens if you do it the other way, if you exhale as you slowly open the eyes and inhale as you slowly close them. And now do it the opposite way, inhaling as you slowly open the eyes and exhaling as you close them. Try not to do it in little jerky movements, but make it smooth and continuous as you open and close the eyes. Now forget about the breathing and continue to do that. Breathe, of course, but do not pay any attention to it. Then see how fast you can blink your eyes. See if it is faster than it was before. Stop. Rub your palms together a few times and, once again, put them over your closed eyes. Think about blackness — the visual field getting blacker and blacker. Try to think about a very black circle on a very black square. A very black triangle on a very black circle on a very black square. Everything just getting blacker and blacker and blacker. Breathe easily and think of the eyes getting more and more black, the muscles releasing and the eyes relaxing — relaxing more and more, getting blacker and blacker. Remove the hands and very slowly open the eyes. Sit comfortably. Take the middle fingers of your two hands and put them together in front of you, pointing at one another. Do it so that, as when you were a child, you see something that looks like a little sausage, an optical illusion, there in front of you. If you do not see it at first, experiment with the fingers at different lengths away from your eyes. The tips of the middle fingers touch and then separate so that the sausage floats in the air. Now look down at the floor with the fingers in front of you. Separate them and, at the same time, move them away from you. And, as you do that, observe that the sausage not only gets smaller and rounder but that it moves down towards the floor. Those of you sitting on the floor should have no difficulty in letting the sausage move away from you like a little, round, reddish ball until it touches the floor and disappears. Now bring the fingers closer together in order to get the sausage back. Try to move the ball until it almost touches the floor but does not disappear. Then, if you bring the fingers back together, it will move towards you again. In fact, you can make that little thing bounce off the floor if you move your fingers with sufficient precision. The sausage becomes a ball, just barely touches the floor, and bounces back up to become a sausage again, depending on what you do with your fingers. Then rest your eyes a moment. Blink a few times. If you need to, shift your position on the floor to make yourself more comfortable. Put the fingers in front of you again, so that you see the sausage. Now turn your head slowly to the right until it disappears. See at what point it disappears. Turn forward and make the sausage again. Turn your head left and see at what point the sausage disappears. You can have your fingers touching or separated, – 64 –

12. [#12] Eyes #2

so that the sausage floats in the middle. And at what point does the sausage disappear? When you turn right, it disappears when the right eye no longer sees it. And, of course, when you turn left, it disappears when the left eye no longer sees it. You do not have to turn the head to make it disappear — all you have to do is close one eye and it is gone. So, it takes two eyes to make a sausage as, of course, most people know. Try bouncing the little ball off the floor a few more times. Make it behave like a yoyo. If you are sitting in a chair and bend over to do it, it will be even more interesting than if you are sitting on the floor, because the yoyo will have further to travel. Now stop. Put your hands down and rub your palms together. Close your eyes and, once again, put your palms over them and think about blackness. Relax, breathe easily, and think about blackness — getting blacker and blacker. Take the palms away. With the eyes closed, look from left to right as if you were watching a Ping-Pong match. Look still further, as if you were watching a tennis match. Look as far to the left and as far to the right as you can without straining. Keep the eyes closed. Now bring the eyes back to the middle and see what is the smallest left to right movement you can make — like watching a very miniature Ping-Pong match. Breathe normally and try making the smallest up and down movement that you can make. Look up towards your forehead, towards the top of the head. And look down in the direction of your chin, chest, floor, whatever is down from you. Try to look up and down, making the smallest movement you can while still being conscious of some movement. Now slowly begin to extend the movement a little more and a little more until it gradually becomes as much of a movement up and down as you can make. See if you inhale when you look up and exhale when you look down. Open your eyes and blink a few times. Put your two index fingers in front of your eyes. How many fingers do you see as you hold them parallel to each other? Move them until you see three fingers, or four fingers, as the case may be. Some people will see one finger doubled, the other only once. Try doing it with your middle fingers and note how many fingers you see — three or four? And do it with the two index fingers again. Cross one of them over the other so that it is in front of it and they almost touch. Now how many fingers do you see? One finger is longer than the other by how much? Put the index fingers in such a way that they almost touch at the tips. Then hold the two parallel to the ground and let one circle around the other. Then reverse it. Let the left index finger circle around the right, and let the right one circle around the left. Let them both move, circling about each other. Now let them just stay parallel in front of you. Bring them close and take them to a distance. And put one of them across the other. How many fingers do you see if – 65 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

the left is across the right? How many if the right is across the left? Do you see three now or do you see four, as you continue to look? You may see three one minute and four the next. Some people will see it making a thing so that you could play tic-tactoe. Mark X's and O's in it. Still watching that, turn your head to the right and observe what happens, what changes take place. Go back to the middle. Continue watching the two crossed fingers and turn your head back to the right, and back to the middle. Turn it slowly to the right, watching the fingers for as long as you can. That means that the more the head goes to the right the more the eyes will go to the left. Bring the head back to the middle. Leave the fingers there and turn slowly left, while the eyes continue to look at the fingers. This means that, as the head goes left, the eyes go right. Now, with the eyes in the middle, look at the fingers again and note how many you see, whether it is three of four, whether one is shorter than the other. Close the right eye and see what happens. Close your left eye and see what happens. Open them again. Put the hands down and rest a bit. Rub your palms together, close your eyes, put the palms over them and think black. Think about sleeping and think black — deeply, deeply, relaxing the eyes. Let them relax as much as possible and think black. Think about dreaming. See if that has any effect on what you see. And think about the dream ending, and sleep getting deeper and deeper. Take the palms away and slowly open the eyes. Rapidly blink them a few times. See that you breathe normally, and do not contort your face as you blink. Now inhale and look as far up as you can without straining. Exhale and look as far down as you can. Inhale and look up as far as you can. See if you can look up and inhale without tensing the back of the neck. And be sure you do not tense the muscles in the front of the neck either — the whole face nice and relaxed as you look up and down. Continue looking up and down. Lie down and rest for a moment. Let your eyes relax completely. And get up. If you have an eye chart, you might consult it. See whether there is any change, but make sure you have similar lighting each time you look at the chart. Do a little more of the palming if you feel like it. And you might try to remember to do that several times a day for a few moments. It is a good thing to do. Similarly, you might try bathing the closed eyes with sunlight for a few minutes each day, moving the head from side to side, letting the sun go over the eyes. You could even do this with a bright electric light, with the eyes closed, of course.

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13. [#13] Improving Eye Movement and Vision: #3

13. [#13] Improving Eye Movement and Vision: #3 Teaching time: about 60-75 minutes

To begin with, walk around and observe where you look, including whether you tend to look more down or up or forward at eye level. Are you equally aware of the environment on both sides of you? And if you are more aware of what is happening on your left side or your right side, does this mean that your head was turned to that side, or that your eyes were turned more to that side, or the head and eyes both? Again, if this was or is the case, were you conscious of such turning or did it seem to you that your head and eyes were to the front? It is unlikely that both were facing to the front if you see significantly more of the space on one side of you than you do of the space on the other side. Similarly, if your eyes do not seem to be at eye level so that you see more below or above that level, what does it mean? Is the head bent down or thrown back, or is it only the eyes that look down or up within the head? See if you can move normally and continue to pay attention to the level of your looking. And then sit down on the floor. Again, for a moment, notice whether you are looking more down or up and more to the right or to the left. Having noted these things, again pay attention to the positioning of the head and the eyes, and see if you were aware of them already. Rub the palms of your hands together vigorously quite a number of times. Then place your palms over your open eyes in such a manner as to exclude all light. Do it without pressing on the sides of your nose enough to inhibit your breathing. Look into the darkness and observe whether it is completely black or whether you see colors and, perhaps, forms. Note if the forms are of objects or whether perhaps they are more like what Heinrich Kluver has called the “form constants of hallucinations” — that is, reminiscent of lattice work, filigree, whirlpools and certain other basic forms out of which some believe our perceptions of all the other forms are built. In any case, just continue to look, making sure that you do not close your eyes without knowing it, so that what you look into is, at least to some extent, outer, not inner, space. Then remove your hands from your eyes and, on the wall that is opposite you or on any other surface at about eye level, imagine a circular object like a clock. Make it a reasonably large clock. And see if you can circle around its edges with your eyes. See if the circling is perfect and, if not, what the imperfections in the eye movements are. Also make sure that you do not hold your breath, move your mouth unnecessarily, tighten your facial muscles or otherwise introduce superfluous actions into the circling. While such actions may have been made in an effort, conscious or otherwise, to improve the movement, they actually tend to obstruct it, at least in the long run. – 67 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

Now look counterclockwise around the rim of the clock. For a while, increase the size of the circle, but see that it is still made against a flat surface as if you were circling around a very much larger clock. In other words, do not allow the focus of the circling to change So that it comes off the wall and slices through the space of the room. Continue to hold the movement against the wall, but now it must be an imaginary wall as you project the image of a clock much larger than the room. And make the largest counterclockwise circles you can make. This should mean that, if your eye muscles are relatively free, you will look as if far up into the sky, far down into the earth, and so on. Think of yourself as sitting down on the rim of a great canyon with the clock suspended somewhere in front of you. And now circle it with a clockwise movement. Instead of looking around the rim, however, now try to make very certain that you look around the dial of the clock, your vision passing over the numbers, moving from one through twelve, and continuing to circle. Then reverse the movement, looking from eleven through twelve. And continue passing through the numbers counterclockwise. Lie on your back and vigorously rub the palms of your hands together. Lying on your back with your body otherwise at rest, put your palms over your eyes so as to block out all light. Peer into the darkness. Try to feel if there is any sensing other than visual of the hands by the eyes. Or if, perhaps, you feel with your hands any sensation of something coming from the eyes. Continue to look into the darkness for a while, just remaining completely passive and endeavoring to suppress all verbal thought. This, as you may have learned, is much easier to do if you can relax the muscles of the tongue and the throat and others involved in speech, including subvocalization. Just look into the darkness or else observe as a spectator whatever images may appear before you. Close your eyes and look over towards your left ear. And then look up into your head as if you could look around the inside of your skull. Let your eyes move so that it seems that they travel up from the left ear, along the inside of the skull to its top and then over and down to the right ear. Then look up and over to the left ear, and continue to look from the left ear to the right but without going below the ear level, and passing along the inside and the top of the skull. Make it a slow and very smooth movement just as perfect as possible. And as you do it make sure that your breathing is also smooth, and that you do not tighten the muscles of your neck or otherwise alter the condition of your body in ways not required. See if you note any tendency to move your head, and if it is lying on its back and not tilted to one side or the other. Without opening your eyes or interrupting the movement of the eyes, position your head so that it feels perfectly centered if is not so already. Then, a few times with eyes closed, just look from left to right as if from ear to ear, making a straight line through the exact midpoint of that line and stop the eye movement there. Just continue to look at the midpoint while noting that you do not tense your neck or other muscles or disrupt your breathing. Then open your eyes and note where on the ceiling you are looking.

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13. [#13] Improving Eye Movement and Vision: #3

Slowly roll to one side and get up. Note the position of your head and eyes. And see if it is the same as at the start of the exercise. Try to note whether you look more to the left or the right, or whether it seems to you that your awareness extends about equally from both sides of your body. Note whether your total vision of the space around you — up and down, left and right — now seems to be somewhat larger, more complete, and somehow more of a unified whole. Then just walk around and observe any other changes in your way of seeing or experiencing of which you might become aware.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

14. [#14] Integrating Body Image Teaching time: about 60-75 minutes

Be seated in your chair. Place your feet flat on the floor and place your hands on your legs. Let the middle finger rest on the knee. Sit far enough forward in the chair so that it is easy to do that. Try to keep your back straight throughout. Slide your hands down your legs, however far they will go, and then back up again. Do not bend from the middle. Keep the movement in the shoulders. Try doing it with your arms straight so that all the movement is in the shoulders. See if it seems to you that the movement is symmetrical on the two sides, that one hand goes as far down as the other. Remember, do not bend from your middle. You are only interested in your shoulders. Now stop. With your eyes closed, extend your arms in front of you at shoulder height. See if it feels to you as if the two arms are raised equally high. Open your eyes and see if it is so. Then let the arms down. Several times just raise your arms over your head. See what that feels like. Does it feel the same in each shoulder, or is it different in one? Is one better? Then stop. Now put your left hand near your upper body. Then take the left shoulder back as far as you can take it, and bring it forward. Continue to do that. Put your hand somewhere around your hip joint and do it. Continue taking the left shoulder back however far it will go. See if letting the right shoulder come forward a little allows the left shoulder to go further back. Focus your awareness on the left shoulder and its movement. Now put the back of your left hand somewhere in the middle of your lower back and continue to do it. Be sure you are sitting far enough forward in your chair so that you are not inhibited in the movement by the chair back. Try looking to the right as you do it. Turn your head right. Then place the head in the middle. Then do it looking left. Then stop and rest a minute with your hands on your legs. Close your eyes and sense the two shoulders. Sit with your back fairly straight but not rigid. Let your hands hang at your sides. See if it feels to you that the two hands hang equally. Is one shoulder lower than the other one, or one higher? Then see if you can let the left shoulder just drop. It does not mean leaning way over to one side. See if you can loosen the shoulder joint so that the left hand goes down, and keep lowering it and bringing it up again. If it goes really low, you just feel that the rib cage collapses somewhat on the left side, and that it lengthens on the right side. The right shoulder goes up. These are movements that occur only as responses to what you do with your left shoulder and arm. Keep raising and lowering the left hand and arm. Do not just go to the side with your whole body. If you want – 70 –

14. [#14] Integrating Body Image

to, just lean to one side and you can easily touch the floor on the left. That is not a shoulder movement. What you want is as purely a shoulder movement as you can get. That will carry some of the other parts along with it, but it is still a shoulder movement. Stop and let the hands rest on the legs. The hands are on top of the legs so that the middle finger is in the middle of the knee if you extend it down that far. Then extend the left arm out in front of you. Reach out forward as far as you can go. Stop there. Then try to release the shoulder so you can go further still. If you release the shoulder, you should be able to reach out quite a bit further without twisting the body to one side. The movement almost never uses the full potential of the shoulders. Once you have come to the end of the movement, see if you can just continue to let the hand go forward. You can only do that by letting go in the shoulder joint. Let the hand be loose and it will not be such a strain. Then take the arm as far back and then as far forward as it will go. Extend it straight out in front of you. Reach out as far as you can go and take it as far back as you can go without altering the position of the upper body — that is, without leaning forward and leaning back. Then put it down and rest again. Now put your left hand behind your head and take the arm and the shoulder back. Then bring them forward. Then put your palm on your chest and do it. Put it on the left side of your chest. Take the elbow as far back as you can. Then reach behind you with your left arm. Slide it along your back and see if you can reach around yourself. See how far over you can reach with your fingers. Come around on the other side. Continue to do that for a while. Then, when you come back to the outside of the left side of your body, come around to the front with the palm of the hand. Go around as far as you Then, with one continuous motion, reach around behind you. When you reach behind, the back of your hand is against your body. When you reach in front, the palm is against it. You can always stop and imagine doing it. You are interested in what is happening in the shoulder. Do it in the vicinity of the armpits, and then in the middle in between that. Every position does something different with the shoulder. Every inch that you change the height of the hand, the shoulder is organized differently. You use it in ways that in many cases you never ordinarily use it. Now once again rest with the palms down on the legs. Now let the arms hang at the sides again. Let the left hand sink towards the floor, however close it will go. You can allow the rib cage to bend on the left side as the left shoulder goes down. Do not just lean over. Bring the shoulder up as high as you can, and then take it as low as you can. Now stop. Close your eyes and sense your body. Compare the two hands and the arms. See if it seems to you that the left one is substantially longer than the right. Do it with your eyes closed. Then open your eyes and put your hands out in front of you, side by

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

side. See if they are now symmetrical or whether the left one is longer. Put them down again. Now sit forward a little on your chair and extend your right leg. Just take it forward and backward. Keep it straight. Slide the foot out away from you. The movement is all in the hip joint. See how far the foot will slide along the floor. You really have to come fairly far forward on the chair to give yourself the freedom in the hip joint. Push the leg away from you and pull it back toward you without bending the knee. Extend the foot so that it is as close to the floor as it comes with the leg extended. Continue to move the foot away from you and back toward you. The movement is in the hip joint. Also try it with the ankle flexed or extended or neither. Then stop and rest a minute. Try doing the same movement in the right hip joint with the foot on the floor, resting flat. The sole of the foot is on the floor. This time the knee will go away from you and then come back towards you instead of the whole leg. Be sure the movement is in the right hip joint. Then, as you move the right hip joint, try moving the left shoulder joint in the same direction. Do some movements forward and back with the shoulder. Then do some movements forward and back with the hip. Then let them go together. Try it with the leg extended. Then go back and forth with just the leg. Then try doing the same thing with the left arm extended. The hand and the foot go forward and back together. Keep the elbow and the knee straight. That should be a good bit easier than the other one. Then when, in fact, you find that easy, bend the leg again. Take the leg forward and back from the hip joint. Take the shoulder forward and back. Then let them go forward and back together. The left shoulder and the right hip joint go forward and backward simultaneously. It should be a good bit easier than it was. If you still have trouble, do it with the arm and leg extended until it is clear. Start with one movement; then let the other one join in. When it is easy to do it with the arm and leg extended, then do it with the elbow and the knee bent. Oppose the shoulder movement to the hip movement. You will actually find that that is easier than to go with it. It is just the opposite of what you do when walking. The shoulder and the hip joint on the opposite sides of the body are accustomed to moving together if the body is well coordinated. When the right foot goes forward, the left hand goes forward and so on. Yet, when you are sitting, it is easier to oppose them. Now let them go together again. Then stop. Close your eyes. Observe whether now something has happened in the body image so that it is clearer on one side than the other (as it ordinarily is when we do this work.) We often work on one side and that one side will be clearer than the other. Now see if it is clearer on the lower body on the right side and the upper body on the left side. That is probably something which you never in your life experienced before. Then stop. – 72 –

14. [#14] Integrating Body Image

Get up a minute and walk around. Put the chairs out of the way a bit. Pay attention to the way that the right leg and the left arm, the right foot and the left hand go. Compare that to the way that the left foot and the right hand, the left leg and the right arm go. See if it feels that the stride is longer on the right side, and the left arm is making more extensive movements. Then come back and sit down. Close your eyes and sense once again. Now extend the left leg and the right arm. Raise and lower them together, just a little. Put them both down and rest them. Then, using the hip joint and the shoulder joint, slide them forward and bring them back. See if that is not much, much easier to do than when you first tried to do it with the other two. Leave your arm down, the hand on the leg, as you do it. Just take the shoulder and the hip forward and back together, the left hip and the right shoulder. Try doing it very quickly. See if it is almost childishly simple. There is nothing to it at all. Remember, when you tried doing it on the other side it was very clumsy and awkward and difficult. The brain had a lot of trouble with it. Now move the left hip back and forth. The feet are standing on the floor. Then let the shoulder go forward and back, the right shoulder with the left hip. See if that is all much easier to do. If anyone still has any trouble, start with one. Get used to moving the left hip joint back and forth, and do a few with the shoulder. Then do them together. Remember that you must sit fairly far forward in the chair in order to move freely. Try to do that very quickly — a light, easy movement. Then stop. Put the right hand behind you. Take it around in the back and then around in the front. Then let it rest in the small of your back and take the right shoulder back. The left one can come forward a little. Now interlace your fingers behind your back. Then take first one shoulder back and then the other. Then put the interlaced fingers behind your head and take the shoulders as far back as they will go. Take the hands as far away from your head, as far behind your head, as they will go. Reach out behind you with the interlaced fingers. Do not strain. The hands are behind the head. The movement is back, not up and down. Then let the fingers rest on the back of the head. Flap the shoulders like wings. Take them back. Stop and rest a minute. Close your eyes and see how the body image has changed from when you scanned it last. See if now the left leg is clearer than the right one. What about the shoulders? Is one clearer or are they symmetrical? Then bend your left elbow and extend your right leg. Flex and extend the right foot and the left elbow simultaneously a few times. Do it quickly. Then do it with both arms. Do it with the right elbow and the left wrist a few times, and then with the

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

left elbow and the right wrist a few times. Do a number of movements with the left leg and the right arm, and then with the left arm and the right leg. Then stop again. Notice how the body image has changed now. Do you sense the shift to the right side or to the left side? Do you feel symmetrical? Now, on the side that you feel is less clear in your body image, imagine a number of movements where you flex and extend both the knee and the elbow of that side. Then put the soles of your feet together and clasp your hands. Breathe through your middle up into the top of your head. Try to breathe in at the place where your legs separate and breathe out through the top of your head. Make sure that you are sitting as symmetrically as possible on the chair, that the soles of the feet are entirely together and the hands are completely interlaced. Breathe right up through the middle. See if the breathing is truly right up the middle, and does not go off to one side of your nose or the other. Do you feel that you are breathing up your back or your front? Do you feel the core of your body? It feels as if it goes right through the middle. Provided that you have placed your body in a balanced position, that kind of breathing up the middle will help to integrate the body image and even it out. As you do it, sense whether the body is really symmetrical. To center and balance the body is also an excellent meditation. It is a way of centering and balancing emotions or conflicts. You can move into the center of the conflict and see the two sides of it, thereby being better able to resolve it. Essential to using it in that way is to really place the body in such a position that it is as symmetrical as possible, and then use the breathing up the middle to make the body image as identical as possible on the two sides. When you do that, quite possible for a little while, you make peace between the two hemispheres of the brain and to some extent between the conscious and the unconscious minds. You give equal weight and significance to the totality of yourself. The body experiences that lack of bias or preference for one part and prejudice against another, so it begins to feel integrated. Try that as a meditation. Also, try it as a means of dealing with pain. Now get up and walk around a little bit. As you do it, try to keep the body image as symmetrical as possible. It is a fairly easy thing to do if the discrepancy is not too great. If you feel that the right arm is clearer in the image as you walk, pay attention for a little while to the sensations in the left. Then shift back. The same goes for the leg. If one side is functioning better, or one part on one side is functioning better, pay attention to the other side, or the identical part on the other side. Because of the hemispheres of the brain, you can regard it in such a way that you have two of almost everything. Then, when you have made yourself as symmetrical a body image as possible, and also as integrated, sit down. Observe whether that is a relaxing experience, or how it affects you. Do the meditation with the soles of the feet together, the hands interlaced, and breathing up through the middle to the top of the head, looking up so that you feel it in the brain.

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14. [#14] Integrating Body Image

When you are moving around, give just enough awareness to those parts that will equalize the body image and thereby alter the neural functioning and the part of the brain that is basically responsible for the discrepancy between the functioning and the sensing of the two parts. You do not want equal brain functioning, by any means, all the time, but it is a good rest when you create that balance. By these means you can do it. The idea is to create a balance where you have a feeling of harmony between the two brain hemispheres. As you do it, you should really feel that you are doing less verbal thinking. There seems to be a lot more ego in the left hemisphere than in the right. Interlacing the hands is a symbol of the unity of the two sides, and also provides a sensation of unity. Breathing up the middle can be up the front, up the back, up the center, up the spine, just so that you do not have the feeling of curving or favoring one side over the other. It should not be experienced at all as a divisive line. People usually do not experience it that way, especially when the hands are interlaced and the feet are together. One side is accepting the other, and at the same time it is recognized that there are two sides that are being unified that ordinarily have different tendencies. Now you are making peace where often there is conflict. Try that on your own and you will see that if you keep it up for a long period of time, it is a very comforting and pleasant thing to do.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

15. [#15] Coordinated Symmetry: Second Integration Teaching time: about 30 minutes

To do the following exercise you should have a straight-backed, unupholstered chair to sit on. A pillow on the seat of the chair is no obstacle, but one should not sink into the chair and neither should the chair have arms. Please seat yourself well forward in the chair so that there is at least a hand's breadth between your back and the back of the chair. Extend your left arm so that your left palm rests on your left knee. Let your right hand rest on your right leg in any way that is comfortable. Make a light fist with your left hand and roll the fist to the left, maintaining contact with your leg. Roll the fist left and then bring it back to its starting place. Keep the fist left and then bring it back to its starting place. Keep on doing that for a while. Your back should be reasonably straight. Breathe freely as you continue with the movement and notice whether, as your left arm rotates out, your right shoulder moves; whether your head moves; whether you tend to sit more heavily on the left buttock and whatever else you can observe. Stop and rest with your palm lying on your left knee. Now make a fist lightly with the left hand again and turn it out, but this time paying particular attention to the rotating movement in the left shoulder joint. When that is clear to you, try to rotate the arm out by deliberately rotating the shoulder joint. That is, do not think about turning the fist outward but rather think about rotating the left shoulder joint outward. The fist should move about as before, but the movement is consciously initiated from the shoulder joint. Stop that for a moment and just turn the fist out a couple of times. Then once again initiate the movement from the left shoulder joint. Observe whether the fist rolls over farther when you initiate the movement from the shoulder than when you think of rolling the fist. Now stop and rest. Close your eyes. Sit straight without straining. And scan your body. See if your left hand is more clear in your awareness than the right. How about the left arm and shoulder as compared to the right side? What of the clarity of the left foot and toes comparatively? If you open your eyes quickly, in what direction do you look? Is your head facing straight to the front or does it turn to the side? Try looking straight ahead and see whether that is, for the moment, a comfortable position for the head, or whether the head would really prefer to be doing something else. Now sit forward a little more in your chair and extend your right leg straight out. Move the outside of the right foot towards the floor. There need be no intention, much less necessity, of touching the floor with the outside of the foot. Just turn the foot in that direction, remembering to do only what is easy for you. Do only what is well within your means. Compete neither with anyone else nor with yourself, and your gains will be that much greater for being both unforced and undefined. – 76 –

15. [#15] Coordinated Symmetry: Second Integration

Continue turning your foot out and bringing it back to the starting place. You are always free to stop and rest. And then resume the movement again. Never persevere in the face of painful movement. Pause and let your leg remain extended. Close your eyes and scan your body image — that is, your body as you sense it. Now turn the foot out again and pay attention to the fact that when the foot turns out there is a rotation out in the hip joint. When you sense that clearly, turn the leg by deliberately turning the hip joint out. When that is easy for you, change over and try turning the foot out. Then put your awareness back in the hip joint and rotate the leg from the hip. See if the movement is easier and better when you consciously rotate outward from the joint. That is actually, of course, what you did all along, but the improper focusing of consciousness on the foot is actually an inhibition and an obstacle to effective movement. Thus it matters a great deal what we think we are doing with our bodies when we move. And whether we know what we really are doing with ourselves. Faulty awareness leading to inefficient action not only impairs our functioning but, over time, does serious damage to our body. Sit with both of your legs bent and your palms down on your legs. And have a rest. Close your eyes. Scan your body. And note how your tongue lies in your mouth. If you open your eyes, where do you look? Is your head on straight or has it rearranged itself so as to get in on the action? What else can you observe? Now please extend your left leg. Move your left foot over to the left and bring it back. And keep on doing that for a while. Stop. Rest briefly. Now move the foot left again, this time paying attention to the movement in the left hip joint. See if it is easier to do that than it was when you first tried it on the right side. Has your left leg somehow learned something from your experience of the right leg? Has the brain transferred that learning through the nervous system to the muscles on the left side? Now, as you turn your left leg out, consciously do it by rotating the left hip joint. Remember, you can pause any time you feel like it and then resume the movement after a brief rest. In any case, stop and rest with both feet flat on the floor and your hands resting on your legs. Now extend your right arm and lightly make a fist with your right hand. Roll your right hand to the right and bring it back to its starting point. And keep on doing that. Then consciously rotate the right shoulder joint out in order to move the right arm including the fist. Do it thinking of rotating the fist several times. Then do it thinking of rotating the shoulder joint, and see whether the rotation is more extensive when you consciously use the shoulder joint. Stop and rest for a while. Now please extend the left leg and make a fist with the left hand. Move both the left fist and the left foot to the outside away from your body. And keep bringing them back to the middle and moving them left again. Then do it by consciously starting the movement in the joints — the left hip joint and shoulder joint. This time, when you come back towards the inside, let the left leg and arm rotate to the right as far as they can go with ease of movement. Stop and rest again. – 77 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

Extend your right leg and arm. Make a light fist with your right hand and turn the right foot and fist out towards the right. Be sure you are breathing freely and that the movement is at least as easy for you as your movements of those parts normally are. Now initiate the movement from the right hip joint and the shoulder joint. Pause a moment. Continue to do it rotating the right shoulder joint and hip joint out. And now when you rotate back in, let them move as far in — that is, as far left — as they go without any difficulty. The rotation is as far to the left and as far to the right as it goes with ease, and the conscious origins of the movements are in the joints. Stop and rest with both feet flat on the floor. And now just a few more sequences and we will see what we have achieved. First, extend both arms and lightly make fists. Then, using the shoulder joints, rotate both arms and fists to the outside. Turn the arms by rotating the shoulder joints out. Pause and rotate them in several times and then as far out and as far in as they will move without strain. Then stop and have a rest. Extend both legs and do what you like with your hands. Try holding the chair behind you, placing your hands on the seat. Rotate both legs out from the hip joints so that the outside of each foot approaches or touches the floor. Then, of course, bring them back to the middle and keep doing it. Now stop. Finally, sit with your legs extended and your hands lightly fisted on top of your thighs. Sit back far enough in the chair that you will not slide off. Then simultaneously roll both the shoulder and hip joints out, then back towards the middle. Make the rotations in both directions as complete as you can. Make them light, emphasizing the quality of the movement. Be sure to breathe freely and do only what is easy for you. Eliminate any element of compulsion or sense of having to achieve, and let the movement be just as nimble and extensive as it spontaneously and pleasurably is. Then stop. Sit back in your chair, sitting reasonably straight, with your feet on the floor and your hands resting on the tops of your legs. Close your eyes and get a sense of your body image, how you are sitting, how your feet feel on the floor, the kind of contact the bottoms of your feet are now making with the floor. Now slowly, using your hands to assist you, and taking care not to arch your neck or throw your head back, get up to a standing position. Walk around the room a little and see how you feel. Notice how your shoulders and your hips feel. See if comparatively you glide along and want to move more quickly than you usually do. Be careful that you do not surprise yourself by moving too quickly. With some people, the present ease of movement will so far exceed what they are accustomed to that they might go too fast and lose equilibrium. See how you turn, even from a stationary position or while walking. Note how you are carrying yourself and anything else you may be able to observe. Walk around a little more and enjoy this second integration and the more symmetrical functioning.

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16. [#16] Differentiating Muscles and Movements of Back and Shoulder

16. [#16] Differentiating Muscles and Movements of Back and Shoulder Teaching time: about 60-75 minutes

It is rare when the muscles of the shoulder and upper back are sufficiently differentiated to allow the shoulders, back and arms to move freely and in a coordinated fashion. The unfortunate statistical norm is large masses of muscles which move as a group or lump, somewhat as if all five fingers of the hand were held rigid so that the movement of one would mean that all must move together simultaneously. This lack of differentiation in the back obviously impairs and inhibits movements of the shoulder and movements in other parts of the body which should be coordinated with them. In the following exercise, some of these muscle groups will be differentiated — possibly for the first time since childhood. Lie on your back with your arms at your sides and the palms down. Notice how your back and shoulders make contact with the floor, and whether you can distinguish any differences between the two sides. Are you able to sense the two sides with equal clarity? Remember the sensing and the contact with the floor so that you can compare what you feel now with what you will feel later on. Unless otherwise specified, or unless too little time is given, each movement should be performed at least twenty-five times. With your right arm, reach towards the ceiling as high as you can reach. Observe if your shoulder and shoulder blade leave the floor and, if so, how high it goes. How much distance between the shoulder and the floor? Bend your right leg so your right foot stands on the floor. Reach again as high as you can, and note if your shoulder now comes up higher. You can push a little with the bottom of the right foot, if that helps. And note that the shoulder will come up higher if you turn your head somewhat to the left and shift the weight onto the left side of the pelvis. Do that, but make sure that you are not simply rolling from side to side. Everything else must be secondary to your effort to raise the shoulder higher off the floor. So now when you reach and your head has turned and your weight is shifted to the left side of the pelvis, leave those parts of yourself where they are and only bring the shoulder blade back down to the floor. Continue to lie somewhat to the left and simply move the shoulder down to the floor, and then take it away as far as it will go. Almost all of the movement now must be in the right side of the back from the waist up; and the head, facing left, should move little or not at all as you raise and lower the shoulder. Note if any other part of your body moves or is moved as you do that. What is happening with the left shoulder and the back on the left side? Make the movement as quick and agile as you can. Stop and rest.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

Do the same thing again for a while, making the movements quick without sacrificing quality. Emphasize clarity of sensation as well as smoothness of movement. Stop and rest. Put your legs and your arms down. Raise the right arm and reach towards the ceiling. See if now you spontaneously turn your head to the left and shift your weight to the left as you reach up. See how the movement is affected when you let the right foot roll over onto its inside, meaning that the right leg rotates from its hip joint. Then stop moving the leg and see if now you can reach about as high and as easily as you could do before by moving it, and as you could do before that by bending the leg and pushing with the foot. You will still have to let the head go to the left, and the weight when the right side comes up will be shifted to the left side of the pelvis so that there is little or no movement below your navel. And just take the shoulder up and down. Then stop and rest. Observe the contact your right upper back and shoulder now make with the floor. Note whether the right side of the back seems wider than the left side and whether this feeling extends throughout your right side so that the chest feels wider, too. And compare the clarity with which you sense the upper right side of your body to your sensing of the left side. Compare the right and left sides from the top of the head to the bottoms of the feet, and note any other differences between the two sides which were not there before or which escaped your attention. Then, still lying on your back, palms down and arms close to your sides, simply rest. Lie on your left side with your knees bent and your head on your arm — a position completely unsuitable for sleeping or almost all other endeavors. Raise your right arm towards the ceiling and a little to the front and then, without moving your legs or your head, let the whole arm go down towards the floor in back of you as far as it will go without straining the shoulder. Observe whether the back of the hand touches the floor or, if not, how closely it approaches it. Now let the arm down towards the floor in back of you again. This time, however, let the right knee come up towards the ceiling. Also let the head turn to the right so that you can follow the movement of the hand and arm as they come down to the floor. You turn far enough to the right with your leg and your head so that the right shoulder comes down to the floor and the entire right arm lies extended on the floor. Do that a number of times, sensing how the shoulder and the arm lie on the floor. Now lie again as you were at the start of the movement, with the head on the arm and the right knee on top of the left knee. Leave the head and the leg where they are and take just the right arm back towards the floor. See if now the arm easily reaches the floor and, in some cases, the shoulder as well as the arm will now easily lie on the floor. Continue to do it and try to be aware of that differentiation which has occurred in the muscles of the back to allow such radical improvement. Take a brief rest.

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16. [#16] Differentiating Muscles and Movements of Back and Shoulder

Continue to lie on your left side and let your right arm rest on your thigh. Place your hand on the floor in front of you with the right arm extended and slide the hand away from you however far it will go. How far out can you reach, and how close can you come to letting your armpit rest on the floor? Do not move your head or your legs more than just a little as you reach out in front of you along the floor. Now, instead of freezing the legs and the head, let them both move as the arm goes forward. Let the right foot come up towards the ceiling with the right knee still resting on the left. At the same time let the head turn so that you come over onto the right side of your face. The left knee and most of the left leg should remain on the floor. Raising the right foot and bringing the head onto the right side, see how far you can reach out. See if, by adding these movements, you can reach out so far that you can put your right armpit on the floor, or almost Now, no longer moving the head or the right leg, reach out and see if you still can place the armpit on the floor or close to it. Do that several times. Then reach out as far in front of you as you can go and, as you bring the arm back towards you, raise it and let it extend towards the ceiling. And then let it down behind you as you did in the beginning, and see if you still can bring the arm and shoulder down to the floor. Then raise the arm towards the ceiling. Bring it down so the hand is on the floor, slide it forward so that the armpit approaches the floor. And continue to move back and forth between your maximum movement to the front and your maximum movement to the rear. When the arm is behind you on the floor, make several large circles with the hand on its back, the hand passing above your head at the top and over your thigh at the bottom of the circle. Stop. Let the arm slide forward as far as it will go, and make some additional circles with the palm of the hand on the floor, more giant circles, clockwise and counterclockwise, the palm of the hand losing contact with the floor or your body only at that one point where the shoulder must rotate and the hand must turn over. Lie on your back and compare the feeling in the right shoulder with that in the left. See if the right side of the back now is very much clearer in your body image than before, as well as making much better contact with the surface beneath it and in other ways demonstrating the improvement. Then roll to one side, get up, walk around and compare the mobility, the freedom, of the two shoulders and the two sides of the back as you move, and also as you reach out towards different points in space.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

17. [#17] Arms Above Head Teaching time: about 45 minutes

To begin with, lie on your back and scan your body. Try to be aware of the entire surface of your body, building the awareness a bit at a time as you move from your toes and your feet on up towards the top of your head. And see if that awareness can also include your major skeletal joints. Note how you spontaneously lie, and then place your hands and arms alongside your body with the palms down. Pay particular attention to how your shoulders lie when both palms are flat against the floor. If the shoulders are up, press them down against the floor and see to what extent, if any, your wrists then bend and your hands come off the floor. Let the hands and arms lie flat again, and bring your shoulders up towards your ears so that the hands and arms slide up and down. Bring them up as high as they will go, but take them down only about to the point where you started. And repeat that movement many times. Do the shoulders feel to you as if they move equally, and do you sense each one with equal clarity? Raise them alternately and see if that adds anything to your knowledge. Then move them simultaneously again. Now bend your arms and place the upper arms at shoulder height with the lower arms vertical and at right angles to the upper. Let the wrists be free so that the hands dangle. Then make circles with the arms and hands and note if they circle in the same or in opposite directions. Move them so that they circle in the same direction. Reverse that movement so that they both move counterclockwise. Circle just with the right hand and arm and then circle in the opposite direction with the left. And see if you have to stop and think how to do it, even though that was what you did spontaneously when you first began the movements. Stop and circle with both arms without thinking about it, and you will almost certainly find that you circle in opposing directions with no difficulty whatever. Reverse the direction of the circling. Do it a few times and then let the lower arms down at shoulder height. Do they lie palms down or palms up? Do they, perhaps, lie on the side? Try them in different positions and see which you prefer. Then make a loose fist with each hand. Roll them up and down with the arms at shoulder height, sensing that the rotations are in the shoulder joints. When you roll them down, come as far as you can go without straining, and then lift your head and see if you can roll the fist another quarter turn or so.

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17. [#17] Arms Above Head

Then put the head down and see if you can easily roll that quarter turn that was impossible before. Roll the fist up and see where you can go without straining, and then lift your head and see if you can roll the fist another quarter turn or so. Then put the head down and see if you can easily roll that quarter turn that was impossible before. Roll the fist up and see where you can go without straining. Then bend your legs, raise your pelvis high off the floor, and see if you can roll an extra quarter turn with the fists in the upward direction. Lower the pelvis and see if you do not retain that extra movement also, so that now when you roll the fists you have extended your ability to rotate the shoulder joints by almost fifty per cent, and some will gain even more. This effect would be quite impossible to achieve by force of will without inflicting some injury on the body. But the brain, when approached by a mind that is knowledgeably used, will give the alteration almost instantaneously. Roll the fists a few more times, and then put the arms down and rest. Sense how your shoulders lie. And slide them up towards your ears again a number of times. Then bend the arms at the elbows. Put the upper arms at shoulder height and let the lower arms sink towards the floor above your head. If they touch the floor, let them rest on the backs of your hands. And then, with the wrists still extended, raise them until the fingers point straight to the ceiling. Keep lowering and raising them. Observe the feeling in your shoulders as you do it. See if you can continue with the movement, bringing the hands and arms down by your sides so that the palms lie flat on the floor. The upper arms remain at shoulder height, and the lower arms are at right angles to the upper. Do your shoulders have to come off the floor as you lower your arms and, if so, at what point? Is it the same with each shoulder? If not, how do they differ? Continue the movement, lowering the hands towards the floor above your head and then lowering them so the palms touch or approach the floor at your sides. But alternate the movements so that the right arm and hand are overhead when the left ones are down at your side. They should meet one another at that midpoint where the fingers are pointing toward the ceiling. Stop and let the extended arms rest at shoulder height with the palms up. Then bend the elbows, sliding the hands along the floor towards your head. Slide them simultaneously and then do it alternately, so that one goes out to the side as the other comes up toward the head. Extend the movement so the hands move alternately down along the floor to touch your sides. Note that the downward part of the movement is done with the palms down on the floor; the upward part of the movement is done with the palms up. Continue to do it but with both arms moving together. Then stop and rest a moment with the hands above the head, on or close to the floor.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

Raise the arms towards the ceiling. Then let them sink down towards the floor above your head. How much of the arms touch the floor? And is it the same for the left arm as for the right? How close do your arms come to your ears? Slide the extended arms up and down so that your hands go as far away from your head as they can comfortably go. Do that a number of times and then, from the farthest-out position, take the arms from side to side. When you go to the right, the left arm should touch the left ear. When you go to the left, the right arm should touch the right ear. See if your arms will lie comfortably so that both arms make contact with the ears. If not, let them rest as close to the ears as possible, and take the head from side to side so that first one ear touches an arm and then the other. Pay attention to how the arms sense the ears and then, having done that a number of times, shift your focus to how the ears sense the arms. As you do that, see if it becomes easier to hold the arms closer to the ears. Turn your head somewhat left to right, and continue to sense the contact being made by the arms with the ears and by the ears with the arms. Observe if it becomes easier to let the arms rest above your head, if the shoulders sink lower, and if the arms make a better contact with the floor. If it is difficult to hold one or both arms in contact with the ears, let the left arm go out a little to one side where the ear can be easily placed against the shoulder. Then, without breaking that contact, straighten the head. The right arm should be in any comfortable position over the head. Then place the right arm where the ear can make easy contact with it while the left arm remains in its place. Move the head back and forth a few times, touching the left arm with the left ear and the right arm with the right ear. Then, maintaining the contact of the right ear with the right shoulder, straighten the head. And see if now the arms make a better contact, or more closely approach the ears, on both sides. Slide your hands up and down a few times along the floor. Then raise the arms towards the ceiling and lower them. Let the wrists be loose. And let the arms come down, if they will, so that they slide off your cheekbones and then rest alongside your ears. Then you raise them, let them come down to the floor at your sides and then go back overhead. Do it a number of times and then let your arms rest down at your sides. See what kind of contact your shoulders now make with the floor, and the hands as well. Are the shoulders lower now, or more down than they were, so that the arm and the hand can be flat, or flatter? And pushing down with the shoulders does not cause the wrist to bend or the hand to come up. If the shoulders, arms and hands all lay flat at the beginning, then there should still be a definite sense of different contact with the floor. Several more times, raise the arms above your head and see if they will easily come down alongside the ears. Then roll to one side. Get up and walk around and observe the feelings and the movements in your shoulders. See if the arms do not very easily swing high when – 84 –

17. [#17] Arms Above Head

you walk, and also very freely swing towards the ceiling. Walk around and see whatever else you may observe.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

18. [#18] Completing Body Image: Sensing the Head Teaching time: about 45 minutes

To begin with, walk around a little. Note how you walk, and especially paying attention to your head and neck. How do you sense them? How do you use them? What is their relation to your walking? Then sit down with your legs in front of you, crossed or however you prefer them. Sit with your back about as straight or as rounded as you normally have it, and sense your head. Sense it with your eyes open and sense it with your eyes closed, and see whether what you do with your eyes affects the sensing of your head. Now let your head go back as far as it will comfortably go. Look up to the ceiling and try to find some mark on the ceiling that will allow you to remember where you could comfortably look. Let your head return to its normal position. Now take the head back again, but this time focus on your chin and let the chin lead the movement of the head back. When you focus on the chin, what happens? And where do you look on the ceiling? Take the head back, letting the nose lead the movement. Do it leading the movement with the forehead. And now do it letting the back of your head lead the movement. Take the back of your head back and down and notice where you now are looking on the ceiling. Lead with the chin, taking the head back, and see where you look. Then lead with the back of the head. If you successfully focus your attention on the chin, you will succeed in so constricting the muscles of the neck and so inhibiting the movement of the cervical joints that only a small and rather difficult movement will be possible. If, on the other hand, you successfully focus on the back of your head, the muscles will instantly lengthen, the joints will become much more flexible and a much more expansive movement will take place (as you can feel internally and as you can measure externally by where you can look on the ceiling). Just this one shift of awareness from the chin to the back of the head dramatically alters your potential and illustrates the very great importance of performing actions with awareness. Now lie on your back and sense your body, paying special attention to how the head lies. Roll it from side to side a few times. See how far it goes to the right and to the left, and whether the two movements are the same. Now, when the head goes right, put your attention on your left ear. Think of the movement as one which has the result of increasing the distance between the right ear and the floor. In other words, when the head goes right, you focus on the left ear and when the head goes left you focus on the right ear. And, if that seems to you to be a poor way to turn your head, your observation is correct. And now, instead — when the head goes right let the right ear lead the movement; when the head goes left let the left ear lead the movement. See if this – 86 –

18. [#18] Completing Body Image: Sensing the Head

improves your performance. Try it the old way, turning the head right and focusing on the left ear and turning left while focusing on the right ear. Then go back to letting the right ear lead the movement right and the left ear lead the movement left. Once again you see how to make a more efficient — or, for that matter, more inefficient — use of your nervous system, depending on how you use your intelligence and how you focus your awareness. Let your head rest in the middle and observe how you sense your head. See if you can sense the top of the head, the forehead, the temples, the eyes, the nose, the cheekbones, the ears, the lips, the lines of the jaw, the interior of the mouth and the tongue, the throat and the neck, and whatever else you sense plainly, dimly, or not at all. Roll the head side to side and notice what you sense as you do that. Then lie on your left side in such a way as to be able to place as much of the left side of your face on the floor as possible. Obviously, putting the left hand above the head is not a good way to do it. Putting the left hand in front of you improves the situation slightly, but not much. Putting the left arm behind you, however, allows the left side of the face to rest on the floor. Note which part of it makes contact with the floor. Lie in such a way that the ear is flat against the floor. Then roll the head to the right, to make contact with the forehead, the eyes, the nose, the mouth and the chin on the floor. And go back and forth on the floor between those parts and the ear. See whether it makes any difference what you do with your legs, whether the head moves more freely with the legs bent and closer to the upper body than with the legs extended. See if you can turn the head so as to come onto the front of your face. But be careful of your nose. You will find that if you roll directly to the side, the nose will prevent the front of the face from making good contact. If, however, you turn in such a way that you come onto your forehead, then the pressure on the nose will be from the top towards the bottom, the nose will flatten, and forehead, nose, lips and chin can all make simultaneous contact. Practice turning the head until you can do that easily. Pay attention to the feelings in every part of your face that makes contact with the floor in the course of that movement. Note that you roll over the cheek and eye en route between the ear and the forehead. Then lie on your back and rest. Compare the two sides of the body including the shoulders, the hands, the feet and the face. Then turn onto your right side with your right arm behind you, and do the same thing moving from lying on your ear to lying comfortably on the front of your face. Remember that you must press down on your nose from above and not exert pressure mainly on the side of the nose. With the face lying on its front, gently push the head up and down so that the face slides up and down along the floor. Then stop. Lie on your back a moment; compare what you sense now with your last scanning of your body. Roll to a sitting position. Put the fronts of your lower legs on the floor so that you are sitting on your heels, or however closely you can approximate that. Then lift – 87 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME I

your pelvis up and forward, come down onto your forearms, and put the top of your head on the floor. Then, by moving your pelvis forward and back, roll the head on the floor so that you come down onto your face. And then go back onto the top of your head and as far back over onto the back of your head as you can go without difficulty, firmly resisting any impulse to either stand on your head or do a somersault. If you are doing this exercise in a room with other people, and you were to fall against them under these circumstances, you easily could break someone's neck. Now stop. Put your left ear and the left side of your face on the floor. Turn your head left and right, coming over onto the right ear and then going back onto the left ear. See if you do it best when your hands are placed about at the level of your ears, or whether that is too low and the hands should rather be placed slightly higher. Lie on your stomach and continue to do the same thing, taking the head from side to side. If it helps to exert some pressure on the floor with the palms of the hands pushing and pulling, then do that. Also make some circles on the floor with the front of your face. And be sure that, at some point in the circling, the chin and the forehead get included. See if you can include the lips and the eyes. Be sure and reverse the direction of the circling from time to time. Lie on your back once again and rest, noting the awareness you now have of your face and head. Roll the head from side to side and see whether that different awareness makes for a different movement also. Then slowly roll to one side and get up. Walk around the room to see if your head feels differently; whether your posture is changed; whether you feel somewhat taller; but, more than that, whether your perspective on the reality around you has changed. Are you perceiving, in ways you are conscious of, more with your head and from your head than usual, but doing so in a way that enhances your perception of the space and the objects around you, without making your awareness of the rest of your body less than it normally is? Sit down and note how you sense your head as compared with how you sensed it at the beginning of the exercise. Try it both with the eyes opened and with the eyes closed.

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18. [#18] Completing Body Image: Sensing the Head

VOLUME II

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME II

1. [#19] Psychophysical Profile Teaching time: about four hours

We are going to proceed with a very thorough scrutiny of your nervous system and the way it works in relation to your movements; how your body is organized from the musculoskeletal point of view; how your body image compares to your actual physical body. You will learn ways in which the brain can instantly, when approached in the right way, allow you to make changes in your body that would ordinarily take weeks or months to make by conventional procedures. You will, in a brief period of time, be able to do movements that would severely injure you if you tried to force them. You will be able to do the movements very easily, simply because the brain is made use of in a different way. To begin with, stand up. The information that you will come away with will, in almost every case, have to do with things you have discovered need to be changed. Then, what you do about it is up to you, with few exceptions. I will not show you things that cannot be changed. There is no point to it. Stand in a normal way. If you do not usually do so, let your arms hang down at your sides. Notice whether your knees are locked. The knees should always be just slightly flexed. If they are habitually locked, as is customary with most people, you will eventually lay the basis for arthritic problems. The knee is so vulnerable, when locked, that a baby kicking it from the side could break an adult's leg. It takes only about thirty pounds of pressure, striking it from the side, to break the leg when the knee is locked. If the knees are habitually flexed, the chances of any kind of accidental knee injury is greatly reduced. Now, observe at what angles your feet are extended. See if the feet go out symmetrically, or whether one goes out more than the other so that the two hip rotations are obviously asymmetrical. In a well-organized human body, the feet will be extended at an angle of about thirty degrees. In a lying position, this angle will be somewhat more than in a standing one, approximately forty-five degrees. In a standing position they should go out at an angle, because that allows the greatest amount of freedom of movement. You can move in any direction more efficiently if your feet extend at an angle somewhere between thirty and forty degrees. Walk around for a minute. If the body is functioning as it should, you will notice that, unconsciously, most of you have rotated the hip joint inward so that the foot points forward. When you walk it is natural for the foot to go forward so that the ankle joint moves in the same direction as the knee and hip joints. If you walk with the feet out, then you put a strain on the knee and hip, and you otherwise interfere with the walking. Common sense dictates that the joints should all move in the same direction when you go forward. Now, stand again. Observe whether it seems to you that you stand equally on your two feet, or whether you put more weight on one foot than on the other. If you – 90 –

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feel there is more weight on one foot you may also discover your hand is lower on that side, indicating that the shoulder is lower. Your neck would also appear longer on that side to someone observing you. When more weight is put on one foot than the other, the hip will be thrust out on the opposite side. This indicates that the spine is curving in the direction of the foot on which the person is standing heaviest. If you feel that you stand heavier, or you see that one of your arms is a little lower, exaggerate the tendency and you will feel what is going on in your spine. Most of you can try it; you will have a sense of how a curvature in the spine feels. In most people, when the curvature is slight, the feeling is unconscious. Now let your arms hang at your sides. Look visually, and see if one hand is hanging lower than the other. Your unconscious may be playing games with you. The hand that was hanging lower adjusts just before you look. Now, observe how the hands lie in relation to the body when you just allow them to hang normally. If the shoulder rotation is as it should be, the backs of the hands will face forward, the thumb and the small finger will be in front of the thigh, the other three fingers will be out to the side, the backs of the hands will face forward and, of course, the two arms will hang symmetrically. One will not be further out from the body than the other. People used to be taught to stand with the palms against the sides — an indication of a military posture. This means that the shoulders have to be rotated back and out in a way that should be painful, if one sensed what was going on. The deformities or defects in the rotations occur so slowly that the feedback to the brain is distorted. The brain does not feel what should be sensed as uncomfortable. Neural pathways are blocked and the brain is not getting the message about the pain. While in a standing position, the backs of the hands should face forward. The palms of the hands will face forward in regressed schizophrenics and sub-human primates, otherwise not ordinarily. Sometimes, when there is a sufficient regression in the nervous system, the palms will also face out. Face your palms forward or out. See how uncomfortable that feels. Having the palms face in towards the sides should also be a very uncomfortable and awkward experience Once the shoulder rotations have been restored to their proper functioning, it will be quite uncomfortable to stand in this military kind of way. The military posture also pulls the chest out. This interferes with the breathing and reduces the flow of blood to the brain because the throwing back of the shoulders and the throwing out of the chest causes the back to arch. Alexander tried to get the British army to alter that. He showed statistics proving that the rate of arthritis, rheumatism, respiratory problems and cardiac problems is much higher in the army than in comparable groups of people. A possible explanation seemed to be the military posture, but he could not get them interested in changing it. Alexander's observation is undoubtedly true. Now, close your eyes and try to make your body perfectly symmetrical. Use your kinesthetic sense. Do not check visually to see where any of your parts are. That will mean that the knees are equally flexed and locked, and the feet go out an equal distance; the spaces between the fingers are the same; the hands in relation to the – 91 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME II

body and the shoulders are the same; you are breathing equally through both nostrils. If one hand is touching the body and another hand is not touching, then obviously it is not symmetrical. Try to make it so that it feels to you that it is symmetrical, however awkward or uncomfortable that might be. If you cannot tell whether you are breathing equally through your two nostrils, put a finger against one nostril and then against the other. Note whether the breathing is what you sensed it to be. Now, open your eyes and notice where you are looking. Walk around the room a little bit and see if you are doing it in your normal way. Notice whether it is common that you walk looking at the floor. If you do that, is it because your head is bent or because your eyes look down? The eyes should look straight out at the horizon with the head reasonably erect. When the muscles of the eyes are free, and the posture is reasonably good, you will see the floor just as well as you see it when you walk with your head bent forward or your eyes cast down. In addition, the whole field of vision will be larger. You will see more out at the sides and more above you, while seeing equally well below. People walk as if they are in constant fear of tripping over something or stepping on something. In fact, that is how the habit often begins, though there is no need for it. Now, stop at your mat again. Just look from side to side. Look to the left and look to the right. Did you turn your head? It is not necessary to turn the head to look to the left and to the right. You have eyes to accomplish that. Try to think whether, even when you read, you turn your head from left to right to follow the words along the page. This is an important point: when the muscles of the eyes are not allowed to move freely — to do that part of the looking which they are quite competent to do — they become progressively more rigid and you end up with glaucoma and cataracts. The lens of the eye will harden and the night vision will be decreased. You will not be able to see things close up. A lot of what is considered to be a symptom of aging is merely a product of the inability of the eyes to move freely. One evidence that it is not a loss of capacity in the eyes occurs with people in a hypnotic trance state who ordinarily are myopic or who cannot see in a dimly lighted room. In trance, the eye muscles will spontaneously loosen sufficiently for the person to be able to see much, much better. The room will appear to be lighter and they will be able to read close and at a distance. Whatever their problem is, their vision will improve. Eye exercises are another example. If you do eye exercises and loosen the eye muscles sufficiently, the vision also will improve. The problem with eye exercises has been that it is hard for people to remain motivated, as the exercises are so time consuming before bringing about a real change. In fact, they work, if a person wants to take that much time and effort to work on the problem. Some people turn from the waist to look to the left or to the right. They not only freeze the eyes and the head, but they turn the whole upper body to look. This means they are immobilizing two important segments. – 92 –

1. [#19] Psychophysical Profile

Now, lie down for a minute. As I speak to you, close your eyes and let your consciousness roam over your body. Scan your body, beginning with your feet. See where you sense it clearly; where you sense it not so clearly; where you may sense it not at all. What you sense is what we call the “body image” or the “body of experience.” It does not necessarily coincide with the actual physical body. It is a body image that has been built up over a period of years. Many things are responsible for it. Some people, for example, have a body image in which the hips are experienced as being near the top of the pelvis, and they will walk accordingly. Once they find out where the hips are, come to experience them, and to sense them, the whole use of the body will change. It is common, when a person is lying down, that the three middle toes are not sensed at all, or very unclearly sensed. This occurs because the connection between the brain and the toes is very, very poor. Keeping the feet in shoes that usually do not fit well, poor walking habits and so on, cause the connection between the brain and the foot to be lost. The toes that should be able to move like fingers cannot be free. There are people who can play the piano with their toes quite well. Everybody should be able to potentially do that. Everybody can potentially do that. There is no need for the toes to be that mobile, but they should, at least, be able to move in an articulated way. We will examine that later. You will see the extent to which your brain, in fact, is unable to control the movements of the toes because the neural connections have been damaged and blocked. The control can be restored without too much effort. As long as those pathways are not functional, there is no possibility of a person walking well. This dysfunction creates problems throughout your entire structure. When there are fairly serious sexual problems the genitals may disappear from the body image, so that the person experiences them as just an empty space. The part that is usually sensed most clearly and easily is the lips. See if your lips are as clear in your body image as any part of you. The uses of the mouth — for communication, taking nourishment, relating to another person physically — cause the mouth to be very clear in the body image. Also usually comparatively quite clear are the eyes, again one of the most important parts of the body. This is also true of the hands. These are the parts that are most frequently conscious. It is conscious use that vivifies the body image. Feet are used all the time, but with very little consciousness. It might even be, as it is sometimes said, that the distance of the feet from the brain has something to do with it. It has always been noted that dwarves, for instance, have a very strong sex drive because the distance from the sexual organs to the brain is not very great. Observe which parts of your body image are clear, which are unclear, and which you do not sense at all. Try to sense which is the highest part of your body. Leave your arms down at your sides with the palms down, if they will lie with the palms down. Let them lie in near your buttocks. Notice whether you have your hands half clenched like claws. That indicates there is a great deal of excessive contraction in the muscles of the hand and the arm. The hands should lie flat easily, especially with the palms down. Host people have more trouble letting the hand lie flat on its – 93 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME II

back. It is not at all uncommon for the wrist, part of the hand and also the shoulder to be considerably elevated. Now, sense what is the highest part of your body. With most people, it is the nose. With some women, it is the chest; occasionally it is the belly. Occasionally, with the man, it will be the chest or the belly. Now, without intellectualizing and certainly without visually checking, just using your senses other than the visual, sense the height of your forehead. Keep your right arm extended, not bending it at the elbow. Raise your hand to indicate what you sense the height of your forehead to be. Keep the arm straight. Leave the hand raised. Then look and see where your hand is. Do you see what I mean by a discrepancy between the body image and the physical body? You will find it in any group. You can put your hands down now. You will find that some people will sense, if the hand is indicating accurately, that the head is about the size of an orange. Some are sensing it to be four or five times as large as it is. If, in fact, that is how they are sensing the head, then obviously this will affect how the body is used. We do not know, in such a case, whether that person is sensing faultily where the forehead is, or whether she or he does not know what the arm is doing. So we will try it a different way. This time, without again intellectualizing or trying to calculate what the height of the forehead is, bend your arm at the elbow and place your hand at that point where you sense your forehead to be. Leave the upper arm on the floor and just bend the lower arm to indicate where your forehead is. Now, look at your hand and see how it relates to the physical reality, with the body on the floor. Now, try something easy. Since the mouth is usually quite clear in the body image, with your eyes closed, raise both hands and indicate with your forefingers where the outer corners of your mouth are. Use just the forefingers. Then, look and see if it is correct. Now, put your arms down. Sense the width of your head at the temples (the outer sides of your head). With your two hands, indicate what is the width of your head. Put the hands somewhere above you and indicate what you sense the width of your head to be. Now, look at that. Put the arms down; then, indicate with your forefingers where the outer corners of your eyes are. Put your fingers up over your chest someplace. Indicate the width of your eyes. Look. Then put the hands down and just rest a minute. In this position, observe at what angle the feet go out. Observe whether the body is symmetrical or not. In this position, the feet should go out very close to fortyfive degrees. If they extend more than that, the muscles are hypotonic — they are not giving adequate support to prevent an excessive rotation in the hip joints. If the angle is much less, you have hypertonic muscles — ones that are excessively contracted, that refuse to allow the hip joint to rotate. You will sometimes observe cases where muscles in the ankle are so feeble that the bottom of the foot will almost lie on the floor in this position. In other cases the two feet will point straight up towards the ceiling, especially if the legs are held very close together. This position of the feet is usually body language that has more psychological significance than it does about the condition of the muscles. It may indicate very rigid character structure or extreme defensiveness. Some of you may have read the very excellent book My Voice Will – 94 –

1. [#19] Psychophysical Profile

Go with You by Milton Erickson. In it, he gives an excellent discussion of body language. He could always tell by the way the legs were held when one of his female patients was having an affair with someone other than her husband. It was such a characteristic way of sitting that time and again he would ask the question and get a confirmation, when they were sitting that way. Now, observe whether there are any spaces under your knees. The knees should lie flat without spaces beneath them, as was the case with the hands, the wrists and the shoulders. The backs of the shoulders should lie on the floor. They rarely do this without work to release them. When habitual contractions that serve no good purpose are released, the shoulders will lie flat. See if you can sense how much space there is beneath the lumbar spine (the small of the back). When you have sensed it, put your hand there See if it is what you felt it to be. Do the same with the cervical spine. See how much space you feel is under your neck. After you have sensed it, take your fingers and put them on their sides. See how many fingers you can insert under the right side of the neck and how many you can get under the left side. It should be the same on the two sides, about one and one half or two fingers. If you can insert three or four, then the spine is arched in the neck. It is easy to see an excessive arch when the person is lying on the floor; the chin will tend to point up towards the ceiling. Now, without looking, place your arms out at your sides, at shoulder height. Let them lie on the ground with the palms down if they will, but know how you spontaneously put them. See if they really are at shoulder height, if the two arms are equal, or if one goes up and the other goes down. Keeping the upper arms at shoulder height, bend the arms at the elbows so that the hands are towards the ceiling, palms facing towards your feet. Let the wrists be extended. Make them stiff, but not excessively so. Let the hands and the lower arms point towards the ceiling. Now, without changing the position of the upper arms, bring your palms down towards the floor. Notice whether they touch or not. Also, look and see whether you have altered the position of the upper arms. Let them slide down. Put your palms down on the floor at your sides. The lower arm is at a right angle to the upper arm. Now, take them up. Do that two or three times. Try to be sure that you do not move the upper arm. Leave the upper arm on the floor. Notice whether your shoulders have to come up. Now, take the lower arm overhead, and see if you can touch it on the floor easily. Try to lay the back of the hand on the floor, and then bring it forward again. Then, try to place the entire forearm and hand flat on the floor. Now, stop a minute. Those of you who cannot place the forearm and the hand on the floor, bend your arms so that the hands point towards the ceiling. Leave them up there. Now, keep the lower arms at right angles to the upper arms, and the upper arms at shoulder height. As you come down to put the hands and forearms on the floor, let your head come up. That will make it easy. Then, when the arms come back up, let the head go down. Do that several times. Remember to breathe freely. Bring the head and the shoulders up to whatever height necessary for you to be able to put the hands and the arms – 95 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME II

down perfectly flat. Exhale as you come down. Now, leave your head down and do it. You should find that the shoulder rotation has increased. If you cannot put your hands and forearms down perfectly flat, bring the head up a few more times until you can do it easily. Now, stop. Put your arms above your head on the floor. Note whether you can leave them alongside your ears. Note whether you can bring them in so they make contact with your ears; see whether the arms will lie flat. Then roll over onto your right side so that the arm is in contact with the ear, with the ear resting on the arm. Leave the arm and the ear together, and roll onto your back. Do it a few more times. Just roll so that the ear is on the arm and then, without breaking the contact of the ear and the arm (unless you have to) roll onto your back, keeping the ear and the arm together. Then do it on the left side. Roll over onto your left arm and then come back with the ear and the arm together. Note whether you are able to get close to the ear with the arm, whether you can lie with the arm against the ear. Now, when you go over onto your side and you are lying with the ear on the arm, clasp your hands so that the two arms are against the ears. Then roll over onto your back. Go onto the other side and then onto your back. Unclasp the fingers and see if the arms will lie so that they are both in contact with the ears. Raise the arms towards the ceiling. Bring them down, letting them slide off your cheek bones and lie alongside your ears. Do it with the hands clasped and the fingers interlaced. Bring them down a few times. Then, when that is easy, do it without the fingers interlaced. Now stop; we will do one more thing that will affect the upper back in a much more profound way. Lie on your right side. Raise your left arm towards the ceiling. Let your legs be bent a little, one lying on top of the other. Take the hand towards the floor behind you, however far it will go. Keep the arms straight. See how far your shoulder is from the floor in that position. Notice how some of you cannot get your hands anywhere near the floor. Others can get the hand down, but the shoulder is raised. Now bring the arm up. This time, when you take the arm back, let the knee come up towards the ceiling and let the head turn in the direction of the arm. Putting the arm behind you, note whether you can put it on the floor. Keep your feet together. Just raise the knee. Let one foot rest on top of the other, with the knee towards the ceiling. Do that several times. Bring the head, the knee and the arm back, and then take all three together behind you. Try to let the shoulder rest completely on the floor. Bring the knee up high enough and the head over far enough so that the shoulder can rest on the floor. Now, do it this time leaving the head and the knee facing forward, and only taking the arm back. Note whether you can now put the arm on the floor. If you cannot do it completely yet, then use several more knee and head movements to allow you to bring the arm down completely. When that is very easy, leave the head and the knee alone. Bring your knee up. Then, once it is easy to do, practice it a number of times, taking the arm back. This creates a drastic alteration in the upper part of the back around the shoulder blade. You are giving it a freedom that it may – 96 –

1. [#19] Psychophysical Profile

never have enjoyed. If you lose it for a moment, let the knee come up and the head go over until you have regained the capacity to put the shoulder and arm completely on the floor. Now, roll onto your other side and do it. You will be giving your upper back a very important new measure of freedom. Just let the head turn and the knee come up until the shoulder lies quite flat on the floor. You can continue to do that until you can leave the knee and the head alone, and take the arm back, in the same way. The entire shoulder should lie on the floor. Do not settle for anything less. Keep taking the head and the knee forward until you have got it. Then lie on your back and rest. Bend your legs now. Let the feet stand on the floor. Let your hands be at your sides with your palms down. Let the left knee sink over towards the floor, however far it will go without straining. Both feet should be standing flat on the floor when you start. Then, take the left knee over to the side and bring it back. See how far it goes. Notice the distance between the knee and the floor. Then try it on the right side and observe if it is the same, or better, or worse. Then see also if you can feel what it is that obstructs the movement. The legs should simply be able to drop onto their outsides and lie on the floor easily. Do you feel that the obstruction is in the leg or the back or in the hip joint? If you do not find an obstruction, then sense what it is that you are using. Now stop. Let the left knee go over as far as it goes easily and leave it there. Now, bring it up again, having noted where it is. Put your right foot on the inside of your left knee. Then, gently push with the right foot, and see if you can take the left knee over to the floor by pushing gently on the inside of the knee with the foot. Then, when the leg is over as far as it will go, put the foot on the outside of the knee and retrieve it. Pull it back up. Repeat that movement several times, pushing to take the leg over and pulling with the foot to take it back. See if, by doing it that way, the leg goes over all the way. Remember to breathe freely. In all of this, do only what is easy. Do not hurt yourself. When you do it easily, the improvement will eventually be much greater because you will be behaving in a way consistent with the hedonistic nature of the nervous system. If you try to do it with will, if you force it or inflict pain on it, you may achieve your end but you will likely soon lose it again. You will also not only possibly injure yourself, but you will create conflicts within your own organism — in your unconscious and in the body itself — when you force it to do things it is not ready to do. But, if you gently and sensitively move it, the brain will understand what you want and it will give it to you much quicker in a way that is practically useful. Now, note whether you can take the knee all the way over by pushing with the foot, and leave it there. Take it as far as it will go. Keep the foot on the inside of the knee. Now, use the foot to bring it back. Then, put the right foot on the floor, and just take the left leg over. See if now it goes over either all the way or much further than it did. If it does not quite make it, use the foot several more times to take it over and bring it back, until it goes all the way or as far as you can now get it. Practice taking the left leg over without using the foot, a few more times. Now, do that on the right side until you have an equal freedom on the right side. You will probably find that – 97 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME II

the right side does better from the start, because it has already learned something from what you did on the left side. Some of that knowledge is transferred through your brain. You will see, repeatedly, that if you achieve something on one side and then go over to the other side, it will be easier, because a good part of the learning will have been done already. The nervous system will have been re-educated. You will know how to do better on the second side what you have to work to learn on the first side. Now, if you take the two legs out to the side simultaneously, there is no way on earth that you will put one on the floor. Use your left foot to push your right leg over. Do the same thing that you did on the other side. When you can take it over all the way with the foot, then leave the left foot on the ground and do it without the help of the foot. This is a lower body movement. You leave your upper back flat and you do not just roll over onto your side. Allow the buttock on the left side to come up. After a while, you will not have to do it, but in the beginning you can raise your buttock. Then, just lie again with the palms down at your sides. See if the palms will rest flat or, at least, if they have come down somewhat. Some of you will have hands that are considerably straighter than they were. This should suggest to you that tensions are radiating down from the back. Leave your legs extended, and take the left foot over onto its outside. Do not bend your knee. See how closely the foot will go onto its outside, then bring it back. Do this several times. Roll the foot on its heel over onto its outside. Do not pick the foot up and move it around. Just leave the foot where it is. See if you must bend the knee to do it, or whether you can do it with the leg quite straight and without the leg coming up off the floor. It should be a conscious movement from the hip joint. Rotate out from the hip joint. You roll over the buttock towards the outside and the leg rolls to the outside; the foot, which happens to be at the other end, goes onto its outside also. Since it is basically a hip movement, if you think of turning the foot to the left and ignore the hip, that misplacement of consciousness will inhibit the movement in the hip joint. But if you sense clearly what you are doing, that to take the foot onto its outside you have to rotate the hip out, then you may find that you can move the leg better, either without having to bend the knee or without bending it so much. (If the body image is as it should be, then that kind of awareness is always there. Similarly, when you think of using the hand, you will recognize clearly and instantly that what you are doing with the hand is mainly a shoulder movement or an elbow movement or whatever it may be, and that will facilitate the movement.) Now, try turning the left foot onto its inside. Just keep doing it. Rotate the hip joint in and bring the left foot onto its inside. Do not do both feet simultaneously; that is much harder. The one movement inhibits the other one to some extent. Learn to do one well. Breathe freely. Note again whether the leg must come up and, if so, if it comes up as much or more than when the foot goes onto its outside. Now, take the right foot onto its outside. Take it as far over as it will go without straining. If it is a particularly difficult movement, bend your knee to the point where it is easy for the foot to go onto its outside. There is some point at which, – 98 –

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by bending the knee, anybody can do it. You should be able to do it by rotating from the hip joint out. Just flip it over onto its outside and bring it back. The leg will roll lightly and easily over the floor. Take that one to the inside. Bend the knee to do it, if you have to. You may find that you can bend the knee a little less each time you do it, while you continue to take the foot onto its inside. Then take both feet to the left and both feet to the right. One goes onto its inside as the other goes onto its outside. Deliberately rotate both hip joints. You have to leave some room between the feet so that one foot has some place to go without making contact with the other one. Otherwise, you do not have the ability to rotate as completely as you could. Now spread your legs so that you have plenty of room. Put at least eighteen inches between them. Then do the more difficult movement — bring them both onto the inside and both onto the outside. Again, rotate from the hip joint. If you can, just flip-flop back and forth lightly. The toes approach each other and then they go away from each other. You are rotating both in and then both out. Then, stop and rest. Let your palms lie at your sides. See if you can just pick them up and plop them down so that the hands lie flat. Those of you whose hands were very clawed and contracted in the beginning, note that as we release more and more of the musculature, the hands release more and more without us working with the hands at all. They sink down towards the floor and it gets easier and easier to let them lie there. The wrists are not up so far as they were before. More of the hand is making contact with the surface. Bend the legs so they are standing. Bring your legs back towards your chest. Draw them back and see where they go. Then, note whether by very, very lightly putting the hands on the knees, you can make contact with the rib cage with the tops of the thighs. When that rotation is adequately free, you should be able to make an easy contact with the top of the thigh to the rib cage. Remember, there is nothing to achieve. This is a learning experience where we obviously cannot change your structure of a lifetime. However, you can learn a good deal about the condition of different parts and functions that you would otherwise be ignorant of, unless you have done work similar to this. When you do realize more of your potential in these different movements and body image and sensing areas, you will not only improve your present health but you will forestall much of what is considered to be a normal aging process, but which is simply a collection of wages of sin — psychophysical, not necessarily theological sin (but they ought to be the same). Let go of your knees, unless you have to hold them to keep your legs up. Raise your right leg and see how closely the heel approaches the buttock on the right side. Then see how closely it approaches on the left. Let the ankle movement be free as well. Do not kick strenuously or you can hurt your knee. Now, slowly raise your left foot towards the ceiling, straighten the knee completely, and push up from the hip joint so that your foot goes as high towards the ceiling as you can go with the leg straight. Then let the leg bend, bring the foot down, and see if you can make contact with your buttock or come closer to it. Note whether by lightly taking hold of your – 99 –

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foot now, you can bring the heel into contact. Do not hurt your knee by pulling on it. You will achieve it in a different way, in a minute. Now try that on the right side. See if the right heel comes as close or closer to making contact with the buttock. If the heel is very far away, and you try to pull it down to the buttock, you will tear the knee and do yourself a serious injury. Now, roll over onto your left side, with your legs bent. With your hand, take hold of your right foot and bring the heel into contact with your buttock. Then move the heel up and down over the upper and lower buttock, and also in the space in between. Try to take it to the floor, or as close as you can go, and back up, sliding it along the two buttocks. Move it, when you get between them, as if you were going to insert the heel in the rectum. That is the largest demand that you can make on the knee. It is work, not pleasure, so you do not have to feel guilty. It can be both, if you like. But it is primarily a way of talking to your brain. Try to take it up and down, as far up and as far down as you can go, and try to insert it in between the buttocks. Note whether you can bring it down over the lower buttock as well. Then roll over onto your back. Note whether you can now kick yourself with your right heel or if, by holding the ankle lightly, you can now make contact between the heel and the buttock, so that the knee is obviously a good bit freer than it was. Then, go onto your right side and work on the left knee. Free that one up by taking the heel up and down across the buttocks and inserting it. Put the heel as far in between the buttocks as you can. Then come onto your back, and see if you can bring that heel into contact with your bottom. Let the ankle be free. Note whether the heel can kick the buttock, or with a gentle pull, whether you can bring them into contact. When you do that, you have gone about as far as you can go in realizing your human potentials, in respect to kicking yourself. Your foot can go no further. Again, you see that the knee must be a good bit freer to allow that. Then lie on your back. Let the hands lie palms down at your sides. Slide the hands up and down a few times. This is a shoulder movement. Keep the arms straight. Do not bend them at the elbows. You move from the shoulders and slide the hands up and down along the surface. As you do that, observe that there are two ways of doing it existentially. First, you can orient yourself towards the external world and sense what is the surface beneath the hand. This is an important way of functioning for the nervous system. Try to learn everything that you can about that surface. Or, you can shift your orientation so that what you are interested in is the sensation in your own hand. You are not interested in learning about the external world. You are only interested in letting that world provide you with sensations, letting it stimulate your flesh and your nerves. Do it one way for a while, focusing on your body's sensations and then do it the other way, using your hand as an instrument of learning about what is external to yourself. Try to do it with the whole palm, the bottoms of the fingers, the undersides. Without interrupting your breathing, wonder for a moment and try to remember whether your usual way is to let the external world provide you with sensations or whether you use your senses to learn about the external world. Just move the hand up and down, letting the fingers down and the – 100 –

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palms down, and using the hand to sense the mat, the floor. Then use the surfaces to provide you with sensations in your hand. There are two very different ways of using your nervous system, and the feelings in the hand are decidedly different when you use it to learn about something and when you use it to let it be stimulated by something. You can also do it specifically with the idea of providing the hand with pleasurable sensations. Slide it up and down, repeatedly, letting the nerve ends in the hand, which are very susceptible to pleasurable sensations, be stimulated. As a matter of fact, the nerve ends in the bottom of the feet are even more sensitive, for most people. Do it as a quick, light, easy movement, keeping the elbows straight and the palms down. Slide the hands up and down. Make the movement a little more extensive. Try to make the hands lie as flat as they easily will, as you do that. Then just leave the palms lying on the Observe the difference again. Those of you whose hands and wrists were far off the mat, do they now lie still flatter? Then just go over your body image for a minute. Remember, you never get up with your head first. If you do that, you will always introduce tension into your neck and back. Roll to one side and get up. Walk around and see if you can feel the effect of releasing those different inhibitions and muscle tensions. Feel the relaxation. When the body awareness is as it should be, the body will not do superfluous things. It will not squander energy or do anything wasteful. It will do things with economy, from what Alexander called the position of greatest mechanical advantage. In this case, it is to move only from the hip joint and not to bring in all this other irrelevancy. Now, sit and try to be aware of the way in which you hold your jaw, your mouth, the interior of your mouth, where your teeth are in relation to each other, how your tongue is lying. Generally, the teeth should not be in contact unless there is some structural deformity. The lower ones should lie a little to the rear of the uppers. The tongue should be flat and wide and in the center of the mouth, near the floor of the mouth. If you see someone open his or her mouth and the tongue is pointed and rounded, as often is the case, then the muscles of that tongue are so contracted that it will interfere with the turning of the head and the movement of the eyes as well as with eating and speech and functions of that nature. This is an interesting fact that you will not find in any book. The tongue, if it is sufficiently released, will follow the direction of the eyes or the head or even of the attention. If you start looking to the right and start thinking about something over on your right, the tongue, if it is free, will move to the right side of your mouth. Then, if you start thinking about something or somebody over on your left and look over there, the tongue will involuntarily move to the left side. In most people, the rigidity of the musculature does not allow that to happen. Even Moshe Feldenkrais had not noticed it. I pointed it out to him. He had spent a lifetime observing and he had never found that one. It is important for the tongue to be free, and this is simple enough to achieve. – 101 –

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I have taped exercises that exclusively work on releasing the tongue. To release it a good bit, you have only to push hard against the roof of the mouth with the tongue and hold it for forty-five seconds or so. Then push hard on the floor of the mouth and release that one. Do it a few times. Also, use the tongue to explore the interior of the mouth, the inner and outer surfaces of the teeth. As you do this, the tongue comes clearer and clearer into the body image. Whenever you bring any part or function more clearly into awareness, it will improve. This is the reason that awareness is so important a part of psychophysical exercises. I do one where people, for forty-five minutes, execute identical movements on the two sides, but they give their awareness to only one side. At the end, the side where the attention has been given is dramatically changed, and the side that was not given any awareness was no better or not much better than it was to start with. It is as if it had been doing calisthenics or a kind of mindless, mechanical repetition of movements. It really does not change anything. Observe again where your teeth are in relation to each other. If they are in contact, probably you grind your teeth while either awake or asleep. In any case, the jaw will be unduly restricted. Then stand for a minute. Examine again the position of the head, and note whether you can now tell any more about how you hold it — whether you thrust it forward, tilt it to one side or the other, or look to one side. Note whether you can feel whether one shoulder is forward of the other shoulder. Some of these observations have to be made by another person, but if one shoulder is forward or backward, that is yet another curvature of the spine where it tends to wrap around itself. Now, take off your stockings or socks. Stand on the floor rather than on the mat. There should be spaces between the toes. They should not, of course, curl under or stick up on the ends. It is usually the case that people worry about flat feet and fallen arches. Many times, the arch will be too high and you will see that the foot is all rounded on the top. That is an artificially created arch. It will cause fatigue and foot damage and will prevent the metatarsal bones, the long bones to the rear of the visible toes which are like an extension of the toes, from moving separately. The whole middle of the foot will be stiff. Flat feet are only harmful if the arches have fallen. Congenital flat feet are generally found to be an advantage. In the army, in World War I, they rejected people for flat feet. Then, in World War II, they discovered that people could march better and walk better and further with congenital flat feet than people with arches could do. So they eliminated that practice. If you have congenital flat feet, it is nothing to worry about. Generally, as you release the excessive contractions in the toes, the foot will get both longer and wider. I have students who have had to buy new sets of shoes because their feet have gotten healthier. Toes that turn under are also the product, unless the toes have been broken or contractions pull them like the fingers are pulled when the hands are like claws. You will find the tendency is not only in the toe but in the whole foot, to some extent. It is usually very easy to change those toes. Podiatrists and orthopedists will use hammers and break them, or they will cut through to straighten them out. Often – 102 –

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you can do it, working with your hands, in thirty minutes to an hour, if you know how to do it. I have prevented many, many people from having surgery on their feet, with minimal work — for a person who was having terrible pain in the knee or the foot or somewhere else. It is also common that it go onto the inside. As the musculature of the ankle is adjusted somewhat, and the foot becomes more flexible and is better used, that tendency will also disappear. Rolling over the foot onto the outside is the cause of a great deal of knee pain. You will often find knee surgery being recommended or insisted on for someone, when anybody could look and see that whoever is walking on the outside of their foot like that would have knee pain. The problem is in the foot and not in the knee. When the patient describes knee pain, the doctor gets fixated on it and thinks that he has to do something about the knee. At least eighty per cent or ninety per cent of the time, the problem is not in the knee at all. One of my clients was supposed to have knee surgery for that reason. She was walking on the outside of her foot and causing knee pain. Also, one of her knees appeared to be half or three quarters of an inch lower than her other one. They said that she had a short leg. That is something many, many people are told. She did not have a short leg at all. One of the legs was pulled up somewhat into the hip joint. As soon as the leg was pulled back down, it was the same length as the other one. Often you can see it with a person who has a so-called short leg. You can place them on the table so they are out of gravity for the most part. When they are not putting pressure on that “short leg”, the two legs will be exactly the same length. Yet, those people may have been told by half a dozen doctors that one leg is shorter or longer than the other one. Unless the person has had polio or a few other rather rare diseases, almost never is one leg shorter than another. It may be somewhat contracted up into the hip joint. The podiatrist's answer to that is to put a pad in the shoe of the foot of the short leg, and that absolutely guarantees it cannot come down again. When the bone is jammed up into the joint like that long enough, then you will also get an arthritic hip or some other trouble. You may well end up with surgery for that. With any of these kinds of problems, you should always try to find somebody who understands the human body and the brain from a different perspective, and that person may be able to help you avoid something irreversible. Now, raise only the big toe of your left foot. Raise it up high, and then lower it. Do it without moving the adjoining toes. Note whether your adjoining toes move and whether, as with some of you, the right foot and the thumbs also want to move. In any group of people, toe movements will elicit archaic, obscene finger gestures in at least one person. Moving the right foot and the thumbs is a regression in the nervous system back to a time when the feet were not differentiated, when they moved together with the legs, or when the legs moved together, or when the arms and the legs moved together. When you come up against these blockages in the nervous system, you are apt to get these regressions. Sometimes you will even activate the sucking reflex when you start trying to restore the neural connections to the toes.

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Now, try to move the four toes of the left foot alongside the big toe. See what you do with your fingers, your hands, your face and your breathing whether you must move the big toe or the toes of the right foot. Then, note whether you can leave the big toe and the small toe down and just move the three middle toes. To walk effectively you should at least be able to move the big toe separately from the other four toes, and the big toe and small toe separately from the three middle toes. It is not so necessary to be able to move the small toe alone, although it is desirable. Note whether you can raise and lower the small toe. Some people find that they can move it out to the side but cannot raise and lower it; try it by widening the space between the small toe and the one next to it. See if you can do the toe next to the big toe and the middle toe. Almost anyone, within an hour or two, can be taught to restore the connections and to move the foot, which means they have restored the connection between the brain and the toes, even if they had a neural impairment of many years duration (as is quite common). Men and women both have many problems, but women have the most because women's shoes are the worst — narrow pointed shoes, high heels and so on. High heels, in time, will so alter the musculature of the leg that some people cannot stand on the floor anymore. The heels will be off the ground when they are barefoot. Try it with your right foot. Move only the big toe. That is the easiest of all differentiated toe movements. Now try moving the other four toes of the right foot. Observe what you do with your hands and your breathing. Then try it some more with the three middle toes. Then try to move the small toe of that foot. Try raising both big toes at once, without involving the others. Observe whether it is easier to move one big toe and then the other, alternately. One can demonstrate that the feet can learn from the hand movements. If you sit down on the floor, put the hands alongside the feet and do the movements, then the foot will learn how to do it from the hand. You can learn it much faster than if you work with the foot alone because of that connection early in life between the hand and the foot. The hand learns first and it learns better. Later in life, it can be the teacher of the foot. Now, take hold of your foot with your hands. Try to move the bones behind the foot (the metatarsals) separately. Just move your toes like scissors. Take hold of the big toe and the adjacent one and move them like scissors. See how those toes move in relation to each other. Behind each toe is another long bone that is like an extension of that. Take hold further back and see if you can move those bones in relation to each other in a scissor movement also. You have to use two hands to do it. You move the big toe in relation to the one next to it (that is, the metatarsal in the big toe) and then the bone that lies behind the middle toe and the one next to it and so on, along the length of your foot down towards the heel, so you can feel the bones moving in relation to each other. Those bones should move flexibly. It should be almost as easy to move them as to move the toes in relation to each other. The movement is not as extreme, but it should be just as easy. Continue to work on the same foot. Then see if you can, without cracking the toes, insert your fingers between the toes from below. Obviously, you use the opposite hand: the right foot, the left hand; – 104 –

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the left foot, the right hand. If you are inserting the fingers from above, then you use the hand on the same side. Try to interlace the fingers with the toes. You are getting an example of what is sometimes called “body wisdom.” The thumb will be on the outside, which is an easier way to do it than with the thumb on the inside. Put the thumb inside and you will see that it is more difficult than if you spontaneously did it the easier way. When it comes to more complicated things, the body wisdom is not so good. With the thumb inside, interlace the fingers with the toes. Then, do it with the other hand, from above. Use the fingers to flex and extend the toes of that foot. Then, as you do it, put the knuckles of the other hand on the bottom of the foot so that you can just leave them there, and flex and extend the foot. You can feel that the foot will shape itself around the knuckles, so that the foot will have to bend around this or that knuckle. You feel that the foot begins to become flexible in its middle. Press hard enough so that when you flex the toes, the foot will bend in its middle. Then, just put the foot that you have been working on down on the floor. Slide it back and forth over its bottom. Be sure that you do not change your feet. Slide it forward and back. Then, slide it from side to side — taking the toes side to side and letting the heel act as a hinge. Take the front part of the foot and slide it over the surface beneath you. Then, use the ball of the foot as a hinge and take the heel side to side. Do the opposite of what you have been doing. Also, slide the foot for a minute on its inside along the surface, along its outside, and then along its bottom. Make the sensations as pleasurable as possible. Use the foot to sense the surface beneath it. Use it as a learning tool. Then, use that surface to stimulate the foot in a pleasurable way. Now, lie on your back. Let the legs be extended with the arms at your sides. Compare the two sides — how they are lying; whether one side is clearer in your body image; whether one side feels longer; whether one side makes a different contact with the floor, so that your body seems to tilt off to one side a little bit. To the extent that you have really given your awareness to the work with that foot, the whole side of the body will have changed. It will have lengthened and the right foot — if you worked on the right one — should be clearer than the left; the right hand clearer than the left hand; and so on. If you worked on the left, the left eye and the left shoulder should be clearer than the right one. See whether that is your experience. Then, without using your head first, and using your lower body, roll to one side and get up and walk around. Observe whether you notice any difference in the contact that the two feet make with the floor. You worked a very short time. If you had worked longer, the difference would become very, very pronounced. Now, as you do that, observe your walking. What part comes down first and second? What do your arms do in relation to the leg movements? Do the ankles, the knees and the shoulders move equally? The most efficient way of walking — the way that one will walk if the body, including the nervous system, is healthy — is that the heel of the foot will come down first. Then you will move over the middle part of the foot which should be flexible The toes should leave the floor in the order of their length, coming up onto the tips, so that the last part to leave the floor will be the big – 105 –

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toe, if that is the longest one. In the majority of cases, the big toe is the longest. In many people, the toe next to the big toe is longer. It is called a Grecian toe; and it is also not too uncommon for the middle toe to be the longest one. But they should leave the floor in order of length. The right arm should, of course, go forward with the left leg, and the left arm with the right leg. The whole foot should participate in the walking. You should do it in a way that allows all the parts of the foot that are flexible to move; encourage movement of each part. You should clearly feel, in the center where the metatarsals are, that the foot bends and that the toes bend as you pass over their bottoms. These are the things that give spring to the foot and to the walk. The walking should be very light. When the foot is used properly, and the body is positioned as it ought to be in gravity, the body will be experienced as almost weightless and the person will make very little sound when they walk. Clomps and stomps are signs that the person is harming himself or herself and is doing a very poor job of walking. That body needs a great deal of education or re-education. In that sense, it is a stupid and inept body. It is wasting a lot of energy, and it is subjecting itself to a lot of damage and fatigue. One of the most common faults is to just pick the foot up and put the whole foot down. Try walking that way a minute. You can bend the leg, you do not have to stiffen it. Just come down on the entire bottom of the foot. Compare that to the walking where you come down on the heel, roll over the bottom of the heel, the bottom of the foot, the ball and the bottoms of the toes, and up onto the tips. Now, observe, for a few minutes, to what extent you are aware of what you are doing. Notice to what extent you can become aware, without a lot of extra work, if you try to use what capacities you presently have. Begin by being aware of what each foot is doing. Maintain that awareness. Include what the ankles and lower legs are doing. Try to feel them externally and internally; notice whether the skin is moving against your trousers; what the muscles of the leg are doing. Then, include the knee — without losing track of the toes, the heels, the ankles or the lower legs. Then, include the thighs, the movement in the hip joints and the whole pelvis. Try to keep in mind everything that is happening in your lower body. Do it all simultaneously — not going back and forth from one thing to another. Then, include in that the abdomen, the lower back, the sides on up into the elbows, the upper arms and the shoulders — the entire body up to the neck — without losing any of the awareness. Then, bring into your awareness also the neck, the jaw, the tongue, the lips, the face, the eyes, the breathing, the rest of the head. See if you can be aware of all that simultaneously, including the contact of the foot with the floor, the passage of the air around your body, sounds of walking, or whatever sounds you are hearing; and of your visual field — all of the different colors and textures, light and shadows. Include the evidence of your senses — what your senses are taking in about the external world and about the sensing itself — along with awareness of every part of the body and its surface that is moving, and any internal awarenesses that you have. If there are also emotional states, be aware of that. Endeavor to be so aware of feeling and sensing and moving functions that you really do not have time to think about – 106 –

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anything else. The mind does not wander, it does not verbalize. It just processes sensory information about the self and about the not-self, the world outside. Now, we will explore a most excellent variety of meditation. You can do it anyplace and at any time. With it, you will become increasingly mindful and approach that ideal where the body is suffused with mindfulness and awareness — so that not only do you know what you are doing exactly, and the body image begins to be corrected and the sensory mechanisms begin to be corrected by this kind of work, but you will also find that, as the awareness and mindfulness increase, you will not feet that your “I” or your “self” is localized in one part of the body or the other. Most people feel that they exist in their heads and the body is something that carries the head around. In a sense, they are like operators of a machine. (Which is, in practical fact, true when one has one's self in one's head or, as they have it in other cultures, in one's heart or belly. It does not matter, they are all equally wrong.) In a sense, the self should be omnipresent throughout the body. The body and the mind, in that sense, should be one; so that there is no alienation from it; so the two can function in a harmonious way. Now, lie down once again. Rest with the palms down and the arms down at your sides. Consider for a moment that question, “Where in your body do you seem to exist?” There are places where you feel that you exist more. Do you feel that you exist more in your head than in some other part of your body? Are there parts that seem to be more of yourself than other parts? How does this correspond to the sensing of the body image? Try to remember whether it has been so throughout your life or whether you can remember that, as you have grown older, the “I” has become more firmly located in the head or perhaps a few other parts. Do you remember that, as a child, there was a much greater suffusion of identity throughout the body, that there was not the same kind of differentiation or alienation from it — that your self was simply your whole self? Children do feel that much more than adults typically. It is part of the same abstracting process that causes us to dilute our experience of objects once we give them names and they become too familiar to us. Often you stop looking at a tree as soon as you identify it as a tree, or a cloud as soon as you identify it as a cloud; whereas, the experience of a child or an artist or of a particularly sensitive person is apt to be much different and the thing, itself, is far more important than the label. This is a healthier way of being, although the practical demands of life are such that one does not have time to experience every object fully. The labeling serves a very useful function. Its destructive side is to take people away from concrete reality, so that one needs a balance of the two. Now, pay attention to your breathing, and where you feel that you breathe. As you breathe, take first one hand, and then the other, and slightly push on the side of the rib cage. Do it with one hand and then the other, so that you do not let one hand inhibit the movement. Push the rib cage from side to side. Notice whether it moves freely or whether it feels stiff and locked. Push against it so that, if you push on the left side, it has to move right, and if you push on the right side, it has to move left. Push low on it and higher up toward your arm pit. The ribs should be very pliable. It – 107 –

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should move very, very freely, as should your pelvis if you push it from side to side. Those muscular rigidities that Wilhelm Reich called “character armor” form particularly around the pelvis and rib cage. This is where the muscles tighten when feelings and emotions are repressed. We clench our muscles against painful, prohibitive or otherwise unacceptable feelings. After a while, the muscles never release. They just stay contracted. It means that the cells in the motor cortex of the brain are, for practical purposes, frozen. They inhibit the movement in the chest and in the pelvis so that free breathing becomes impossible, and in Reich's terms “fully orgastic or orgasmic sexual response becomes impossible.” Only by releasing that armoring or chronically contracted musculature do you get back that capacity to feel and to sense which is blocked by the contractions in that part of the body. Sense your breathing again, and notice whether you feel it in the chest and in the sides; feel the rib cage expanding out towards the arms; feel it in your back on the floor. Most of the breathing should be in the back and yet it is there that the breathing is usually most inhibited. Some people never sense themselves as breathing in the back at all. They have no sense of the ribs in the back, or of the lungs. Now, to get a clear sense of the breathing in the back and how it can be, hug your chest tightly. When you hug your chest tightly so that the ribs cannot expand in the front when you breathe, then they must expand in the back and at the sides, and you get a sense of the back breathing. Put your arms under your arm pits and do it. Find other ways of inhibiting the breathing you ordinarily do so that parts that ordinarily go unused are brought into play and are made to function. Each time that your consciousness has an experience of something that was experienced before, or that was inadequately experienced before, it makes it much easier to get back to it. The nervous system is brought back to life and the sensing begins to be available again. The brain begins to know what is being felt in those areas where the sensing is largely blocked and, with that, the functioning improves. Get a good clear experience of breathing in your back. Then again, without doing it head first, roll to one side and come to a sitting position. Put the soles of the feet together, Japanese style. Let the hands rest on top of the knees. Notice whether you can bring your pelvis forward and back. The feet must be at some distance from your bottom so that you go back and forth between your tail bone (your coccyx) and your sitting bones (your ischial tuberosity’s). Observe whether you can roll freely back and forth, whether the pelvis will move freely forward and backward. Also, notice whether you can make circles with it on the floor. Put your hands down behind you, if that will make it easier. Suppose that the position on the tail bone is twelve o'clock and the forward position — when you come up onto the sitting bones — is six o'clock, and that you go around the clock dial clockwise and then counterclockwise. Do many movements and try to make a perfect circle. Then again, just go back and forth between twelve and six so that the pelvis rolls forward and back. You come onto the tail bone and then, as far forward as you can. The pelvis should roll freely forward and back. Do not circle anymore; just move forward and back. Try to make the movement as extensive as possible. – 108 –

1. [#19] Psychophysical Profile

Blocked pelvises, blocked pelvic movements and frozen pelvises are extremely commonplace blockages in the body. Psychotherapists should always examine for that, and try to find a way to release it. It is another one of those things that is not difficult to release when you know how to go about it. It can be done in an hour or two. When you do release it, you are likely to get a lot of emotion with that. With people who have repressed a lot of sexual feeling, a lot of sexual energy is likely to come up. I once had this happen with a one-legged woman. She had a peg leg, and she came in sort of hobbling along. When the pelvis released, she got up and ran from the house as fast as anyone I have ever seen run in my life. Now, make circles with the pelvis again. Go clockwise and counterclockwise. Then, sit up with your hands on your legs and make some circles with your head. Do not do too many in one direction or you will get nauseous or dizzy. Most people have a very limited capacity, to begin with, for making a large number of rotations with the head. There are Tibetan Yogis who can do a thousand movements in one direction and a thousand movements in the other direction. The head goes so fast, it is just a blur. This is very good, for one thing, for the vestibular system (the inner ear). It will eliminate tendencies to nausea and dizziness and greatly improve your sense of balance. Then, put your hands behind you and do it. Observe whether you can make larger circles that way, and observe whether the head is freer. Sit up again. Hold your arms out at shoulder height. Arrange yourself so that you do not collide with anyone. Slowly, lower the left ear toward the left shoulder. Do not raise the arm to meet the ear, but take the ear to meet the arm. Then, notice to what extent you can touch the ear to the arm, or how close you can come, without straining your neck. Then, do it on the right side, and notice whether it is the same. Keep the arm up at shoulder height. If you lower the arm, you make it more difficult. If you raise the arm, you may make it too easy. Now, put your arms down. Turn your head slowly from side to side. As you turn the head left, look to the right with your eyes, and as you turn the head right, look to the left with your eyes. I believe Gurdjieff discovered that, if you do movements of this type which the human being has not done in the course of evolution, you will necessarily activate higher brain centers. After doing that movement, you may be able to do something that you were inhibited from doing when lower brain centers were in control. Similarly, lower the head and look up, and then raise the head and look down. Normally you would inhale as the head goes up and exhale as it comes down, if you consciously coordinated your breathing with that movement. You always exhale when folding the body in any way, in order to facilitate the movement. When you inhale, you naturally obstruct the movement. Now, stop. For a moment, instruct your head to turn left and then to turn right. Make yourself quite passive, and order your head to go left and then right. When you do that, it will involuntarily turn. Focus your attention on what you are doing. Be undistracted by anything else. Repeatedly instruct the head to move. Feel that, when it does move involuntarily, it is a smoother movement than the one you are consciously able to make. Let the unconscious, with its vastly superior knowledge of – 109 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME II

the bodily processes, including its ability to control the involuntary nervous system, be in control. If you yield control to the unconscious in this way, it will make a superior movement. Order the head to go left and order the head to go right. Allow the eyes to close. When they are closed, let the eyeballs go up in the head for a moment as you continue to do that. Then let them roll down and feel the eye lids get heavier. Just order the head to repeatedly go left and to go right. Continue to do it and observe if it is a very smooth movement. Observe whether, when the head goes to the right, the tongue goes to the right; whether when it goes to the left, the tongue goes to the left, or whatever it may be that the tongue does. Continue ordering the movement to the right and the movement to the left while becoming aware of your ears moving from side to side. Focus on the space where your brain is. Look up there without making the eyes strain. Focus on the brain space, where the ears are, the interior of the mouth, the eyes and the space behind the eyes. Be aware of the skull surrounding the brain, the jaw, the scalp and the outside. Then, just leave the head in the middle. Breathe up, as if you could breathe all the way up your spine, and out through the top of your head, and down again. Breathe up and allow that breath to bring the body to a more erect position. Then, stop and open your eyes. Observe your own state of consciousness and whether it is your ordinary state of consciousness or whether it is an altered state. Most of you are in a mildly altered state. It would, and could, be a good entry into your own inner space, if you chose to go there. You could follow that deeper and deeper but, for now, reserve that for another time. Know that you can easily get back to this particular state. Then turn your head just a few more times, opposing the eye movement to the head movement. If you could not put your ear on your shoulder with your arms extended, you should now put your arms out at your sides. Put your right arm up alongside your right ear. Then, keeping the ear and the arm together, lower the arm to shoulder height. Bring it all the way down while keeping contact. When your arm is at shoulder height, take the head away and bring it back to the middle. Then lower the ear to the arm and see if you can do it now. Then do it on the left side. Bring the arm up alongside the ear. Maintain contact as you bring the arm to shoulder height Take the head away and lower the ear to the arm. If you have any difficulty with it, keep the arm alongside the ear several times, and take the ear and the arm first down and then back up together, before you take the head away. Keep the arms at shoulder height. If now you can do it, just lightly flip-flop the head back and forth, so that first one ear touches and then the other. You have a good experience of the mobility of the neck that was inhibited before. Changing the movement of the neck side to side is a difficult thing to do, compared to other changes in the neck movement. This way it can happen very easily. Then, put your arms down for a minute. Roll the head lightly and easily from side to side. Then, stop with the head in the middle and breathe right up the center of your body — as if you could breathe in from between your legs and out from the top of your head. Imagine a line going straight up through you. Inhale and exhale up it and down it. Breathe well up beyond – 110 –

1. [#19] Psychophysical Profile

the top of your head, up through your brain space. Sometimes with that breathing you may feel as if the skull is stretching and elongating. As you do that, notice whether your hands and wrists will lie flat. Do not try to force them down, but let them lie as flat as they will. Emphasize the inhalation and the breathing up through and out and beyond the top of your head. Now, as you continue to do that a few more times, feel yourself becoming more and more alert and awake while retaining the muscular relaxation that you have. When you get up you will feel refreshed and replenished, energized, awake, but also very, very relaxed. Observe whether you can experience a peaceful and tranquil state of being, a sense of having spent some valuable hours getting reacquainted with your body and establishing a body/mind unity; sense having gone into areas that have been neglected. You have now laid a foundation for greater mindfulness, awareness and body/mind integration. Then, using your lower body and your arms (using anything but your head first) roll to one side and get Walk around silently for a few minutes. See how you feel. Allow yourself time to integrate and maintain the results of the work that you have done. Remember the most important things, the things that are most relevant to you, to your own present situation, the things that will be useful to you. Also, remember what you need to do to bring about changes that you would like to bring about. In which areas would you like to do more work and improve the function? Integrate the whole experience on unconscious as well as conscious levels. Your unconscious mind will remember much more than your conscious mind will. The unconscious will utilize the information and will work with your brain and your nervous system, with your whole being. It will further any beginnings that were made here today. The unconscious can, and really will, do that. What the conscious mind does will be up to you. Decide what you want to make of it.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME II

2. [#20] Brain Focusing: Furthering the Mind/Brain Dialogue Teaching time: about 90 minutes

To begin with, lie on your back with your arms at your sides. Do your regular body scanning, going over the entire body image. Begin with the bottoms of the feet and the toes and go on up all the way to the top of your head. Try to miss no part of yourself. Identify which parts of the body are most clearly in the body image, which are less clear, and places where you may not be sensing at all. Where it is faint or where you have no sensation, linger there a little while and see if by so doing you can make the body image a bit stronger. When you have completed that, come up to a sitting position. Come up to the most comfortable sitting position that you can find, one that is sustainable for a while. If you have any experience of prolonged meditation, that will probably be the position for you. During most of this exercise, you can feel free to either sit or lie. However, I would like you to sit whenever there is any danger of you falling asleep by lying down. If you have to sit to stay awake, do it. We are going to do a rather prolonged brain exercise. As I am speaking, close your eyes and let your eyes roam around the space inside your skull where your brain is. Later, if you can direct your attention to the brain space without focusing the eyes in that direction, do it, but you may find it a very difficult thing to do. Remember not to keep the eyes fixed in one position for too long a time or you will get eye strain. Now look from side to side within that space, from left to right. Also let your eyes go up and down. Let them circle in the space. Circle in one direction for a while, then in the other direction. Do all those things as I am speaking to you. Some of you, perhaps even all of you, doing this exercise may find that it will work for you as a trance induction and a deepening procedure as well. Allow yourself to go into trance and to go deeper and deeper. Do not be at all concerned with whether you are going into trance or how deep you are going. You will experience a variety of states of consciousness in any case. That of itself is a trance if we define trance merely as an altered state of consciousness. We want to proceed towards the goal of establishing a closer rapport between the mind and the brain. All of the psychophysical exercises or almost all of them are a dialogue between the conscious mind and the brain. In the case of the table work, it is a dialogue primarily between the conscious mind of the teacher and the brain of the student. In the case of the exercises when you do them on your own, it is a dialogue between your own conscious mind and your own brain. The effects should be the same no matter which mind is addressing which brain, provided that the language used is a language that the brain will accept.

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2. [#20] Brain Focusing: Furthering the Mind/Brain Dialogue

In this context we do not need to make use of the notion of an unconscious mind. We can consider the unconscious to be the ideas and images and other processes of the brain itself. There are other times when using a psychological approach and not intending to alter the body particularly, when it is more fruitful to consider that you are dealing with the unconscious. Here it is enough to suppose that we are addressing the brain. If you learn to address the brain effectively, then there is theoretically no limit to what you can achieve within yourself. The brain has the capacity to transform your body in virtually any way that it can be transformed. Also, so little is ordinarily used of it that if you could form a sufficiently effective rapport with the brain to achieve a larger utilization of it, then again the limits are unknowable as well as unknown. Far short of that, you can use it for healing and for improving the way that you function in many ways. Now continue focusing on the brain space. Put your hands on top of your head for a moment in such a way that you would be holding your brain in your hands if your skull and your flesh would not be in the way of it. Move your hands over the brain space. Cover the whole thing until gradually that part of your head comes into a clearer focus than the rest. Deal now primarily with that part of the head that is above the eyes. Leave the older parts of the brain out of the image you are creating for a moment. Then put your hands down, but continue to focus your attention towards the brain space. Breathe up into it and back out again. When you inhale, use the breathing to draw your attention more and more into the brain space. When you exhale, leave your attention there so that there is a continuous buildup that increases each time you inhale. It is a feeling that each time you inhale into that space, you bring more and more consciousness or awareness to it. The exhalation is just something going down to pick up more and to bring it up into the space. See if you can so use your mind and your body that the departure from the brain that comes with the exhalation is absolutely minimal while you feel that there is a large increase when you inhale. Then feel that instead of breathing up into the brain space, now, when you breathe, there is a feeling as if you were breathing in through your eyes. At least, as you breathe in it is more horizontal and you follow the line back through your eyes into the brain space. Once again, let as little awareness go out when you exhale as possible. You may find it a little more difficult to not let something escape when you go out through your eyes at first. This is because you are so accustomed to going out through your eyes. With practice, quickly make it minimal so that you are charging your brain with awareness. You have more and more sensation of your eyes going back into your brain. Your eyes, after all, are like a camera. The actual seeing is done in the brain. The eye takes the picture and the brain instantly develops and prints it. If the eye has a poor lens, then the picture that the brain gets is apt to be poor. Then, instead of feeling that you are breathing in and out through the eyes, shift your focus to your ears. Feel that you breathe in and out through your ears. As you inhale, you follow the line in through the ears into the brain space. As you exhale – 113 –

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through the ears, take as little as possible with you. Continue to charge the brain space with greater and greater awareness. What comes in through the ears goes up into the brain space. It becomes more and more full, more clearly in your consciousness. Then, see if you can get the sense that as you inhale the brain gets a bit smaller and as you exhale it gets a bit larger. It contracts and expands, expands and contracts rhythmically along with the breathing. Then, direct your attention just towards the left side of the brain, the left hemisphere. If it is helpful, you can touch the left side or you can breathe into the left side to facilitate this awareness, or just do it with your mind. Then shift over to the right side. Focus your attention there on the right hemisphere. See if it is possible to shift back and forth between the right and the left. If you do that in terms of the rhythm of your breathing, you tend to go to one hemisphere when you inhale and to the other when you exhale. Try that. Then, reverse it so that when you inhale you go to the other side and when you exhale you go to the opposite side from what you spontaneously do. Now, in a moment I am going to ask you to do something. Do not do it until I have completed the description of what it is that you will do. You will make a sound, “AAAH, AAAH.” Do it with your ears plugged. When you do that, you will find that the sound will reverberate in your head and then you will direct that sound up into your brain space. You can do just the “AAAH” or you can do it “AAAH, OOOHM.” Try it both ways but direct it as powerfully as you can into the brain space by plugging up your ears. Continue to do that for a couple of minutes and then stop. Now, stop for a moment. For another minute or so, you will find that you greatly intensify the effect if you close the mouth as well as the ears as you make the sounds. It is difficult to do the “AAAH” sound that way but easy to do the “OOOHM.” Now close off the mouth and the ears as tightly and as powerfully as you can, let the “OOOHM” sound resonate in your head and go up through the brain like a column of sound. Keep your attention focused in the brain space and sense what it feels like to have that sound reverberating there as powerfully as you can do it. Now, begin. Stop that and just focus on the brain space. For just a few seconds as you do that, keep your mouth closed and plug up your ears and imagine the sound reverberating in your head. Now, stop. Take your hands away for a moment. In a minute I am going to ask you to do the same thing, However, as you do it, pay careful attention to whatever you may see and whether there are images, colors or any kinds of forms that appear to you as you vividly imagine that sound inside of your head. Fill it. Make it very loud. Send it up into the brain space. Look and observe what, if anything, you see. Do that for a minute, beginning now. Next, stop and look up into just the left hemisphere, the left side of your brain. Note whether you see anything there. Focus your attention on the left side for a – 114 –

2. [#20] Brain Focusing: Furthering the Mind/Brain Dialogue

while. Note whether you see colors, forms, particular objects, whether you see total darkness, whatever you can see. Move your attention around just within the left hemisphere. Also observe whether your breathing has any effect on what you may see. Now, not abruptly, shift your focus to the right hemisphere. Do you see fullblown, complete images? Do you see hints of things that you cannot quite make out? Do you see bits of color or whole visual fields of color? Do you see darkness? Again, what do you see as you charge that side of the brain? Next, do it going in and out through the place of the third eye — the space just above your nose between your eyeballs. As you inhale, the awareness comes far back into the brain. As you exhale, it goes far out. You can sense something working in that third eye region. Some of you may actually see the form of an eye there in the middle, and others a spot of light or color, something different from the rest of the visual field. Try to use your breathing, as you exhale, to break through at that point and make the opening. If that eye does come into your awareness, try looking out through it. See what that eye can behold. Your awareness is of the entire brain space but your focus is on that particular place of the third eye. You can see whatever is there, as well as what is around it, and the rest of the brain space — just as you are able to focus on a particular object without losing your ability to perceive the room where the object is located. To facilitate the flexibility of movement from the left to the right hemisphere, we will do part of an exercise that may be familiar to some of you. You will look first to the left side of your brain and see there the number one, or imagine it there. Know what it looks like if you do not see it clearly. Then, look to the right side and see the letter A. Then, on the left side, two, and on the right side, B; on the left side, three, and on the right side, C; on the left side, four, and on the right side, D; on the left side, five, and on the right side, E; on the left side, six, and on the right side, F. Follow it now, yourself, through to twenty-six and Z. Try to do it without losing track of the numbers and letters. However, if you do, in any case see a number on the left side and a letter on the right. Now, wherever you may be in that task, stop and do the opposite so that you see the one on the right and the A on the left, and so on through the alphabet. Now, stop and remain with your awareness focused on the brain space. I want to talk to you a little bit about the brain functioning. Your brain knows a great deal about its own ways of functioning. It has an intelligence of its own and can do what the conscious mind is quite unable to do. That is why we sometimes dialogue with it. You also have an unconscious mind, if you want to so regard it, that you encounter in dreams, in trance states, in drug states and in other altered states of consciousness. That unconscious, working with the brain, can do many, many things that the conscious mind has no ability to do. The brain and the unconscious know very well, for example, what a trance is. If the brain responds, the body and the mind can go very deeply into trance even though the conscious mind has not the faintest notion of how to go into trance. You can go into trance and you can go deeper. Your – 115 –

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unconscious mind can direct your brain to do things, like producing specific kinds of brain waves, upon request that it do so. There are four primary types of brain waves that the brain produces. They are called alpha, beta, theta and delta waves. In a general way, alpha waves are the waves that people produce when the meditate. Alpha waves are associated with serenity and tranquility, feelings of deep peace. Beta waves, on the other hand, are associated with wakefulness, with being somewhat awake or very, very wide awake. Delta waves are the brain waves of sleep. None of these waves are an exclusive brain activity. Other brain waves are being produced simultaneously, but predominantly in sleep you have delta waves, so that if your brain produces very largely delta waves, then you sleep. Theta waves are associated with sleep but even more with a condition of creative reverie, with the creative process — states like the hypnogogic and the hypnopompic states, which occur between sleeping and waking up, and between waking and going to sleep. Those states are known as the gateways to the unconscious. To produce predominantly theta waves is to enter into a state favorable to creativity. Your brain knows how to produce all these different brain waves. How extreme the experience is has to do with the amplitude and the frequency of those particular brain waves. They are both important — how intense the brain wave activity is, and how rapid or how slow. If the state is one of profound meditation, the alpha waves, for example, are slow, very slow, but intense. In the case of achieving a state of extreme wakefulness, then the beta waves are very rapid as well as very intense. I want to suggest to you now that, first of all, you will experience your brain as producing alpha waves and that as you continue to focus on your brain and be aware of it, the rapport will be sufficient so that you or I can speak directly to that brain. You can entertain expectations about what that brain will do. The brain will, in varying degrees, give you, now, a predominant alpha wave condition — feelings of calm, of a slowing down of mental activity, of thoughts ceasing or getting slower, of imaging ceasing or getting slower in the mind, of the mind becoming quieter than it usually is so that feelings of calm and serenity are present. Continue observing your brain now. Notice whether it will produce for you predominantly alpha waves. If they become longer and slower, the mental activity will become less and less. It is not at all a sleep state; it is something quite different. Achieving a state of rapport with one's own brain and thereby being able to direct the brain to produce certain kinds of brain waves is something that the brain exercises can facilitate, I believe, much more quickly than biofeedback — the most usual way of learning to do it fairly quickly. The exercises also give a permanent control. It is a more efficient and quick way of learning to focus on the brain and of becoming able to dialogue with it. Now, I want to suggest to you that your brain will produce beta waves. You will find yourself becoming more alert or awake. The state of consciousness of these beta waves will be much different from the state of consciousness of the alpha waves. You will find your alertness increasing. It will not be a state where you have a great many thoughts. It is not a state of great mental activity. It is a state of alertness and – 116 –

2. [#20] Brain Focusing: Furthering the Mind/Brain Dialogue

awakeness that is quite distinguishable from the alpha state. Notice whether, as you continue to focus on your brain, you can sense that the brain activity is different. Now, as distinguished from that exercise, I want to suggest to you that your brain will produce delta waves. With these waves, you will find the alertness and awakeness diminishing, and you will get drowsier and drowsier without going fully to sleep. Feel yourself getting sleepier and sleepier and approaching a state of mind resembling what you feel when you are going off to sleep. If this occurs, you know that the brain is answering by producing delta waves. In fact, when you learn to produce delta waves at will, then your problem of going to sleep when you want to will be over. You need never be bothered by insomnia. Now, finally, suggest to the brain that it produce theta waves. This is a still different state. You can feel that this is a state where the imagination, the creativity, is more readily accessible. The lowest level of theta activity is when the mind drifts into fantasy very readily. The theta activity becomes more pronounced and the higher brain centers cooperate. The activity becomes more creative. See if in this state you can conceive of poetry or a picture that you would like to paint or something you would like to write. Now your brain is neither comparatively empty because of the alpha, or very alert with the beta, or sleepy with the delta. It is now a state more conducive to fantasizing and to creative thinking. Are you likely, for example, to think more visually in this state than in the others? Are you seeing images or thinking about visual subject matters, scenes, faces, whatever? In addition to these brain wave activities, the brain produces many chemicals. It produces, for example, its own morphine that is used as a natural pain killer or reducer of pain on the one hand, and as a pleasure stimulant on the other. When pain is relieved by the brain, it uses these endogenous states of bliss and ecstasy and extreme pleasure states, then the endorphins are being used optimally to give the organism pleasure. Now, I want to suggest to you that your brain will produce more than the usual amount of endorphins so you will feel at least something of the pleasure that these natural chemicals of the brain can provide. Continue focusing on your brain. Also be aware of sensations throughout your body. See if you can detect that either in the body, in the brain area, in the mind, on the surface of the body around the skin, or wherever, you can begin to feel pleasure sensations that were not there before. They can be very slight or very intense, depending on the extent to which the endorphins are stimulated. Notice whether, particularly as you inhale, you can feel some pleasure sensations streaming or flowing up your body or wherever else you may feel it or in whatever way. Scan different parts of your body. Observe whether those sensations may be localized. If you find pleasure sensations that are faint, you can use your breathing to intensify them. As you use the inhalations to bring more and more consciousness, you can use the inhalations to intensify the feelings and with the exhalations take away as little as possible. Continue to intensify the feelings in that way. – 117 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME II

Now, let me give you some further information that may be useful to you. You can establish a close, working relationship between the mind and the brain. Ordinarily, of course, they are integrated — or should be. There are times when it is useful to divide them for purposes of dialogue. The brain may not be functioning as it should. It may need to be reminded about what it should do. When you establish this kind of ability to get the brain to respond to what the mind suggests to it, then you can use that for your own healing of, for example, a burn or a cut, or overcoming symptoms of a disease, whatever it may be. I have no doubt that if the brain becomes sufficiently responsive it can regenerate cells. The outer limits are quite unknown of what the brain can do to transform the body in any way at all, but it is very well known that the brain can heal the body or destroy it. Once you develop the habit or the facility for approaching the brain, you can do it with words or with images. Sometimes it is better to do it with words and sometimes it is better to do it with images. If the brain is not well-trained to respond to verbalizations, then it may still respond to images because it fails to differentiate those subjective images from objective realities. The brain responds not just to literal images but also to symbolic images. This is one of the mysteries of the human brain and mind. No one knows the answer to why the brain has an innate capacity, evidently, to respond to symbolic images. In fact, it is so, and can be demonstrated over and over again. The brain may respond to symbols of which the conscious mind has no knowledge and respond to them in an appropriate way even though those symbols may belong to a different culture or time. It is a very complex subject. What you need to know is, you can use this way that the brain functions responding to words or images, and bring about many kinds of changes in yourself. Continue to function on the brain space. Roam around it a little while with your eyes. Image or form a picture of the brain itself. It can either appear before your eyes so that the feeling is of actually seeing the brain, or you can imagine vividly what it looks like. Now, with your hands, touch your head. See if you can feel the skull or skin over it, or the hair. Feel that those things become less and less an impediment to your touch so that increasingly you have a sense that the hands are touching the brain itself, or at least making a kind of contact with the brain. The energy going through the bone and flesh around the brain is more subtle so that there is a direct exchange between the hands and the brain that is considerably different from what you experienced in the beginning. Move your hands around a little. Observe whether you can get a good sense, now, of that living brain — that chemically and electrically alive and pulsing brain under your hands. Sense whether that brain is very aware of the hands. Observe whether the seeming awareness that the hands have of the brain and the head is in a way an illusion. In fact, the awareness is in the brain itself. The brain is aware of the hands and gives to the hands only the impression that the hands are aware of the head. The awareness is all in the brain itself. Next, let your hands rest on your legs. Observe whether, without opening your eyes, you can see the hands and form a clear picture of them. Your attention remains – 118 –

2. [#20] Brain Focusing: Furthering the Mind/Brain Dialogue

primarily in the brain space. You can sense the hands as lying on your legs, or have an image of the hands in your mind within the brain space. It would be very difficult to say which of those is closer to the actual experience of the brain. Now, forget about the hands. For a little while longer, let the consciousness fill the brain space. Let that increment of awareness build up, let the consciousness in the brain space come in with the breathing through the eyes, through the ears and through the space all around the head, until that brain becomes clearer and clearer in your mind. Then, with the sense that you have of it — the image or sensation or the feeling of actually perceiving the brain — whatever it is that you have established, use the next minute or so to talk to that brain and tell it what you want. Describe changes that it can make for you, including all kinds of changes, not only in the condition of your body but in the brain's own functioning as well, in the condition of the mind — mental faculties. Present it with images pointing towards what you intend that brain will be. NOTE: At this point, the brain focusing exercise may be ended. Participants simply should be instructed to rest for several minutes, discontinue focusing on the brain, and then to slowly get up and move around and enjoy the feelings of relaxation, refreshment and tranquility. It is also possible for those professionals who are skilled in the use of hypnosis to proceed from this point to overtly induce and deepen a hypnotic trance state. The work already done will have made the participants especially responsive to hypnotic suggestions. The remainder of the transcript describes such a utilization and has been included for the benefit of hypnotherapists and other hypnotists. It should not be used by those who lack appropriate background. Also, now that your body and especially your brain and your unconscious have been brought to a particularly responsive and receptive condition, I want to suggest to you that they are very, very familiar with states of trance. They have the potential for light trance, for medium trance, for very deep trance, and for producing all feats of forgetting or remembering, instant production of feelings of pain or pleasure, transformation of the reality around with any or all of the senses. The whole range of capacities of the mind can become accessible in trance. Within you there is the knowledge of how to achieve depths of trance greater than any you have achieved before. I am just going to count for you, for a moment, as you continue to focus on the brain. As I count, you will go deeper into trance. Your whole brain, body and unconscious will learn about trance and about how trance deepens, so that when it is suggested to you in the future that you will go into trance and go deeper, you will want to do that. You will be able to respond quickly much better than you were ever able to respond before. You have reached a point of readiness to accept this trance through all we have done up to now.

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Now, you are going deeper and deeper into trance, a hypnotic sleep — a deep, deep sleep in which you are able to respond very, very well to suggestions and also to have the experience of knowing what you say and what you do. Go deeper and deeper as I count. Be focused on your brain and aware, perhaps, of the sensations in your brain and your body that will tell you that something is happening. It is a different feeling than what you had before so that you sense you are learning something about trance. Even those who could go very deep before, feel the difference, now, as I continue to count: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 — going deeper and deeper and deeper — 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20. Going deep into your own psyche, your own mind, and there gaining access not only to capacities that you usually find yourself unable to use, but human capacities that you never had access to before. These may emerge for you in the near future or it may take a little longer. Become aware of experiences, of kinds that indicate abilities becoming accessible that you did not possess or did not know that you possessed before. Going deeper, faster now — 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100. The brain and the nervous system, the whole body and the mind, knowing how to respond especially well to that counting by deepening the trance. The trance is deepening faster — 200, 300, 400, 500, and 1,000 and 1,500 and 2,000. Going deeper and deeper and deeper, deeper and deeper and deeper into trance, deeper, deeper. Your whole being is learning about how to do it, how to go deeper, so that when we do specifically hypnotic work individually or together, or if you choose to do it otherwise, your responsiveness will have been greatly heightened. You will be able to go really deeper than ever before and do it quickly — to make a quick response of going into trance and a quick deepening. Going deeper and deeper now, deeper and deeper. Focus on your brain. Continue to go deeper and deeper, deeper and deeper, and perhaps having images of deepening as of yourself in a pool going down and down and down in a cylindrical space, sinking down through a pool where you have no trouble with breathing and being able to change shape. Become a turtle or a rock or whatever enables you to sink faster — a fish, or just your own body — getting heavier and heavier and going down and down and down, past the ruins of civilizations, past strange creatures and works of art, past all manner of things — buildings, figures from myth and religion, history, philosophy, music. Going down and down and down past all those images, events — historical, present, future. Going down and down, deeper and deeper and deeper. Come gently to rest at the bottom. Stand there for a moment in the midst of a circle inscribed with many strange symbols. Stand there, protected in that circle, still going deeper and deeper and deeper. Observe that all around the edges of the room the wall begins to glow, and then to burst into white flame that rises higher and higher and higher as you stand in the center — feeling no heat from the flames, but surrounded completely by those white flames mounting higher and higher and higher all around you as you go deeper – 120 –

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and deeper and deeper, deeper and deeper. Then, walk through the flames which part to allow you to pass. Find yourself in a field and walk along until you notice in the distance a huge tree — a great oak tree towering high. It is a very, very ancient, magnificent tree with huge roots coming up from the earth in places. Walk towards that tree, feeling sun and wind on your body, listening to the rustling of the grass and small animals moving through it, hearing birds singing and smelling flowers and other scents that are in the grass, perhaps plucking a blade of grass and tasting it, chewing on it a moment if it is some wild plant, then going and lying under that tree and resting there. Rest and feel extremely peaceful. As you lie on the earth — gradually losing the boundaries of your body so that it is very difficult to tell where you begin and the earth leaves off; where the earth begins and you leave off; where the roots of the tree begin and where you begin and end — you go deeper, sinking and sinking into a deep, deep sleep and a feeling of oneness and a lack of boundaries between you and anything at all. You can have a very, very profound experience of that and it can last a long, long time during which you may dream of going deeper into trance or have any experience that may occur to you. You can do all of that, have all that time which may seem like hours or days or longer in just one minute of clock time. Your mental processes can so accelerate time, so distort time in this situation, that one minute of clock time is all you need to experience whatever you are going to experience there under, and at one with, that great tree — that Tree of Life, or however you experience it. You have that time now. If you have lost a sense of the tree, or whatever, find yourself there once again and experience for a little while all of those positive feelings and associations that came to you from your experience with the tree — feelings of calm, unity, or deep joy or whatever it may have been. Retain those as you begin to come back, having learned something about trance and having learned something about how to establish rapport with and to use your brain — to really use it in ways that the mind can, to do what is necessary. I am going to count now from twenty to one. As I count, your trance will get lighter and lighter and you will get gradually wider awake. At the count of one, you will be wide, wide awake and stretch and get up and move around. Keep the relaxation and all of the good feelings as well as the knowledge and capacity that have come out of this experience. Counting now from 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10 — coming closer and closer to the surface now — 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 — almost awake now, becoming wider and wider awake. Your beta waves are activated as you come closer to the surface, wide awake, alert, refreshed — 4, 3, 2, 1 — wide awake, wide awake now. Stretch and move around and see what it feels like. Now, at the very least, your brain has received a great deal of nourishment from the flow of blood to the brain occasioned by that kind of focus.

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3. [#21] Orchestrating Multisensory Awarenesses Teaching time: 90 to 120 minutes

The main point of this exercise will be to differentiate and clearly recognize and then orchestrate many sensory awarenesses. We are going to begin by illustrating how using one sense affects the use of another sense, and also how one activity affects another activity. We are going to try, for instance, to see whether a sensory experience is diluted by engaging in another activity, or by using another sense primarily. We are going to work with five senses primarily: the kinesthetic sense — the sense of movement; the tactile or touching sense; the sense of hearing; the sense of vision; and possibly to a lesser extent the sense of smell. You will observe that when you focus on your kinesthetic sense it will be much easier to do so with your eyes closed. When you open your eyes and continue the movement and begin to try to focus your vision on something, you will see that one of these senses is purchased at the expense of the other sense. If you focus on the movement more, then you will not sense the seeing as clearly. In the same way, if you try to focus on the tactile sense, the contact of your body with the environment, and then simultaneously focus on either movement or vision or hearing, you will find that whichever of these you give your main attention to will dilute the other one. Is this because you cannot sense simultaneously and equally with your various senses, or is the dilution occurring because you are trying to do more than one thing at once? You can make a case for the dilution by a division of attention because you can try to sense your movements. For instance, while thinking about some very complicated problem, then you will find that you cannot give your full attention to the thinking and the sensing at the same time. One detracts from the other. It is a division of attention. This is the common mode of functioning of human beings as we are today. It is not something that is necessary. There are techniques in different cultures that allow people to do or to sense a number of things simultaneously with full attention apparently given to each, without one taking anything away from the other. We also find that ability in the case of children, insofar as we can determine it. People living closer to a natural state can give their sensory awareness to several senses at once without one appearing to detract from the other What we will do is to first try to make you fully aware of how divisions of attention and simultaneous use of the senses dilute some aspect of your sensory or intellectual experience. Then, after that, we will try to orchestrate the sensory awarenesses so that you can move and use several senses at the same time and not feel that you are using one at the expense of the other. In other words, we will try to break down a very deeply ingrained pattern of behavior and show that, although it is virtually universal, it is a habit and not a necessity. In a healthy human being who is – 122 –

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aware of what he or she is doing, and who is able to function at a higher level of consciousness, all the senses can be used simultaneously. Later, on another occasion, we are going to try to carry that a step further and show that not only can all of the senses be used without one taking anything away from the other, but the individual at the same time is capable of using the mind in very complex ways and not, of necessity, at the expense of the senses. The consciousness can fully focus itself on a diverse range of experiences. That is something that is altogether beyond the reach of someone who has not had special training, partly to regain innate capacities and partly to develop latent ones that almost never are realized. Now, to begin with, bend your legs and place your feet a short distance apart. Take the legs gently from side to side. Sense primarily movement. As you continue to do this basic movement throughout a good part of the exercise, try to make it a more and more pleasurable one. You will find, as the spine gets more and more flexible and the muscles longer and looser, that pleasure sensations will increasingly come. Do this movement for a while with your eyes closed. In fact, unless asked to do something with the eyes open, keep them closed so that we do not have an inadvertent rivalry of the senses. The competitions between them are kept as minimal as possible except for those that we want to encourage. Now, as you take your legs from side to side, take your head also from side to side. See if it seems to you that you are equally aware kinesthetically of the movement of the lower body and the movement of the head. Are you more aware of the lower body movement or more aware of the head movement? Now, deliberately give a larger part of your awareness to the lower body movement, the movement of the legs side to side and the movement that you experience in the lower spine as you lie on your back and take the legs side to side. You continue to move the head, but you give the awareness to the lower body movement. Then instead of giving your awareness to the lower body, you give it to the head. Make that somewhat easier by opposing the head movement to the leg movement. Now continue to give your main awareness to the head and neck movement, but allow the head and the legs to go in the same direction. Also include in that upper body awareness the movement in your shoulders and the upper back. Then, try to see if it is possible for you to equalize your sensing so that what you sense when you turn your head from side to side is equally as clear in your mind as what you sense when you take your legs from side to side. The upper body movement is neither more nor less clear than the lower body movement. You can say that the kinesthetic sense is equally apprehended throughout your body. Even though the mind is not favoring one part at the expense of the other, I think if you sense subtly enough, if you discriminate enough in your sensing, you will find that it is an extremely difficult thing to sense equally the lower and the upper body movements. Here we are working with a division within one sense and with a coordinated movement, the legs and the head going from one side to the other simultaneously. This is an optimal condition, really, for being able to sense equally and – 123 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME II

kinesthetically the movements that the body is making. Then lie down on your back and rest with your arms at your sides. Scan your body image. Now, open your eyes and give your visual attention to something just as fully as you can. Look at something visually arresting. You might try to pick out images in the patterns on the ceiling. Try to see as clearly as you can color, form, texture, shadings of light and dark. Find something you can give full visual attention to. Then, bend your legs and take them side to side, maintaining the visual focus. From that sensory standpoint, your interest is in what you see and not in the kinesthetic or tactile sensations in the lower body. Try to make certain that you do not inhibit your breathing, but do not pay any particular attention to it. Only the visual sense is what you are concerned with. Try to maintain the visual focus and also give a large measure of attention to the kinesthetic movement of the legs from side to side. Sense the leg movement and try to do so without sacrificing the eye sensing. Observe whether it seems to you that you are able to sense kinesthetically as completely as possible while also looking with your eyes. Make the kinesthetic sensing as keen as you can, but any time you experience any dilution of the visual sensing, try to get that back. Now, close your eyes and continue to move from side to side. Pay attention to the sensation of movement. See if you are able to perceive very clearly that that sensation is now stronger than when your eyes were open. Vision was taking something away from the movement sense. As you continue to take the legs side to side, observe how keenly you can sense that movement. Open your eyes and see if you can preserve the same degree of sensing with the eyes open or if you find it diluted. Now, just let the legs stand. Focus on something with your eyes. Use your visual sense just as clearly and as fully as you are able to do. Bring the object of your perception into focus. Continue to try to see more and more clearly and completely. Then, as you continue to use your visual capacity as completely as you are able, take the legs from side to side. Observe for how long you are able to maintain that same visual clarity while you move. Try to give your full awareness to the scene. Now, try to equalize the vision and the movement so that you give equal attention to each one. Try to arrive at a balance where you feel that your visual and kinesthetic senses are being used equally. Then, gradually let your eyes go out of focus and see what happens with the kinesthetic sensing. Then, about half close your eyes so that there is still light but you are not able to see any object. All you see is a kind of undifferentiated light. See what effect that has on the sensation of movement. Then close your eyes and continue to move the lower body. See if that intensifies the kinesthetic sensation still further. A few times let the head and the legs go together. See if you can give a more equal amount of sensing to those two now. Is there the same need or a lesser need to take something away from one part of your – 124 –

3. [#21] Orchestrating Multisensory Awarenesses

body because the other part is moving? Or as far as the kinesthetic sensing goes, is the body a bit more unified and better integrated? Then, just lie down and rest. Let the hands be palms down at your sides and your arms extended. Examine the clarity of the body or lack of clarity. Note how it is now and compare it with how it was at the beginning. Remember how it is now so that you can compare it with how it will be a bit later on. Now, just roll the head gently from side to side. Pay attention to the sensations involved in the rolling. Then divert your attention from the kinesthetic to your tactile sense. In other words, pay attention to what your body is touching and to the contact with it. De-emphasize the movement and pay attention to the sense of touch. Note your interaction with the surface beneath you, both insofar as your head is concerned and also the rest of your body lying on the floor, but pay most attention to what the head touches. As you emphasize the tactile sense, see how that affects the kinesthetic one, or the sensations of movement. Divert your attention back to movement. Do not be concerned with the sensation of touch. Notice what you feel kinesthetically. Notice whether now that sensation increases while the tactile sense is accordingly diminished or, if you will, impoverished, diluted. Give all your attention or as much of it as you can, to the feelings of movement. Then, once again go back to what you touch, the interaction between the external world and your own body where it impinges on you and you on it. That is what your consciousness is mainly concerned with. Continue to turn your head. Let your consciousness be aware of the floor and your head's contact with the floor and of your body lying on the floor and the mat on the floor. It is very predominantly a tactile awareness. Notice whether there is any way in which you can balance those two out so that you can sense the Interaction between yourself and the objective world through the tactile sense. Sense your movements without one taking anything away from the other. This whole exercise, especially when you get to a point of this kind, calls for some quite delicate sensing. With work, in the future, you will be able to do far better than you can do now. It is still a very difficult thing to be able to recognize a balance or even to seem to achieve one. Leave your head alone and leave your elbows straight. Slide your hands up and down along the floor at your sides. Emphasize the feelings of movement in your body. Then shift from a kinesthetic to a tactile awareness so that your awareness is of the contact with the surface beneath you, primarily of your arms, but also the rest of your body as well. You need only be sufficiently aware to know that you are moving; your primary interest is in touch. Then compare what you sense now with what you sensed when you were giving your consciousness to the kinesthetic sense. Now, give your consciousness back to the kinesthetic sense again. Your awareness is of movement. You have little concern with the touching or the being touched. Observe whether being concerned with movement, primarily, not only

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME II

brings the kinesthetic sensation into sharper focus, but you spontaneously increase the movement. Go back to tactile awareness once again. Now, divide that awareness so that for a time you orient yourself towards what you are touching, towards learning about the world outside, primarily, and then for a while you orient yourself to what the hand is feeling, the greater attention being paid to the self. Notice the difference — a division that is within the tactile sense and the shifts of orientation. Then just pay attention to the sense of touch and without being concerned about dividing it between awareness of self and not-self. Finally, go back to sensing moving once again. Then, stop and rest. Scan your body image for a little while and then try recapitulating in your mind some of what you have been doing. Those of you who can perceive visual images with the eyes closed, might try alternating between those and kinesthetic images. Imagine moving the legs from side to side. If you do not have visual images that you see as you see the images on a movie screen, for example, nevertheless imagine looking at whatever you were focused on in the room. Imagine taking the legs side to side. Shift your attention from your visual imaginary focus to your kinesthetic imaginary one. Then, open your eyes and focus on some actual object that you can see clearly. Bring that object into the clearest possible focus. Then, as you endeavor to keep your focus on that object, silently recite to yourself some piece of poetry or prose that you know well, something like the Gettysburg Address, if you know it. If you cannot manage that, at least some nursery rhyme or children's piece of poetry, scripture or whatever it may be, recite that while endeavoring to maintain the visual focus. Carefully note any blurring of parts of it, any loss of detail. Also, try singing to yourself. Notice whether you can maintain your clear visual focus and for how long and in what way it changes. Now, stop once again and establish a visual focus, something very clear. Identify the parts of that visual sensing so that when anything changes, you know it and can recognize it clearly. I am going to provide you first with one kind of auditory stimulus, just talking. Then, I am going to provide you with another kind. Listen as carefully as you can, whether it seems to make sense or no sense, while also doing all that you can, apart from holding your breath or tightening your muscles, to maintain your seeing. See as clearly as possible. I want you to listen with great intensity as I deliberate over whether I want to speak to you about the Aristotelian sublunary theory of the vegetative soul or about the Leibnitzian notion of monads or the concept of the will in Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, whether I want to speak to you about Platonic ideas or about aesthetics or possibly Bergson's Elan Vital, or Hartshorne's theory of sensory affective continuity, and so on. I might want to talk to you about the second law of thermodynamics. I might want to speak to you about certain ideas of Einstein or of Heidegger. I might want to speak to you about being and nothingness and about the transiency of reality and about what reality is and about those experiments where animals who have – 126 –

3. [#21] Orchestrating Multisensory Awarenesses

learned a maze can be killed and their brains fed to other animals who never learned the maze; by eating the brain of the animal who learned it, that animal learns to go through the maze without any other kind of training. I might want to speak to you about the experiments of a man called Rupert Sheldrake who is in a sense repeating the experiments done long ago by Rudolph Steiner. Sheldrake has shown that if one group of rats learns to run a particular maze anywhere in the world, that then some other rats elsewhere can run that particular maze better than they could before. The time of the learning is reduced for the other rats. The same thing is true for other kinds of animals as well; once a particular learning enters into the consciousness of a species, it appears to be transferred to the consciousness of other members of the same species. This might account for the recurrence of the same myths, the mythologies and religions of different peoples in different times and places all throughout the world that up to now has baffled historians and psychologists. Try to maintain your visual focus as my voice goes on and on, probably making no sense to you, but nevertheless offering competition with that visual sense, and perceiving that your reality has indeed been affected — that your ability to maintain your visual focus is affected by both your conscious and unconscious attention to the auditory stimulus being presented to you. If you look closely you may see that certain details of what you were looking at have faded so that they are either no longer there or they are not there in the same way that they were there before. Let us see whether the external form is the same as it was when I began speaking or whether that form has changed somewhat and whether the light and shadows have changed. Is the color as it was before? If you cannot tell about that, if you really do not know, then I will cease and desist from speaking altogether and you now bring that thing back into visual focus and see how it changed and how much of it was lost. See if it is the same as it was when I was speaking or whether when I stop talking it becomes different. Use your visual sense completely. Try to get back to seeing at least as well as you did before I started to talk. Most of you will recognize clearly that the materials I presented to you were a thief of your visual percept ion. Now, bend your legs again. I will provide you with a different kind of auditory distraction. There are several kinds. Take the legs from side to side and establish your kinesthetic awareness just as completely as you can. Try to make that movement as pleasurable as possible and bring it as fully as possible into your consciousness. (Metronome) Now, stop bending your legs and just listen. Leave them standing. (Metronome) Listen not only to the metronome but to anything else that you can hear in your environment. (Metronome at slower pace) Give full awareness to your auditory sense. Then, take your legs again from side to side while listening. See if you can discriminate that the metronome no longer is as clear in your consciousness as it was when you were not moving. This should be true of any sound, or all sounds that do not absorb the consciousness completely. You would like to hear it as well as before. – 127 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME II

Stop your movement now and listen again. (Metronome) Notice whether that sound is much more fully available to you than it was when you were moving. Now, in a moment I will give you a nicer one, a Nepalese temple bell. First, the general rule is that one sense, with the average person, will take away some part from another sense. The only exceptions are extremes of pleasure or of pain. Extremes of pain or pleasure will wipe out almost completely all the other senses. If any other sensation remains, then the pleasure or the pain is to that degree incomplete, since pain or pleasure alone can be fullness’s of sensation in themselves. There are other examples that the body is rarely ever exposed to, such as a sound that can so fill consciousness that the body disappears from the awareness and there are no thoughts, nothing but evidently pure awareness of that sound. There are states of consciousness that can be achieved in sensory deprivation chambers, or better in tanks where the temperature of the water is identical with that of the whole body, where all sensation is lost. However, there are the things that occur most normally in human beings that are capable of blotting out other awareness’s, and those are pleasure and pain. Now, take the legs again from side to side. Try to give your full awareness to the kinesthetic sense. There will remain a partial awareness of the tactile sense. If your eyes were open there would be the visual, if there was enough olfactory stimulus you might smell, and as long as there is noise you will have some awareness of that. You should be able to give your awareness very predominantly to the kinesthetic sense. Observe the quality of that awareness that you are giving to the kinesthetic sense. Then, see to what extent it is affected by a sound that is not very loud, not painful, not exceptionally pleasurable, but still a sound that sets up a competition between the kinesthetic and the auditory senses. First, have a moment of silence and give yourself over to the kinesthetic sense, (Bell) Now continue to move but give yourself a supremacy of the auditory sense so that you hear just the bell to the extent possible. (Bell) Then, stop moving and just listen. Observe how fully that can occupy your consciousness. (Bell) Then begin moving from side to side slowly, emphasizing auditory awareness. (Bell) Observe whether your experience of the bell is not different. If you doubt it, stop moving altogether for a minute. Once more just listen. Now, stretch out and rest a minute. Scan your body image. Now, with your eyes open, roll your head from side to side. Try to look at everything that is before your eyes and see it as clearly as possible. Also sense as clearly as possible the movement of your head and neck. Try to use your vision and your kinesthetic sense as completely as you can. Then also take your legs from side to side now. Try to see everything as clearly as you can and sense your movement as clearly as you can. Then, forget about the vision for a moment although you can continue to see clearly if you like, or you can close your eyes. However, pay simultaneous attention to the tactile and kinesthetic senses. Feel your body as it rolls over the floor, what you touch, sensations of interaction with the world outside of you, and also the – 128 –

3. [#21] Orchestrating Multisensory Awarenesses

movement. Try to give the greatest possible measure of awareness simultaneously to both. Now, stop moving. Focus on the tactile. Sense clearly the sensation of touch, and at the same time open your eyes and bring in your visual world. Try to touch and see simultaneously as perfectly as possible. Notice whether you can feel that these two senses are functioning in a way that is not so competitive, that you can use them both at one time to an extent that is at least somewhat better than before. Do it without the movement for now. Then, just be aware of vision. Focus as clearly as you can. See if you can maintain that focus while also listening. (Metronome) Try to listen as well as you can and also see as well as you can. (Metronome) Then try, instead, to combine the auditory with the kinesthetic. Listen and move at the same time. Move the legs side to side, or the legs and the head, while also listening. Try to be equally aware of the listening and the movement. (Bell and Metronome) Now, I am going to try it with the bell without shocking you by doing it by surprise. See if you can integrate your awareness of movement with your auditory awareness and not feel that you are sacrificing one to the other. (Bell) Keenly sense but at the same time listen. (Bell) Now, I am going to go back to the metronome for a minute. Listen and move, and at the same time be aware of touching. Notice whether you can do those three things without feeling that one dominates or takes away from the others. Observe that you can use your senses in a balanced way. Give a great deal of attention to the pleasurable sensations of movement and to the also pleasurable sensations of touching surfaces as you move. Let the head move. Give attention to the more neutral experience of the metronome. (Metronome) Now stop that. I am going to ask you to continue moving and sensing. I am going to do the bell once more. I am going to ask you to use your sense of touch, your sense of movement, your hearing and also your vision. Try to see, hear, touch and sense the movement all at once just as clearly as you can. (Bell) Focus on something visually until that is very clear. See if you can maintain that focus as you listen. Notice whether you can listen and focus on the movement without losing your vision. Observe whether you can also touch without sacrificing vision or kinesthetic sense or hearing. Now, find auditory stimulus enough in the room around you and continue to look and to move and to touch in the room or in the environment. Then, one final time, give yourself completely over to movement. Then, give yourself over completely to touch or as completely as possible. Give yourself over as completely as possible to listening. (Bell) Give yourself over as completely as possible to vision. Bring everything in as clearly as you possibly can — color, form, light, shadow, texture, everything. Then, stop. – 129 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME II

Lie on your back. For just a moment, scan your body image. Then, slowly roll to one side and get up. Move around. Endeavor, as you move, to use all the senses simultaneously, as completely, as possible. Pay attention to your movement awareness, to whatever you touch. Be sure that you are using each sense as completely as possible. If you self-observe closely, you will notice that you can feel a kind of catlike quality about your movements, that they are more primitive. Some people, as they do this exercise, will feel that primitive flavor, especially a catlike quality, to such an extent that they will find that their hands assume a kind of claw like position. That adds to the experience. The feet pad like the feet of a great cat moving through a jungle. Again, observe closely, and be sure to tune in each sense. Do not allow yourself to stop seeing as clearly as you can, to stop hearing as clearly as you can. Hear every footfall and sounds that each person makes. Try to differentiate them so that you can hear many people moving at the same time. Sense your own movements, your contact, whatever you touch — whether it be yourself or the environment. Bring them all into the same vital kind of aliveness. Try moving a little more quickly and, doing it, move as if you were a tiger, or a panther, or some very live kind of being whose senses are undiminished by any previous experience. Then come back and sit down a minute. You should have achieved multisensory awarenesses in varying degrees, it is a difficult exercise in terms of the amount of subtle discrimination that is called for. To some extent, I would think that each of you should feel that you can use the senses together and in a more balanced and integrated way than you ordinarily do, that you can be conscious of all of them simultaneously. Look at your ordinary experience and you will find that it is a very, very lacking one and that, in fact, like at the beginning of this exercise, one sensation goes a long way towards wiping out the rest, whereas now there is a much more equal and better orchestrated use of them. With practice that will naturally increase and improve. Finally, before we conclude, I want you to look very closely at any other persons in the room who have done this exercise. Do you notice that people stand out as individuals much more than they ordinarily do? If you look around the room you will probably see that each of those persons seems somehow better individuated, more potently present. You are likely to find that you are not looking just at a group, but that each person stands forth in his or her own uniqueness, that each one is somehow more clearly defined.

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4. [#22] Opening the Spiral

4. [#22] Opening the Spiral Teaching time: exceeds 1 hour

To begin with, sit in a comfortable position, one you can maintain, without too much moving around, for up to one hour or more. If you can, make it an easy yogatype or Japanese position with the soles of your feet touching. Having done that, try to balance yourself so that only minimal effort is required for your body to sit erect with the eyes gazing out straight ahead of you, or perhaps looking a little more down towards the floor, but with the head fairly erect. Do whatever feels comfortable. Now, close your eyes and breathe slowly and rather deeply, noting what you do as you breathe. Be aware of your shoulders rising and falling with each inhalation and exhalation. Observe the expansion outwards of the rib cage with each inhalation, and the sinking inward of the rib cage with each exhalation. Observe your chest rising and falling. If your arms are resting on your legs, it should be easy to be aware, or to become aware, of the arms and hands rising with the inhalation and settling with the exhalation. As you exhale, keeping your back straight, let your body bend slightly forward from the waist. As you inhale, let your body go back until the upper body is straight, or even leans back a little. You exhale and your body comes forward; you inhale and your body straightens and goes back. The basic movement occurs in the hip joints, but you can have the feeling that it is the inhalation, the inflation of the lungs, that gives the body a buoyancy so that it straightens and rises; and the exhalation, the emptying out, allows the body to sink forward, bending at the hip joints and from the waist. The body comes forward and goes back, rhythmically, in coordination with the breathing — the inhalation and the exhalation… the inhalation and the exhalation — rising, falling, rising, falling, coming forward, and going backward, rising and falling, a little, or more, depending on what is comfortable and conducive to a state of increasingly deeper relaxation. Then, instead of the body coming forward and going back, let it go to the left, and then to the right, bending again from the waist, with some movement in the hip joints; and perhaps, as the upper body moves right, the left buttock leaving the floor, and as the upper body moves left, the right buttock leaving the floor. And along with the buttock, the knee, the upper leg, and the lower leg down to the ankle. Move side to side and, so far as your breathing is concerned, only take care that it be easy and free. Now, stop a moment and simply turn your head from side to side. Sit fairly erect and allow the head to turn from side to side. Observe whether now, if you allow it, the head will turn side to side and do so smoothly — turning left, and right, and left, and right, and left, and right. Perhaps it will be helpful if you, yourself, instruct or order the movement, saying silently, “head left, head right, head left, head right, head going left, head going right, left, right, left, right, left, right." – 131 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME II

Observe whether it goes better depending on how erect you are sitting — so that the neck is straight, and the head is up and not hanging towards the floor. When the head is up, it should go better as you think or instruct the head to move left, right, left, right. As it is responding, you may wish to see whether it is responding now to my instructions or to yours and, therefore, I will speak several times as you speak along with me, instructing the head to go left and right. Then I will keep silent and you continue to do it for a while — to instruct the head to go left and right, left, right, left, right, left, right, left, right. Feel now, if I pause too long before the suggestion, whether the head wants to turn right before I say “turn right,” and wants to turn left before I say “turn left,” because I wait too long before giving the next instruction. Observe, now, the head going left, right, left, right, left… right… left, right, and now faster, left, right, left, right, left, right, left, right, left, right. Now, several times just raise and lower your head. When you raise the head, inhale; when you lower it, exhale. Inhale, exhale. Raising the head, inhale; and lowering it, exhale. Raising it, inhale; lowering it, exhale. Now stop, with the body erect and the head up. Put your hands behind you on the floor and make some circles with your head. Go four or five times right, and then four or five times left, reversing after no more than four or five circles in one direction. As you do that, close your eyes, breathe freely, and look back up into the top of your head as you circle, not forgetting to change the directions you go in, and keeping the hands well back. Stop, and put your hands on your legs in front of you. Let your upper body go forward and back, forward and back, forward and back, rhythmically with the breathing. Then, go side to side, breathing free. Then, instead of going back and forth or side to side, move in a circular manner, so that you go to the side, and forward, to the side, and back, to the side and forward and so on. Also reverse that direction occasionally. Breathe freely and go back far enough so that you circle over the coccyx, or tail bone; when you go to the sides, passing over your ischia, or sitting bones; when you come forward, your face coming much closer to the floor than it does when you are sitting upright. Continue to make those circles smooth and rhythmic, breathing freely, and as you make them, look upward with your closed eyes into your head, toward that space where your brain is inside your skull. As you circle, also let the head move freely, so that as you circle, you cross the coccyx and the ischia; so, too, do you cross your breast bone and shoulders with the head, so that one might say, “as it is above, so below, “or“ as it is below, so above,” but not exactly, just approximations, rough approximations. Then, just go side to side for a while and, as you do that, let the head and neck move so that, as you go to the left side, the left ear approaches or touches the left shoulder, and as you go right, the right ear approaches or touches the right shoulder.

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4. [#22] Opening the Spiral

You just go back and forth, the whole body moving left to right and right to left. Now, stop. Rearrange your legs, if you wish, while continuing to focus your closed eyes towards the top of your head, looking up towards your brain. Now, however you may be sitting, breathe also up towards the brain as you look up, and although the breath exhales now, keep looking up with the eyes as if they could look right up into the two hemispheres of the brain, and also at the interior of the skull, and perhaps look back also to see the brain stem, the spine coming up from the coccyx to the skull and the stem of the brain, moving on up the brain through the later, less primitive animal brain, and the human brain above, the distinctively human brain different from the lower reptilian, and the next lower mammalian, animal brain. Look up and up into the hemispheres, and breathe up into the brain as you look. Feel as if, with that breathing, you could inflate the brain, make it larger; and to accommodate that brain growth, the skull must grow out, get wider at the sides and generally larger and larger, getting taller, higher, so that the brain grows up and out as the skull grows up and out, the breathing and the awareness compelling those changes. Remain focused looking and breathing up, and noting what you feel. 1 As you do that, notice whether you are feeling something inside the head, around the head, especially above the ears, above the eyes, something not felt before — a fullness. Put your arms just a little behind you and continue breathing up into that space. Observe whether you begin to feel that the head expands and contracts with the inhalation and exhalation, expanding as you inhale, contracting as you exhale; inhaling and expanding, exhaling and contracting. As you do that, the brain will become more and more responsive. Now, order the head to turn left and right, left and right. Do that for a while. Now, the head moves left and right very freely and, as it moves, you will look towards your left hemisphere as your head moves left, and towards your right hemisphere as your head moves right. Try looking at the left hemisphere as you order the head to go right, and at the right hemisphere as you order the head to go left. Observe whether the head will disobey the order, or obey it only very reluctantly, insisting or attempting to insist on coordinating its movements with the movements of the eyes. Now, if you consciously and voluntarily turn the head left while looking right, and right while looking left, observe whether then, you have no problem opposing the eye movements to the head movements, just as you have no problem doing that when the eyes are open. Your unconscious is not so obedient, docile, tamed. Now, again instruct the head to go left and right, and do so quickly and smoothly: left, right, left, right, left, right, left, right. As it responds well to those suggestions, try again to oppose the eye movements to the involuntary movements which occur when you speak directly to the brain, or through the intermediary of the unconscious mind — since the conscious mind cannot turn the head involuntarily. 1

Note: Allow ample time for following (this paragraph).

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME II

There is your dilemma. You can consciously order the head to turn and it will turn, but then you are not turning it; something else is turning it — the brain, or the unconscious. If you turn it consciously, voluntarily, you can feel it is a different experience. Some orders the unconscious or brain will take from the conscious mind, and some not. You see how it resists opposing the eye movement to the head movement when the head movement is involuntary. Open your eyes and try instructing the head to go left and right. Now, close them and do it. Then, do it again with the eyes open, and then again closed. Observe whether opening the eyes has diminished your ability to involuntarily experience the movement of the head in response to the voluntary instructions. If so, is that because of the eyes opening or because of what the eyes sense? Now, look up into your brain again with your eyes closed. Raise and lower your head several times. Make some circles in one direction and then in the other. Come back to a position with the back erect and the head up. Now, order it to move left and right, looking up into your brain. If your authority over your unconscious or your brain is diminished so that your head moves less well, continue to practice in an endeavor to re-establish it. Speaking first along with me, but with you speaking silently, ordering the head left, head right, head left, head right, head left, head right, left, right, left, right, left, right, head left, head right, and as it wants to move left, head left, head right, head left, right, left, right, left, right. Then, by yourself, order it. Now, stop and, looking up at your brain, make some body movements side to side, and then back and forth or forward and back. Inhale as you move up and back, exhale as you come down. Stop, and arrange your legs in any comfortable position. Now, circle with your eyes inside your head at about the level of your ears. Then, circle higher and higher inside the skull. Also circle around the outside. Then, begin at eye level with small circles, and let them expand and expand until they go out of your skull and beyond your brain, being manifestations of your brain, a spiral upward, wider and wider and wider circles… up, wider and wider and wider circles, spiraling up and up and up, making a net in which you could snare the moon, and a funnel down through which into your brain could pass the knowledge of any place in the cosmos, the universe, whatever that ever-expanding circle might encompass. 2 Feel that, in fact, the top of your head is open so that your brain reaches out and beckons, sends out a beacon of light — that whole spiral a beacon of light, rising out of the top of your brain and going out and out and out, so that sliding down that light can come knowledge or beings of light, figures cascading down through that spiral. Notice whether your whole head feels open, and expanded in a curious way. You may feel that it is expanding up and up and up, stretching until it is almost too much. 2

Allow ample time for next segments.

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4. [#22] Opening the Spiral

Slowly withdraw that spiral now, making smaller and smaller circles, down and down and down, and withdraw the light in through your skull, and feel that your skull is closed again, is returning to normal size, and the brain within it, and the eyes resting. Feel increasingly relaxed, increasingly relaxed. Just be quiet and let your mind be still. Let your brain be still. Observe whether, in fact, you can now stop thinking, although you still may be aware of sensations. Let them occur as sensations without verbal labeling. Just be as quiet as you can. Remain in this state of quiet for as long as you like, seated or lying Let your mind be empty while your unconscious integrates what you may have experienced. Let your brain and body enjoy relaxation. Let your mind be at peace. Just rest for however long you may care to do so. Relaxation, integration, tranquility. Continue to experience.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME II

5. [#23] Face, Head and Body Image Teaching time: about 1 ½ hours

To begin with, lie on your back. Put your fingers on the top of the head, and push the scalp together at the very top so that you can feel it sort of bunching up. Then bring the hands down a little so that you can work not only with the fingers but also with the part of your hand just below your fingers on the palm. Push up on the side of your head so that you lift your face. Let it come gently down and then push a little more vigorously up. In all of the work that you do on your face, you should be gentle, as it is a soft and sensitive part and you do not want to damage blood vessels or bruise yourself. Then, right where your temples are, there is a little indentation, near the top of your ear. Put the part of the hand below the fingers in that indentation and circle back towards the back of your head. Make semicircular motions. If you observe this in a mirror as you are doing it, you can sculpt yourself as you would like to be. Almost all of this exercise is well done before a mirror. You will see that this particular movement will almost instantly make the face look younger. It will take out wrinkles around the eyes and other facial wrinkles as well, or else prevent them. Especially if you have parents or grandparents who are very prone to wrinkles, it is a good idea to do this work. Then put your hands down a moment. Sense the top of your head where you have been working. Notice whether that part is clearer to you. One of the things that we are going to do is to bring the face and head into the body image. Sit up. Put the palms of the hands on the cheek bones and rotate back in a circular movement. If you reverse any of these movements, you can see in a mirror that you can add a few decades very quickly, so do not come forward with the circles, but go towards the back of your head. Otherwise, the face will be made to sag and wrinkles will be introduced into it. Do it every day for six months and I will guarantee that you will look at least ten years older if you do it the wrong way. Then, put the palms of the hands on the chin, on the jaw line. Rub up and down. Start out towards the end near the ears. Be sure that you rub over the bone. As you will see, there is much of the face that does not get anything like the amount of movement and exercise that it should get. That makes it less expressive and sometimes it causes it to communicate what was not intended. The freer the face is to move, the better it expresses the intentions and communications of the person. Keep coming closer until the hands are rubbing at the point of the chin. Make it a gradual thing. Now, put one of your middle fingers alongside of the nose and rub up and down. Rub it alongside each side of the nose. With this movement especially, be careful not to rub too hard. When working on the face it is generally a good idea to – 136 –

5. [#23] Face, Head and Body Image

use some sort of oil, Vitamin E oil or something like that. Then, let the arms down a minute and rest. Then, take the middle fingers and put them in the corners of the mouth. Pull out to the side gently, and let it come back. Do not stretch it too much; it is just a gentle widening of the mouth. Usually with this movement you can restore in old people, whose lips have gotten very thin, a fullness in the lips. It also tends to prevent the lips from becoming thin as people age. All of the movements we have done so far can very easily be remembered, and can be used just for the care of the face, as well as being a psychophysical exercise to achieve other things. In the beginning, you do each movement about fifteen or twenty times, and work up to about fifty times. Now, take hold of the top of the ear. Pull it up, release it, and pull it up again. Keep repeating that movement. The ear is an organ that was intended to move to some extent in the direction of sound, the way eyes look in the direction of what is seen. Whenever a movement of a part of the body is lost like that, especially a major part like the ear, it is necessary to do something to compensate for the inactivity of the part, or it will functionally suffer. It is therefore important to move the ear in different ways. Gently pull it up, release it, and pull it up again. Then, take hold of the ear in the middle and pull it towards the back of the head. After doing that for a bit, bring it out to the sides so that it stands out away from your head, straight out. Do it gently. Pull it away, and let it go back. Then, take hold of the lobe of the ear and pull it down and release it, doing that for a while. Now, take hold of the ears again in the middle. This time pull them forward. This is a movement that can be done quickly and is not unpleasant. Then, let your fingers explore very fully the insides of the ears. You will find that there are many more indentations than you realized. Try to bring the insides of your ears as fully as possible into your awareness. Do not neglect to follow around the top rim of the ear where it folds over. Notice how many different hollows or indentations in the ear you can find. At first it is likely to feel like three. However, when you explore a little more subtly and further, you find that there are more than that. Also go over the edge of the ear and the outside. Then, go over the outside and the inside simultaneously, using different fingers, or the thumb and the fingers. Then stop, and lie down and rest for a minute. Sense your face and see if your ears are now sensed better by you then they ordinarily are. While you are resting, make an imaginary line that runs through your chin, through the middle of your nose, to the top of your head. Then, imagine another one that runs from your ears across your face and intersects at the tip of your nose with the vertical one. Then, make another line from the chin to the ear on each side, and then from the ear to the top of the head so that a diamond shape is created. The outer lines are diamond shaped and the inside ones form a cross. Let your consciousness move up and down in a cross and around the diamond. Observe whether it is really a perfect diamond. Be sure that the other lines intersect the tip of – 137 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME II

the nose, and the vertical line is at the bottom and top of the diamond, and the one across the face is at the other two corners of it. Then sit up again. Put the left middle finger against the left nostril. Gently close it and then take the finger away. Let the nostril pop open. Do that a number of times. You are not interested in the breathing but in the sensation and movement in the nose. With some people it will pop open instantly and with others it will stick a little bit and open more slowly. It also depends on how hard you push and how long you hold it closed. Do the same thing with the other finger to the other side. Then, go up and down the middle of your nose with the middle finger of one hand, while the fingers on either side of the middle finger simultaneously go up and down the sides of the nose. One goes up and down the ridge of the nose, and the other two are on the sides where the nose meets the face. Let the middle finger go up to your third eye and then come back down all the way not only to the tip of the nose, but traveling over the tip to the part of the nose that separates the nostril. Then, go back up again. Then, with both hands, take hold of the nostrils and gently pull up and down. Then widen them and bring them together; also take the nose forward and backward. Then, with the fingers of one hand, just explore as fully as you can the shape of the nose and all of the parts of it that are readily accessible to you. Do it with one hand. Observe whether the nose that your hand senses and brings into your awareness is the same nose that you experienced yourself as having, if you sensed it at all. Does it feel like the nose you remember from seeing the nose? Then stop. Put a middle finger over each eye. Let the finger be horizontal so that it covers the length of the eye. Very gently explore the outside of the eyelids. Do not press on the eye. Very gently explore it and also the lower lids, and where they meet, as well as the eyelashes and the socket. Go up to the eyebrows for a minute and explore those. Try to become clearly aware of the sockets of the eyes, the bones around the eye that serve to give it some protection. You feel that the eye is, in fact, set back in the socket. Notice whether you can follow your eye somewhat back into your head. Take your hands away and try to do it. Notice whether you can sense clearly the eye itself under the lids, so that the lids are differentiated from the eye. Observe whether you can sense clearly what is the eye and what is the lid. Then try to follow the eye back however far you can go. Notice also whether you are aware of the brow and of the socket, and the fact that there is a lower as well as an upper skin covering over the eye. Then, shift your attention for a moment to the ear. Try to follow the ear into the head. Breathe freely as you do it. Notice whether you can become at least a little more aware than you usually are of the part of the ear that goes inside your head. Also, does it seem to you that sound really comes in through the ear or whether it is as if the sound is not exactly coming in through the ear? If it seems that the sound comes in through the ear, try to follow it inward. To many people, it seems that the – 138 –

5. [#23] Face, Head and Body Image

sound somehow impinges on the outer surface of the head rather than coming in through the ear. It can also be sensed over other parts of the surface of the body, in almost any place except the ear. Try to follow the ears in and the eyes in. At the same time, become aware of the cavity of the mouth. Observe whether, by virtue of having endeavored to follow the eye back and the ear in, you now have an unusually clear awareness of the mouth and throat so that you can follow the mouth down through the throat more clearly than you were able to sense it before. Notice whether you have some real sense of where your food and drink go when they go into your mouth and down your throat. As you are aware of that, try to follow the passage of the air in through your nose. Observe whether you have a better sense, now, of where the air goes. Where does the awareness of the air intake usually stop, and where do you sense it to go now? Are you able to extend that awareness somewhat? Then, lie down and rest a minute. Try to do the same thing lying down. Be aware of those localities in your head where something comes in — the mouth, the nose, the eyes and the ears. Try to follow all of them into the interior of the head as you lie there. Just do that for a minute. Notice what is different about the experience and sensing of those organs and activities lying down as compared to sitting up. What is the same and what is different? Then, sit up again. This time try to sense, as clearly as possible, the lips. Of all parts of the body image, the lips are usually, with most people, the clearest in the body image. They have very great practical and emotional importance for the human being, beginning right at infancy when it is nursing and lasting all through life. They are involved in the most important communications, in the sexual life, in the eating. They sustain the organism. The lips are involved in all of these things. In the homunculus of the brain — the little man that indicates the involvement of the nervous system in different parts of the body — the mouth is incredibly large. Sense your lips. Compare the lower with the upper. Sense where they come together, and the corners of them. Rub a finger over the outsides of them. Also let it go between them. Notice whether your finger senses your lips in the way you sense them without touching. Do they bear the same relation to each other and do they feel the same? Then, take the hand away and sense again. Do the same thing with your tongue. Run it over the outsides of the lips and also the undersides. Then, with the tongue, sense the teeth. Sense the outsides of the teeth, the tops of the teeth, the backsides. Notice whether it seems to you that the teeth feel or only that the tongue feels. Then, let the tongue lie still and observe where it is in your mouth. If the muscles of the tongue are as they should be, it will lie on the floor of the mouth and will touch at the bottoms of the lower teeth. Then explore, for a while, the mouth with the tongue, the floor of the mouth, the roof of the mouth, the insides of the cheek. Turn the tongue back without swallowing it. As you do that, become aware that there is a great deal of space in there. You know what the size of your tongue is. – 139 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME II

Then, observe all of the space that the tongue has to move around in. You begin to become aware of the insides of your mouth as a much larger space than you ordinarily experience it to be. In fact, it is a very spacious space. Open your mouth a bit and let that space expand so that the tongue has even more room to go in. Then, stop and let the tongue protrude slightly from the teeth. Bite down on it very, very lightly with just the tip extended. Then, let it come out a little more and bite again. Then, a little more and bite again. Notice how many times you can bring the tongue out and bite on it, whether it is ten times or fifteen or whatever it might be. When it is at its full extention, bring it back the same way. Without straining, bring the tongue out just as far as it will go. Do it bit by bit and mark each movement by stopping it with the teeth momentarily. Then, let the tongue rest inside the mouth. Sense the tongue and observe whether it feels wider and flatter. Does it seem to be any longer than before? With some people, the tongue is so contracted that it looks like a cylinder. It should be wide and flat, and it will also be longer when it is relaxed. Now, open your mouth wide two or three times. Do it however much you can without straining. Then, instead of doing that, bring your lower jaw forward so that the lower teeth are outside the uppers. Then, bring it back Breathe freely. Then, open the mouth wide again. Let the jaw be very loose. Now, just take it from side to side a few times. See again, without straining, how far it can go to one side and how far to the other. Then, yawn and lie down. Rub your hands over your face. This time try to touch the whole surface of it, including the parts under the chin. Be sure to always rub and explore from the bottom up so that the hands go up rather than down. Include the ears, neck and back of the head. Be sure that the hands go up. Then, put the hands, as you did in the beginning, alongside the top of the head. Gently message or push the scalp up. Release it and push it up again. Then, place your hands on the very top of your head with the fingers of one hand lying in the spaces of the fingers of the other hand. Do this on top of your head. Look up into your brain space with your closed eyes. Breathe up towards the hands. Try to get a clear image of what the hands would look like to the eyes if they could see through the skull. Then, a few more times, just run the hands over the face in an upward direction gently. Do it very, very gently, sensing. Use the hands to learn everything you can about the face. Then, let the face experience the hands. Shift your awareness every few times back and forth between the hands learning about the face and the head, and the face and the head learning about the hands. Then, just put your arms down at your sides, palms down and legs extended, as always. Sense your face and your head. Observe how clearly you can now sense them. Notice whether you can sense the eyes, the socket of the eyes, the brows, the mouth and the line of the jaw and the chin, the lips, the cheeks, the scalp, the top and back of the head, the tongue, the inside of the mouth Notice whether that is in your awareness – 140 –

5. [#23] Face, Head and Body Image

and, if you can, keep it there for a while. Just do a few exhalations up as if through the top of your head while sensing all of that. Then, slowly roll to one side and get up and walk around. See if you feel relaxed. Is the tendency of your body up? Are your face and head clearly in your body image? Do you also feel that your extended consciousness is somewhat altered and different from what it was in the beginning? If so, in what way? There are a lot of pleased expressions that perhaps the face makes when it feels good, having been given a chance to be much more fully used and experienced than is ordinarily the case.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME II

6. [#24] Journey Inward Teaching time: according to responses

Lie down on your back and think of the joints of your body, beginning with your toes and your ankles. Think of those joints of which you are conscious, which you feel, and also think of major joints of which you may not be aware, such as the spinal vertebrae. As you go over your body suggest to yourself that the relevant muscles are relaxing, becoming longer and looser, so that the joints can release. Now that you have worked on that for a while, pay attention to your eyes and to your breathing. If your eyes are open, close them and leave them closed. Note how your breathing affects your eyes, how they rise and fall with your breathing, and whatever else you can notice. Begin to notice that when you exhale the eyelids get heavier and the eyes close tighter. Let the eyes close tighter with each exhalation, but only the eyes. Do not tighten any of the muscles of the face, including the eyes — just experience that the eyes are closing a bit tighter. This breathing and the sensations around the eyes will continue to affect you by altering your consciousness, deepening your state, even though you no longer focus on the breathing or on the eyes, as we begin our Journey Inward — rather, as we continue it, for it already has begun. Focus on the breathing and, as you exhale, you go deeper and feel the eyelids closing a little tighter each time. Exhaling — now, as you continue to do that, be aware of the top of your head, your skull, around your brain-space. Be aware of the top and the back of the skull and of the sockets of the eyes; be aware of the jaw, the jawbone, the teeth, and of the spine, the neck and bones of the neck coming up into the skull and then the spine all the way down your body. Be aware of the shoulder girdle, the shoulder joints, the ribs, the upper and lower arms, and the hands. Become increasingly aware of your skeleton — pelvis bones, hip joints, upper legs, lower legs, and feet. Go in deeper and think of yourself as just a skeleton lying there. Just bones. And then begin to add to that some of the muscles and the organs of the body, so that it is a body with no facade, no skin on the outside, a body like you see in anatomical charts and anatomy books, with just the inside present and just part of that available to you. And then feel something of what you are like without your facade, without that surface that presents your image to the world. Add the blood flowing, the chemistry of the body, electrical activity, connections between the brain and the parts of the body through the nervous system. Gradually let the body have a skin, a surface, and be aware of the surface and also of what is inside. Then with your mind leaving the surface and going inside of yourself, you can pass into your body at any point that you like with your mind and begin to

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6. [#24] Journey Inward

explore inside — exploring wherever you like and observing the activity in different parts of your body. Then try exploring inside one of your hands and then traveling up the arm, the shoulder and passing into the chest, observing the breathing, the lungs, air coming into and then out of them as you breathe; continue exploring and pass up through your throat and into your head, observing your brain, and moving around in and through the brain. Then beginning to explore at more and more microscopic levels. First going into the bloodstream, flowing with the blood and becoming aware of the blood all around in that one part of your body. Beginning to have a more and more microscopic kind of awareness, so that a tiny drop of blood can be all around you; and going into skin tissues, able to go into bones; microscopic awareness — tiniest parts — until finally you will become aware even of atoms and molecules and going beyond that to even subatomic levels of yourself; observing yourself as particles in movement. Even though from the outside and from your own experience your body seems to be more or less stable, experience it as billions of particles in movement, held together by… no one is quite sure what. Just continue to roam around at the minutest levels of your physical reality that you can penetrate. Observe colors, sounds, how it feels, and if you can find something to smell and to taste. Then, from whatever part of your body that you are in, return to the brain. If you are not there already, return to the brain. Now, as you have explored your body you can explore your mind. As you went deeper and deeper into your bodily reality, conceive of your mind as having levels and go deeper and deeper down through those levels of mind. See what you find there, and what the inscape of the mind looks like as compared to that of the body. Are they the same? Are the mind and the body one? Or are they separate? As you keep going in deeper, if you look in the right space you can find in the mind whatever you found in the body. But can you also find in the body whatever you can find in the mind? You can explore them as one reality or as two without making any definitive statement about whether it is one reality or two. Observe whether you experience mind and body as separate realities or as a single reality. I am going to give you several minutes of clock time. If your mental processes accelerate, that can be a very, very long time subjectively, experientially, for exploring the realities of mind and body — or perhaps what you experience as the single reality of body/mind. Explore now one or both, whatever you like. Now, as you explore and experience, ask yourself whether one appears to be illusory. Is the mind real or an illusion? 1s the body real or an illusion? Might they both be real or might they both be illusions? So far we have made a two-part division into body and mind — at least for the purposes of exploration. Now we consider that one might make a three-part division and say that existence is not only bodily and mental, but also spiritual. Existence includes a person's body and mind and spirit — that there is a bodily reality to be – 143 –

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experienced, a mental reality to be experienced and a spiritual reality to be experienced. You have gone into your own body. You have gone into your own mind. Now, go into your own spiritual dimension and observe whether that is the same as the mind or something different; or the same as the body or something different; whether all three are one or whether there is some other way of looking at it. For the next several minutes, then, go as deeply and as far as you can into your own spiritual reality. Then observe whether you can pass beyond that into something that is beyond any self — not anyone's body or anyone's mind or anyone's spirit. Observe dimensions that are beyond any particular existence — transpersonal, cosmic, whatever one might choose to call it — and finding the atmosphere around you increasingly holding a sense of great power; entering a place of very great power but a power that is tranquil and serene, a very, very powerful force without any hint of menace or negation, a completely positive serene kind of power. Just remain in that space and try to let that extremely positive serene power permeate you, your spirit, your mind, your body, your whole self, partaking of it and being filled with it. You can have a very long experience of that for the next few minutes of clock time. Then, with that powerful, benevolent life force in you, and its serenity filling you so that you are like a glowing body of white light as you move, make your way back through the cosmic transpersonal realm into your own spiritual world; through your own mind and through your own body and back up to the surface. You have several minutes of clock time during which you can completely or very fully experience all those realms as you come back through the same regions you passed in arriving at the place where you are. Begin that journey now. Know that by passing through these different grounds you further unify yourself. You help to make yourself more whole so that within your being the orchestration and the integration of the whole proceeds better, with freer access and more profound levels; with some of the obstructions eliminated as you move towards self-fulfillment, larger humanity, much greater realization of your potentials. Count, now, for yourself, from twenty to one. You are emerging from the trance, stretching, bringing back with you your experiences and any feelings you want to bring back — images, ideas, understandings, whatever you want to bring back, bring. Do that counting out of the trance. Do it until you are awake — stretching, enjoying feeling your body and the rest of you, then sitting up, and being prepared for life in the external world.

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7. [#25] Giant Luminous Body

7. [#25] Giant Luminous Body Teaching time: 45 to 60 minutes (allow time for each experience)

Seat yourself on the floor in a yoga-type position, or some other position you can easily sustain for a while, and close your eyes. This exercise is a variation on an ancient Tibetan Buddhist practice which in most cases will lead spontaneously to altered states of consciousness. Close your eyes and be aware of yourself sitting there as I speak. Think of a statue of a seated Buddha in an altered state of consciousness or trance. Your consciousness can alter to any degree during the course of this exercise. It can alter a little or it can alter profoundly. It will not require any effort of any kind on your part or even awareness that it is happening. It is in the nature of the exercise itself that the consciousness will alter. Now, as you sit there, identify for a moment with the seated statue of the Buddha, and be aware especially of the feelings around the top of your head where your brain is. Be aware of the third eye region. Be aware of the base of the brain. Be aware of the top of the head. Be aware of the spine, all the way down and up. Be aware of your throat, your heart region, your solar plexus, your center. Be aware of the entire pelvis and especially of the base of the spine. Bring the awareness up the spine to the head and to the brain. Now, think of yourself and feel yourself as you sit there growing larger and larger and larger. You will have to be sitting in a space that will allow you to expand in all directions. Note that, seated in this position, your form is much like that of a pyramid, growing wider and taller until your form is gigantic. Then you experience standing up in that gigantic form and continue to grow larger and larger and larger until your form leaves the atmosphere of the earth, somewhere down around your feet, and your awareness is of space — your form is becoming so gigantic that you can reach out and hold a star or planet in your hand, having it rest in the palm of your hand — and then being able to run across the heavens, running with great strides out and out into the far reaches of space, with a whole infinity to run in. You find out there that there are animals like immense zodiacal signs, animals made of stars that you can ride, a great horse or a lion or a goat, many kinds of beasts that you can ride through the heavens. You find yourself for a moment with a bow and an arrow as you assume the identity of an archer, drawing back the bow and letting the arrow go out and out and out forever into space. You are just drifting in space, alone again, not having to run or to ride, orbiting in space, a great cosmic figure with arms out and legs spread. Observe yourself going farther and farther out into the vastness of space. Then, you are conscious that even as these things have happened, your feet have remained on the earth and that you – 145 –

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stand on the earth, a giant figure, that your form is translucent and that energy like stars flows up and down through that translucence, and also flows in color — all kinds of colors, and glittering stars and particles of energy flowing through the body so that they can be seen from the outside. You can stand outside your body with your consciousness or just know what is happening inside of it. You can sit or lie, as you prefer, as you experience yourself standing in that enormous translucent body, with light and color. Far, far down you can observe the color flowing through your legs. And look at the body chakras, the color and the light and the energy flowing into each one on up to your throat. See what this body has inside of it, where those centers are. Does it have anything like a skeleton, muscles? Does it have a spine, a heart? Be aware of your body standing and of its freedom from the constraints of nature as you know it. You can extend your right arm and let it grow longer and longer and longer until it extends even beyond the reach of your own vision — and the other arm as well. The feet can go down through the earth — the legs getting longer and longer — until you stand on the earth's very center and your arms can wrap around the earth until your hands meet and clasp and you hold the earth in your embrace. Then, by another metamorphosis you stand again on the earth with your arms and legs as they were before, an immense translucent body of light, observing again the beautiful colors flowing through it, the dance of energy. See if you can observe the life itself pulsing, flowing within that body. Then raise your awareness up through the throat to the inside of your head, a head that is expanding and expanding, so that you can see better and better a larger and larger picture of what is going on inside the brain and other parts of your head — the head of that giant figure of light who is yourself. Now, for a little while feel the power of this immense body, the strength. Let tempests hurl themselves against it, and bolts of lightning, and great tidal waves. Experience how this body delights in its strength, and how it can laugh at the elements. Not earth, nor water, nor air, nor fire can harm it. Feel that this body has the power to ascend into the sky — wants to go up and up and up. It can descend and walk across the floor of the ocean and in the waters. It can rise out of the waters and walk through the solid rock of mountains. It can pass through regions of fire. It can float over the abyss — the bottomless void — without any fear of falling. Now, standing in your giant luminous body of light, try to feel it and know it as completely as you can. Lie down and experience it. Experience it as you sit in the position of a Buddha or a yogi. Perceive this body of light to be a body fully realized by a Buddha or some similar enlightened and realized being. As you sit in that Buddha position and that body, realize that it also is a great temple, its architecture both complex and beautiful. Wander around inside of it, experiencing that, seated. The body is a structure you can go into. Then observe that – 146 –

7. [#25] Giant Luminous Body

you are seated on this floor and you are your everyday corporeal body, the same size as it usually is. Then, sense it and compare it with the body of light — the immense luminous body.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME II

8. [#26] Entering the Silence Teaching time: about 90 minutes

All major systems of meditation, and other ways of growth and actualization, recognize the very great importance of quieting the mind — of bringing an end to the customary inner noise, the babble and chatter and chaotic flow of ideas and images from the unconscious which reduces so much of waking life to a dismal parody of true awareness — awakeness and genuine autonomy. The necessity is clear, but the task is very, very difficult — for many, impossible. Those who have struggled to “empty the mind,” to enter into and remain in a silence free of images, ideas and sensations, know just how strenuous that effort is, how frustrating and, in most cases, how rarely successful. However, it may be that there are methods and techniques not known to, or adequately used by, most teachers. We will explore that possibility here in this lesson. Before we begin, I will mention a pair of simple facts — research findings — in which the lesson is grounded. These are that the occurrence of verbal ideation requires at least minute collaboration — movement — of the apparatus of speech while, for the person to experience images, there must be at least some slight tension and movement, however miniscule, of the eyes. If the vocal apparatus and the eyes are sufficiently relaxed to inhibit their movement, then neither verbal ideation nor imagistic thinking can occur. That such is the case appears to have been demonstrated by our research, by that of Edmund Jacobson, and by others. With these preliminaries, let us make the experiment and determine to what extent each one of you will be able to enter the silence, quiet the inner noise and chatter, by achieving a profound relaxation — including a relaxation of parts of the body not ordinarily included in any relaxation procedures. In fact, those knowledgeable in meditative techniques now may learn in which parts aimed at teaching relaxation those methods are deficient. And now, to begin with, please lie on your back, with your eyes opened or closed as you prefer, and observe your body very closely, starting with your toes. Beginning with your toes, scan your body for tension, releasing the tension from any part where you find it. If you have difficulty releasing the tension from, say, the toes, then it should be helpful to flex the toes, make them even more tense, and then let go of that induced tension, and of the other tension with it. Tense and let go, tense and let go. Do the same with any other muscles where you have trouble releasing the tension you experience. Do that until you are just as relaxed as you can get. Go on up your body to your chest. Then go back down to your hands and your arms and back up your arms to your shoulders. Finally, relax the neck, the face and the head. As you do this, note where you encounter the tension, and where you are

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8. [#26] Entering the Silence

able to get rid of all of it, most of it, some of it, little or none of it, so you will remember all that later. Observe whether you notice any tension in your buttocks. If there is usually a little indentation of the side of the buttocks, then you have tension there whether you know it or not. Tense the buttocks and then release them, bouncing yourself up and down. Contract and let go, contract and let go — that will bounce your body up and down. You do it most effectively by rapidly clenching and unclenching the muscles of the buttocks. The buttocks alone should bounce the body, without any help from the legs. Do it quickly and lightly as possible, and then stop without becoming fatigued. As you go through the entire relaxation process — here today or on other occasions — verbalize what it is you want of your body, so that you develop a capacity to talk to your body, and your body will respond. Over a period of time it will learn to make better and better responses. Couple the suggestion that some particular muscles are going to release with the actual experience of releasing those muscles. For example, say, buttocks release, at the same time you experience the release. Similarly, say to yourself, hips release, pelvis release, ankles release, knees release, chest release, shoulders release, and so on. And say, toes and feet lengthening and loosening, fingers and hands lengthening and loosening. Or, neck free, back lengthening and widening. Give yourself as many of these verbal suggestions and, later on, you will find you have reached a condition where your body will respond to those suggestions or orders. As you learn to so respond, the muscles will stop contracting and will lengthen, becoming longer as you talk to them. And the joints will release, as when you suggest to yourself, shoulder joints releasing, and elbows, and wrists, hip joints, knees and ankles releasing, and so on. And when you are really working on establishing that capability of talking to your body so that it will do what you suggest it will do, you must refrain from making any movements. Once you begin to work with suggestions alone, you must not consciously move to carry out the suggestion — let your body/mind's response occur involuntarily. There may be very few limits to how far you can go in creating a capacity of your body to respond to suggestions. We know you can gain control by such means of blood flow, skin temperature, even heartbeat. Probably far more profound responses are possible, with possibilities for self-regulation and self-healing exceeding anything presently achieved by any known methods, however ancient and sophisticated. I think that if you follow the psychophysical methods we are pursuing, you will gain such a measure of self-control, including normally involuntary processes, as you cannot attain in any similar period of time, or with any similar amount of work, by means of Yoga, autogenic training, biofeedback, or any other method you might care to try. And now, go on relaxing your entire body, releasing tension wherever you may find it. And now, as you lie on your back, inhale fairly deeply and then retain the air. What, by the way, inflates more — your chest or your abdomen? As you hold your – 149 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME II

breath, push the air back and forth between your chest and your belly in a kind of seesaw movement. Move it back and forth as many times as you can while holding your breath without discomfort. When you have to exhale, do so with a hiss. Put your tongue between your teeth and hiss as you exhale. Do it several times — inhale, push the air back and forth between chest and belly, and then when you exhale do it with a hiss. Feel the shoulders and the back settling to the floor as you hiss. Keep repeating these movements several times. Note that the hissing helps your body to relax, it lets you settle more closely to the floor. Now continue with the relaxation process, moving on up your shoulders, and relax them until you are ready to start working on your neck, releasing tensions from your neck. Remember, the instructions to the joints are to release, the instructions to the muscles are to lengthen. Do not hold your breath as you continue to relax more and more. It is difficult to relax effectively if at the same time you hold your breath. Now, as you focus your awareness on your neck and your head, give yourself the suggestion, neck free, neck free, jaw releasing, face releasing, back lengthening and widening. Try to notice whether the tension in the neck increases or diminishes when you inhale and when you exhale. Is it more relaxed when you inhale or when you exhale? Notice whether your impression with respect to this remains constant over a number of inhalations-exhalations. Do you become more tense in the neck as you try to get an answer to that question? Distinguish between any tension resulting from trying too hard to pay attention to yourself, and alterations of tension as you breathe which are due just to the breathing. Suggest to yourself, neck free, neck free, and see if you can detect a response from your body. Now go on and do the rest — the face, the head. Check the jaw again and observe whether there is any tension in the jaw. Thrust the lower jaw forward several times so that the lower teeth go outside the upper lip. Then open your mouth wide, and the jaw is more free. How about your tongue? How does your tongue lie? When you are sitting up, the tongue, if relaxed, will lie flat on the floor of your mouth. When you lie down, the relaxed tongue is still close to the floor of your mouth, although it may not be touching it. Stick out your tongue as far as you can, straight in front of you. Do not wiggle it, just stick it straight out and hold it there a minute. Then bring it back into your mouth and allow it to relax. Do that several times, hold it tense a minute, and then give it time to relax inside your mouth. Also, push a few times with your tongue against the roof of your mouth, then stop pushing and allow the tongue to relax. As the tension goes out of the tongue, do you also note that some tension goes out of the throat, perhaps out of the face as well? Try pushing your tongue against the roof of your mouth, then letting go, a few more times. You can also push against the floor of the mouth with the tongue, and then let go — let the tension just go out. Stick the tongue out several more times, straight out as far as you can push it, and hold it stiffly there before bringing it back in. Keep on doing that. Give it time to relax, before you stick it out again. Relax as well the other muscles you may sense as being involved in that activity of sticking out your tongue — the neck muscles, the facial muscles, the muscles around the – 150 –

8. [#26] Entering the Silence

mouth especially. Give them all a chance to relax. There are also muscles in the back of the neck that tense up when you stick your tongue way out. Try to feel them, and let go of every bit of the tension. How does your tongue lie now? Does it feel wider now? Let the tongue and the neck and the mouth and the face all go limp and loose, and forget about them for a while. Close your eyes and observe whether you can feel clearly the weight of the eyeballs. Now, for a little while, imagine that you are watching a Ping-Pong game. You are somewhere near the middle of the table and you are watching the ball being hit back and forth from one end of the table to the other. Be sure you breathe freely as you watch. Then, instead of watching Ping-Pong, watch a tennis game. You are looking over a much greater area as the ball travels back and forth. Be very conscious of the movement of your eyes for a while. Let them move as they want to while watching the game, but be conscious of the movement. Stop watching the tennis game and look at your toes. Then look up towards the top of your head. Down and up, down and up, and do it a number of times. Then stop that and, still with your eyes closed, think that you are looking at the ceiling; also, that you can turn your eyes around in your head and look down at the floor. Look at the ceiling, and then just look at the inside of your eyelids. Look at the ceiling, then at the eyelids. Then turn your eyes around in your head, so that you can look through the back of your head at the floor. Imagine you can do it, and breathe freely all the while — all the while being very conscious of your eyes, of what your eyes are doing, and how they feel, as they carry out these various tasks, these various exercises. Now, an automobile is driving along a road. Notice whether you can see the automobile moving along the road, and note how it is moving across your field of vision — is it from left to right, from right to left, or some other way? Stop looking at that. Look for someone riding a horse. Imagine that or, better, image it. How is the horse going? — In what direction? — And who is riding the horse, if anyone? Now stop that, and look for someone who is walking. Look for someone walking and observe closely, taking in as much detail as possible. Notice whether the figure is walking from left to right, right to left, or whatever. As you watch the figure walking, be aware of what your eyes do. See if you can both watch the walking figure and relax the eyes. Then stop looking at anything, and relax the eyes further. Then, just let them go completely loose, not looking at anything, not doing anything, just resting the eyes — the loose, limp, relaxed eyes. As you breathe freely, let the rest of your face be as relaxed as possible, looking at nothing, doing nothing, relaxing your eyes still more, and still more. Now, are the eyes relaxed more? Is your field of vision empty? Do not answer aloud, just answer to yourself, silently taking note of what the answer is. Keep your eyes and your neck and your face as relaxed as they can be and relax them still further. Observe the walking figure. Are you able to see it without doing anything with your – 151 –

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eyes, with your eyes perfectly motionless, and perfectly at rest? If you can still see that figure, then try to stop any remaining movement there may be in your eyes, just letting go. Relax the eyes completely, and observe whether that figure does not now disappear or fade away — if it had not already done Continue to breathe freely and easily, and continue to let the eyes be just as relaxed as possible. At the same time, if there is any tension that has re-accumulated any place in your body, that you are conscious of, now try to let go of that. Talk to that part of the body while you continue to relax and rest your eyes. Now, I want you to do something that could be very interesting for you. Let your eyes be as relaxed as possible. Do not look at anything. Let the tongue and throat relax as much as possible. Think about singing some popular song that you like. Sing it, but sing it without singing it out loud. Observe your tongue, and see if you are aware of your tongue moving as you sing, or of any movement in your throat or any changes in your neck. The idea is to try not to move your tongue as you sing, and to remain relaxed in throat and neck. Try singing some hymn or other religious song that you knew as a child. Keep observing your tongue as you do it. Then try singing the national anthem. Observe the reactions in your tongue, your throat, your neck, around your mouth — release all tensions. Stop it a minute, and then try singing America. Observe what the tongue and mouth do. See if you can remember one of your early school songs. Not college, but earlier songs — high school, junior high, or elementary school — and sing that one. Finally, just sing something completely innocuous — a song you have no emotional involvement with — something you find pleasant, but innocuous. Stop and let the tongue be as still and relaxed as you can get it, and also the jaw and mouth and throat. Now, just for a minute, think back, whether there were songs to which you responded especially strongly — as was evidenced by the tension that came into your tongue while you thought about singing it. What were the feelings that went with it? And what was the song? Now stick your tongue vigorously out several times, holding it for a few seconds, as you did before. Then, each time, bringing it back, relaxing it completely, giving it all the time it might need to relax, and your mouth and throat as well. Do it several times, until the relaxation seems as complete as possible. And let the rest of your body be very limp is well. Let the eyes relax just as much as possible, and the whole body become as relaxed as it can be, including the neck, the throat, the mouth, the face, the eyes, the tongue. And just do nothing at all, just nothing at all. No images, no ideas, no daydreaming, nothing. Just nothing. Any time that you start to think, or your mind starts to wander, see if there is any tension you can get rid of, and try again to fall back into that doing nothing — paying special attention when need be to relaxing the throat, the tongue and the eyes. The breathing should be free, easy, requiring no attention. And note whether now, as you do this lesson for the first time, you notice a diminishment in the flow of thought. Are you quieter in your mind than is your usual pattern? Do you notice that with that quiet comes a kind of serenity, a kind of quiet peace? Some may, for at least a little – 152 –

8. [#26] Entering the Silence

while, have disrupted completely the usual inner chatter and imagery. In most cases, perhaps, the inner noise will be diminished but not eliminated altogether. But it will be significantly reduced, so that you get a glimpse of what the more complete inner quiet could be. It is important to get the glimpse — because when you do so, already you have disrupted the habitual way of functioning, weakened the tyranny of the unconscious, become a little more free, and more completely human — you have made a crack in the old pattern, and it is a crack that can now widen. Should you wish to practice this exercise, it will definitely, in time, help you to break the habitual flow through your head and mind of ideas and images, and the more often you disrupt that flow — that chatter or noise, babble or cacophony, whatever it is — the easier it will be to achieve a normally more quiet mind, as I have said. This will augment the work you are doing to relax the muscles generally. You will also find that as you are able to free your mind from that flow-through of ideas and images, you will also experience a corresponding decrease in emotions that come and go in you unbidden. You will be better able to self-regulate the flow of emotions. And now, as you continue to lie there, observe again whether there remains some after — effects of what we have just done. Is your mind still quieter than usual? If so, savor that quiet for a while, savor it for a little while longer, and then silently sit up, not talking, until others have had a chance to experience it as fully as they wish to.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME II

9. [#27] Memories and Projections Teaching time: 45 to 60 minutes

Lie on your back with your palms down at your sides. Scan your body. Lie flat on the floor and lie symmetrically. Note what you consider to be defects, or things that need to be changed. Try to arrange yourself in such a way so that those asymmetries or misalignments or tension patterns or whatever they are, are for the moment corrected. That alone does not help you to change any, but for the moment just do it anyway. Try to use whatever knowledge you have gained of how the body should lie and place yourself that way, using whatever means you can find to do it. It does not matter if you have visually checked to see how you are lying to make sure it is symmetrical. Now bring your feet up so that the toes point towards the ceiling, and then push them down. The feet should be in close together, about four or five inches apart. Point the toes down towards the wall in front of your feet. Notice whether you can move the ankles so that the feet approach the floor and the toes point towards the wall. Then take them back to what feels like a spontaneously chosen position, something that you are comfortable with. Then roll around a little bit. Roll from side to side, or sit up, or do something to shift your position and break up what you were doing before. Then lie down in a way that feels spontaneous to you. Focus again on your body image, trying to have the clearest possible sense of what your entire body looks like as you lie there, as well as what it feels like. Also sense what it feels like and looks like when you are moving. Try clothing it in various garments and also experience it without anything on. Try to have a very, very clear picture and sensation of yourself, so that you know just what the hand looks like, what the foot looks like, what the left shoulder looks like, your right ear, the middle of your back, the navel, the knee — every part of you. Now it is not likely that you can remember it, but imagine yourself as a very tiny baby. Imagine what that body would feel like. You probably have seen photographs that let you know what it looked like. Try to go into that baby's body and imagine what it is like to move around in it, and all of the different movements that you make in that body. Try experiencing it even as a fetus, if you like. Put special emphasis on the period when the body is learning to move in different ways, to creep and to crawl, to stand and to roll around. Do one thing with one foot and simultaneously another thing with the other foot; begin to differentiate. Become aware of the mouth as something not only to be fed with or to stick the thumb into, but also as an organ of speech and communication. Try to see how many movements you can make and how well you can imagine yourself in that tiny body.

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9. [#27] Memories and Projections

Then come up to the age of five for a while. If you can, remember what that body was like, how it moved and what it did. If you cannot remember it, imagine it. Then come up to about eight years and feel the difference; and ten years; and twelve. A twelve-year-old body is very different from a ten-year-old one. Continuing, you can surely remember accurately, or fairly so, your fourteenyear-old body. Move around in that one for a while. Compare its strength and the way it moves with what you were doing at five or eight. Come up to sixteen or seventeen and see that there are more very major changes. Then become twenty, and then twenty-five. Those of you who are of that age actually, now project into the future as others recall a thirty-year-old body. Sense how that body moves and how many different movements it makes and what kinds of movements. How many different movements does it make as compared to the baby or the ten-year-old or the fourteen- or fifteen-year-old? Come up to a forty-year-old body; and then one that is fifty. If you are looking into the future, rather than the present or past, create for yourself the body that realistically can be yours or is likely to be yours. Then go up to sixty. Try to imagine the experience of a sixty-year-old body and how you want yours to be. Then go to a seventy-year-old body, and then as many as God gives you, perhaps seventy-five and eighty years and more. It is possible for anyone of you, if you are willing to make the effort to have practically any kind of body that you want, within the limits of your height. You cannot change more than whatever is possible by straightening the skeleton and increasing the spaces between the joints to increase your height. However, you can sculpt your body and make it pretty much whatever you would like it to be, especially in a decade from now, assuming that you are alive then and have no serious illnesses or accidents. It can be and feel almost any way that you would like to make it. It is just a question of motivation. Project yourself ten years into the future and assume that you have used yourself well. See yourself having gained, if you do not have it now, really good knowledge about nutrition, and that you have abandoned those practices that are seriously detrimental to your health. Imagine that you have brought your weight to a proper level and have done cardiovascular exercises for fitness, and also have done a great deal of psychophysical work so that your body is not only able to move very well but you also sense it with great clarity. You waste little energy so that you do not get tired; you are able to self-regulate it to a very high degree so that the body is made extremely sensitive. The senses are all very, very alive. The body image is very sharp. Your awareness is very keen. You establish for yourself a condition of optimal health relative to the ordinary person who does not do those things. You have done what is well within your means to do if you feel motivated to do it.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME II

Try to sense and imagine as clearly as you can that body that you are going to have ten or even twenty years from now, if you do those things. What is it going to feel like? How is it going to move? What is it going to look like? Will it necessarily look any older? In the case of older people, could it even look younger? The older you are, the better the chances are that it can look younger. When you have projected the image of what you would like to have and what realistically can be yours, barring some unforeseeable obstacle, then place that body and personality that goes with it in a number of different situations and observe it. See if it is satisfactory or if there is something that you want to change. Then inquire also what you have done with those years and what you wish you had done, so that should you choose to create a plan of growth and development and enrichment for yourself, you could be helped with that plan by looking back from a projection of yourself into the future. Think about it and imagine what you wish you had done or not done with your life in the ten or twenty years between the projection and the present time. What kind of person can you realistically be if you set out to achieve your goals now? What can you have done in ten years? What kinds of powers can you possess that can be formidable? What will you have done in the world that you will feel will have been worthwhile? What do you want to be remembered for? When you make the projection of the body image, add onto it those accomplishments as if you had already achieved them. Be sure they are things that you realistically believe you can do and would like to do. When you have projected that image which includes growth and accomplishment, whatever you have done in the world in that interim, if it is really what you want, then hold that image strongly for a little while. It is a law of human life that images can be concretized. If you hold them intensely and vividly enough, they tend to become reality; they are self-fulfilling prophesies. Realities are born out of an image or a constellation of images. If you were to do a sufficiently careful analysis of your past, I think that every one of you would find that in many ways you are now the actualization and potentiation of past images, images that you had of yourself and, in some cases, images that you allowed other people to impose on you. Those who will be parents should understand that the imposing of images on others also imposes a very heavy burden on those others. Most parents do not know their children at all and do not love their children at all. They love images they have of the child. As the child increasingly diverges from the image, it is increasingly the image, rather than the child, that the parent is involved with. While you do not forsake your task of giving guidance and help, you have to give an unconditional love that allows the child to be what he or she is and not expect them to live according to your image of what you want them to be or what you think they are. Every one of you will find, if you look for it enough, that you have in some ways fulfilled the image that your parents had of you. If that image is in you, then – 156 –

9. [#27] Memories and Projections

you have to decide whether or not to undertake the task of eliminating the image, in order to really become yourself. It is the kind of separation between the personality and the essence that Gurdjieff talks about. If by now you have left it, go back to that image of what you could be and want to be. Concentrate on it very, very vividly and intend that you will move toward it. Later you can modify it further. As long as you hold some clear image of what you want to be, an image that incorporates your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual being, that you can move towards, then your life is much less likely to drift or be buffeted by circumstance. You have a much better chance of realizing a larger part of your potential. The image is a powerful tool toward that end of becoming what you want to be. They physical part of that image is very important. It makes all the rest easy, as it grounds the other components of the image in something very, very concrete. The physical self is easy, comparatively speaking, to image, and it also provides a foundation of probable health and physical effectiveness that is usually essential if you are going to do the other things. Concentrate on the image for several minutes and make it as completely what you want as possible. Take several minutes to do that. Those minutes can seem like a very long time to you subjectively to the extent that you immerse yourself in the world of the image. Just relax and know that, as you do the psychophysical work, you become better and better able to shape the future, your own future, if you avail yourself of the stronger images that you are able to make.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME II

10. [#28] Body Meditation Teaching time: 45 to 60 minutes

Sit in any yoga-type position. Perhaps you can sit with the legs crossed a little in front. It should be something that you can stay with for a little while. Close your eyes and think of the image of a sitting Buddha, sleeping or in trance. Identify yourself with that image as best you can. Without any further suggestion, your consciousness will alter to some degree while we are doing this exercise, and it would have done so had I not mentioned the possibility. As you identify with the sleeping or in-trance Buddha, imagine around yourself a pyramid, a small pyramid containing you. You see the shape of your body as such that it is itself almost a kind of pyramid. You are meditating inside a small dark pyramid. Visualize the image of the seated, in-trance Buddha and identify with that image. As you do that, consider a line running from the top to the base of your spine. Endeavor to visualize your spine. Try going from the skull down to the pelvis, and then from the tail bone on up to the top of the spine and the skull. If it is easy to remain seated, stay in that position. If it is difficult, then feel free to lie on your back as we continue. This is a variation of a very ancient Tibetan exercise that is used for developing internal awareness, and directing healing energies and blood flow and other things to the parts being meditated upon. Visualize upward along the spine. See the vertebrae, or imagine them, and come up to the skull. Visualize the skull without flesh — nothing but the bones themselves. Then add to your visualization the skeleton — that part of it around the shoulders and the neck, the clavicles, the bones extending out to the side, the shoulder blades, the scapula, the back, the joints, the upper arms, the lower arms, the fingers. Add to that the visualization of the rib cage, the sternum. Continue on down to the pelvis. Then add on the hip joints and the bones of the leg and finally the feet. Try to hold in your mind the image of the entire skeleton sitting there. Be aware of yourself just as that skeleton. Then begin to flesh out the skeleton. Add muscles and ligaments as best you can. See the body without its outer covering of skin. Sense yourself to be that. Then particularly focus awareness on the brain. Visualize the brain, the brain's hemispheres, the gray matter of the brain. From there, in particular, try to visualize the nervous system as is extends from that brain on through the body. See, in whatever way you like, the messages flowing from the brain through the nervous system, and from the body back up through the nervous system to the brain. You may see streams of continuous flowing energy or a – 158 –

10. [#28] Body Meditation

discontinuous firing of particles of energy. Visualize it in different colors, whatever comes to you, as you sit there focusing on your brain and nervous system. Notice whether it is possible for you to actually be aware of the messages going from the brain to various parts of the body and from various parts of the body back to the brain. Sense something coming and going, back and forth, between the brain and those parts. Then add to your visualization, or imagining, the flowing of blood, and veins and arteries, the heart pumping, the action of the lungs. Try to follow your blood down to those vessels and back up again. Experience the interior of yourself in that way. Next try to see the skeleton and the muscular structure and the organs of the body and the brain and the nervous system. See all those things simultaneously. Cover it over with skin — the covering of external flesh. Endeavor to be aware of yourself simultaneously in all of those things. Remember and know that you are all of those things. Voyage down inside of your body and explore it with a small ship, or spaceship, or whatever it is that you want to take — something to symbolize the journey of your consciousness as it passes through the different parts of your body. Send it to the vessels of your eyes, around the different parts of your brain, down your throat, around the heart and the other organs. Let it voyage through the bones of the skeleton. Observe the functioning of the nerves. Take your own journey through yourself — the microcosmic consciousness journeying through the macrocosm of the body. Explore it as you would explore a continent or as you would explore outer space. Then return to the identification, for a moment, with the seated, deeply intrance, sleeping Buddha inside the pyramid. Be aware of that body and merge with it. Then be aware of a subtler form of that body in yourself that is transparent and translucent, and through which you can see the chakras and the flowing and bursting of energy within. That translucent cover allows you to look completely inside, and see the symbols at the top of your head, and between the eyes, the throat, the solar plexus, your center all up and down, your sex center, the center around the navel, and the energy flow up and down the spine. Visualize, or image, and identify with that subtler body. Direct the energy to the different centers. Know that in experiencing the body in these different ways, at different levels of its organic reality, and in variations of its symbolic reality, your brain and your unconscious mind are acquiring the capacity to affect different parts of your body. Know that you are establishing closer links with them so, if need be, the unconscious and the brain can quickly affect those parts and heal you more quickly and completely than you would probably be able to do otherwise without a great deal of work on yourself. Finally, as you remain in this condition, I want to suggest to you an exercise to be done in your own privacy. Lie with your feet bare. Breathe in through the nose and – 159 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME II

exhale out through the soles of the feet. Direct the flow of breath down through the body and out through the bottoms of the feet. As you lie there doing that, try to sense in yourself your own dying, and your death, or any sickness that is there. With the inhalation, suggest to yourself — life force in… and with the exhalation suggest… death out. Allow those suggestions to coincide with the inhalation and the exhalation. Try to sense within yourself where you are dying or where you are sick — where the potential for your death is. Banish that out of you with the exhalation. If you do it well, you may feel a cold wind coming out of the bottoms of your feet. Then you will know that you are making progress, especially if other people feel the wind. Now lie down a moment and just try once more to bring back into your awareness the skeleton, the muscles, the organs and flow of blood, the breathing, the brain and the nervous system. Let your consciousness move up and down inside of yourself. Visualize, imagine, view — relate in any way that you like to those various parts. Then clothe that body once again with your external form, the flesh, the appearance that is familiar to you. Rest and deeply relax for a moment. Then, at your own pace, when you feel like it, stretch and breathe and, without doing it head first, sit up. Stretch again and be very, very wide awake, very, very wide awake. Feel relaxed and released and energized. Remember what your experience was so that you can repeat it. With repetition, you will find that you will go deeper and deeper into an altered state that will allow you a more and more complete internal perception, that you will establish better contact with yourself. You will forge those vital links between the unconscious, the brain and the other parts of the body that will allow you to self-regulate your functioning to a degree that would be impossible without some such alteration of the normal relationship, and without some control over the ordinarily autonomic or involuntary processes. Through the practice of exercises such as this, and other much more complex and complete ones, that connection with your own functioning will be enhanced. You will find it an extremely useful thing when you have need of it. Now once again stretch, and be wide, wide, wide awake in your own body, in your own skin. Feel rested and charged, and when you reel like it get up and move around.

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11. [#29] Working with One Hand: Differentiation and Symmetry

11. [#29] Working with One Hand: Differentiation and Symmetry Teaching time: about 90 minutes

Sit with the soles of your feet together at a sufficient distance from your pelvis to be comfortable; you will see that your legs make a kind of diamond-shaped space or a square, depending on how you do it. Place both your hands in that area, palms down, and see if you notice any differences between the two hands; obviously if one hand has been injured, or both, you will notice differences. But generally I am addressing myself to fairly normal hands where the differences may not be so pronounced. Turn them over onto their backs and see what differences you note. Then turn them onto their palms again. See, for example, if the space between the small finger and the next one of the right hand is the same as the space between the small finger and the next one of the left. And if the space between the middle finger and the one to the left of it is the same for the right hand as for the left. See if most of the spaces or all the spaces between the fingers are greater in the case of one hand than of the other. And, if so, whether you noticed that on your own or whether it had to be pointed out to you. Think about what the differences mean. Which of your hands is more flexible? Which one functions better? With most people, of course, it will be the right hand since it is used more and is especially used for finer work. Now flex and extend, a number of times, the fingers of the two hands and compare them. First do just the right hand and then just the left hand. Move the fingers many different ways, comparing the movements of the right hand with the movements of the left hand. And if you are right-handed, notice whether it is not just that the movements of the left hand are clumsy, but that the hand itself is sensed to be something different from the right hand, as if it were a grosser and denser form of matter that the left hand is composed of as compared to the right hand. Notice whether you can sense that — that really the better hand (in most cases the right hand) feels as if it were actually composed of a subtler matter, perhaps feeling more elongated, less blunt than the clumsier hand. See if it is through the wrist also. Put the two hands down and observe which one is more sensitive, which perceives the floor better, and which also feels more when you focus on the hand rather than on the floor. Now we are going to work for a while on the dense, gross, clumsy hand which I will refer to as the left hand since that is what it is for the majority. For those who are left-handed, or for some other reason have a left hand that is superior, just do the opposite of what I suggest about which hand to use. Pick up your right hand and let your right forearm rest on your right leg, whatever way is comfortable. Slide your left hand to the place where your heels come – 161 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME II

together; then back toward your crotch. Keep moving it forward and backward in that space and pressing down a little to better sense the surface beneath the palm of your hand. Notice whether it begins to sense more. One of the reasons it did not sense as well before is because it did not have the same contact with the floor. The muscles were more contracted so that the hand was elevated somewhat. Now try letting it be flat so that the whole thing senses the floor. Make some circles counterclockwise with your hand in that space. Circle in the square or diamond bordered by your legs. And then go clockwise, making the largest circle that you can make within the confines of the square — a magical symbol, if you will, to aid the transformation of the left hand. Then make a smaller circle inside of that one, making it quick and going counterclockwise, as well. And then turn the hand over on its back. See if there is any difference in the way it lies, if it is more extended than it was the first time. Then rub the back of the hand along the floor, going away from you and bringing it back towards you. Also take it side to side, side to side. Now put it palm down and put it on its back. If you did that by taking the hand left, put it back on its palm and now do it taking the hand right. Continue to move the hand back and forth along the floor on its back, and then let it rest on its back so that the fingers are pointing towards you. Rotate your arm so that the fingers go left and right. Then stop. Put your hand down and let it rest. Pick it up a moment and let the fingers dangle. Just move it so that the hand dangles from the wrist and the fingers also dangle. Put that hand on your knee. Take it down your leg to your big toe and back up over the knee to your hip and keep going up and down the leg with the hand, sensing whatever you can sense. Do it with the eyes open and with the eyes closed and notice whether you sense any more with the eyes closed than you can sense with the eyes open. Some will not notice much or any difference. Others will find that they sense more as soon as the eyes are closed and less as soon as the eyes are open, as if the data of the world impinges as visual sensations dilute the tactile sensations experienced by the hand. Observe which it is for you. A few times go up and down the leg with the eyes closed, a few times with the eyes open, and observe whether you notice a difference. If you observe at all closely you will probably notice some differences. Now stop and let the hand rest on the floor. Straighten your legs or do with them whatever you like. Lie on your back and rest a moment. Compare how the two hands lie on the floor. First, rap with all five fingers of the left hand. Then rap just with the middle three fingers, then just with the thumb and the small finger of the left hand, now with just the middle fingers. Let your legs be bent and feet standing on the floor as you do it. Now try to rap with the two fingers on either side of the middle fingers, then just do the one to the right of the middle finger, and then the one to the left of it (the almost universally clumsiest finger, which was probably given the task of wearing the ring because of its comparative incompetence to do other work.) – 162 –

11. [#29] Working with One Hand: Differentiation and Symmetry

Now move just the ring finger and the small finger, and then the thumb and the one adjoining it. See how quickly you can move those two. And then the little finger and the right finger again. See if they go a little faster. Move them along with the middle finger, and see if that helps somewhat. Then just move the small and ring fingers again. Let the hand rest. Bend the wrist so that you rap with the heel of the hand, the fingers or the finger tips remaining on the floor. With your right hand, take hold of the little finger of the left hand and rotate it, holding it around the tip and not below the first joint. Move it clockwise and counterclockwise. You can also move it up and down and side to side. Then do the next finger. See how quickly and easily the finger of the left hand can be moved by the fingers of the right hand. Then do it with the left middle finger and then the left forefinger next to the thumb. Now do it with the thumb. Now take the small finger of the right hand and insert it between the small finger and the next one of the left hand. Just keep moving it in and out of that space, never taking it all the way out. It is as if the right small finger were sawing away there between the left little finger and the adjoining one. Then take the little finger over to saw between the next two fingers and the next two. Now take the little finger between the forefinger and the thumb. Stop. Do the same thing with the finger next to the little finger of the right hand. Begin with the small finger of the left and saw away at least twenty-five times before going on to the next space and the next, and then between the thumb and the adjoining finger of the left hand. Now do it with your right middle finger. You can either do it by moving the arm on the right side or on the left side. Now further extend your arms above your body and do it with the thumb of the right hand and also the hand below the thumb, sawing the space between the little finger of the right hand and the one next to it. Let the hand slide down as far as it will onto the wrist and on up the forearm, but no farther than the elbow. Then go on to the next two fingers of the left hand, allowing the fingers to go all the way to the elbow, if they like, and proceeding to the next space and then the space between the thumb and forefinger. Let the left hand come down past the wrist of the right hand to the elbow and go back up to the thumb, and then let it continue the full length of the right arm, all the way from the end of the thumb to the armpit, going up and down. Try doing that with the next two fingers, the next two, and on until you do it with the small finger and the one next to that — the space between the small finger and the ring finger of the left hand. Now, of course, you have to do it while bending the left arm at the elbow while the right arm remains extended. Then stop and rest. Now sit up and bend your right leg a little. Beginning at your ankle, move the left little finger and the ring finger up and down along the shin to the knee, just as you had been doing with the arm. Then do it with the next two fingers, then the next two, then the next two. Then straighten your right leg and let the left hand go from the knee up to the pelvis, doing it first with the space between the thumb and the adjoining finger, then with the next two fingers, and the next two. Finally, with the next two. Be careful not to scratch yourself with your fingernails, and it may be – 163 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME II

easier if you bend the right leg. Also try, with the space between the small finger and the adjoining one, to begin at the ankle, come up over the knee and then continue all the way to your pelvis, and then go back down again. Now stop. Sit as before, but with the soles of the feet together and the hands in the space in front of you. Compare again the two hands. Look at the spaces between the fingers of the left hand and the right hand, and see if they are more or less symmetrical than they were before or how otherwise they may have changed. See if there is a larger space between the finger to the right of the middle finger of your left hand and the finger to the left of the middle finger of your right hand; that is, in each case, the finger between the thumb and the middle finger. See if, between that finger and the middle finger, the space is greater than it is between the middle finger and the ring finger. And see if the space between the middle finger and the ring finger is the smallest space no matter which hand you look at. Consider whether that space has something to do with the lesser flexibility of the ring finger and whether, if you increase the space, the flexibility of the ring finger will improve. Rap with the ring finger of the left hand and let that finger dome over to touch the middle finger and then reach over as far as it can towards the small finger. See where you have to place the small finger so that the middle finger can make contact with it. And then just allow the ring finger a little more space. And let it rap for a while. See if it raps better if it is close to the middle finger or a little further away. And see if it raps better if the little finger is close to it or if the little finger moves away to give it more distance. Move the little finger towards the ring finger and see how incompetent and almost paralyzed the ring finger becomes and how when you take the little finger away it moves better. Similarly, if the middle finger comes too close that inhibits the movement of the ring finger. So the ring finger does better if it has somewhat more space between itself and the fingers on either side of it. See how much space the two fingers can give it to yield an optimal performance by the ring finger. Where do they most act to inhibit it? See how quickly you can rap with the ring finger of the left hand. Try it with the ring finger of the right hand. Which one is better? Now rub the left hand along the floor in front of you. Observe its sensitivity. Do it with the right hand. Now flex and extend and otherwise move the fingers of the left hand; then do it with the fingers of the right hand. Compare that with what it was at the beginning. The left hand may not be better or as good, but see if it does not now have that finer, more subtle feeling that you found when you compared the right hand. Observe whether the left hand feels less gross and less dense than it did, perhaps more elongated, not so stubby and clumsy. Rub the two hands simultaneously on the floor and notice whether they more nearly share the same experience than they did in the beginning. Look at them and see whether the hands now lie more nearly the same in the sense of the contact with the floor. If they are lying more equally flat, this means that their muscles are more nearly of equal length. Notice whether the spaces between the fingers are now much more nearly symmetrical than they were at the outset, so that in terms of the musculoskeletal organization and sensitivity of the hand, and also – 164 –

11. [#29] Working with One Hand: Differentiation and Symmetry

your experience of it, what has been achieved is a more symmetrical use and a better symmetry of the body image. With enough repetition this can be maintained. When one side is inferior, as in the case of the hands, then what would normally differentiate one hand from the other, in fact, tends to make them more similar. But if you do it with the superior hand to start with, then you will find that you have differentiated the hands and increased the functional and other disparities between the two hands.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME II

12. [#30] Altering Perspectives: Upper Head and Eyes Teaching time: 45—60 minutes

To begin with, walk around the room and observe whatever you can about the parts of your body and their movements; observe your sensations as you just walk in a normal way. Be aware of the sensed height of your body, and experience your head in relation to the rest of your body and to the floor and ceiling of the room. Do you feel that your head sits on the top of your body or how would you define or describe the relationship? Where do your eyes go when you walk? Do you look more down at the floor or up at the ceiling? More at eye level? Just be aware of this use you normally make of your head, your eyes, and also your neck, so that you can compare it with the way you feel, and the ways you function, at the end of the exercise Be seated on the floor with your legs positioned in some Oriental-type fashion in front of you. Close your eyes and observe how you are sitting. Be aware of the way your back is organized, how you sense your spine all the way from the base of the spine up to the base of the skull or even beyond that, and how you sense your head. Intend to remember these things later on, also. Then lie down on your back. Once again pay attention to the experience you have of your body, including your shoulders and your neck, and especially your face and your head. Be particularly aware of that part of your head above your eyes. Try to sense that part of your head and carefully observe what you feel and what you do not feel. Now turn the head from side to side and note how it turns. Turn the head with your eyes open and try to observe what your eyes do as your head turns. Also note if your tongue moves from side to side with the head and whether it reaches its destination more quickly than the head does, or how it happens. Now fix your gaze on some point on the ceiling. Continue to keep your gaze fixed on that point as you turn your head slowly to the right and then slowly to the left. Maintain your focus on the point on the ceiling just as long as you can without straining the eye muscles. Be sure you breathe freely as you do this. Now stop. Let the eyes move freely and turn the head from side to side. With many people the head will now turn a good deal more freely than it did just a moment ago. Turn it quickly and smoothly. Do it both with the eyes opened and with the eyes closed, and note whether that affects the movement. Observe whether you can tell if there is any difference in how the eyes move from side to side, as the head turns, when they are opened and when they are closed. Then rest a moment. Now, instead of turning the head from side to side, bring the chin down toward the chest and then take it back up however far it goes without straining. It is like nodding your head. Observe whether, as you bring the chin towards the chest, you arch your back, creating a considerable curvature in the spine. Observe whether you can find a way to easily nod the head without curving the spine. – 166 –

12. [#30] Altering Perspectives: Upper Head and Eyes

Bend your legs so your feet stand on the floor, and again bring the chin towards the chest. Note if you still curve the spine and, if so, whether the curvature is less than when the legs were extended. Now push and pull with your feet so that when you push your chin goes away from your body, and when you pull your chin approaches your body. See if that yields a nodding movement of the head that requires little or no curvature of the spine as you had to curve it before. Keep doing it for a while, reducing as much as you can the spine's tendency to curve in the middle of the back. When you have done that, leave your feet standing and try just making the movement with the head alone and observe now whether you can bring the chin down to the chest, or almost, without having to curve the spine. Then stop and rest. Now slowly take your head from side to side, but rolling the head across the floor in such a way that you only roll that part of it that is above your ears. Do it with your legs extended. Then bend your legs and do it, allowing the legs to go slightly from side to side as the head goes. Observe whether this makes it easier to move on that portion of the head which is above the ears. Go back and forth from one temple to the other. Observe whether you can do it in such a way that the ears never make any contact with the floor at all. That means you must arch your neck especially when passing through the middle of the movement. Now see if you can do it with your legs extended. Stop and rest. Just turn your head from side to side a few times, however it goes, but keeping your attention focused on the part of the head above your eyes. Try looking up into the top of your skull as you do it, letting the jaw be free and breathing freely. Stop. Roll to one side and sit, and then roll over again so that you are sitting on your heels with the fronts of the lower legs on the floor. Then bring your head down to the floor and rest it on the very top of the head, or what you sense to be that. Roll the head back and forth, allowing the nose to touch the floor. Then when the pelvis moves forward, you go onto the back of the head as far as you can go without straining. Under no circumstances should you do a head stand or a somersault if there are other people nearby since, if you fell on one of them, you could do that person serious injury. Make the movement a very small one, so that you just rock on the top of your head. Try doing it with the forearms on the floor. Also try it with the hands clasped and holding the back of your head. Now let the top of your head rest on the floor. Move it side to side so that you can feel your scalp moving over the bony cage of the skull. Note whether you can also do that in a forward and backward movement. Next, put your arms out at the sides with the palms down and the elbows bent, as when one is doing pushups. Beginning with the head resting on its top, move it onto its left side, then onto its right side, using the hands and arms to assist that movement and working only with the upper part of the head. – 167 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME II

Sit on your heels for a moment, and then resume your former position with the top of the head on the floor. Now alternately turn your nose to the right and turn your nose to the left. Note that you have a greater freedom of movement with the head if the pelvis goes right when the nose goes right, and if it goes left when the nose goes left. Then stop. Lie on your back and rest. Place the palms of your hands on the top of your head and sense the head. With your hands sense clearly your hair, assuming you have some. Sense your scalp and the skull underneath. With your head, feel your hands, their form, their warmth, whatever else you can notice as the hands move the skin and muscles of the scalp up and down, back and forth. Also make circular movements, noticing all you can as the hands move the skin and muscles of the scalp up and down, back and forth. Observe whatever else the hands can find to do to let you sense clearly just how freely the scalp can move over the skull. Do not omit the forehead, and try to sense clearly through the scalp to the skull itself. Sit up and continue to do this, working also with the back of your head. Go over the entire head, the upper part of it, sensing as clearly as possible your skull. If your arms get tired, rest them a moment, then resume. It is said that the belief that the joints of the skull lose their articulation and cannot be re-articulated is false — that by means of very gentle and prolonged pressure and movement, working in appropriate places, those joints can be articulated once again, thus benefitting the health of the brain and so the whole person. To do it, one would first need to feel the skull very clearly. A little while longer, continue to explore your skull with your hands and to move the scalp around over the skull. Lie on your back now to do it. Then put your hands down at your sides. Direct your attention upwards to the top part of your head and note the sensations there. Observe whether the top part of the head feels larger than usual. Certainly you should be much more aware of it. Turn your head a few times from side to side and note whether that is a different movement than what you are accustomed to. Observe whether the space between the back of your neck and the floor is any different from what it usually is. Now roll to one side and sit in an Oriental-type position, as you did before. Observe how you sit, whether there is any difference in the way that you hold your head and neck and, perhaps, you back also. Stand up. Note how you stand. Walk around, noting how you hold your head, the sensations in the head, the relation of the head to the rest of the body, and where your eyes look. Have you raised your sights? Are you now more aware of the ceiling than you were in the beginning? Do your eyes tend to remain more at eye level or to look up or down, or otherwise differ from the use you made of your eyes at the start of the exercise? Some people may now have a sensation that the head does not so much sit on the body as the body hangs from the head. There will also be some experienced differences in feelings of height, weight, and other variations in

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12. [#30] Altering Perspectives: Upper Head and Eyes

perspective about either self or world which you should continue to explore as you walk around for a while.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

VOLUME III

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1. [#31] Head and Neck Movements (Extended Version)

1. [#31] Head and Neck Movements (Extended Version) Teaching time: about 90 minutes

Walk around, and try to walk as normally as possible and as you ordinarily do. Observe how you walk, particularly with reference to how you carry your head and what your visual field is. Where do you look mainly? Do you see both the floor and the ceiling? Do you see the sides of the room? Now lie down with your palms resting on the floor at your sides. Scan your body. Notice whether, if you close your eyes and then open them, you are looking straight up or looking to one side. If you are looking to one side, or down, or back, or in some way other than straight ahead, is that because of the way you are using your eyes or because of the way that the head is lying? Let your consciousness roam over the whole surface of your body. See if it feels to you that the feet go out symmetrically or if one goes out more than the other. If one goes out more than the other, do you feel that there is a different rotation in the hip joint? If one foot goes out further to the side, then the hip joint is rotated out more and you should be able to feel it. See if the hands are able to rest flat on the floor. If not, push them down a minute so that the palms make contact with the floor. If the shoulders come up, then lower the shoulders. Push down alternately with the hands and then with the shoulders. Then stop. See if you can sense if there are any spaces beneath your knees. Is there any space between the small of your back and the floor? Try to sense the spine at its very beginnings. Follow it on up so that, not only do you notice that there is space under the spine in the lumbar, or lower, region, but you also notice the contact of the palms with the floor, or lack of it, as you come on up all the way to the neck. Sense how much space there is under the back of your neck. After you have sensed it, use your fingers to measure and see if it is what you thought it was, and also if it is the same on the two sides. Is one side higher than the other? Go up and down your spine a few times and really try to sense it. Try to feel where it begins and where it ends, and if there is any kind of movement you can do that will help you to clarify and isolate any of the vertebrae. Try to sense the vertebrae individually. Then just roll your head from side to side. Try to sense whether the head moves as well to one side as to the other. Does it make any difference to the movement if your eyes are open or closed? As you move the head from left to right, look at the ceiling, the sides of the room and whatever else you see, depending on the position your head is in. Continuously look at something. Then, leaving your eyes open, let them go out of focus so that you are not looking at anything. Try, with the eyes open, to see as little detail as possible. Notice whether it makes a difference to the movement if your eyes seize on all of the details or just pass them by. Also try blinking as you turn the head. Rapidly blink the eyes. Then just turn it with the eyes closed again. Rest with your head in the middle. – 171 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

Lower your chin towards your chest a few times, and then take it away again without lifting the head off the floor. Do not strain. If you can, make contact with the breastbone with the chin. Just keep doing it. If you have difficulty, see if by opening your mouth wide you can touch the chin to the chest. The movement in the cervical spine should allow you to easily make that contact. Sit up a moment. Lower the chin to your chest a number of times and take it away again. You should get a clear sensation of the point of the chin making contact with the breastbone. Now lie back down and continue to lower the chin to the chest several times. Lower your jaw, if necessary, to make the contact. Open your mouth and lower your jaw if you need to, but leave the back of the head on the floor. See if it is any easier if you bend your legs, leaving the feet standing. Be especially careful not to overdo so that you will not get a sore neck. Do not force the movements. Let them occur when you are ready for them. Feel free to rest and image movements whenever you feel like doing that. Leave the feet standing. When you do the imaged movements, do them from the position you would do the actual movements. The arms should be down at the sides with the palms on the floor, unless otherwise specified. As you continue to bring the chin to the breastbone, or at least towards it, and take it away, also push and pull a little with your feet. Rock your body along the floor to assist the head movement. Just push and pull with your heels so that when you push the chin goes away, and when you pull it comes down. You feel the movement in the neck, in the shoulders, the arms, the knees and along the length of the spine. Then stop and rest. Put your legs down. Take your head from side to side. This time, as you take it left, let the left shoulder go down out of the head's way. As you go right, let the right shoulder go down. It means that the right hand and arm will slide down along the floor when the head goes right and the left hand and arm will slide down as the head goes left. Now put your arms out at the sides at shoulder height with your palms down. If you are in a group, arrange yourself so that you will not collide with anyone. Now when the head goes left, let the arm and the hand slide out to the left. When the head goes right, let the arm and the hand slide out to the right. See how far you are able to slide the hand and the arm out to the side as you turn the head. Make the movement as extensive as possible without impairing its quality. Do not just turn the head. Let the hand reach out as far as it will go in the direction that the head is turning. Now do it with the backs of the hands on the floor. See whether you reach further with the hands on their backs or with the palms down. When you go as far out to the side as you can with the hands, pay attention to where your head goes. How does it rest on its side and what parts of the head make contact? It should be smoothly coordinated so that the hand is sliding out as the head is turning. Observe to what extent, as one hand slides out in the direction the head is turning, the other hand slides back towards your body, towards the back of your head. Then do it quickly and lightly but without any kind of compulsiveness or jerkiness or – 172 –

1. [#31] Head and Neck Movements (Extended Version)

hurriedness. It should be a light, quick, agile movement. Once again, rest with your arms at your sides. Leave your eyes open. Fix your glance on some point on the ceiling. If you cannot see that far, you will have to imagine something. Fix your glance on some point. Then turn the head side to side, while keeping your glance fixed on that point. You cannot turn your head at all as far from side to side as you could if the glance were not fixed unless you have peripheral vision. Try to observe where in the movement you lose the point if you keep going. If the point is directly above you, as it should be, observe whether you can turn your head further to the left or to the right without losing it. That will indicate to you whether the muscles of the eyes are equally mobile or whether one eye moves better than the other. If you can turn your head farther in one direction, while keeping fixed on the point, then of course that eye moves more freely, or rather the eyes move better in that direction. Then release the point and just turn the head from side to side. Take hold of your elbows with your hands so that your forearms are parallel to the floor, and let the elbows go from side to side with the head. See if, by doing that, you can turn the head further and can easily get it over onto the temples. You can also try holding the forearms, and then the wrists. See if that lets you turn the head even further. Do some movements holding the forearms, some movements holding the wrists. See what allows the head to make the greatest amount of movement. Then, once the movement is the largest you can get, put the hands and arms down. Let them rest on your body somewhere. See if you can continue to go as far to the side as you could a moment ago. If you cannot, release it once more by using the arms. Then, when you think that you have the optimal head movement, put the arms down and see if you retain it. It also depends on where on your body you put the arms. Then stop and rest, with the head in the middle. Sit up with your feet in front of you, either in a yoga type or a Japanese type of position with the bottoms of the feet together. Sit in some position that is easy for you to maintain, and put your hands behind you. Now, especially those who have a tendency to get dizzy easily should be careful to do only a very limited number of head rotations in one direction. You should change after every three or four movements. You should test your own limitations. Try to extend them because, as you become able to do more and more rotations without the dizziness building, you are probably correcting defects in the functioning of the vestibular system that caused the dizziness in the first place. That is a good and useful thing to do. Now make some circles with your nose. Go in one direction and then in the other. Do a few one way and a few the other way. Do the most you can do. Also, balance yourself so that the pressure on your hands is minimal, while at the same time the position is easily maintained. Now stop that for a moment. Put the soles of your feet together at some distance from your body. Do not put them too close or you will not be able to move. Try circling with your pelvis on the – 173 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

floor. Try to make the best possible circles. During the course of the movement, you should have clear feelings of coming onto the tail bone and onto the sitting bone. Just rock back and forth a few times. Make the movements as free as possible, coming from the coccyx onto the sitting bones and back again. Then do some more circling movements. Go around an imaginary clock, passing through all the numbers. Reverse that from time to time. At the same time, make some circles with your nose. Go around another dial and remember to reverse that one, but not necessarily reversing the pelvic rotations with anything like the frequency that you change the head rotations. As you do that, try to be aware of each buttock and each ear circling while you go around the two clocks, breathing easily. Then stop and rest in the most comfortable sitting position you have at your disposal. Just raise and lower the head and let the chin come down to the breastbone. Then take it back up. Let it go as far back as it goes easily. Do it a few times. Inhale as the head goes up and exhale as the head comes down. Then exhale as the head goes up and inhale as the head comes down. See to what extent that type of breathing inhibits the movement. Then breathe in a less perverse way, exhaling as you raise the head and inhaling as you lower it. Then let yourself breathe however you breathe spontaneously, but as you raise the head, lower the eyes, and as you lower the head, look up. Oppose the eye movements to the head movements. Then inhale as the eyes go up and exhale as the eyes go down, so that the breathing and the eye movements are both opposed to the head movements. Then continue to oppose the eye movements to the head movements, but let the breathing go now with the head. You inhale as you raise the head and lower the eyes, and you exhale as you lower the head and raise the eyes. The head and the breathing go one way and the eyes go another. Then let yourself roll onto your back and continue that breathing. Let the legs stand or stretch them out, whichever you like. Try both and see which is easier. Breathe, and move the head in one way and the eyes in the other. It is just the same movement as you were doing sitting. Then forget about the eyes and the breathing and just raise and lower the head. Bring the chin down towards the breastbone and take it away, but keep the head on the floor. Bring the chin down as far as it will come without straining. Then, if it is not touching, open your mouth wide and see if, by lowering the jaw, you can make the contact. Now if by lowering the jaw you make contact, then see if you can close your mouth so that the mouth closes while the chin still keeps the contact. Rest a minute and let your feet stand on the floor. Then, again, bring the chin down towards the breastbone and take it away. Carefully sense the movement in the cervical spine, whatever the head and neck are doing. Try to sense the spine in the neck. Push and pull with the feet to assist the – 174 –

1. [#31] Head and Neck Movements (Extended Version)

movement. Put the feet at whatever distance from your body makes the pushing and pulling easiest to do. See if that gives you a clear feeling of the spine moving in the neck as the chin goes away and then comes down. Try to sense clearly the movement in the cervical spine, the spine in the neck. Forget about whether you are touching the breastbone or not. Just push and pull with the feet to make the body move as freely as possible. Focus your awareness on the neck movements as you push and pull. Then try to sense down the whole length of the spine. Stop with your feet standing. Let the jaw be loose and the face muscles loose and the eyes loose. Let everything be as tension-free as you can allow. Turn your head from side to side but now, as you do that, think of yourself as turning the chin from side to side. Then think of yourself as taking the nose from side to side. The head goes from side to side at nose level. Then focus your consciousness so that the head goes side to side at eye level. Then think of the forehead as going from side to side. Take the head from side to side at the level of the forehead. Take the forehead from side to side a few times. Then take the chin side to side. From taking the chin side to side and taking the forehead side to side, if you focus your consciousness on those parts, you will see that it makes a good deal of difference in how the brain organizes the neck muscles and where the head goes and how far. Similarly, there is a difference if you take the mouth side to side and the nose and the eyes. Each time you shift the focus of consciousness to one of those parts of your face, think of yourself as turning that part from side to side. You should be able to discriminate a definite change in the movement of the head. You feel the effects of the muscular reorganization. Try to go back and forth between those different things: between the chin, the mouth, the nose, the eyes, the forehead, the top of the head. Make extreme shifts such as those from the top of the head and the forehead to the chin, the mouth. Make subtle ones such as those between the nose and the eyes. The subtler ones are smaller changes. Then do it in a way that allows your head the greatest range of movement and the greatest ease of movement. See whether you can do it better by localizing so that you think of moving the forehead side to side, or by moving the entire head without focusing on any one part of it. Then stop and rest. As you lie, try making some circles with your pelvis on the floor. Bend your legs as little as possible to do it. See if you have to bend them at all. If you need your feet to help you, use them. It is almost the same as the circles you make sitting. If it is helpful, sit a moment and make some circles, and then go down to a reclining position and continue to do it. Then, at the same time, make circles with your nose. Remember to reverse the head circles more frequently than you do the pelvic circles. See if it seems that the circles are similar. See what is similar and what is different about the way your bottom and the back of your head move on the floor. Then circle just with the head again. Make the circle as extensive as possible. Remember to reverse it. See if, in circling, your shoulders make contact with your ears, or come close to it. Also have the chin make contact with the breastbone. Make the largest circles you can make. Then sit – 175 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

Continue to circle with your head, with your hands well behind you on the floor. Let your head go back and make the biggest circles you can make. Make some in one direction and some in the other. See if you can let your ears roll over your shoulders, and your chin over your breastbone. Go one way and then the other. Then just take your head from side to side so that the ear approaches one shoulder and then the other shoulder. Put the hands out to the sides a little. Be sure that you do not move your hands. If you move your hands, you are probably bringing the shoulder to the ear rather than the ear to the shoulder. Extend your arms out at shoulder height and try to do it. Not many people have that much movement of the neck to the side. It is rare. Lie down once again. Take the head side to side. Let the jaw and tongue be loose as well as the mouth. Let the breathing be free. Just let the head go side to side quickly and easily. Then with your left hand turn your head from side to side. Take hold of the forehead, rest the palm on the forehead, and take the head side to side. See if it goes further with the hand, or the same, and whether that is the case on one side or both. Turn your head side to side a few times. Just let the hand rest on the forehead like a passenger. Then use the hand to turn the head. Do it a number of times turning the head with the hand and a number of times letting the hand be carried along. Try to discriminate between the two movements. Then do it with the other hand. Then put the hand down and put the arms out at shoulder height, palms down. Once again turn the head side to side. Let the arms slide out as far away from you as they can easily move along the floor. Let the hand behind the head slide back towards you as much as it will. The hand you are looking at extends out in front of you. The other one slides along back towards you. See if you can keep increasing the distance that the hand slides. Let your shoulder joint be free so that the hand can slide well out. Feel that you do not shorten it by anything that you do in the shoulder joint. Let the upper back, the shoulders and the spine all be free, so that the arm can go as far out as possible. It is a coordinated movement. Let the arms and the head move together. Each movement begins and ends at the same time. See how far you can go. Try it on the backs of the hands. Then just rest. Bend the knees slightly. Push and pull with your heels so that you push the chin away from the body and pull it back down towards you. Try doing it with your arms above your head on the floor. Let the jaw be very loose as you do that. See how much you can make the neck move. But again, be careful because the neck is much looser now. If you do very forceful, jerky movements you might make it sore. Try to make the movements as extensive as you can without doing forceful, pushy movements. Bring your arms and legs down. Once again turn the head from side to side. As you do that, oppose the eye movements to the head movements. See if you can do it now with minimal or no impairment of the movement of the head and neck. Breathe freely. Stop with the head in the middle. – 176 –

1. [#31] Head and Neck Movements (Extended Version)

Bring the chin down towards the chest and take it away. Again oppose the eye movements to the head movements. Try to be as free as you can in the cervical spine. Let the head move as extensively as it will in both directions. Then forget about the eyes. Just lower the chin towards the chest and take it away. If you still cannot make contact, see if you now can do it by opening your mouth wide and bringing the jaw down towards the chest. If you can touch that way, then close your mouth while the chin keeps its contact with the chest. Stop. Lie on your back. Take hold of your wrists with your hands, keeping your forearms parallel to the floor. Take the arms side to side and let the head go with it. Do that quickly. The bending is in the elbows, as well as the shoulders. Then sit up. Put the hands behind you on the floor. Make a number of quick, light, easy circles with the head in one direction and then in the other. Do it carefully but quickly. Do whatever feels safe to you as quickly as possible, and remember to reverse. See what the quickest, largest circle you can make is. Then stop in the middle. Just let the head drop and then raise it. Drop and raise it. Extend it as far forward as it will go a few times, like a chicken's head. Again, do not strain or use force. Push it out in front of you as far as it will easily go. Then lie back down. Hold the top of your head in the palms of your hands. Just cup the hands around. Use the palms to sense the top of the head, and move them around a bit on the top of the head. It is as if you are messaging the scalp. Keep your eyes closed as you do that. Look up into the top of your head as if you could see through the skull. View the hands as they hold the head and gently move the scalp around. Try to put all of your awareness up there in your brain space. Look there. Sense what is going on around the outside of the skull and the inside. When you inhale, direct your breathing up into your brain space. Then breathe up with the intention that the spine will lengthen. The whole body will lengthen. The spine and the whole body will lengthen as you inhale and nothing will be taken away as you exhale. Each inhalation will bring about a lengthening and it will stay there as you exhale. Then the next inhalation will lengthen the body and the spine further. Then leave your hands down at your sides and continue to look up into the brain space and breathe up into it. Breathe up along your spine all the way through the neck into the skull and out through the top of the head. Feel the spine lengthening. There should be free breathing. Do not allow any tension to come into the neck or the face or the shoulders or any other part. Just lie easily. Breathe with the intention that the spine will lengthen and the back will widen. Then forget about the breathing and just continue looking up into the brain space and focusing on it. Try to become aware of an image of the brain's convolutions, the ridge and indentations on the surface of the brain. Project a small image of yourself up into that space, and send it wandering through the brain's convolutions. You wander in the labyrinth of the left hemisphere for a while. After you have done that, cross over the – 177 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

separation of the corpus colossum into the right hemisphere and wander in that labyrinth. Then just quietly continue to look up into that space and passively experience whatever image your mind may present to you of your brain. You may see it as it is. You may see some kind of symbolic representation of it. You may see functions of the brain such as memories. Just continue looking up into it and try to impose nothing. Let your unconscious mind or brain or whatever make you a present of some images, whatever comes to mind that is visual. Try to experience the brain without verbalizing. Have an experience without words. Now finally just roll your head from side to side a few times. Feel yourself becoming wider awake as you do that. Then, not beginning with the head, roll to one side and get up. Walk around a bit. Observe where you look, your posture, how you carry yourself, feelings of length. See if you can sense the feelings in the neck, as well as the neck itself, clearly. See what parts of your body are clearer in your body image than they were in the beginning.

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2. [#32] The Great Pelvic Liberation Movement

2. [#32] The Great Pelvic Liberation Movement Teaching time: about 1 ½ hours or more

Walk around and observe your movements. Try to bring the entire body image into your awareness. At the same time, for a little while, observe the content of your sensing, your thinking, your emotions and whatever else you can observe. Try to do it all simultaneously without sacrificing one kind of observation to another. Pay attention to the movement in your hip joints and to how you walk. Does one leg move differently from the other, and if so, how? Especially note if there is any difference you can observe between the two hip joints and also the feelings in the two sides of the pelvis. Stop, stand still and make the same observations. Do you stand equally on both feet? If you stand more heavily on one foot, use that fact as a basis for examining the feelings and the respective elevations, and whatever else you may observe about the hip joints and the two sides of the pelvis. If you stand more heavily on one leg so that one hip is thrust out somewhat more than the other, see if you can follow that awareness up into your spine. See if you can sense any curvature of the spine, or if the muscles are more contracted on one side of the spine while they are looser on the other. Note then if the shoulders hang equally, and if the head inclines more to one side. If you feel that none of these questions apply to you, and you really sense that it is so, later on look at yourself carefully in a mirror as if looking at another person and assessing his or her body organization, and determine whether what you sense about your body coincides with the image in the mirror. Lie down on your back and do a body scan. When you have completed it, turn your attention particularly to your pelvis and once again compare the two sides. Note the rotations in the hip joints and also the space, if any, beneath your lumbar spine and the space beneath your neck or cervical spine. Use your hand and your fingers to measure the spaces and note if they are what you had sensed them to be. Bend your legs so your feet are standing on the floor. Draw your right leg towards your rib cage and put it down again. Do that several times. Then do the same with the left leg. Let the legs rest. Put your right hand under your head. Bring your right knee and right elbow towards each other. How high do you have to raise your head for the knee and elbow to meet? Repeat that a number of times, observing carefully. Then put the right arm and leg down and do the same thing on the left side. Put both hands under your head and bring both elbows towards both knees. Do you have to raise the head more or less than when you do one knee at a time? Did you raise the head equally when you worked on the right side and the left side individually? – 179 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

Now, in this position, do one more variation. Leaving both hands under your head, bring the right elbow and the left knee towards each other, touching if you can. If you cannot, just do what is easy. Then bring the left elbow towards the right knee and see if that movement is different from the previous one. Lie down and rest and observe how you are lying. Sit up a moment and place the heel of one foot between your legs and into your crotch, or as close as you can come to that. Then place the heel of the other leg somewhere against the shinbone of the first one. Did you move the left leg first or the right leg? Try doing it the other way. If the left heel was in the crotch, place the right heel in the crotch and the left heel against the right shinbone. Or if you started with the right heel, then do it the other way. Observe how you sit, and then go back to the way you did it in the first place. See if, without thinking, you did it in the way initially that would allow you to sit more comfortably, with better balance and with the knees closer to the floor. Reverse the legs again. Note what differences there may be between the two positions. Get into the position that is best. Lean forward with your elbows on your thighs near your knees. Let your head bend towards the floor. See if you can sit with the knees on the floor in that position. Straighten up a moment. Then lower the head again and see if you can place it on the floor. See if you can place the top of the head on the floor without difficulty and, if so, whether your bottom needs to leave the floor and how much. Then lie on your back. Let your feet stand. Raise your pelvis a few times. Place the back flat on the floor. Let the left knee drop towards the floor on the left. Bring it back to make contact with the standing left leg. Continue with that movement for a while. Then let the left one stand erect and drop the right one over to the side. Continue doing that. Spread the feet apart to about the width of the hips. Put your hands on your rib cage and let both legs fall towards the right. If you go to the floor, your left knee should fall into the sole of your right foot. Then go left and let your right knee fall into the sole of your left foot. Continue doing that. Pay particular attention to the movement in the pelvis and hip joints, including how the buttocks roll across the floor. Then, leaving the feet that same distance apart, let the legs stand. With your foot remaining on the floor, make some circles with your right knee. Do them in one direction and then in the other direction. Stop. Do the same thing with the left leg. Let the left foot leave the floor and keep circling with the knee. Make circles clockwise and counterclockwise. Put the left one down and do the same with the right leg. – 180 –

2. [#32] The Great Pelvic Liberation Movement

Raise both feet off the floor and make circles with both knees. Make circles in both directions, opposing the knee movements to each other. Also make circles with both knees going in the same direction. If you feel a strain in your back then stop, rest and image doing the movements. Now take your feet off the floor, cross your lower legs and take hold of your right toes with your left hand and take hold of your left toes with your right hand. Note whether, in this position, it is a bit confusing to say which is left and which is right. The confusion is not just a matter of words as it is when one asks, if you put your left hand behind you then which is left? Begin with your right leg on top of your left leg. Then move in such a way that the left leg goes on top of the right leg. Then reverse again so that the right leg is on top. Continue doing that, without releasing the toes. Do it many times. Remaining with the legs crossed and with the right leg on top of the left one, shift hands so that now the right hand is holding the right toes and the left hand is holding the left toes. See if again it is difficult to tell what it is that you are doing. See if you can place the left leg on top of the right and go back to placing the right leg on top of the left. Let your hands go for a minute. Cross your legs, putting the left one on top. Again take hold of the left foot with the left hand and the right foot with the right hand. See if it is any easier, in that position, to put first one leg and then the other leg on top. Lie back and rest. Note how you lie. Sense your cervical spine and see if it feels to you that the space between the back of your neck and the floor has diminished. Bend your legs. Raise your pelvis a few times and put the lumbar spine on the floor. Draw your knees back towards your chest. Put your right hand under your head and bring the right elbow towards the right knee. Then do it on the left side. Try it on the right side with the left foot standing on the ground, and try it on the left side with the right foot standing on the ground. Draw your legs back again and take hold of the outside of the right foot with the right hand, and of the outside of the left foot with the left hand. Do it so that the arms are inside of the knees. Then take the right leg from side to side so that the arm is first inside, and then outside, of the knee. Try it on the left side. Then try doing both simultaneously, but so that one arm goes inside the knee and the other arm goes outside the knee.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

Take hold of the outside of the foot once again with the arms inside the knees. Bring the right knee to the floor and back up. Bring the left knee to the floor and back up. Continue to go from side to side. Then stop and rest a minute. Extend your right leg towards the ceiling. Put your left hand behind your leg and a little below the knee. Put your right hand above the left one. Climb up the leg with your hands. Go hand over hand. Do that until one hand is over the sole of your foot. Climb back down now. Climb up and down several more times. Do the same on the left side. Does the same hand tend to win the race on both sides, or is it the hand corresponding to the leg, or is there any other pattern you discern? Now take hold of both feet with your hands, but from the inside of the feet. Keep your thumbs with your other fingers. Do not separate the thumbs. With the hands placed that way on the inside, bring first the left knee towards the floor, and then the right knee. Go side to side. Now switch and put the right hand on the outside of the right foot and the left hand on the outside of the left foot and see if that makes the movement easier. Lie down and rest. Scan your body. Bend your legs. Put the right hand behind the head and bring the right knee and elbow towards each other. Then do it on the left side. It might be that you can even make contact now without having to lift the head at all, or the lifting of the head should be a good bit less than it was earlier. Bend your legs, take hold of the knees with the hands and bring the knees as close to the shoulders as they will go, and then as far away as they will go, retaining your grasp. As your legs move away from you, come up into a sitting position with the heel in the crotch and the other heel against your shin. Place the hands flat in front of you on the floor. Lower your head. Let the hands slide away towards the front and bring the forehead towards the floor. See if you can extend your hands out all the way. Let the forehead make contact with the floor. Hold that position for a moment. Moreover, see if you can do it raising your bottom only slightly off the floor as the hands and arms go out and the head comes down. Come back to a sitting position. Go back down again. Continue doing that for a while. It is frequent with this exercise that even people who have never practiced yoga can reach that position by this time in the lesson or a bit later. In actual yoga the same attainment often takes weeks or even months.

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2. [#32] The Great Pelvic Liberation Movement

Now, with your legs in this yoga position, rock a little from side to side so that the side of each knee is firmly on the floor when you go to that side. Let the knee come up on the other side as you rock. Put your feet out in front of you with the soles together in a Japanese type position. Rock back and forth. Increase the movement by extending the abdomen as you go forward and sucking it in as you go back. Make circles with your pelvis on the floor, going around an imaginary clock dial. Go clockwise a while and then go counterclockwise. Then just rock forward and back using your abdomen. Lie down and rest. Bend your legs and rap with the pelvis and the small of your back on the floor until the lumbar spine lies flat. Then slowly extend the legs while flexing the ankles and exhaling between the teeth with a hissing sound. When the legs are extended, release the ankles. Once again note the feelings in the cervical spine, or how close the back of the neck is to the floor. Roll your head from side to side. Cross your legs once again. Take hold of the toes of the left foot with the right hand, and the toes of the right foot with the left hand. Put one leg under the other and then cross them again. Keep doing that. See if what was complicated before is now a good bit clearer or simpler. Similarly, take hold of the outsides of the feet — the right foot with the right hand, the left foot with the left hand — and move the right knee inside and outside the right arm, and the left knee inside and outside the left arm. Then do them simultaneously, but this time put both arms outside the knees together and both arms inside the knees together. This movement calls for a degree of flexibility in the hip joints that very few people ever naturally possess. Do not worry about whether you succeed with it or not. If not this time, then another time. As you can see by trying it, it is a good deal easier to similarly place one knee inside while placing the other knee outside. It is doing the same thing on both sides at once that is the hardest. Now stop and rest. Rap with your pelvis on the floor, but this time by tightening and releasing the muscles of your buttocks. See if, by doing that, you can also raise and lower the lumbar spine. Continue to contract and release the buttocks as you bend your legs a bit, and then some more. Let the legs stand and try to do it. With the legs standing, you are likely to find that it is as if you had no muscles to contract. Most people find that, in trying to continue the movement with their legs standing, they can only clench their anal sphincter. See if you cannot find and control those muscles that worked so easily for you just a moment ago. Lower the legs to the floor and once again use the buttocks to bounce yourself up and down. As you do that notice if, in this position too, you contract the anal – 183 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

sphincter. If so, let that muscle go loose, since it contributes nothing to the movement. Be sure you just do it with the buttocks. For the present, I will leave you with the mystery of why these muscles seem to disappear or become inaccessible to you while the feet are standing. It is a challenge to try to solve it on your own. Now once more separate your legs. Let the left knee drop into the sole of the right foot, and let the right knee drop into the sole of the left foot, or however close they will go. Now bring the legs together and let them drop as a unit over to the right. Keep the right leg lying on the floor, and keep the knees touching. Raise the left foot toward the ceiling until the sole of the foot is pointed up to the ceiling. Then lower the foot back down until it rests again on the right foot. Now keep the feet together, and raise the left knee until it points up to the ceiling. Then lower it back down to the right leg. Do that a few times. Now bring the legs back up to a standing position, and then drop them over to the left as a unit and do the same thing on this side that you just did on the other. Let the left leg remain on the floor throughout. Raise the right sole until it points to the ceiling. Lower that leg and then raise the right knee until it points straight up. Then lower it. Bring the legs back to standing once again. Now make it a side to side movement. The two legs go to the floor at the right. The left foot comes up and down, the left knee comes up and down. The two legs come up as a unit and drop over the left. The right foot comes up and down, the right knee comes up and down. Back up to the middle again with both legs, and down to the right. Do that a while, and then rest with both legs standing in the middle. Now put the right hand behind the head. Bring the right knee towards the right elbow. Do the same with the left hand and knee. Then do both hands and knees simultaneously. Now bring the right knee and the left elbow together. And then the left knee and the right elbow. Cross your legs. Take hold of the toes. Roll to a sitting position, continuing to hold the toes with the hands. Let go of the toes and once again put the hands on the floor and extend them out in front of you as you lower the forehead to the floor. See if your arms will lie flat with your elbows touching, or how far out your arms will reach in front of you. If you fall forward too easily now, be sure you do not bump your forehead on the floor as you come down. Come up again. Take hold of your toes with your hands and roll over onto your back. Do a few more movements putting first one leg on top and then the other, maintaining the contact between the hands and toes. See if that movement is now easy and also more extensive. Rest on your back for a minute.

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2. [#32] The Great Pelvic Liberation Movement

Bend the legs and do a few pelvic raises so that you put your lumbar spine on the floor. Extend the legs, leaving the spine flat, or as flat as it will go. Once again sense your spine in the cervical area. Roll your head from side to side. Note the feelings of length in the body, the feelings of clarity in the pelvis, how your pelvis is in your body image. Then slowly roll to one side and get up. Walk around and note how you feel, especially how your hip joints move. See if they feel especially free. Note whatever else you may feel.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

3. [#33] Upper Back: Body Image and Differentiating Movements Teaching time: about 90 minutes

Walk around a little bit. As you walk, pay special attention to your upper back. Try to sense the whole back, but the upper back particularly. See if you can get any sense at all of the skeletal structure of the upper body. Become aware of it within yourself. Do you have any sense, for instance, of where your ribs are in your back? Are you aware that the rib cage comes all the way up to the neck? There are ribs between the shoulder blades, too. See if you have any sense of the shoulder blades, or scapula, when you are in an erect position and moving. If you have any knowledge of the skeleton at all, you will know that they are rather thin and somewhat triangular shaped. They have strange little hooks at the end that come out. They are the part of the shoulder at the joint. See if you have any sense of that. People can sense better the clavicles, the small bones that run across the front of the body from one shoulder to the other and which are separated in the middle by the breastbone, or sternum, a long narrow bone that runs down the middle of your chest. Notice where you do feel your ribs, whether it is mainly in the sides or the front. At what points are you aware of your spine? Can you feel it in the neck serving as a support for your head? If not, what do you feel supports the head? If you think you sense the spine, how far down into your body can you feel it? Then try it lying down on the floor on your back, with your hands at your sides. The palms are down and the arms are extended. Do you have any sense of where your pelvis really is? How high up in the body does it come as you lie there? The pelvis is two large bones called the ilia. Most people will guess that the top of the pelvis is somewhere around the wrists, and very few will realize that it is actually close to the elbows. It is closer to the elbows than to the wrist joint. The experience is mostly an intellectual one. It is not sensed. Now sense your back and the kind of contact that it is making with the floor. Sense where the spine curves. In most cases it is sensed in the small of the back and certainly somewhat in the neck. Sense how much space there is beneath the backs of the shoulders and the floor, and other places where the body seems upraised, where the upper back does not lie evenly. You should sense the whole of it as lying flat except for the space beneath the neck. Compare the two sides and see if they lie equally. Then put your arms out at shoulder height. Alternately place the backs of the hands on the floor and then the palms. Do that a few times. See if it is easy or difficult to let the palms or the backs of the hands lie flat. Also let one hand be palm down while the other is palm up. Breathe freely. Then rest with the palms up. – 186 –

3. [#33] Upper Back: Body Image and Differentiating Movements

Now put your right hand on your chest with the palm down. Slide it across your chest and along the left arm and hand as far as it will go. Extend the right arm and let it slide as far as it will go along the other one. See if you can reach the palm of the other hand or beyond it. See if it helps to let your head turn. See if it helps to let your feet turn in the direction of the movement. As you do that, pay particular attention to what happens in the upper right side of the back. Do it so that you feel the scapula on the right side rolling all the way across the floor and coming back again, rolling over the shoulder blade. Try to sense it clearly. Then keep your right arm extended as long as you can. When you bring it back at some point you will have to bend it, but do not bend it sooner than you need to or you will minimize the movement in the back and in the shoulders. Similarly, allow your hip joints to rotate and your pelvis to move, but do not make it a simple rolling onto the side. Use the lower body as little as necessary to give maximum freedom and range of movement in the upper body. Also, try doing it with the knees bent. Let the legs go over to the left side as you go, and then come back. Do not take them over to the right side. Let the legs go more or less as a unit over to the left. Then see if you can leave them lying there and come back with your upper body. See if you can leave the legs lying on the left side, one on top of the other. Bring back only the upper body and the pelvis above the legs. Breathe easily and do it in a way that is pleasurable. See how far out you can reach. Be sure that you bring your back on the right side all the way down onto the floor so that you experience the whole range of movement of the right upper back over the floor. Then stop and rest a minute. Lie on your back with your palms on the floor. Note how you lie. Compare the two sides. Notice how the right shoulder lies as compared to the left, whether the right side of the body generally has a different contact with the floor than the left side. Then raise the right arm toward the ceiling. Bend your legs. Reach as high with the right hand as you can, and let it down again. Try reaching out to your right a little, and then reaching straight up, and then reaching all the way to the left. The movement will, of course, be much more extensive when you reach up and a little to the left. Let the legs go over to the left and continue to raise the arm to the left. Just allow both legs to tilt left and continue to reach up and a bit to the left. Make the movement as extensive as possible. Sense as clearly as possible what is going on in the upper back. Reach a little to the left Keep the arm straight as you do it. Continue to lie with the legs on the left side. When you lower the shoulder to the floor, let the arm sink on over to the right, all the way. Let your whole back sink and then bring it back up again. Then raise it high. As you reach up with your arm, come onto your left side. Then, leaving your body as much as possible on its side, take the back and the arm down. Take it down – 187 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

first and then over. You continue to lie on your side. You reach up and out with the hand and let the shoulder down to the floor. Then let the arm come on over to the floor and continue to do it. Pay full attention to everything that is going on in your back on the right side. When you are lying on your left side, you try to lower the entire right side of the back to the floor. Then after you have lowered it as much as you can, you let the arm sink on over to the floor. Also see whether you need to turn your head to the right to do that or whether you can leave it facing left. Then continue to do the same thing, but with the legs extended. Stay on your left side but extend the legs and continue the same movement. Lie on your left side. Raise the right arm towards the ceiling. Just try to simply lower the shoulder blade to the ground and then raise it again. Move the lower body as little as possible. Keep the arms straight. The movement is in the right upper back, the shoulder joint, the shoulder blade. Also move your head as little as possible. If you can continue to look left without straining, do so. Now rest. Lie on your back with your arms out at shoulder height and the palms up. Observe the contact of the shoulders and the upper back with the floor. Then once again, using the lower body as little as possible, slide your right arm across your chest and along the left arm and hand and beyond it, however far you can go. Then come back and continue to do it. Feel the sensation of the right upper back, the entirety of it if you can, as it leaves the floor and returns to the floor. Keep the right arm straight for as long as you can as you come back. Experiment and see if you can keep it straight longer than you previously did before you must bend it. It slides back along the left arm and you keep it straight as long as you can as it slides back. The main sensing should be in the scapula, the shoulder blade, as it moves over the floor, and the shoulder as it makes contact. Now stop and rest with the arms at the sides. Compare the two sides. Then roll to one side and get up. First, just remain standing facing the front of the room. Your arms are at your sides. Let them just hang. See if you can tell that you now have scoliosis. The right arm is hanging lower than the left arm, which normally would be a sign that the spine is curved. Actually, now it is something else. Now walk around and see what you feel like. Do you feel like a monster? Would you like to remain in that condition? You can see if one arm is longer than the other by holding them out in front of you. What is really doing that? It is the feet and the shoulders. The left arm has not changed any. It is the way it normally is. It is just that the right one is so much better than it ordinarily is. Now lie down again. Sense the two sides. Bend your legs. Put your arms out at shoulder height with the palms up. This time let the left arm slide across the chest and go beyond the right hand and come back. Give your awareness to what is happening in the scapula, the shoulder, the whole upper back on the left side. Let the legs go over to the right and remain there. Just take the back up and down. Try to let the whole left side of the back and the shoulders have the experience of moving across – 188 –

3. [#33] Upper Back: Body Image and Differentiating Movements

the floor. Then when you come onto your side, stay there. Leave the legs bent and rest. Put one palm on top of the other palm. Then, with the wrist bent and loosened up, raise the left arm towards the ceiling and let the back down towards the floor or mat on the left side. Before you take the arm on over to the floor at left, first try to put the whole back and shoulder down on the floor. In the beginning, if you have to move the head to do it, use your head. But try to put the whole back down and only then let the left arm sink to the floor. Similarly, try to use your legs as little as possible. Have as little movement as you can in the lower body. Then when you come onto the right side, try just lightly rapping with the left shoulder on the floor and take it up again. Do not come all the way over to the side. Reach as high as you can, and then come down. Just lightly rap on the floor. Remember that if you reach over to the right a little you will get the most extensive movement in the shoulder. Experiment a little, reaching out in different directions and also doing it more or less extremely. See what allows you the greatest range of freedom in the left shoulder and the upper left back. Keep the arm straight. Do not bend the arm. If you bend the arm at the elbow you deprive yourself. Keep the movement in the back and the shoulders. Do not bend at the elbow. Then lie on your back and rest a minute. Lie on your back and bend your legs. Let the feet be flat on the floor with the knees bent. Then use your feet to rock your body, but only on the left side. Elevate the right side a little or do whatever you need to do so that when you rock, the rocking is only on the left side. Experiment doing it different ways so that you feel the rocking primarily in the left scapula, in the left shoulder. If you pick your bottom up off the floor by bringing your feet in close and raising your pelvis, and you continue to do that, then you will feel that the scapula on the left side will act like a brake and will stop the movement at the upper end of it. Raise your pelvis high off the floor as you do it. You push and pull. The pelvis should be way up off the floor if you want to do it correctly. Bring your feet in close to your bottom. Lift the pelvis fairly high and rock back and forth on the upper part of the left scapula. Then alternate that with other movements, rocking on the left side of your body. Raise the pelvis high or low. Put the feet at different distances, but continue to rock your body up and down along the floor. Do it only on the left side. You push and pull with the feet and the body moves up and down along the floor. The head and chin go away when you go up and the chin approaches your chest when you move down. The movement is up and down from head to feet, not side to side. You just keep it on the left side. Naturally, rest whenever you feel like it. Then image the movement. Find a way that is easiest with the whole body lying on the floor. Nothing is elevated and the legs are extended as you like. Gently rock on the left side. Then stop and rest a minute.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

Do a few movements rocking on the right side. Do a few raising the pelvis high. You are working mainly on the shoulder blade and joint. Notice where your body is low. You are working on the entire upper back on the right side. Then rock so that you are rocking equally on both sides. Try to involve the entire upper back in the movement. At least part of the time raise the pelvis high and rock on the two scapulae at once. Let both shoulders and both shoulder blades act as a brake that determines the distance of the movement. Now rest with your legs still bent. Inhale as deeply as you can, inflate your chest, and hold the breath. Then move it down into your abdomen so that the abdomen inflates, and then back up into your chest again. Use the movement to rock your body up and down. You hold the breath as long as you can, and then let it go, and then inhale and do it again. You can also begin by inhaling so that the stomach inflates. You toss that ball of air back and forth between your chest and your abdomen like you are playing catch with yourself. Push and pull with your feet as you rock your body back and forth. As you do that, you feel what happens in your upper body, in the back. Try to make the biggest ball of air that you can. Feel that you toss it back and forth between the chest and the abdomen in order to rock your body. Let the head move freely. See if you can make it a quick, light, easy movement. Feel what happens in your upper back as you do that, across the whole back. Then just lightly use your feet to push and pull instead. Then extend them as far as you can and still be able to make that movement. Then stop and lie quietly with the arms and legs down at the sides, as well as with the palms down. Sense whether the sides of the body are equal or more equal than before. Sense what kind of contact the back and shoulders are making with the floor. Then roll to one side. Get up and walk around again for a little while. Take a break for a few minutes. See what the walking feels like, and how you sense your back. Sense how your shoulders are moving. See if you have the kind of awareness of your back that you ordinarily have only when you are lying or standing against some surface, so that you have some material object to relate to which allows you to sense where the back is. See if you can now feel it without that. You do not need anything to press against to convince your senses you exist. Then just do whatever you feel like for a little while. Lie on your back once again. Sense the contact that your upper body, the back, the shoulders and the rest of it, make with the floor. Now, a few times with your legs bent or not, whatever makes it easier for you, see if, beginning at the head or the lower back, you can pick up your body in such a way that it seems to you that you can feel one vertebra after another bending. See if you can get any sense of one segment after another moving. Then lie on your stomach and try it. You can put your hands at your sides as if you were going to do push-ups and raise your head. Go into something like the Yoga – 190 –

3. [#33] Upper Back: Body Image and Differentiating Movements

Cobra position where you gradually raise your head like a striking cobra, curving the spine. See if you can feel the spine any better in that position. Do it gradually because you are trying to articulate the segments. See if you can become aware of small individual movements in the spine. Then stop and rest on your stomach in whatever way you choose. Be aware of how you do it. Note whether you turn your head to one side or the other, or put the forehead or chin on the ground, or put one hand on top of the other and rest the head on that. Raise your head and look behind you towards your left side. Try to look at your left foot. Then see if you can see your right foot. Keep turning your head to the left. Look over your left shoulder. Just roll the head. Raise your head up and look over your left shoulder as far to the right side of your body as you can. Place your hands in the position that makes it easiest for you to do that. Now stop and rest a moment with your hands out at your sides as if you were doing push-ups. The palms are down and the elbows are up. Rock the upper body side to side so that you pass over the sternum, or breastbone. Try to feel the breastbone as you do it. Try to go over the entire front of your body. You can let your shoulder roll along or you can elevate the head slightly, but the movement should be side to side. It is an upper body movement. You should make a side to side upper body movement. Try pushing down with your pubic bone on the floor to anchor the lower body somewhat. As an alternative way of doing that, clench your gluteal muscles, the muscles of your buttocks. Tighten your buttocks as a way of fixing the lower body, and rock the upper body side to side. Alternate between tightening the buttocks and pressing down with the pubic bone. See which makes it easier for the upper body to move. Do not alternate every movement. Just every now and then alternate. Do a series one way and a series another way. Try to really take the upper body side to side along the floor, not just rolling from one side to the other. Go clearly across the breastbone so that the bone begins to come very clearly into your awareness. Then stop a minute. Leave your hands resting as they are. Leave the palms where they are, and lower the elbows if you want, but keep the palms positioned as if you were about to do push-ups. Then look over your right shoulder, however far left you can look. You can use the hands and arms to assist you if you want to. At least try to see your left foot. You have to come up high enough to see. Can you see your buttocks? Breathe easily as you do that. Let the head and eyes turn as much as they will, easily. Then stop with the hands in the same position. Bring the forearms up. Again, it is as if you were going to do pushups. Come up onto your toes. Rock your body forward and back so that you rock along the sternum. Get a clear sense of the breastbone and the rest of the upper front of the body. Feel what happens in your shoulders. Keep the head a little off the ground. You should be sensing this movement in your chest and breastbone and shoulders, the – 191 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

upper part of the front of your body. Adjust your arms, hands, feet and legs accordingly, to allow you to move primarily on the chest area. Now stop a minute and rest. Let your arms lie down at your sides and feel the contact that the chest makes with the floor, and the position of the shoulders. How close to the floor do the shoulders come? Is the upper body lying any differently than it did before in relation to the surface that you lie on? Then put your hands back in that position as if you were going to do push-ups, but turn the tips of the fingers in towards your sides. Go from side to side, so that first one elbow approaches the floor and then the other. You roll across the upper front of your body. Make contact with the breastbone and go across the chest. Try to make it as easy as possible. Sense it in the shoulders, the elbows, the wrists, the whole upper part of your body. Do not elevate the head so high that the upper body does not roll across the floor. Try to do it so that there is minimal pressure on your hands. The elbows should go down towards the floor on one side and then on the other. Do it slowly, without any compulsiveness or haste. Try to find the most comfortable and pleasurable way to do it. Now put your arms down at your sides. Continue to take the upper body side to side. Feel the contact of the chest and the breastbone with the floor. Also be aware that the rib cage shortens on one side and lengthens on the other as you go side to side. Emphasize that, so you see that it is not a rolling onto the sides movement. It is the upper body really going side to side along the floor. Also try putting your arms out at shoulder height and moving back and forth just along the upper body. The hands will slide somewhat from one side to the other. Try to bring one armpit down, and then the other, towards the floor. Mainly pay attention to the contact of the upper front of the body. Do with your head whatever makes it easy and comfortable. Then turn onto your back and do the same thing. Put the backs of your hands down and roll across the upper back, but not over onto your sides. Sense it clearly. Try to do some movements with the palms up and some with the palms down. See which allows you to best sense the movement as you roll across the back and the shoulders. Sense the scapulae. Now, instead of doing that, make your hands lightly into fists. Place the fists against the ribs on the two sides, on the outside of the rib cage Push first with the one hand and then with the other. They should be well down on the ribs and done in such a way that you move your rib cage from side to side. Then come up a little higher with the hands, almost to the armpits, so that you can feel that when you take the rib cage from side to side you also take the whole back across the floor. Just lightly push first with one and then the other, so that you feel again the sensation of the upper back moving across the floor. You have to bring your hands up high enough towards the armpits to really move the upper back. You push with the fist on the outside of the rib cage, first on one side and then on the other. Do it lightly, rocking your body – 192 –

3. [#33] Upper Back: Body Image and Differentiating Movements

back and forth, side to side, lightly. Try putting the fists right under the armpits and do it, first one and then the other. See if it works any better with the knees bent. Just push first on one side and then on the other up around your armpits on the rib cage, so you move the upper body side to side. Move it as much as you can without being unduly forceful about it. You just push first with one fist and then with the other. It ought to be easy to move it from side to side doing it this way. Now stop. Take hold of your wrists and go side to side with the arms, lowering first one and then the other elbow to the floor, and keeping the forearms parallel to the floor. Do it in such a way that you roll over your shoulder blades. You are interested in doing primarily that, rolling over the shoulders and shoulder blades in the center of the back. Sense it as clearly as possible. Then just lock your two middle fingers together and do it. Make the movement as extensive as you can. Really sense that the whole back makes contact with the floor as you do that. Try not to have any part that does not, at one point or another in the movement, make contact. Try to sense the whole thing. Just very lightly lock the two middle fingers. Your arms will move approximately as you do when you hold your elbows with your hands. It is just a much freer movement in the shoulders, more extensive, and it makes it easier for the entire back to roll along the floor. Breathe very freely. Stop. Bring your arms out at shoulder height with the palms up. Rest the right arm on your chest. Move it across the left arm a number of times. Slide it out as far as it will go across the left arm and hand, and bring it back as you did earlier. You slide it along the arm, out past the hand, and then slide it back, not bending until you have to. Also keep contact of the hand with the arm as long as you can. Do not take that away until you have to. Then do it with the other hand and arm. Bring the left one over. Then do it alternately. Feel how your whole back rolls across the floor as you do it. Also feel your shoulders. Let the feet participate freely in the movement. You can bend your legs as much or as little as you like. Then stop on the right side. Raise the left hand towards the ceiling with the wrist loose, and lower the shoulder onto the mat. When you have placed the shoulder onto the mat, when you have lowered that whole side of your back as much as you can, then let the arm go on over to the floor. Take it back and continue to do that. Try not moving the head in the direction of the arm. Let the head face in the same direction as the knees. Stop when you are lying on your right side Raise the arm once again. The idea is that you try to put the whole side of the back down on the floor, while still lying on your right side. The idea is not to take your arm over behind you, but to put the back down. Only after you have done that, let the arm go over. Try not to leave your right side. Reach as high as you can with the left arm. Reach just as high as you can up and to the front, and lower the whole back and shoulder; finally, let the arm go down.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

Then do it on the other side. Do not move the head unless you have to. If you have to move the head in the beginning, stop doing it as soon as you can. Reach as far as you can now up and forward with the right hand, with a large movement in the shoulders. Then you let the back down on the right side, and then finally you let the arm come over to the floor. Then just lie on your back a moment and rest. Let your feet stand. Raise your pelvis high. Rock your body forward and backward so that the shoulders and the shoulder blades are clearly felt to be the parts that terminate the movement. Just do it lightly and easily, but raise your bottom high so that you clearly feel the shoulder blades and the shoulders. Now stop. Put your legs down. Sense how your shoulders and back lie. Now just a few more movements. Clasp your hands and raise them towards the ceiling. Go to one side and then to the other, allowing the right wrist to bend and the left one to extend as you approach the floor on the right, and vice versa. Keep the arms straight and let the whole back roll across the floor. If you have to let the upper body roll a bit to do it, do that, but sense the entire upper back and shoulders, keeping the arms straight. Stop in the middle. A few times let the arms go overhead and down to the floor. Bring them down and take them overhead again. Breathe freely. Then a few more movements side to side, rolling over your whole back. Roll over the whole back and especially the upper back, the backs of the shoulders. Then just let the arms down to your sides and once more sense how the back lies, the relation of the shoulders to the surface beneath you. Try to sense clearly your back. Breathe a few times. Hug your chest a moment with your hands tucked in your armpits and breathe so that you clearly feel it in the ribs in the back. Do it with the feet standing. Hug the chest and establish a clear awareness of the breathing in the rib cage in the back. Once you feel it clearly, put your arms down and see if you can continue to feel it. Now just follow the awareness of the back down the sides. See if you feel that the back tapers so that it is much wider at the top than at the lumbar region. See if you sense it that way or some other way. Slowly roll to one side and get up. Walk around. Again, try sensing your back. Examine the clarity of the awareness. Does the back feel wider? Are you reminded of the rib cage by the arms making contact with it on the sides, so you can tell in that way that the width of the back is expanded somewhat? See if it presses a little against your arms. See if you can now sense that you do have a rib cage in the back, that there are ribs back there. You will probably be more clearly aware of your ribs in the back than you ever were. Also pay attention to the movement in the shoulders. See if you are now aware that the shoulder blades are there, that you can sense them moving and you can sense them moving in relation to other parts of the back around them. See if, as the arms move and the shoulders move, you can feel a differentiation of parts in the upper back that you are not ordinarily aware of You may not be able to define it exactly, but see that it is a sensation of things moving in a more differentiated way, that it is not – 194 –

3. [#33] Upper Back: Body Image and Differentiating Movements

all just one big undifferentiated lump that moves in the back. Make as clear as possible the awareness you have of the ribs in the back. Pay attention to all of the sensing you are doing, the tops of the shoulders, the sides of the back, sensations of width of various parts. See what else you note that I have not mentioned. Then when you feel that you have taken a careful stock of yourself, that you have made a good observation and have seen what is in your awareness that was not there before, including any functional changes that you may notice, just come back and sit or stand a minute. If you are in a group, see to what extent your experience is the same or similar to that of the other people.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

4. [#34] Rib Cage: Movement and Awareness Teaching time: about 90 minutes

To begin with, walk around the room and take note of your movements and what you are sensing. Pay attention to your back, how your upper body is held, and observe to what extent you sense your rib cage. Do you feel it in front? At the sides? At the back? And is there any feeling of the individual ribs or of the outlines of the rib cage? Then lie down on your back and again try to sense it. Observe your breathing and how the rib cage is affected when you inhale and when you exhale. What happens to your contact with the floor? And what else do you sense? Place the backs of the upper parts of your fingers somewhere against the sides of the rib cage. Push gently with the fingers of the left hand against the left side, observing the movement in the ribs, the spine, and otherwise. Alternately push with the left hand and the right, trying to move the body side to side with as little vertical movement as possible. Then rest with your arms at your sides. And once again note your breathing and the clarity with which you sense the rib cage. Bend your legs so that both feet stand on the floor. Put your left arm above your head and roll your upper body so that you travel over the back of your rib cage and over onto its side. Then you return to lie flat on the floor. Continue doing that, focusing your attention on the left side of your back and going no further than onto your left side. The legs can tilt left to assist the movement but your primary sensing must be of the rib cage. Make the rolling as smooth as possible and try to do it so that the entire back and side of the rib cage makes contact with the floor at some point during the roll. Now see if it is necessary to have your legs bent. Extend them and continue to do it, allowing your feet to go over to the left. See what kind of rolling you can do if you do not allow movements in the pelvis and the hip joints, if you should try to turn your feet to the right as your upper back goes to the left. Now let the legs bend again with the feet standing on the floor, and continue to roll as before. What can you do with your right hand and arm to make the movement a little better? When you go onto your back, stop. Rest. And scan your body. Compare your awareness of the upper back, the rib cage and the whole upper body on the left side with your awareness of your body on the right side. Place the backs of the fingers against the sides of the ribs once again. Push lightly with your left hand against the left ribs. Then push with the fingers of the right hand against the ribs of the right side. See if the left side seems more flexible and more yielding to your touch. Then put your hands down at your sides. – 196 –

4. [#34] Rib Cage: Movement and Awareness

Bend your legs, put your right arm above your head on the floor, and roll onto your right side and back again, trying to let the entire back and right side of the rib cage make contact with the floor at some point as you roll. As much as possible, these movements should be identical with those done previously on the left side. Some people will discover pain around the ribs of which they were not aware before. Roll softly and lightly and before we have finished you may even find the pain has disappeared. Now roll over and lie on your front. Sense your rib cage. See what you sense when your hands are at your sides, when the arms are extended shoulder height, and when they are above your head on the floor. Leave them above your head and roll onto your right side, returning to lie flat on your stomach and chest. Continue doing that, sensing the rib cage on the right side from the sternum or from an imaginary line down your middle. Bend your legs and try doing it, bending them however much facilitates your clear sensing of the contact of the entire right side of the rib cage with the floor. Come back to lie on the front of your chest and then continue to do the same movement, except that you go over to your left side and then return to the middle. Do some movements with your legs extended and then do some movements with your legs bent. Do whatever allows you to make the most complete contact of the rib cage with the floor. Stop a moment, and lie on your chest with your arms down at your sides and your palms up. Then reach as far down toward your feet as you can, first with your left hand, then with your right, and keep doing it. To reach very far you will have to lift your head and shoulders a little off the floor and let them go with the movements. See if, by doing that, you can reach somewhere in the vicinity of your knees, and try to sense how the rib cage shortens on one side and at the same time lengthens on the other. Then roll onto your back and rest. Now put your arms above your head and bend your knees, and roll all the way onto your left side, returning onto your back, and then continuing the movement to roll over onto the right side. Keep doing it, trying to sense the entirety of the back and sides of the rib cage. See what positioning of your arms most facilitates both the movement and the sensing. Is it better if they lie on the ground overhead? If you raise them to the ceiling? If you rest them on your chest? Or if you put them down below your navel? — the hands, at any rate. Experiment with these positions of the arms but keep your main focus on the rib cage. See if the movement can be made smoother and softer and otherwise qualitatively improved. Roll over onto your stomach. Put your hands above your head on the floor and do the same, rolling from the right side to the left. And then extend the movement a little so that when you roll to the left you let yourself go completely over onto your back. Then when you return to the right you again roll completely over onto your back, trying to do it in such a way that, at some point in the roll, the entirety of the rib cage makes contact with the floor. Try to make – 197 –

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that roll very light, soft and pleasant. Then lie on your back, rest, and note what you feel. With the backs of your fingers, push the rib cage side to side and see if it moves freely. Try it near the top of the ribs and work your way down to the bottom. See if you can sense a softening in the spaces between the ribs. Then slowly get up, walk around, and see what else you can observe. How does your upper body feel? See if your breathing is easier, and if you tend to breathe more deeply than you ordinarily do. Let your hands alternately down towards your left and right knees, and see if that movement suggests that the ribs are moving more flexibly. Also be aware of the alternate lengthening and shortening. Now to what extent are you aware of your rib cage? And do you sense your ribs in front of you? At the sides? In the back? Do your ribs press any more than usual against your arms? What is your awareness of the movements of the rib cage when you breathe?

Continuation (Optional) Now lie down again on your back and observe how you lie. Bend your legs. Take hold of the bottoms of the ribs with your fingers a little to the right and the left of the sternum. Lightly pull and push with your fingers so that your body rocks up and down along the floor. Push and pull a little with your feet to help and then just do it with your hands. Now roll onto your stomach. Put your arms above your head on the floor, and push and pull with the backs of your toes in order to rock your body up and down. Elevate your pelvis slightly to do it, noting the feelings in the ribs and the sternum. Your chin should lightly move along the floor. Now roll somewhat to the right, so that only the front of the right ribs are rocked while the upper left side is slightly raised from the floor. Stop. Then do the same thing slightly raising the right side, so that the left side of the chest and ribs are rocked up and down. Lie on your right side with your legs bent and, with the legs, push and pull so that the ribs move up and down along the floor. Do the same thing on the left side. Then see if you can rotate your upper body so that you make a circular movement with your ribs on the floor. You can do it while at the same time the left hip circles, and the left ear, or you can immobilize the pelvis, circling only with the ribs and head. But see if you can circle with the ribs without moving either head or pelvis. Now make some circles with the ribs on the floor while lying on your right side. Roll the ribs forward and back along the floor, towards your front and towards – 198 –

4. [#34] Rib Cage: Movement and Awareness

your back. Then roll them up and down. And then try circling counterclockwise. And then make clockwise circles. Lie on your back once again and rest. Lift your back, leaving head and pelvis on the floor, and rapping on the floor with the back of the rib cage. Do a number of quick movements. Then let your legs down. Take several deep breaths. See if you can sense more clearly than before how the rib cage moves. Roll onto your right side. Rest your head on your arm or shoulder and try to reach down with your left hand to someplace below your knee. See how close you can come to putting your hip in your armpit. The upper body will have to come up. And sense as you do that how the rib cage must bend and shorten on the left side while it lengthens on the right. Then try the same thing lying on your left side. Lie on your back. Take your head a little off the ground, and alternately reach towards your knees with the left hand on the left side and then with the right hand on the right. Rest again. With the backs of the fingers gently push the rib cage from side to side. Then see if you can continue that movement without any help from the hands. Try to keep it a side-to-side movement, with the spine remaining on the floor. Try it with the legs extended and also try it with the legs bent. Lie on your back and put your arms overhead, extending your legs. Now, roll to the left, over onto the front and your chest, and then roll back onto your right side, and continue on until you lie on your chest. Keep going from right to left, trying to make contact with the floor with the entire rib cage at some point during the roll. Return to the place where you started and lie on your stomach with your arms at your sides and your palms up. See if, in this position, your shoulders touch the floor. Breathe deeply and sense the rib cage expanding in the back. One final time, lie on your back observing your breathing and the movement in your rib cage. Then slowly roll to one side and get up. Walk around and see how you feel. How does your upper back feel? See if your rib cage is positioned as it usually is. And use your hands to deliberately raise it. Inhale as you do that, and then when you exhale let it remain in that somewhat higher position. Note your feelings in the front, at the sides and at the back and see if your ribs and your rib cage are now more clearly sensed by you, or otherwise exist for you, as they did not do before.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

5. [#35] Shoulder Rotations and Body Image Teaching time: about 90 minutes

Arrange yourself so that you can put your hands out at your sides and also above your head without bumping the wall or your neighbor. Put your hands down at your sides with your palms down. Then do a good thorough body scan. Begin with your feet and move all the way up to the top of your head. Note where the body image is strong, not so strong, or absent. Compare the two sides of the body for length and contact with the floor. Compare them for symmetry. See whether you can sense the joints, or have a strong awareness of them. If so, of which ones are you more aware? Pay particular attention to the lower back, the spine in the lower back, the lumbar spine, and on up to the upper back and shoulders. Note whether your shoulders make contact with the floor. If not, how far off the floor are they? Also note whether your hands lie flat, and your wrists. Are there spaces separating the hand or the wrist from the floor? If there are spaces, this indicates that there is something wrong with the organization of the body. If it is well organized, everything will lie flat. The hands and the arms should lie similarly. This means that the rotation is the same in the two shoulders. If the feet do not go out at equal angles, this means that they are not symmetrical. See if you feel that in the ankle and the knee and particularly in the hip joint. Pay special attention to the lumbar spine and the shoulders. Now spread your legs so that the feet are out a little wider than the hips. Then put your hands above your head so that the distance between the hands is about the same as the distance between the feet. Keep the arms as straight as you can. Now try to make an X shape out of your arms and your legs. Just sense it so that a diagonal line across your body from the bottom of your foot would go out through the hand on the opposite side. When you sense that you are really in an X shape, then you can look and see if it is so. For some people, it can be quite confusing to try to sense simultaneously how opposite sides of the body are lying in relation to one another. To do that, the left leg and the right arm, and the right leg and the left arm, must be done both at once. Imagine that somebody had come along and painted a line from your middle toe through your middle finger in a perfectly straight line. Could they do that or is there now a line? You certainly cannot do it if you do not straighten your arms. Then try to keep in mind three lines, one running up and down the leg and arm in a diagonal line across your body, another running up and down the other leg and arm criss-crossing it, making the X, and the third line straight up the middle of your body. Try to sense at what point that line intersects the place where the two lines making the X meet. The straight line and the two other diagonal lines all intersect at – 200 –

5. [#35] Shoulder Rotations and Body Image

exactly the same place. Try to sense where in your body that would be. Place one of your hands on the place where the three lines intersect as you sense it. Leave your hand there. Then look visually and see if you think that that place is where you sensed it to be. Now put your arms down at your sides with your legs a little closer together. Once again, do a body scanning, particularly with reference to the shoulders. Then, if the spine does not lie flat on the floor in the middle of your back, arrange yourself so that it does. First of all, let your feet stand. See if that will do it. If the spine is still not flat, then raise and lower your pelvis and put the lower spine flat on the floor. Your feet should be standing. Just raise and lower the pelvis a number of times. Put the small of the back as firmly and as flatly on the floor as you can manage to do. Then go a little higher with the pelvis and notice that the shoulders press down. Go high enough to make the shoulders lie really flat on the floor. Then, when you lower the pelvis, try to keep the shoulders in that position while you also bring the spine flat. Bring the shoulders down by raising the pelvis and then try to leave the shoulders there. Then lower the pelvis, putting the lumbar spine flat without the shoulders coming up. Now rap lightly with your right shoulder on the floor. Then slowly raise it and see, without straining, how high the right shoulder will come up. Bring it up slowly to see how it will come up, and then let it down again. See if you sense the distance that it traverses by noticing how long it takes to get back to the floor. Then see if you can find a way to raise it higher without straining. Try doing it by raising the head as you raise the shoulder. Bring your head up and see if your shoulder will go higher. Bring the head up as far as is necessary to increase as much as possible the height that you are raising the right shoulder, but not enough so that the left shoulder leaves the ground. Then leave the head down and continue to raise the right shoulder. See if now it comes up higher than it did before so that you do not need the head at all, actually. You only needed the experience of the shoulder coming up to the height that raising the head made possible. Then, once your nervous system understood that, the shoulder could come up higher without raising the head. Continue to raise it as high as you can. Breathe freely. Try to make the movement light and smooth, not rapid. Now stop. Raise the left shoulder only. See how high it goes. See if it goes as high as the right one. Now do the right one. Take the right one as high as it will go. Then do the left one again, just the left one. Then, when you raise the left one, let the head come up so that the left shoulder will come up as high as it will go. Do that several times. Then leave the head down and raise it. Then alternately raise the right shoulder and the left one. Then just rapidly rap with the two of them, raising them both as high as you can easily do. Breathe freely. Then put your arms and legs down, and rest. – 201 –

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Scan your body. Note how the shoulders are lying. Is it the same as before or has there been any change? Then if your back makes an uneven contact with the floor, or if parts of the spine do not touch, or if parts of the upper back are elevated, or any place where the whole thing does not lie flat, be aware of it. Then try to mentally release the back so that it sinks down against the floor. You can talk to it and suggest to yourself that the back lengthen and widen. You can use images, you can try to just sense release. However, see if, with your arms at your sides and your legs down, you can allow the back to sink into the mat a bit. With that, feel that the back widens or lengthens or does both. Now, for a moment, put your right hand on your rib cage and bend your left leg. Let the elbow lie on the floor. Raise your right elbow towards the ceiling as you let your left knee go over to the floor. You have to move the shoulder to let the elbow come up towards the ceiling. Place the hand wherever it will allow you to bring the elbow up highest. Put it on your chest if you want to, or in the center of the breastbone. Synchronize the movements perfectly so that as the leg goes down the arm comes up, and as the leg comes up the arm goes down. Think of it in terms of the elbow and the knee, the knee going down and the elbow coming up, the elbow going down and the knee coming up, in perfect coordination and synchronization. It is a question of being simultaneously aware of two sides, with the lower body on one side and the upper body on the other, as you were when you were making the X. Try it with the right leg and the left arm. Really coordinate a simultaneous movement. You should reach the extreme of the two movements at the same time, the end point. Synchronize them in that way, even though one may move over a greater amount of space than the other. The movement should be started and ended at the same time exactly. Now alternately do one and then the other. It means that you bend both legs and put both hands on your chest. You move first the left arm and the right leg, then the right arm and the left leg. Again, keep the movements perfectly synchronized. Try not to pause between the movements or let them overlap. Keep it continuous. As soon as you finish what you are doing with the right leg and the left arm, you begin doing it with the left leg and the right arm. Do not inhibit the breathing. Now stop. See if you can make the X again. Try to make it perfectly. See how far you have to spread your legs to do it and if it is any clearer. Just rest in that position. Imagine energy running up and down the diagonal lines that make the X. Then also imagine the third line running up and down your center. The three lines are all intersecting at one point. Keep sensing whether it really is an X. Now put your arms out at your sides. Bring your legs in wherever they are comfortable. Arrange yourself so that you will not collide with anybody as you move your hands and arms a bit. Now make loose fists and roll them down however far they will go, and then bring them back to the starting point. Feel the rotation in your shoulders. Notice what part of your hand you roll your fist onto, however far it goes without straining. – 202 –

5. [#35] Shoulder Rotations and Body Image

Breathe freely. Roll them down and come back to the starting point. Go as far as you can without straining. For those of you who cannot easily roll the fist onto that part of the hand where the thumb is, your shoulders are much too tight. Do not try to force it. If you cannot do that right from the start, then the shoulder is much too tight. It means that the muscles are contracted and blocking the rotation of the shoulder joint. Now try rotating up and see where you go. Once again, go as far as you can without straining. Observe where you do go. Now bend your legs and, as you roll the fists upwards, raise your pelvis. See if that allows you to move more. You can rotate the shoulder more by raising the pelvis, as indicated by where the hand lies at the end of the movement. Then lower the pelvis and bring them back to the starting point. Breathe freely Now leave the pelvis on the ground and roll the fists up. See if now the rotation in the shoulder has increased so that you can roll the fist as far, or almost as far, as you did by raising the pelvis. Then try raising the pelvis three or four more times to increase it. Observe where you go. Then leave the pelvis down and continue. See if you can get back to that place. Then put your hands down at your sides. Leave the feet standing, and just rest a minute. Now put your arms out at your sides and roll the fists down again. Bring them back to their starting point and then take them down. Now as you do it, when you roll the fists down, let your head come up so that the rotation increases. See if you can roll the hands somewhat over onto their backs, if the head comes up high enough. Not all the way, but somewhat. The shoulders should definitely rotate more than before you raised your head. Now leave your head down and do it. See if you keep whatever you gained. Now stop just a minute and leave your arms and legs just as they are. Sense your shoulders and your back. How are they lying? Then repeat the movement, rolling the fists down and raising the head to go as far as it can go. Then as you go back up, roll the fists as far as you can go up and accompany that movement by raising the pelvis. You go up and raise the pelvis and go down and raise the head. In each case rotate the shoulders and roll the fists as much as you can without straining. Be sure that you do as much as you can. See if you go a little more forward with the head. Then leave the head and pelvis alone. Just roll the fists down and up however far they will go. See what you can do as compared to what you did in the beginning. Have you gained anything? Then stop and rest. Let your arms and legs lie at your sides. Scan your body. Raise the hands towards the ceiling. Raise the shoulders as high as you can and come down again. Do that several times, rapping lightly with the shoulders. Then stop with the hands raised towards the ceiling and see if you can lower them overhead so that the upper arms come down onto your face and slide off it touching your ears. Let them go down to the floor alongside your head. Do that several times. If possible, keep them straight. See how much of the arm touches the – 203 –

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floor. See if it is any easier with the legs bent. Those who have trouble putting the arms down can lift the pelvis to do it. Then, having done that several times, leave the pelvis alone and just put the arms up over the head. Now sit up and put the soles of your feet together. Then make fists and roll them forward and backward along the floor. Put the arms out at your sides someplace. Do not put your feet too close to your body. Then see what favors the movement, what allows you to come furthest forward with the fists and what allows you to take them furthest back. As you let your head sink towards your knees, note what happens. As you take the head back, note what happens. Try moving your head and body forward as you roll the fists back, and take the head and body back as you roll the fists forward. Then let everything go forward together and back together. See whether you can let your head keep sinking down closer and closer to the floor as you do that. Does it have a tendency to approach your feet? The spine is getting supple as you do this. Now roll the right fist down and the left one up and the left one down and right one up. If you do not spontaneously turn your head in the direction of the hand that is going up, then do it intentionally. The tendency would be for the body to turn in the direction of the hand that is going up. Look at that hand on the floor as it goes up. Follow it. Do not follow the other one that is lowering down. Let your whole body twist with the movement. Make it as large a movement as you can. Then do it the other way so that the head turns to follow the hand that goes down. See what effect that has on it. Then let the body once again turn with the fist that is rolling up. Lie down and rest. Now make fists again. Lower the right one down and the left one up and the right one up and the left one down. Let the head turn toward the one that is going up. If it does not do so spontaneously, turn it consciously. Breathe freely. Bend your legs as you do it. Let the legs go from side to side in whatever way facilitates the rolling of the fists, or feels as if it is appropriate to the shoulder rotation. See if the head turns towards the arm going up or if it goes towards the arm going down. Now, if it spontaneously goes towards the arm that is going up, turn it towards the arm that is going down. Everything is going toward the fist that is rolling down. Head and legs are going towards the fist that is going down. Then vary it so that the legs go with the fist that is rolling down and the head goes with the fist that is rolling up. Then reverse that. For a while, let the head go with the fist that is going up and the legs go in the opposite direction and then let the legs go with the fist that is going up and the head go in the opposite direction. Vary it as you like. Do a few movements each way. Then let the head and legs go whatever way seems right to you. Now see what you do with the head and the legs. Roll both fists down together and up together. How do you decide? It is like the donkey starving to death between the two haystacks. They are both equidistant and both equally attractive. A famous example in logic in philosophy is a situation where it is impossible to make a logical choice based on mathematical factors alone. So both – 204 –

5. [#35] Shoulder Rotations and Body Image

fists are going down together and up together. Which side do you take the head and the legs to? Maybe you want to take the head one way and the legs the other. Stop and rest with your arms out at your sides. For a few movements just slide the right hand out and turn the head right. Then slide the right hand out along the floor and turn the head left. Then slide the left hand out and turn the head right. Do it first with the palms down. Then do it on each side of the hand and on the back of the hand. Then stop. Make the fists once again. When you roll the fists up, raise the pelvis and take them as far back as they will go. See where they will go now. When you roll them down, bring the head up and see where you can put them. Breathe freely. Really make as complete a rotation in both directions as you can. Then leave the head and pelvis alone and do it. Note how much change there is going up and how much change there is coming down. A little change in the position of the fists is a lot of change in the freedom of the shoulders to rotate. You cannot rotate them too much in a harmful way because there is no place for the arm to go. If you gain a quarter of a rotation, that is a great deal. Now stop. Bend your elbows and raise the hands towards the ceiling, not letting the wrists bend. Move them with the lower arms perpendicular to the floor. Bring the palms down to the floor, going towards your feet, and then take the backs of the hands to the floor overhead. If it applies, remember how this felt for you in the past. See if it is easier for you now that the shoulders do not have to come up so much when you bring the hands down. Keep the lower arms at right angles to the upper, and the upper arms on the floor at shoulder height. If you have any problem laying the palms flat on the floor, raise your head several times to do it. If you have any problem putting the backs of the hands on the floor, raise your pelvis to do it. Keep the breathing free, but raise the head or pelvis as need be to put the palms down flat at your sides and the backs of the hands flat overhead. Keep the right angle. Do it quickly and lightly without any compulsiveness or sense of undue hurrying. It is a quick, light and agile movement. Then stop. Put your arms down at your sides and extend your legs. Feel how your shoulders lie. Then slide the palms of the hands up and down along the mat. Keep your arms straight. The shoulders have to go up and down. Put the palms down flat. Sense the mat with the palms of the hands. The elbows are straight. Then hands and fingertips are straight. The whole palm and the fingers of the hand are down. Slide the hand up and down by moving the shoulders up and down. Without being forceful about it, take the hands down as far as you can go and continue doing it. See whether they go lower if you put them on the sides of your legs or the tops of your legs or the insides or on the floor. See where you feel the shoulders go lowest. Then put the palms down on the floor again and slide them up and down. Take the shoulders down as far as you can. With the hand flat on the floor or mat, sense what it feels. Be sure that you do not bend the wrist or the hand. For a while use the hand to learn about the mat, and – 205 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

then shift your interest, and focus on the world outside of yourself to what the hand's sensations are. Alternate between the primary awareness of self, and not-self. Then, as you do that, let one hand go down and the other one come up. Let the head go in the direction of the one that goes down to further its movement. See if it will go down further and further. Raise the head a little so that the hand can go down all the way to the knee. The hand stays flat on the floor but the head can come up. See if you can get the hand down all the way to the knee by bringing the head up. Do it without straining your neck. You can put the head down in between movements. Let it touch the floor and come up again. Continue that movement but no longer pick the head up off the floor. Let it just turn. Then slide both hands up and down together, keeping the palms flat. Go down as far as you can with the hands. It means bringing the shoulders as low as you can. Stop and rest. Sense the shoulders and back and particularly the hands. See if the hands are flatter now than they were in the beginning. If the hands did not lie on the palms and went out to one side, do they now tend to lie on the mat so that you can see that the shoulder rotation has improved, and the palms tend to lie down flat instead of the back of the hand going off to the outside as it did, or as much as it did? Does the wrist lie flat? With some, the hands and wrists and fingers may be way up off the mat. With others, the shoulders may rotate out so that the back of the hands faced to the side. Remember how your hands feel. Slide them up and down again a few more times. Keep the wrists and the hands down. Sense that. Also move the shoulders down as much as possible as you move them. Bend your legs as you do it. Stop a minute. Raise the pelvis enough to put the shoulders down on the mat if they are not down already. Then lower the pelvis, leaving the shoulders down. See if you can lower the pelvis without the shoulders coming back up. Then, when the shoulders are down as low as you can get them to the floor, try to keep them there as you slide the hands up and down. If you have to repeat the lowering of the shoulders by raising the pelvis, do it. You leave the shoulders down and then try to keep them down as you slide the arms and hands up and down. Keep the shoulders just as low to the floor as possible. Stay with your legs bent. Once again put the shoulders on the floor and the back of the spine on the floor. Try to leave them both there. Roll the head side to side. See if you can also decrease the space between the back of the neck and the floor. Do not force the neck into what feels like an abnormal position. Put it into a comfortable position. Then take your fingers and see how much space there is under the neck. Put your arms down again. Turn your head lightly side to side a few times, however smoothly and lightly it will roll. Raise and lower the pelvis, but first stop turning your head. Then a final time put the shoulders and the back flat. When they are both flat on the floor, extend your legs without bringing up either the back or the shoulders. – 206 –

5. [#35] Shoulder Rotations and Body Image

Remember, you can do it sometimes best by flexing the ankles and making a hissing sound. Try to bring the whole thing down as flat as you can and keep it that way. Now sense your shoulders. Slowly roll to one side and get up. Walk around a little. Let your arms swing freely. See how your shoulders feel. Lift your arms above your head and see whether they feel light. Now come back to your mat. Lie on your right side with your knees bent a little. See if you can put your left arm on the floor behind you. If anyone has any trouble putting it all the way down, a few times bring it towards the ceiling, bring the knee up, and let the head look in the direction of the arm. Bring the knee up until the whole arm lies out flat. If you are doing it, the knee should come all the way up toward the ceiling. If you can do it without any head and knee movement, do it several times. Bring the arm up to the ceiling, or in front of you, and bring it all the way back. Feel the extreme differentiation in the shoulder and back now that allows you to do that. You can take a thousand people and under ordinary conditions lie them on their sides and ask them to put the arm behind them like that and it would be unusual to find one who could do it. Try it on the other side. It means that the backs are universally frozen and the shoulders too. It takes some very unusual measures to give them back their freedom which is the freedom, first of all, in the brain itself. Lie it out flat. If you need to use the head and leg movement to do it, do that several times. If you do not need to, just do the movement several times. If the shoulder does not come all the way down, use your head and leg to bring it there. Then just lie on your back and put your hands down at your sides once again. See if you can let the palm of the hand and the wrist rest on the mat. If not, several more times raise and lower the shoulders along the floor and let the hands slide along the mat feeling the contact. Do it a little quickly and place the emphasis on feeling the contact of the hands with the mat and on the shoulder movement. Take the shoulders low. Then do just a few of those movements with the arms out at shoulder height and the forearms bent. Bring the palms down and then the backs of the hands overhead. Make it very quick and light. Let the shoulders come up as little as necessary. Try to minimize any shoulder movement. You can also alternate the hand movements so that one goes up and the other down. Let the head turn a few times to look at the hand that is coming up. Then do the movement simultaneously, letting the head rest in the middle. Sense the movement in the shoulders and put the arms at the sides once more. Roll the head quickly and lightly from side to side, whatever is the best, easiest movement you can do. Then stop with the head in the middle. Sense how you lie. Let the elbows be straight. Sense how the hands have changed, among other things. Then slowly roll to one side, get up, and walk around again. Feel how the shoulders move. Just sense your shoulders, what they feel like, how they are positioned, how your hands are hanging, where your thumbs are. Then just walk – 207 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

around a little more. If you like, alternately lift and lower the left and right arms two or three times. Then let the shoulders swing freely as you walk. Sense the feeling of what the arms weigh. See if they are light. Make any other observations you can make.

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6. [#36] Lower Spine and Back — Flexibility and Lengthening

6. [#36] Lower Spine and Back — Flexibility and Lengthening Teaching time: 60 minutes or longer

To begin with, walk around and observe how you carry yourself. Walk naturally and particularly sense your upper body, the positioning of your head in space, how tall you feel, and whatever else you may observe. Now lie on the floor, on your back, with your arms at your sides and your hands palms down, and again scan your body. As you do that, pay particular attention to the contact your back makes with the floor, and your lower back especially. Do you sense that there is space beneath your lumbar spine, or the small of your back, and the floor? If so, how large do you sense that space to be? Feel with one of your hands and determine if the space is what you sensed it to be. Then use the other hand to check this out from the other side. Note whether the sides of the back lie equally, or whether one side lies lower or higher than the other, indicating that the spine is to some degree distorted in more ways than just one. Some undesirable curving of the spine is unfortunately very much the norm. This is particularly true of the curvature in the lumbar spine that allows you to slip your fingers, or your hand, or even in some cases your lower arm, into the space beneath your back. This particular distortion of the spine is referred to as lordosis. Almost as commonplace is some degree of curving to the side, or scoliotic distortion. We know the latter condition is almost certainly present when we look at a person and note that his or her neck appears to be longer on one side than the other, or that one arm seems to be longer than the other so that the fingers of one hand hang lower on the leg. The spine also sometimes twists as if to wrap around itself. To some extent, with many, many people, that is the kind of distortion present when, as you lie on the floor, you can feel that the space beneath your back and the lumbar region is higher on one side than the other. It is very, very common for a person to have not just one of these conditions but two or more varieties of what we are calling distortions of the spine. In fact, more basically, in most cases there are distortions of the muscles of the back, which in turn have their foundation in distortions in the brain and nervous system controlling the musculature, which in turn controls the positioning of the spine. Such conditions affect how one walks, stands, sits, lies, and one's movements in general, so that many other conditions, including injuries, may be seen as outcomes of those more primary conditions which we have been describing. These primary conditions may themselves be causes of any number of possible distortions or other defects elsewhere in the body. In the present exercise, you will experience, in most cases, changes in brain, muscles and spine which will allow the body to lengthen, the spine to lie flat on the floor — often for the first time in years — and then, on standing and moving, observe that the body is longer and lighter, that the posture is significantly changed for the – 209 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

better, and that this will bring feelings of more pleasurable and more effective functioning in areas determined by the previous conditions and needs of the particular individual. Now, as you lie quietly on your back with your hands at your sides, palms down, once again sense how you lie. See if you now are more aware of your back than before, and also perhaps of your buttocks and pelvis and neck and head, in their relation to the parts of yourself in between. Now sit up a moment and place the soles of your feet together in front of you, and your hands somewhere out to the side and behind you, with the palm side of the fingers on the floor. Beginning in that position, rock your pelvis forward and back, so that you move from your tail bone to your sitting bones, and continue that rocking. The movement can be increased in its amplitude if you will push out your abdomen as you go forward, and suck it in as you come back. Make the movement as large as you can without discomfort, and be aware that it involves a considerable curving of the spine in the lower back. As you come forward the back is arched, and as you go back the spine curves in the opposite direction. This exercise can be very beneficial to persons with lower back pain, but both those persons and persons without pain should be careful not to make any violent movements, or movements involving strain or discomfort beyond what their ordinary movements involve, since otherwise they may produce pain rather than get rid of it. Continue rocking for a while, pushing the abdomen out and then sucking it in, being aware of the movement in the hip joints, and the movement in the knees and legs as well. Keep most of the awareness focused on the movement in the lower back and spine, however. There is also, of course, movement in the upper back and the shoulder joints and throughout the body, for that matter. Do not ignore all those sensations, but do keep your main focus. Then again lie on your back. Do you lie as before? Is the space smaller or larger? What other changes do you note? Now bend your legs so that your feet stand on the floor, and a number of times lightly raise your pelvis and lower it, endeavoring each time to place on the floor the entire lower back. You do not raise the pelvis off the floor very much, just a little. Make a kind of light rapping with the small of your back on the floor as you raise and lower it. Stop and rest with your feet still standing on the floor. Now bring your upper legs back towards your chest, lying with your feet together but your knees spread apart. As you do the following movement, be very, very careful. Exercising that care, swing your feet and legs from side to side. That particular part of your body is very heavy and powerful, so that if you swing it violently side to side, you can do serious damage to your spine. Therefore, make it a light movement. Do it in such a way that you clearly feel the contact of your lumbar spine with the floor as the sides of the pelvis alternately move up and down along the floor. – 210 –

6. [#36] Lower Spine and Back — Flexibility and Lengthening

Whenever you feel like it, leaving your legs up, stop and rest. Hold onto the knees with your hands if you like, so as to minimize the effort of lying in that position. Then continue the side to side movements, but vary them a little. Do some movements with the right foot on top of the left. Then reverse that, doing movements with the left foot on top of the right. Also, move with the sides of the feet together, and with the soles of the feet together. Always concentrate your main awareness on the contact your lumbar spine is making with the floor. Stop, and take hold of your knees a minute, keeping your spine on the floor as much as you can, and lower your legs so that the feet are standing. Raise and lower the pelvis a few more times until the lumbar spine lies fully on the floor, or approaches that condition, as best you can do at this time. Then flex your ankles, exhale through your mouth, and very gradually extend your legs while trying to leave your lower back and spine on the floor. You do not raise the feet but just slide the heels along until the legs are extended. Then bring your legs back so that the feet are again standing. Lift the pelvis up and down, and repeat the whole process. That is, place the spine on the floor as fully as you can, flex the ankles, exhale through the mouth, extend the legs, and only release the tension in the ankles when the legs are extended. Rest, and sense how your body is lying, and whether it feels longer or otherwise different. Now bend your legs again so that your feet are standing on the floor, and just roll your legs and lower back from side to side a little. Keep some space between your knees and between your feet. The knees go side to side as you roll. Do not go all the way over, but just enough so that you are rolling over your spine and lower back, and sensing their contact with the floor. Put your feet and knees together and continue to do it. Expand the movement a little so that the knees come closer and closer to the floor on each side, or make contact with it. Sense clearly what happens in your lower back and spine, and be sure that somewhere in the movement the spine and lower back make contact with the floor. Your head can either remain stationary, can turn in the same direction as the knees are going, or can oppose the movements of the legs by turning in the opposite direction. Experiment with all of those possibilities to determine how the head movement might affect the leg movements, the flexibility of the lower back and spine, and the contact the back and spine are making with the floor. Now stop with your feet standing. Let your knees sink just a bit to the left. Then push with the right foot so that the right buttock and the right side of the body leave the floor, and bring them back to the floor again. Keep doing that, sensing how the lower back and spine are being moved — that is, how you are moving. Be sure you return the entire back and spine to the floor. Stop and, instead, let your legs sink slightly to the right, push with the left foot so that the left buttock and left side of the body leave the floor, and then return. It is the same movement you did just before, only now you do it on the opposite side. Now let both legs sink left again, and press a little with both feet, arching the back and curving the spine, which then return to the floor. – 211 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

Bring the legs over to the right a little and do the same. Stop and rest with your legs in the middle and your feet standing. Observe how you lie. Raise and lower the pelvis a few times. Leave the lower back on the floor and flex your ankles, exhale with your mouth, extend the legs and, finally, release the ankles. Bring the legs back so that the tops of the legs approach the rib cage, and with the feet together, again move the pelvis left to right, but gently. Do it with the right foot on top of the left, and do it with the left foot on top of the right. Leave the legs standing. Sense the back's contact with the floor. Lift your legs into the air a little and then use their weight to swing yourself up to a sitting position. Put the soles of the feet together, hands behind you on the floor, and rock your pelvis back and forth. Extend your abdomen as you go forward, and suck it in as you go back. Let the movement in the lower spine and back be as large as possible without doing yourself violence. See if that movement feels any different than it did at the beginning. Then slowly return to your back, leaving the feet standing for a moment, with some space between the feet and between the knees. Then let your knees go a little to the left, and then to the right. Sense the rolling of the lower back and spine across the floor. Elevate the pelvis for a moment and, with the pelvis elevated, rock your body up and down along the floor so that your shoulder blades and shoulder joints move in ways that you feel very clearly. Stop. Raise and lower the pelvis a few times until the lower back rests entirely on the floor, or comes as close to that as you feel it will go. Then extend your legs and sense how your body is lying. Note the feelings of length, the back's contact with the floor, and especially how it lies in the region of the lumbar spine. Lightly roll your head side to side several times. Then, one last time, bend your legs and push and pull with your feet, rocking your body up and down along the floor so that when you push up with your feet, your head moves away from your body, and when you pull down, your chin approaches your chest. As you do that, try to feel the length of the spine as it moves along the floor. Try a few times rotating both head and pelvis together, first in one direction, then in the other. Then rotate just the pelvis, so that the small of your back makes circles on the floor. As much of the lower back as possible should be circling on the floor. Lie down and observe how you lie. Roll slowly to one side, not getting up with your head first, and come to a standing position. Take note of how you feel, and perhaps especially the feelings of height which you now have. See if you feel considerably taller. Walk around and note if you stand more erect, whether the posture is definitely improved, and if there was a tendency before to look at the floor, whether now you tend to look out at the horizon, without, however, sacrificing any awareness of the floor, ceiling or walls of the room, but perceiving them all simultaneously. Your enlarged perspective means that the eye muscles are freer than before. – 212 –

6. [#36] Lower Spine and Back — Flexibility and Lengthening

Increased awareness, increase in height, improvement in your posture and how you carry yourself — these are all quite objective facts, and they mean that the skeletal alignment has changed, because the muscular organization has changed, and that in turn has occurred because the organization within your brain and nervous system have changed. These are all perfectly objective, measurable facts, except for the changes in the brain which, however, obviously occurred, and which could be measured if we had the instrumentation to do so. Apart from that, note if there are any “subjective” alterations in your experience of yourself or your world. Walk around, sensing whatever else you may become aware of, and know that with repetition of this exercise, the spine can be lengthened and straightened, and the other changes maintained as well. Also, if the spine did not straighten completely this time, then it will very likely do so on a subsequent occasion. In every case, however, there should have been significant changes.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

7. [#37] Repositioning the Shoulders Teaching time: 75—90 minutes

Please stand in what for you is a normal position, with your arms hanging at your sides. Let your body stand fairly symmetrically, but otherwise do not attempt to arrange it in any particular position. The shoulders of the normal individual in our type of society are distorted in several different ways. Three of these distortions are so commonplace as to be found in a considerable majority. First, the shoulders are held too high. When the muscles of the back are freed from their usually unconscious tension patterns, those particular groups which force the shoulders upward no longer perform their task, and the shoulders hang much lower. If ever you are in London, be sure to visit the Alexander Institute in Albert Court, and you will have the unique experience of seeing a whole group of people — The Alexander teachers and advanced trainees — all with extraordinarily straight backs and uniformly low shoulders. That straightness of the backs, by the way, involves no rigidity. The backs are very supple, and the people move with an uncanny grace. The second very common distortion in the shoulders is a rotation out and back in the shoulder joints. It is this distortion that permits the palms of the hands to hang against the outsides of the thighs as they do with soldiers standing at attention. It would be interesting to know if initially this distortion came into being as a conscious, and then unconscious, imitation of some other person or persons. When the unconscious and chronic muscle contractions are successfully released, the proper positioning of the shoulder joints will allow the backs of the hands to face forward, with the thumb and forefinger usually resting on the thigh. If the thumb of the forward facing hand is at the outside of the thigh, or if the hands are so far out to the side as to make no contact with the legs at all, there is yet another distortion of the shoulder joints that would be very painful to endure if the person were conscious of the effort required and the unconscious pain actually present. To hold the hands out to the side in such a manner that they make no contact with the legs is not so commonplace as the three main examples we are discussing, but it is by no means rare either. The third very common distortion of the shoulders is a thrusting of the shoulders forward. The shoulders are forced into the forward position once again, of course, by chronically contracted or tensed muscles, demanding an effort and generating pain which again is unconscious. Bring your shoulders forward of where you now hold them, and feel what happens in your back. Also raise your shoulders higher and try to sense what is involved in raising the shoulders and in maintaining them in a raised position. Also – 214 –

7. [#37] Repositioning the Shoulders

try rotating the shoulders out and back as a person with properly positioned shoulders has to do to keep the palms at his or her sides. Also try maintaining all three of these distortions simultaneously until you get some notion of what a normal person should be feeling. Normal is, of course, being used as a statistical term, not signifying healthy or correct use. Finally, try out the other distortions I mentioned, holding the hands and arms far enough away from your sides so that the hands do not make any contact with the legs. You can do that as an isolated action, or in combination with the other three positioning defects. Now lie down on the floor and observe how you lie. Arrange yourself symmetrically, with your arms a short distance away from your sides, and your palms resting on the floor. Scan your body and try to notice whether you are able to sense the whole of its surface. Take note of which parts are sensed more and which are sensed less clearly. Try to at least be aware of areas where you may sense nothing at all. Be aware of your breathing. Now, pay some special attention to how your back lies, following it on up from your tail bone. Note what parts of the back press against the floor, and what parts fail to touch. See if you feel any hump-like mass in the center of your upper back. Note whether the backs of your shoulders rest against the floor as you lie there. Make those observations while you also pay attention to your breathing, not holding the breath, but breathing freely, and sensing the passage of the breath, and how it moves your body. Do you sense that you breathe equally through the two nostrils? Use a finger to close off first one and then the other, and see if the nostrils in fact are functioning as you had sensed that they were. By the way, if your shoulders fail to rest on the floor, they are being held aloft by those contracted muscles which also thrust them forward when you were standing. Note if your palms lie flat, and whether there is any space underneath your wrists. If there is space beneath one or both wrists, push down and observe what happens to your shoulders. Continue that movement for a while, pushing down with the wrists so the shoulders come up and then pushing down with the shoulders so the wrists come up. Even if your shoulders lie rather well on the floor and your wrists are also lying flat, you are likely to find that the wrists will come up when you push down with the shoulders. Then as you press down with the wrists, the shoulders are likely to come up also. Bend your legs so that your feet are standing and bring your feet as close to your bottom as you can, while feeling comfortable doing so. Then follow the line that runs from your crotch up through the center of your body to the top of your head. This line is in the middle of your body and it is just a bit forward of your spine. Ida Rolf used to call it the “core line.” In her method, much use is made of it, at least by some teachers. Breathe as if you were able to breathe through your bottom, all the way along that core line until the breath goes out through the top of the head. This is an image of breathing, of course, but the image can be sensed quite clearly. Starting at your bottom, you can inhale all the way up the core line, and then exhaling, breathe down – 215 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

the core line, so that the breath then passes down and out through your body. Continue to breathe up and down that line, imagining and sensing, if you can, the breath passing in and out through your bottom and the top of your head. Now, pushing and pulling with your feet, rock your body up and down along the floor. If, at the end of the upward movement, the pelvis moves a bit away from the floor, the contact of the rest of the back with the floor should be greater, more complete. It is not a question of lifting the pelvis off the floor, but of following through to the end of the upward movement, so that the pelvis naturally comes up a bit. Observe that when you rock the body in this way, all or most of the lower back remains in contact with the floor. Now if, when you make the movement down, you make it somewhat more extremely down, you will find that the lower spine will then arch a bit so that the lower back loses contact with the floor. The best way to do this movement is to think of coming up onto the tailbone and then trying to tuck the tailbone under. Do not try to force yourself to do it, but just think of moving in that direction. This movement, if too vigorous, can make your back sore. If your back was already sore, it can quickly make you more aware of the pain. However, at least go a bit in that direction, thinking of tucking your tailbone under. At the end of that movement down, observe what happens to your shoulders. They are pushed down towards the floor and in most cases will touch the floor and even push against it. Now emphasize the rocking movement upward, the pelvis coming up a bit at the end of the movement, and see if you can maintain the contact of the shoulders with the floor. Stop and rest, letting the shoulders lie against the floor if they will. Extend your legs and see if the shoulders remain down. Also note what happens in your lumbar spine. Bend your legs again a moment, with the feet standing, and repeatedly lift the pelvis two or three feet off the floor, putting it down in such a way that the whole of the lower back makes some contact. When you can leave the whole spine on the floor, stop and observe what that feels like, and also whether your shoulders are still down. Leaving your hands on the floor, lift your shoulders toward the ceiling, and bring them back again, so that you rap lightly on the floor with the backs of your shoulders. Do it a few times with the right shoulder, and then a few times with the left shoulder. Then rap again with both shoulders together. Now, letting your heels slide along the floor, see if you can extend your legs while leaving the lower back, and also both shoulders, down. Observe the feelings of length and also the body image. As you lie there, breathe up through the core line, and then back down it again. Continue doing that. Also try breathing along the diagonal line that runs from the bottom of your left foot on up to your right shoulder. Try to feel yourself breathing in through the bottom of your left foot and out through the right shoulder. Exhale down through the shoulder and out through the foot. Continue doing it until that line is well established in your mind.

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7. [#37] Repositioning the Shoulders

Then change and breathe in through the bottom of the right foot and out through the left shoulder, exhaling down through the left shoulder and out through the bottom of the right foot. Establish that line clearly in your mind also, while trying to retain the image of the other line from the left foot through the right shoulder. Try to make the two lines intersect somewhere precisely in your middle. Now, maintaining those two lines in your awareness, breathe up and down along the core line and see if it passes through the point where the diagonal lines intersect. If the lines do not intersect in your middle so that the core line passes through them, try to alter them so that they will do so. If you cannot do that now, continue working on future occasions until the three lines intersect together at a single point in the middle of your body. Continue breathing up and down the core line, but bend your legs so that your feet are standing somewhere close to your bottom. Breathe powerfully up and down through the line, sensing as much as possible of your back, including your shoulders resting on the floor. Note if the upper back and shoulders seem wider in relation to your waist. Continue breathing up through your body and down, sensing clearly the line. Slowly roll to one side, get up and walk around a bit. Feel how your shoulders are positioned. Note the feelings in your upper back, and whether the upper back has widened so much that the arms and hands are actually forced somewhat away from your body by the pressure of your rib cage against the insides of your upper arms. See if you feel taller, more erect, and also if you take in more air when you breathe. Try to define for yourself what has happened in your shoulders. Then lie back down a minute, and note whether your shoulders are closer to the floor, or make better contact with it. Let your feet stand on the floor, breathe up and down the core line, and note if the shoulders continue to sink and the back to make a still better contact with the floor. After a while, roll to one side, get up again and walk around. Stand, sense your shoulders, and see if what felt strange before has begun to feel more natural. There should be much improvement yet to make, but already the nervous system is adjusting, and the sensory feedback to the brain is making a better musculoskeletal organization also feel better. This is an important adjustment, since reorganization of the body, even if it is for the better, will seldom be retained if it does not feel right to the person. When for a long time a wrong posture has felt right, a change to a posture that is actually right will invariably feel wrong. Making the wrong posture feel wrong and the right posture feel right are most important aspects of the Work. 3

3

The preceding pages can be viewed as a complete exercise in themselves, or can be Part I of a longer exercise, the second part of which is to follow.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

8. [#38] On Stomach — Repositioning Shoulders Teaching time: about 90 minutes

Stand up for a minute. Sense your shoulders with your arms hanging at your sides. Sense how they hang, what your back feels like, your upper back, how the shoulders are rotated. Then move around a little bit. Sense your shoulders as you walk in a normal way. Observe whether you inhibit the movement of the arms as you walk, or whether the arms swing freely. Does the left arm go with the right leg and the right arm with the left leg? What does it feel like in the shoulders? Then come and stand again. Just lightly raise and lower the shoulders. Do it fairly quickly and see what it feels like. Also, raise the arms overhead several times and take them down. Do it both raising the arms to the front and raising the arms to the sides. See whether one way is easier. Also, what are the differences in the feeling in the shoulders when you take them shoulder height and then towards the ceiling from the front, and shoulder height and then towards the ceiling from the side? Compare the sensations both as you take the arms up and when you take them down. Then notice whatever differences there may be between the functioning of the feeling in the left shoulder and in the right one. Then let the arms hang. Bring the shoulders as far forward and close together as you can do without straining. Then take them as far back and close together as you can do without straining. Remember the feeling and whether you can do it quickly and lightly and easily or whether it is difficult, awkward or even painful or otherwise unpleasant. Then lie down on your back. Put your arms down at your sides with the palms down. Notice how your shoulders lie in relation to the floor, and also the entire upper back, the length of the spine. See how much of the back you feel lies flat against the floor, including the spine and where it seems raised up. Particularly, pay attention to the way that the backs of the shoulders lie in relation to the surface under you. Compare the two shoulders. See if they lie equally. If not, what is the difference? Then, if there is a space in the area of the lumbar spine, bring the spine down to make contact with the surface beneath you. Try not to bend your legs. Note whether, when you bring the spine down, the shoulders come up. Also, notice whether, if you take the shoulders down, the spine comes up. Just push down with the backs of the shoulders against the floor and observe if it is necessary to increase the curve in the lumbar spine. If one movement affects the other then alternate for a while, pushing down with the spine and then pushing down with the shoulders. Now see if, by bending your legs and letting your feet stand, you can put the lumbar spine flat on the floor. If you have to raise and lower the pelvis a few times to – 218 –

8. [#38] On Stomach — Repositioning Shoulders

do it, do that. Place the lower back flat on the floor. You must bend the legs so the feet are standing. Now, keeping the lower back on the floor, try to rap with the backs of your shoulders on the surface beneath you. Breathe freely. Do not arch the spine and the neck. Raise your hands towards the ceiling and do it. Rap with the shoulders on the floor. Leave the wrists loose. Then put the arms down for a minute and rest with the legs standing. Try again rapping with the backs of your shoulders on the floor. Then raise the arms towards the ceiling and do it again. Let the shoulders come down and make contact with the floor or as close as you can easily come. Do not bend the elbows. When the shoulders are in contact with the floor, or as close as they will come to that, leave them there. Stop the rapping and leave the arms up. Then slowly, keeping the contact of the shoulders with the floor, take the arms out to your sides at shoulder height. By doing it that way, you can maintain the shoulders flat on the floor. Slide the arms, both of them, away from you and then back along the floor so that it is a shoulder movement. Try it with the palms down and also with the palms up. See if you sense any difference in the ability to move. Which way is better? You can also try it with the hands on their sides. Now, once more raise the arms towards the ceiling. Rap on the floor. Leave the shoulders on the floor and stop rapping. Slowly take the arms out to the sides. Then, try to leave the shoulders down as you bring your hands and arms alongside your body. Bring the hands in fairly close, and then try rapping again with your shoulders on the floor. See if you can make contact with the floor with the backs of the shoulders, either better contact or closer approximation than you could do in the beginning. Then leave the shoulders as close to the floor as they will lie in a resting state without pushing down. Without elevating the shoulders, and without making an arch in the lumbar spine, extend your legs. In that position, rest. Now raise your hands towards the ceiling. Then take them on overhead as far as they will easily go, and see if they will lie alongside your head in contact with your ears or however close they will come to that. Do it several times, letting the arms slide off the face and onto the floor. See what happens when you clasp your hands, interlacing your fingers. Interlace your fingers lightly and do it. See if that makes it easier. Bring the arms in close to the head and also move the shoulders. Then, when the arms are above your head, unclasp the fingers. Roll over onto your right side with the right ear on the extended right arm. Leave the right arm extended and then roll over onto your back with the ear on the arm. Then, leaving the ear and the arm together, come back onto your right side. Several times, roll onto the right side, then the back, keeping the ear and the arm together. Then, instead of doing that, roll onto the left side. The left ear is on the left arm. Then come back. Keep doing that. Leave the right arm overhead, if you can. Roll so that you come over onto the left arm with the left ear and then back, keeping that connection, and then onto the right side so that the right arm is on the right ear. – 219 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

See if, as you roll, you can keep both arms alongside the head. Try to do it without holding your hands. Then stop in the middle on your back. Leave the arms back there. Now bring them up towards the ceiling. Lightly clasp your hands again. Take the two arms down alongside the ears. Do it several times. Then try taking them down without clasping the hands. Let the arms slide off the face and onto the floor or however close you can come. Let them just lie there a minute. Take the hands back and forth by pushing and pulling with the shoulders along the floor. Do it above the head and back towards the feet, not side to side. Do both arms simultaneously. Push and pull the shoulders so the hands go away from the head and come back towards the head. Try not to bend the elbows. Then bring the arms down to your sides. Keep pushing and pulling with the shoulders. Do the same thing. Stop. Quickly turn your head left to right. See if it goes easily. Then take hold of your elbows with your hands and go side to side very quickly. Sense it in your shoulders. Let the head move quickly with it. See how fast you can go while keeping it easy. Do a few head movements while opposing the shoulder movements. Then, let the head go with it again. Then put your arms down and rest. If your body has slipped off the mat, come back onto it. Now, roll over onto your right side. You can put the arm under the head. Lightly bend your legs. Then raise the left arm towards the ceiling. Let the shoulder blade and the shoulder drop back towards the floor. Let it be a movement within the shoulders, as much as possible, and in the upper back. Do not just roll over onto your back. Reach up and then let the arm drop back down. Let the shoulder blade approach the floor as closely as it will. Try doing that on the other side. Go onto your left side. Do exactly the opposite. Reverse everything. Let the hand go up toward the ceiling and then let the shoulder blade down towards the floor. Let the shoulder blade sink towards the floor. The arm continues to be up towards the ceiling. The upper left side of the back sinks towards the floor. Now just let the right hand rest in front of you on the floor, close in to your body. The elbow should be up. The hand is on the floor close in to your body with the elbow up off the floor. Leaving the hand on the floor, make circles with the elbow. This means that you rotate the shoulder. Try to sense what is happening, not only in the shoulder, but in the shoulder blade. Do some in one direction and some in the other direction. Then do that on the other side. Continue to do that movement, but now lie on your stomach. Do it only with the left arm. See where you can place the head to give the greatest freedom of movement to the shoulder. Rotate it. Almost everyone will spontaneously place the head on its side so that the face looks towards the arm that is moving. If you have done it in that manner, look the other way. Look away from the hand. Then reverse the head, so you look towards it. Compare the rotation in the shoulder joint when the head is turned left and when it is turned right. Stop and rest a minute. – 220 –

8. [#38] On Stomach — Repositioning Shoulders

Then put the right arm in the same position that the left was in, as if you are going to approximate a push-up. Circle with the right elbow, rotating the right shoulder. Do some movements in one direction and some in the other. Find the positioning of the hand and the arm that allows the shoulder to move most freely. Then, instead of rotating, experiment with the ways in which you can move the shoulder and the scapula, up and down, forward and backward. Keep the elbow bent. Do not extend the arm. Do it gently and sensitively. Try to examine the nuances of movement that are possible in this position, that you could not do lying on your back. There are many shoulder movements now that you simply could not make while lying on your back. Then put your arms down at your sides. Let your head rest on its front, on the chin or forehead or however you want to do it. Rap with the shoulders on the floor. Also, see how far up towards the ceiling you can take them. See if you can take them up further if you let the head come onto the forehead. Then, when you take them down, come onto the chin. You go onto your forehead when you bring the shoulders down. Bring the shoulders just as far back as you can bring them without straining. It will be much further if you go onto your forehead than if you are on your chin. Being on the chin is better for lowering the shoulders; being on the forehead is better for raising them towards the ceiling. Try to make the whole thing a light and coordinated movement, with the shoulder up and down and the head moving back and forth between the forehead and the chin. Exert as little weight as possible on the chin or the forehead. Keep the breathing coordinated and easy. The whole movement is smooth and light. Stop whenever you feel like it, and then start again. Then just rest in whatever position is the easiest for you. Do observe how you place your head. Now take your arms out to the sides and slide the hands away from you and towards you. Put the palms down. Keep the elbows straight. See whether one position of the head is better as far as these movements are concerned. Also, see whether one shoulder is more clearly sensed, depending on how you position your head, whether you sense one more clearly if the head is turned towards you or one more clearly if the head is turned away from you. Then put the arms down at your sides and slide them up and down that way. See whether it works better with the palms down or with the palms up. Does the sensing of the shoulders have anything to do with the positioning of the head? Do you bring one shoulder into any clear focus, depending on how the head is turned? Does it make any difference to the sensing of the shoulders if the head is in the middle? Then put both hands out at the sides and bend the elbows, as if you were going to do push-ups. Very gently, use the arms to rock the body from side to side, so that one elbow approaches the ground and then the other. You go side to side. Depending on where you place your hands, you can place the forearm on the floor at your side. Feel what happens to the shoulder. Remember that the elbows should be up somewhat. You go over, one forearm comes onto the floor, and the whole upper body is moved by that. Then stop and rest.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

Again, put the arms down at the sides. Rap lightly with your shoulders on the floor. Let the head be in front of you. Resume the movement where you take the shoulders as high towards the ceiling as you can. Then rap on the floor by moving the head from the chin to the forehead. Try to make it quick, agile, and as effortless as you can. It does not have to be a difficult movement at all. You must come onto your forehead if you want to get the shoulders as far back as they can go. Now lie on your back and rest. Now try rapping with the backs of your shoulders on the floor. Raise your arms towards the ceiling and then come back down onto your shoulders, rapping. When you make contact with the floor with your shoulders, leave your arms raised. Then see if you can lower them to your sides without losing the contact of your shoulders with the floor. If you cannot maintain the shoulder contact, then try lowering your arms out to your sides at shoulder height, leaving the shoulders on the floor. Now again, just try rapping on the floor with your shoulders. Lift them as high as you can and bring them back down as far as you can, but without straining. Stop. Take your head from side to side. See how quickly you can do it while it remains comfortable for you. How far over can you go? Now stop. Take hold of your elbows and take your arms from side to side, so that you come onto the sides of the upper arms. Do that as quickly as you can do it. It should not be compulsive. Stop when the forearms are parallel to the ground. Take them over your head and back. Do that as quickly as you can without straining. Then put your arms down at your sides. Move the hands up and down along the floor by pushing and pulling with the shoulders. Stop and bend your legs so the feet are standing and the spine feels flat on the floor, or as close as you can get to this position. Then raise the pelvis off the floor. Push and pull back and forth so that you come onto your shoulder blades which then act as a brake to the movement. Rock your body back and forth on your shoulder blades. Come up high enough so that clearly the shoulder blades stop the movement. Also, come up high enough so that it is possible for the shoulders to make good contact with the floor. Bring the pelvis, however high it has to come, to let the shoulders approach the floor as closely as they will come. Then rock it back and forth with the shoulder blades. When you feel that your shoulders are as close to the floor as you can get them, gently lower the pelvis, trying to maintain that position. Then, again, try simultaneously rapping with the shoulders on the floor. Try doing it by alternating the shoulders. Bring one shoulder high and then down as far as it will go. Then do both of them at once. Bring the shoulder down as close to the floor as it will go and leave it there. Then see if you can extend your legs without raising your shoulders. Sense the shoulders and the upper back. Then, leaving your head on the floor, by arching the back, bring your shoulders and your upper back up. Come up onto the back of your head. Then drop onto the back so it is as flat as you can make it. Lying down, arch the spine and elevate the – 222 –

8. [#38] On Stomach — Repositioning Shoulders

back and the shoulders and let them drop so that you feel the flatness where they fall. Let them fall as flat as possible. Also try to do it so the lower back falls flat at the same time. Now it is a rapping with the entire back. It is done by curving the spine and the neck and in the lumbar region. You try to rap with everything as flat as possible. Rest and then start again. Come up well onto the back of the head to do it. Do it whatever way most easily allows you to bring the back and the shoulders off the floor, and then let them fall down flat. What you do not do is bend the legs. Now let it fall as flat as it will and leave it there, with the shoulders as close to the floor as you can get them. Rest there. Roll over onto your stomach. Bend the right arm and place the palm on the floor. Put the arm out at the side as if you were going to do a pushup. Again, try to find all the ways that you can move the shoulder. You can put the hand out a little further. You can put it a little to the rear or a little forward. See all the different ways that you can move the shoulder, the shoulder blade, the upper back in that position, including rotations, but not just the head. Do it with the left hand. Do it slowly and probingly as an exploration and a learning process of finding different movements that are possible there. When a person has an injured shoulder, you very often work with that person lying on his or her stomach. Do these various positions. Guide them as they do it. You direct it with your hands. See that you have many more possibilities of the movement of the upper back and shoulder when they are on their stomachs than when they are on their backs or sides. The upper back and shoulder will move much more freely. Now put your arms down at your sides. Move them up and down. Slide them up and down along the floor. Then do a few more movements where you rap with the shoulders on the floor and then take them up as high and back of you as they will go by altering the position of the head. Try to make them quick and light, and go as far as they will go. Then stop and put the arms out at the sides. Just slide them out and back, out and back. See whether the ease of movement and the range of movement of the shoulders is greater. Remember, do not bend the elbows. Then lie on your back. Slide the arms out away from you and back. Make the movement as extensive as possible. Raise the hands towards the ceiling and rap. Rap lightly with the wrists loose until the shoulders make contact with the floor, or as close to it as you can get. Then leave them there. See if you can lower them and bring the shoulders onto the floor. Bring the arms down to the sides and keep the shoulders on the floor. Now see if you can rap with the shoulders on the floor. At the end of the rapping, you can make contact with the surface. Feel that you have definitely come closer to the surface. At the end of that rapping, leave them down. The spine is arched. See if, by bending your legs, you can put that down as well. Keep the shoulders down as far as they can now go. Slowly roll to one side and get up. Stand a minute. Notice what you feel. Do your shoulders feel that they are positioned differently? If so, in what way? Also, walk around a little bit. Try to – 223 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

continue to notice whether the shoulders and the position of the shoulders have changed and, if so, how? Is there a rather strange feeling? Then come back and stand.

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9. [#39] Differentiating Thoracic Vertebrae

9. [#39] Differentiating Thoracic Vertebrae Teaching time: about 75 minutes

Lie on your back, with your arms at your sides and your palms down. Do the body scanning, beginning with the feet. Examine the body image, as always. See what parts are clearest, least clear, absent, or anything in between. Examine the body's symmetry. Compare the two sides; be aware of the body's length, of how you lie, and of the symmetry, or lack of it, of the different parts. Try to follow your spine up and down. See what kind of contact it makes. Examine the area around the spine; notice how the lower back, the middle of the back, the upper back, the shoulders and the neck We are going to work on a part of the body that is comparatively very difficult to work on, even with the hands, and more so with the exercises. That is the upper thoracic spine (the spine in the upper back, just below the neck). You will find that many, many problems will be concentrated there, because that is where the spine is less mobile. Generally, it is comparatively very mobile in the cervical and lumbar spine, and in the lower part of the thoracic. Then, as you get into the upper back, not only is movement more difficult because of the natural structure, but also because the emotional tensions and stresses that the person experiences tend to concentrate in the upper back more than elsewhere. The rigidities created in the back and the spine tend to stiffen the upper back in most people. You will not infrequently find that some of the vertebrae in that part will feel as if they are fused. They are often raised up or protrude out in a kind of a knot, similar to the knuckles of a fist. You will see three or four vertebrae that seem to be raised up and jammed together. It is always quite important to eliminate that condition, to articulate those vertebrae. Otherwise, the nervous system cannot function well. When the spine is free of that knotting in the upper back, you may get emotional and psychological changes as well as more physical ones. Psychotherapists should always work on a problem like that, though they are unlikely to be successful. If they leave this condition, it is possible, in the course of a psychotherapy that works only with the mind, that the vertebrae may just release. This release will generally be faster if the psychotherapy is combined with direct work on the spine. With this exercise you will be moving parts that are not ordinarily moved, therefore you can end up with sore muscles. You may have some muscular discomfort and lower back pain no matter what you do. Some of it will be due to unaccustomed movements, which makes it all the more necessary to be careful doing it. If you feel lower back pain, be sure that you do the exercise a little less vigorously with the upper back. Also, if you lie on your back and, with the feet standing, raise and lower the pelvis and put the lower spine on the floor, you will usually immediately remove any discomfort, so that later you will not have lower back pain.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

Correct it on the spot, in other words, and then continue with the remainder of the exercise. Now come to a sitting position for a moment, and just raise and lower your head. Bring the head forward as you do that, so that you arch the back and the spine moves down below the cervical spine. In this movement, you involve the vertebrae in the upper back. Try to sense how far down that involvement goes. Also, try to see whether you can feel the spine moving segment by segment, either as you go over or as you come back up, or both. Then, instead of doing that, let the head go over to the right side and let the spine follow, curving it as much as you can, not just bending at the neck and waist. Try to make this a movement that progressively moves down the spine. If you just bend from the waist and the neck, you will get almost no movement in the upper spine. Also, go to the left with it. It is better if you do not have your hands on the floor. Again, try to do it segmentally, moving first the neck and then the vertebrae in the upper back. Let your fingers rest around your breast bone and move the shoulders left to right. Oppose the head movement to the shoulder movement. Try to keep it, as much as possible, a movement in the upper back. Do not just freeze the body from a point somewhere a little above the navel, so that the movement is only above that point. Oppose the head movement to the shoulder movement. Then let the head go with the shoulders, but try to keep the movement in the upper back. Now, put your hands on your shoulders and do it. Let the elbows be out at the sides while you turn. See if that makes it a good bit easier not to involve the lower part. You should find now that you do not have to move from your middle, that you can leave the lower part of the body below the chest almost totally immobilized. Just move the body from the chest on up. Do it without holding your breath. It is not necessary to turn right above the pelvis with the hands in this position. You can keep that part immobile and only move the upper part of your body from the chest on up. You lock your lower spine. Keep the lower back stiff, rigid, immobile, and only move the upper part. Then lie on your back. Raise your head and lower it. Come up however far you can easily come up so that some part of the upper back comes off the floor as well. Try to sense the movement in the vertebrae below the neck. Do it with little or no contraction of the abdominal muscles. See if you can do it easily. Let your hands rest on your navel, with the elbows out to the side. First, take one elbow down along the floor. Let the elbow slide along the floor so the body twists from side to side from the lumbar spine area. The head just slides along. Continue to do that, but bring the hands up to the level of the solar plexus. Bring them up to the chest level and do it. Try to keep the movement altogether or mostly above the level of the hands. See if you can do it now without bending – 226 –

9. [#39] Differentiating Thoracic Vertebrae

from your middle. Let your hands move back down around your navel and see what it is when you let the lumbar spine move freely. Bring them back up to the chest level and inhibit the movement below the chest. Just move the upper back. Observe the difference. Move the hands a little higher on the chest and do it. Let them jest lie on the upper part of the chest. Then slide the elbows along the floor and move only the part of the back that is above the hands, or at least minimize everything that is below that. Be sure that you do not bend from the waist. It should be easy, in that position, not to bend from the lumbar region at all. Keep the movement in the upper spine, but sense what you are doing. Sense the lumbar region and, if it is moving, stop it. You do not just bring the arms down to the sides. You have to move your back. That is the whole idea of the exercise. Sense where you are moving from, and keep the movement in the upper back. This is probably the single, easiest position in which to move the upper spine. It is where you have the most awareness, feeling, control, and the ability to inhibit the lower parts of the spine. But you still have to pay attention, and not just move from the waist. Feel that the lower spine lies flat and immobile on the floor beneath you, and that it is the upper part that moves. Put your arms down at your sides and rest. Rap simultaneously with the backs of the shoulders on the floor. Also, do it with the legs bent. Then lie on your stomach. Very gradually, raise your head until you approximate the yoga position called the Cobra, but do it very gradually so that you can feel the upper spine move bit by bit. Then lower it bit by bit. It should be a very slow movement. Try to make very subtle discriminations going up and going down. We are not interested in what happens to your lower spine, except that you should not strain it, and we also have little interest in the neck. It is the spine below the neck and above the lumbar area which you want to try to feel. See whether you can sense better, going down or going up, that the spine curves. Try to really curve the upper spine. Do not just arch the neck and then arch the lower back, and let the rest of it be stiff in between, which is the way that you will see most people do it in yoga. There will be real movement in the upper back when it is as it should be. A good yoga teacher would never allow it, but if you go to yoga classes you will see that 99 % of them will allow students to do it that way. Then just lie with your hands on the tops of your shoulders and the elbows out at the sides. Let the head rest comfortably. Then, bringing the head up a little, take the shoulders and the upper body side to side as you did while lying on your back, so that the elbows slide along the floor. Keep the movement in the upper back. Do not just bend from your waist. Make it a movement in the upper back. Immobilize the lower part of the upper body as much as you can. Do not just bang your sides with your elbows; that does not move your spine. Again, try to be very sensitive to what you are doing.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

Lower the hands to about the level of the armpits. See if you can move just a little bit more of the upper spine without involving the lower spine. The hands come down to about armpit or upper chest level. Then stop and rest, lying on your left side. Bend the legs, letting one leg rest lightly on top of the other. Then just raise and lower the head in the direction of the shoulder, at the same time letting the shoulder move away and the arm slide down a little. You raise the head towards the shoulder, and at the same time let the arm slide down the body so that the shoulder moves away and the head can come up higher. Feel the movement in the spine. The head continues to face forward. Then try doing it by picking up the head with your right hand. See if that makes it easier to keep the movement in the upper back and spine. Breathe easily as you do it. Now stop. Put the right arm out in front of you on the floor. Slide it out and back a few times, remaining on your left side. The right side of the chest can come down towards the floor, but you should remain on your left side. Keep the arm straight. Then, when you come back, keep the elbow straight. When you come all the way back, bring the arm over behind you and see if you can put your back on the floor. To begin with, if you need to do it, turn your head or raise your leg until the back and the shoulder lie on the floor behind you while you remain lying on your left side. Then, bring the arm up to the ceiling. Keep the elbow straight the entire time. Bring it down and slide it forward until the chest lies on the floor, or approaches it, in front. Then bring the arm back. Go over so that your back lies on the floor. All the while, you are lying on your left side. Make it a slow, mindful, graceful movement. The chest is approaching, or lying on, the floor as the arm slides out in front of you. Then the shoulder and the back are approaching, or lying on, the floor as the arm goes down behind you. Now roll over and do it on the right side, taking the left arm forward and keeping the elbow straight. The right side of the body remains on the floor. Try to bring the left side of the chest down. Then take the arm over and let the left side of the back lie on the floor. Endeavor to sense the spine in the upper back. Then roll over onto your back. Place your hands on your shoulders and your elbows on the floor. Slide first one elbow down and then the other elbow down, moving the upper part of the back only and immobilizing the lower part. Try to keep the movement in the area above the diaphragm. Let the lower spine just lie there, unmoving. See if that is easier to do now that you have a clearer body image, so that the sensing allows you to more easily immobilize the lower spine and move the upper parts, and so that you can differentiate the movement. Then just stop and rest, arms down at the sides, palms down. If your lower back is up, bend the feet and raise the pelvis a few times, and put the lower spine on the floor. Then extend the legs, leaving it there. After that, rest. Now, bend your legs so the feet are standing. Pick up your spine bit by bit until you come up onto the back of your head. Then, when you come onto the back of the head, try to lower it vertebra by vertebra, but only down to the bottom of the thoracic spine. Do not put the lumbar spine down on the floor. Keep that part elevated and move up and down along the upper spine slowly, to the extent that you can do it, – 228 –

9. [#39] Differentiating Thoracic Vertebrae

sensing segmented movements, or at least moving so slowly that if the spine is not too frozen, the movements will have to be segmented. Also, while the body is up, make some circles on the floor with the upper part of your back. You circle one way, then another, and always rest when you feel like it. Then let your pelvis rest on the floor. Take hold of your wrists, and move the arms in a circle, to help you make circles with the upper back on the floor. Use the shoulder momentum to help the upper back circle. Take hold of your arms wherever it is most helpful to do that. See if you can circle with the back without circling with either the head or the pelvis. Feel that the back really moves on the floor in a circular movement. Now stop. Put your hands beneath your head with the fingers interlaced. Give a little help to the head as you come up as high as you can. Sense the movement in the upper spine and then let the spine down again. Do not just bring your chin to your chest, but continue to come up so that you know that some of the upper spine is bending also. Breathe freely as you do it. Take most of the work out of it by picking up the head with the arms and hands. See if it matters where you put the hands behind the head. Try to refine the sensing so you can feel when you get past the cervical vertebrae and to what extent, when you go up and down, you can feel that the upper spine bends, lengthens and shortens, pulls and releases as you go up and down. Then, for a moment, rest on your stomach. Now lie on your back once more. Put your arms at your sides. Put the lower back down. Then, pick up the upper back and put it down as flat as possible on the floor. There are many ways in which this can be done. You can just use your shoulders to elevate the whole back; you can push up; you can rap with your upper back on the floor, not just with the shoulders but with the whole upper back. Leave the head down and let the back lie as flat as it will. When the upper back lies flat, make the lower back flat if it did come up at all. Then, one more time, put the hands on the shoulders and let the elbows slide alternately up and down. Keep the movement in the upper back. See if you can let the lower spine lie quite unmoving while you move the upper one. Put the hands on the diaphragm and do it. Try to keep everything below that immobile. Then put them down around the solar plexus, a little above the navel and down around the waist. Let the whole thing go side to side. Then gradually eliminate the lower spine movement as you bring the hands up until, by the time you get them to shoulder height, all movement in the lumbar spine, and perhaps some of the movement in the lower thoracic spine as well, has ceased. Come gradually up with your hands so that you sense that the spine, which moved in its entirety side to side when the hands were down at the waist, gradually stops moving in its lower parts and moves only in the upper. The lower back on the floor gives you the biofeedback to tell you when you are succeeding or not. That part of the body should not go side to side, just the upper part. Try it with the hands even higher behind the head or on top of the head, whatever allows you to easily immobilize the lower half of the spine. See if you can – 229 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

move only the upper three quarters or the upper half or the upper quarter; see if you have established control in the sensing over the spine to the extent that you can leave parts of the lower spine immobile while moving the upper part. Stop and rest. Then, finally, make the upper body as wide and flat against the floor as you can, by raising it, lowering it, rapping on the floor with it. If you can, place the small of the back on the floor also so that the whole spine, except for the space beneath the neck, lies flat along the floor. See if you can sense it from the base of the neck on down to the pelvis. Get it all to lie flat, if you can. Then lie with the legs extended. A few times, breathe up and down along the spine as if you could breathe in at its base; breathe straight up into the brain space or even beyond, and then down along the spine. Breathe as if you could breathe precisely up and down the center of the spine. Try to image the individual vertebra as you breathe up along the spine on up into the skull, the brain space and beyond, and then back down it again all the way into the pelvis and out. It is important that you breathe up the middle of the spine, so that if by chance you activate your kundalini, you do not mischannel it and end up with all the problems that involves. Then try to lie quite flat and see how much of the spine you can really sense, and if your upper back is more clearly in your body image. Then practice it until you can move the upper spine without having to move the lower. Also, move segments of it so that, as mentioned, you can move a quarter of the spine, or three quarters, or the whole thing from side to side while lying on the floor. Now, gradually, break it down into finer segments. Ideally, you have some sense of the complete articulation of the spine and the individual movements of the vertebrae. At least you have an awareness of segments that is very clear. You will be able to sense what the immobile part of the spine is doing, that it is lying there inert in contact with the floor. You will know which part is moving, and can practice segmental movements by that technique or approach of awareness of the inert part on the one hand and the moving part on the other. Then, when you are ready, roll to one side and sit or stand, or walk around, or whatever you feel you want to do.

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10. [#40] Widening the Back

10. [#40] Widening the Back Teaching time: 60—75 minutes

To begin with, lie on your back with your arms at your sides and your hands palms down. Let the hands rest at whatever distance from your body feels natural, but try to sense what that distance is. Then take a look to see if it is as you sensed it, and whether the hands lie equally distant from your body. Observe how your back lies on the floor. How does your spine lie? And your rib cage in the back? Across the tops of the shoulders are two bones going out to the sides called clavicles, and then beneath and behind the clavicles on each side is a wide bone called a scapula. If you are familiar with your skeleton to that extent, try to sense how the clavicles, and the scapula on each side of your back, lie. How does the spine lie at your neck? How much space is beneath your neck? See if you sense the curvature in the cervical or upper spinal vertebrae. See if you sense where you hip joints are. Then, above the hip joints, are big pelvic bones in the front called the ilia. See if you have any sense of how far up your body the ilia come. A few people, when lying or standing or whatever their position, can rely on their experience to make them aware that the ilium on either side (together they are the ilia) comes about up to the elbow. If most people try to guess, they will put it closer to the wrist. See where your coccyx lies, your tailbone, and how the lower lumbar vertebrae are lying. And then try to sense as clearly as possible the body's width from the hip joints to the shoulders. Try to sense to what extent it tapers in from the spaces beneath the armpits to the vicinity of the hip joints. Breathe as deeply as you can with ease, and try to sense what happens. Do you breathe into your abdomen or your chest or both? If you breathe up into your chest, how does that change the width of the rib cage, the relation of the parts of the spine to the floor? How are the shoulders affected? And what else do you notice? Does your back lie any differently than it did at the beginning? Then roll over onto your stomach and see what position you spontaneously assume with your head and your arms. Do you rest your head on your chin? Your forehead? And to what extent does your nose touch the floor? Do you place your hands forward of your head? Do you rest your head on your hands? Do you put your arms more out to the sides? Does your head rest on one side or the other? Note the positions you spontaneously chose and try to remember them throughout the exercise. Note the contact your chest makes with the floor. Put your arms out at the sides, shoulder height, and see if that changes the contact. If your palms are down, turn them up to the ceiling. If they were up, turn them down. Alternate having the palms up and down for a while. – 231 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

Then stop and note how your chest lies. Have the arms at shoulder height and palms down. Breathe deeply and see what you sense. Does your back widen? Does it rise and fall? Do you experience the breathing mainly in the back or in the front? Put your hands palms down alongside your head in a sphinx-like position, but with the head raised just enough that it does not quite touch the floor. Move the head from side to side, left to right, raising it just enough so that when it goes left to right your chest also can slide left to right along the floor. As you go left, feel your rib cage shorten on the left side and lengthen on the right. As your head goes right, the rib cage shortens on that side and lengthens on the left side. Let the movement be as extensive as possible while the chest maintains its contact with the floor. And then let the chest lose contact slightly as you go far enough to the left to look over your left shoulder at your feet, your buttocks, whatever you may see. Go to the right, look over your right shoulder, and continue doing that. Breathe freely as you do it, and feel the contact your upper body makes with the floor as you move. See if you feel the contact of the sternum with the floor. (It is the bone that runs down the front of your chest.) Do you feel the rib cage on the left and on the right? See if you have any sense of your diaphragm, and whatever else you notice. The movement should be only in the upper body. If you want to secure the lower body, you can do it by pressing down with the pubic bone against the floor. Another way to do it is to tighten the gluteal muscles — the muscles of the buttocks. Try doing it that way. Try alternately pressing down with the pubic bone for a few movements and then tightening the buttocks for a few movements to keep the lower body immobilized. Which way lets the upper body move more freely? Rest a moment. Try it again several times, going left to right, immobilizing the lower body alternately by using the pressure of the pubic bone and by contracting the gluteals. Then see if it is not simple enough to do neither of those things, and just let the upper body go left to right while the lower body lies quiescent. A few times as you go left, let your upper body come up far off the floor, so that you can look as far left as possible. Do the same thing on the right side. If you can readily see your left buttock when you turn, can you see the right one in the same way? Now stop and rest. Put your arms out to the sides with the palms down, the elbows bent, as if you were going to do push-ups. And then turn the palms to face in toward you. Now let your upper body slide along the floor so the left elbow and the left forearm approach the floor and touch it if they will. As you do that, your head and your upper body must go left. Then let the upper body move right, the right forearm and elbow approaching or touching the floor, the head and upper body moving right. And then move back and forth, left to right, with the chest sliding along the floor as you do it. Feel the chest on both sides sliding to the right as you come down

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10. [#40] Widening the Back

onto the left forearm. Try to make it a smooth, continuous movement of the upper body only. As you go right, let the hand move on the floor so that the fingers point to the front of you and the elbow can come back against your side. When you do that, the movement, of course, becomes much more extensive. In the same way as you go left, the left fingers go forward, the left elbow comes back to the side. Then as you go to the right, the left elbow moves back to shoulder height and the left hand points in. Continue doing that movement for a while, and then do it with your arms at shoulder height and the palms down. Breathe deeply, see how your rib cage moves and whether your breathing has changed at all. Let your hands rest palms down for a moment. Let then rest somewhere near your head, with elbows bent. Come up on the bottoms of your toes. Lift your pelvis slightly, and push and pull with the toes, so that your body rocks forward and back. How much of your front upper body is in contact with the floor? Raise the pelvis a little higher so that you come up onto your sternum, and keep rocking. Then lie down on your back and rest. Note how your back lies on the floor now, and whether you can perceive the sides of your upper body any more clearly now. Bend your legs so that the feet stand on the floor. Inhale into your chest and then, without exhaling, push the air down into your abdomen so that it expands, holding your breath as long as you comfortably can. Let the air fill first the chest and then the abdomen, so as to rock your body up and down along the floor. When you have to exhale, do so. Then inhale and continue throwing the air back and forth to rock your body. Now lie still. Breathe any way you like. With your fingers, find the ends of your ribs down near the abdomen. With the fingers of each hand lightly take hold around the ends of the ribs. Pull up and push down on the ribs to rock the body in about the same way you did it by tossing the air back and forth. Go far out towards your sides with your fingers to do it. Move in further towards the center, comparing the movements. Put your middle fingers at the base of the sternum and do it. Now put the backs of your fingers against the two sides of the rib cage on the outside. Alternately push the rib cage right with your left hand and left with your right hand. Your spine should stay on the floor and you should not push the rib cage up toward the ceiling but rather from side to side. Push from the bottom of the rib cage, down near the navel, and gradually move up until the backs of your fingers are up under your armpits. Push for a while just with the left hand, then just with the right hand. Push hard enough to make the body go as far to the right or to the left as you can without – 233 –

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feeling you are endangering yourself. The aim is to make the ribs move flexibly rather than to break them. Lie on your back for a moment and observe how you lie. Then roll over onto your stomach. Put your hands on the floor out at the sides at shoulder height, and let the head and the upper body swing left to right while you sense the chest moving from left to right, sliding along the floor. See if that movement is freer and if you can sense the lengthening and shortening of the rib cage on the two sides as you do it. Slowly roll onto your back once again and rest. And lightly, without using your hands, see if you can roll the rib cage left to right, the movement being accompanied by a bending side to side of the spine and a movement side to side of the shoulder joints, the clavicles sliding left to right. Move the pelvis left to right along the floor. Then leave the coccyx on the floor and move the upper body from left to right and then let the pelvis move as freely as it will to facilitate the movement in the rib cage. Everything is going left to right, and the ribs are moving as freely as possible. Then rest. Note how you lie. And then slowly roll to one side and get up. Observe how you stand, what it feels like to walk around, and especially the sensations in the upper back. See if your back feels wider, if the sides of the rib cage feel wider. Some people will press against the inside of the arms much more than usual, so much has the rib cage been expanded, if your back feels wider, try to discover where. Is it the entire back, more in the center of the back, or in the shoulders? See what else you notice.

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11. [#41] Lengthening Spine, Differentiating Vertebrae

11. [#41] Lengthening Spine, Differentiating Vertebrae Teaching time: one and one half to two hours

To begin with, lie on your back. Close your eyes. Lie with your arms at your sides. Scan your body. See how many things you can think of to look for. Try to really cover the entire surface and to notice things like contact with the floor, symmetry or asymmetry, feelings of length, what parts are higher and what parts are lower. See if you have included your breathing. Are any of you sensing as such, apart from the body image, things like hearing and touch? Self-scanning is a question of not only how the body is organized but of how it is relating to the world. Then notice particularly the spine and the back. Before we begin the movements, I have a word of caution for you. We are going to work on the spine. As we go along it is going to become so flexible that you should beware of any abrupt or strong movements; you could hurt yourself. If you just stay within the instructions that we always follow and do what is easy, there is no danger of any kind. However, you will have to remember and not do things too vigorously at any time. Now bend your legs so your feet are standing. Lift your pelvis. As you do that, see to what extent you can move the vertebrae of the spine individually or to what extent you are aware of the spine moving. You pick it up and put it down. Go up as high as you can without straining. Be just as aware as you possibly can of your feelings while you do that. What happens in the back? What happens in the spine? Try to do it bit by bit. Also note the way that the body is as you do that. Now stop and leave your legs standing. Note how your back lies. Then move your legs together. Take them to the left as a unit and then to the right as a unit, however far they can easily go. As you do that, try placing your arms in different positions. See how it affects the movement in the spine. Try putting your arms alongside the ears. Also try it with the arms down and with the hands behind the head and with the hands on the rib cage, on the chest. Try it in different positions that will alter what happens in the spine. Try to discriminate what changes. Then stop when your legs are in the middle. Once again, try picking up the spine gradually. Then let it down gradually. With some of those movements, try picking up the head at the end of the movement. Bend the chin towards the chest while the pelvis is up. If is too difficult, do not do it. A few times, just leave the pelvis down and pick up the head. See how high is goes without any extra effort. See if you can feel your spine moving. Then leave the head down and pick up the rest of the spine a few times. Then try to place it when you bring it down so that the whole thing is on the floor or the closest approximation to that. Then stop. See if you can put your legs down without arching your spine.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

Notice how your spine lies. The legs are extended. If the lower back arches, remember that you can usually avoid that by flexing the ankles and exhaling through the mouth with a kind of hissing sound as you extend the legs. Then you have to release the ankles as soon as the legs are extended. Now bend your legs again and put your hands on your chest. Let the right leg go over to the side. Keep the foot on the floor and just let it go to the side. Let it go however far it will. Bring it back. Do that several times. Then, as the right knee comes up, also bring the left elbow up. Then let them go down together. The right knee and the left elbow come up together and go down together. Otherwise, there is much less effect on the spine if you do the elbow on the same side as the leg. Synchronize the movement so that the elbow and the knee go up and down together. Then take one down as the other comes up. Then do it instead with the left knee and the right elbow. Synchronize the movement so that one goes down as the other comes up. Breathe freely. Now do it first on one side and then on the other side. The right knee goes down as the left elbow comes up and the left elbow goes down as the right knee comes up. First one and then the other. Do not try too hard or you will never do it. Observe yourself to see what you are doing. Both legs should not move at the same time. You do a movement on one side and then you do a movement on the other side. The arm movements and the leg movements are opposing each other. The whole thing should be continuous. Then stop and start again. Rest a minute. Now bend your legs. Put your hands on your chest and take the right leg over to the side and leave it there. Then with the left foot push so that your spine bends. Let your body go a little to the right. Just push and let it come back. Push and let it come back so that it is a gentle movement in the spine. You leave the right leg on the floor and place the left leg where it is easiest to do it. Then just push and release with the left foot so that the back arches. If the left knee is going a little over to the right, it is better, but do not take the knee from side to side. Just push and pull. Leave the knee where it is. If it does not feel good in the back, then you do not have your foot placed properly. Experiment with the placement of the left foot. Now do the same thing on the other side for a while. Then put your legs down and rest. Sense how the back and spine lie. Then bend your legs again so the feet are standing. Put your hands on your chest. Bring the right elbow up. Then take the left elbow up. Then take the right knee and elbow right and then bring them back. Then take the left knee and elbow left and bring them back. Let the spine move freely as you do that. Now instead of taking the right arm and the right leg, and the left arm and the left leg, take the right arm and the left leg to the side. Bring them back. Then take the left arm and the right leg to the side. Now when the left knee comes down, the right elbow comes down. When the right knee comes down, the left elbow comes down. The elbow comes down on one side and the knee comes down on the other side. You – 236 –

11. [#41] Lengthening Spine, Differentiating Vertebrae

do it first with one leg and arm and then with the other leg and arm. In other words, you just alternate the movement. Remember to do it on both sides. Make slow and easy movements. Once you have gotten the hang of it, you will find that there is nothing to it at all. You have to start slow and refrain from becoming desperate. Now there is only one modification you need to make to this. That is that now when the right leg goes down, the left arm comes up. When the left leg goes down, the right arm comes up. Try to make that a smooth, easy movement. Just try to make it perfect. Movements like this are extremely beneficial to the human brain. There are similar sacred movements in the Gurdjieff tradition which the Sufis in their turn got from the ancient Egyptians. There are also certain schools of Yoga that understand these kinds of movements and what they accomplish. Now stop and rest a minute. Remember in all of these, as I said before, it is important that you pay attention to your spine. It is important that you be aware of movement in the spine and that you try to increase it. Make the spine as mobile as possible. Now bend your legs a little bit or whatever allows you to do the thing the best, and make some circles on the floor with your tail bone, your coccyx. If the legs are extended or are too close to the body, the movement becomes difficult or impossible. However, if they are in between, this lets you do it best. Be sure to make circles clockwise and counterclockwise. Do a number in one direction and then a number in the other direction. Do not do too few. Then, as you continue to rotate, sense where your coccyx is and where your navel is. Try to rotate at a point midway between the coccyx and the navel. You go one way for a while and then the other way for a while along the floor. You do not raise your body off the floor. If is as if, when you think about the coccyx, you are circling directly with it, or on it. Now you are circling from a point some inches above it. Then circle from a point directly beneath your navel. In all cases, observe how the circling is affected and how different parts of the spine are used. Remember to breathe freely and easily. Then come to the level of your diaphragm on your back and circle on your back at that point. Let the lower body continue to circle with it. Now circle beneath your chest. Try to make perfect circles. Do not forget to also reverse them. Most people have found that it is easier to reverse the circling when they are doing it at this higher point than when they are doing it down in the pelvis. When the consciousness is all in the lower part of the body, in the beginning it is not as easy to reverse the circles. Then circle at the level of your shoulders, still allowing the pelvis to continue to circle on the lower back. As you move up the body, do not stop circling with the lower part. You just make it more and more involved. Also let your head circle. However, remember with the head not to make more than three or four or five circles in one direction or you may get dizzy. Eventually the head will be able to circle – 237 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

thousands of times in one direction without any dizziness. Then that means that you have greatly improved the condition of the vestibular system, among other things. Now reverse the direction of the circling. Fairly quickly, come bit by bit down with your body all the way to the coccyx. Be sure that you circle and that you do it in both directions. Then, when you have come all the way down, rest with your feet standing. Once again, try to pick up your spine vertebra by vertebra by raising the pelvis. Then put it down again bit by bit. If you cannot sense the individual vertebrae, see if you can let it down like it was a piece of rope. See if you can feel now much more of the length of it. Note if it is easier to come up higher and if it bends more, and that when you put it down there is a greater elasticity in it. You can tell by the amount of time that it takes to put it down and the awareness you have of the length of it. The suppleness has changed and, in fact, it is going down bit by bit more than it did before. Even if you are not aware of it, the vertebrae must by now be much better isolated and coming down much more one at a time. Then rest with your feet on the floor. With your hands pick your head up, lightly lift it, and put it down a number of times. Make it very light. Leave the legs standing. See how light the head can feel. Do it in such a way that you just sort of toss it up and down as if it were very, very small. See if there are ways of handling it that make it lighter and ways that make it heavier. Then put your hands down. Just let your head turn from side to side. Sense how your spine lies. Stop with the head in the middle and put your feet down so as to keep the best contact you can with the floor, flexing the ankles and hissing through the mouth. Lie there and sense the length of your body and whatever else is different. Now bend your legs again and let the feet rest on the floor. Then place your hands on the upper part of your chest, somewhere around your shoulders. Then move your body so that the left buttock moves down and the right one up, and then the right one down and the left one up. Do not lift them off the floor. The knees do not move and they do not go from side to side. Feel the movement in your spine as you do it. First one goes down and the other up. Try it with your legs extended a minute. You will feel that one foot has to go lower and then the other foot. One slides a little higher along the floor and the other a little lower. The heel is going along the floor. Then when that is clear to you, bend the legs and continue to move so that one buttock comes down or one side of the pelvis, however you want to think of it, and the other goes up. Observe the movement in the spine. Now stop. Do somewhat the same thing with your shoulders and your arms. Do it so that you move the whole back. Feel the movement in the spine. Your hands are on your chest around your shoulders. One shoulder goes up and the other down. You do it so that the movement of the spine is a large, pronounced movement. It is a movement similar to the one you were doing with your pelvis as far as the spine is concerned. Stop and do it with the pelvis a minute. Take one buttock lower and the other higher, – 238 –

11. [#41] Lengthening Spine, Differentiating Vertebrae

the same thing you were doing before. Then do it with both the shoulders and the buttocks simultaneously. Also let the head move if it wants to. Do it lightly and feel everything that is happening in the length of your spine. Stop and leave your hands where they are. Now just push and pull with your feet on the floor so that you rock your body. Feel the cervical spine move and the chin going away from the chest when you push and back towards it when you pull. Increase it by extending your abdomen when you push and sucking it in when you pull. Push the abdomen way out when you are coming down and suck it way in as you are going up. You will find that the body will rock much better when you do that. That should also be a very, very easy movement to do. If it is hard work, try to make it easy. Make it quick and agile. With respect to the lumbar spine, there are two ways to do it. You can either do it so you arch the spine in the small of the back or you can do it so that the spine stays on the ground or near to it and just slides along. Try doing it both ways. Do it one way a while and then the other way. See what you like and whether either has any necessary relation to the movement of your head. At all times be aware of your spine. Now stop that and put your legs together again, standing. Then as a unit take them side to side. Let them go as quickly as you can do with feelings of security. Take note of how this movement is in the spine as compared to how it was in the beginning. Again, within the area where you feel secure, do it as quickly as you can. Also do it two or three times with your feet off the ground, but starting gently so that you know it is alright. Do it several times and then stop. Keep your legs together and just roll over onto the right side. Now, lying on your right side, take your left arm back. See if you can put the arm on the floor behind you. Put it straight out. If necessary in order to do it, let the knee come up and the head go over to the left. Then bring it all back, including the arm. Bring the arm over towards the ceiling. Then take everything back left again to the floor — the knee, the head, everything. The arm goes only up towards the ceiling and then back again. Do not put it in front of you. Let the head and the leg go over until the arm can lie on the floor. Now leave the left leg on the floor when you do that. Then, when you no longer need to move the head to do it, just put the arm in back of you and leave it there. Do it only when you can leave the arm on the floor. To get it down originally, you must both turn the head in the direction of the arm and raise the leg. If you have trouble and you do only one, it will never go. Now, if you can leave it out behind you, do so. Bring your bottom back and take it forward. Your head should be facing to the right and your legs are together on the floor on the right side. Just take your bottom back and forth. Feel what happens in the spine. You thrust and withdraw with the pelvis. It is like a copulatory movement, only it is made in this position so that the demands on the spine are quite different. You feel what happens in the spine primarily, paying just enough attention to the pelvis to move it properly. Now you continue to move the body back and forth. – 239 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

Do it at the level of the navel for a while. Then do it at about the level of the breastbone. Think of taking that part forward. The pelvis continues to move. Then do it at shoulder level also. Then come back down again in stages. Feel the different movements in the spine, depending on where you think of the movement as being, whether your intention is to move at the shoulder level or the chest level or the navel level or the pelvis level. Then roll over onto your left side. Do what you need to do so as to place the right arm on the floor behind you. Some of you may find that the right one goes instantly now, and you do not need to take the knee or the head over. At least, it goes much better without moving those parts. If you still have trouble, keep moving the head and the leg and the arm in the same direction until the arm is on the floor. The knee must come up to the ceiling, the head must look in the direction of the hand. Now, with the right arm behind you, move forward and backward with your pelvis. Try to do it lightly. Take the bottom back and bring it forward. You can let the knees move. In fact, if they do not move you are freezing your body. Make the movement as extensive as you can without straining. Feel what happens in your thighs. Feel what happens in your spine. See what the shoulders do and the feet, but focus mainly on the spine. Do it at navel level for a while, and then come up and do it at chest level for a while. Notice the difference in the spine each time you change the level of your consciousness. Come all the way up to the shoulder level. Continue to move the pelvis and the rest of the body. Then gradually drop down again. Lie on your side, one leg on top of the other one. Try to make it quick, light, nimble. Now put your arm wherever you like and see if you can make it easier. Lie on your side and just move your bottom back and forth so as to give maximum movement in the spine. Then lie on your back and rest. As always, the hands should be at the sides with the palms down so you can scan your body meaningfully and compare it to previous states. Now put your hands somewhere near your chest and take your shoulders up and down, one at a time. Do one side and then the other side. Feel the spine curve as you do it. The arms and the shoulders and everything should be felt. Put your arms down at your sides for a moment. Reach down first with one hand and then with the other. Do it with straight arms. Do it smoothly, not jerkily. Do not make a jerky movement. As the right hand slides down, the right shoulder comes down, the left shoulder goes up and the left hand slides up. Do that quickly. Do it so that the spine has to move. Now put your hands back up on your shoulders or chest and see if you can do it better that way. See if you can get the spine to move still more. You can have the elbows and the upper arms off the floor or not, but do it so that the body moves as it did when the hands were on the floor a minute ago. The spine must go from side to side. Keep the elbows out away from your body as you will find it easier also. Keep – 240 –

11. [#41] Lengthening Spine, Differentiating Vertebrae

your elbows way out and the arms at about shoulder height when you do it. Now let the arms rest anyplace. Roll the head from side to side. Do it quickly. See if the head rolls very easily. Now leave the head alone and bend the legs. Once again try picking the spine up. Pick it up and just a little at a time so that each segment has the opportunity to move in isolation from each other segment. It is very beneficial to your spine to do this. It rarely gets an opportunity to segment itself as we are doing here. Even if you do not feel the individual vertebrae, you can sense that your spine is moving in a very different way, that it comes down more like a piece of rope. It takes longer to do it so that it is not moving in big lumps as it usually does. See if you can raise the pelvis higher and also if you can remember how it was in the beginning. See if it feels lighter now. Raise it as high as you can. Then do some light pelvic raises where you just lift it up slightly and rap lightly on the ground. Rap at different places along your back and spine. You can put it down on the coccyx or you can put it down on the lumbar spine or you can put it down a little higher. Give it the experience of coming down at different points along the spine. See which place allows it to lie flattest all along its length when the movement is completed. Then just let it rest. Use your breathing to extend the legs. Keep the whole thing as flat as you can. With your arms down at your sides, see now if you can sense the length of the spine from the coccyx on up to the base of your skull. See if you can feel that something is continuously there, that there is a line in your mind, in your awareness, that is more complete than the ordinary experience of it, that you can feel that you have a spine. Now put your feet close together. Leave them extended. Turn then to one side and then to the other side. Take them onto the outside of the left foot and then onto the outside of the right foot. Try to make that a smooth movement. Let the head go with the feet for a while. Then let the movement of the head oppose the feet. Now bend your legs, keeping them together. Once more take them side to side. Let the head go with the movement. Let it go as quickly as feels good to your spine. Do it without moving the head. Then oppose the head movement to the leg movement. Now let the head stay in the middle again. And now let the head go with the movement. Make the movement as quick and agile and complete as you can easily do. Then stop in the middle. Draw your knees back toward your chest and your rib cage, letting your feet come off the floor. Be very careful now. Take the feet that are up in the air and swing them from side to side. Do it very gently because that part of your body weighs a lot and the spine is now unusually free. If it is not necessary to hold your knees to keep your legs up, do not. It inhibits the movement. Now do it with the right ankle crossed on top of the left one. Do not do too extreme a movement. Then reverse the feet, doing it with the left ankle crossed on top of the right one. Then do it a few more times with the feet uncrossed. Then put the feet down and let them stand. – 241 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

Now lightly push and pull so that you rock the spine up and down along the floor. Let the head move very, very freely. Increase it a little by pushing out with the abdomen and then in. See how quick you can make that movement while it still feels good. Breathe freely. Stop. Take your head from side to side as lightly and quickly as it will go without reducing the extent of the movement. See how far it will go. Do it a little faster. Then leave the head alone. Rap lightly with your back on the floor, as much of it as you can. Do it by raising the pelvis. Then just rap with the pelvis in such a way so that the spine is flat on the floor. Breathe freely and make it a very light, easy movement. Pick it up and lower it. Then when you feel that the entire spine is flat or as flat as you are going to get it, one last time extend the legs in such a way as to leave the spine on the floor. Now with your eyes closed, sense the feelings of length. Do not fidget. This is the time to sense everything you have been working on. Then, for a little while, breathe up the length of your body and out through the top of your head. Then stop and just sense how you lie. Do a good body scan. Note especially your back. See if it feels any wider. Observe the feelings of length. Recall the easy movement of the head, the feeling in the entire spine and also the lumbar region when you take the legs from side to side. Remember those sensations. The lower spine and the legs go side to side. The upper spine and the neck and head go side to side. Recall those sensations as vividly as you can. Then very slowly, not head first, roll to one side and get up. Move around a bit. See what you notice. See now if not only your spine is very, very supple but you are taller. See if your back feels wider, as determined by how your ribs feel at your sides. See if your arms make contact with the rib cage in such a way that you can feel that your back is wider. The back is both lengthened and widened. The head is up. See what else you are able to notice. If you bend from side to side, you will feel that your spine is very flexible. In fact, you could overdo it as it is so flexible. Continue to walk around for a while and make any other observations you can about how you have changed.

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12. [#42] Heightening

12. [#42] Heightening Teaching time: 60—75 minutes

To begin with, walk around a little, and try to walk as normally as possible. Pay attention to the feeling of height, how tall you feel. Observe where your eyes spontaneously tend to look. Do they look at the floor? Do they look at the horizon? Do you see much of the ceiling? Would you say that your gaze is mostly down or up or straight ahead? With most people, it is mostly down. Then just lie down on your back. Put your hands and arms at your sides, and scan your body. Pay particular attention to the contact that the back part of your body makes with the floor, what kind of contact the shoulders make, and if there is any difference between the two sides. Follow the spine all the way from the coccyx up to the neck, and note how it lies. Then move your attention down your body to the pelvis and the backs of the thighs, the knees, the calves and legs, the ankles and feet. Now just flex and extend the toes of your left foot. Do it as thoroughly as you can without making it unpleasant. Do it quickly and lightly, while at the same time trying not to move less, not to make it smaller. Stop, and do the same with the right foot, bending the toes as much as you can without making it unpleasant. Do it smoothly, lightly and quickly. Now stop, and do both of them together. See if you can bend just the toes, breathing freely. Now bend the feet as well, and see if you can feel that the feet bend, not the ankles. Let the heels remain on the floor in the same place so that you can sense that the ankles are not moving, but try to feel that you bend the feet, and see to what extent you can sense that movement. Stop, and do just the left one. Then do just the right. See if you notice any difference in the way that the right and left foot bend. Stop. Now flex and extend the ankles. Do it with just the left foot. Then do it with just the right. Then do both of them together, lightly and quickly. Try to do it without rocking the entire body, as much as you can. Try to keep the movement below the waist, breathing easily. Now do it alternately, one flexing, the other extending, again quickly and easily. See if, when you do it that way, the body wants to rock as much as when you do them together. Do them together a minute, quickly. Now stop and rest. Now make some circles with your ankles. Although the foot circles, the movement is in the ankle. Go one way and then the other. Take them both in the same direction, and then in opposing directions, doing small ones and large ones, slow ones and quick ones, doing several things with one foot and several other things with the other foot. Breathe free, and sense the ankle movement. Now stop and just

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

rap the backs of the knees and calves on the floor, so that the calf and leg, and if possible the back of the knee, make good contact. Alternate those. Now try to make some circles with the calves on the floor. You can only do it by rotating your pelvis. The feeling should be of the calves making circles. Stop. Rotate your pelvis. As you do that, be conscious of making circles with the buttocks on the floor. Reverse the circles. Then circle with one buttock, emphasizing the movement. Then reverse the circle. Now do the same with the other buttock. Now stop and see if the undersides of the thighs are resting on the floor. Whether they are or not, try to rap with them on the floor, so that they make the best possible contact, doing it together or alternately, whatever allows the back of the upper leg to best approach the floor. See if there is less contact there than you had imagined, or sensed that there was. So now you have a somewhat clearer picture of the way that the legs lie than you had before. Bend your legs so the feet are standing, and take the left leg over to the side. Bring it all the way up, and then let the right one go over. Pay attention, as you do that, to the movement in the hip joint. Now stop and bring the left leg back towards your chest, and take it away. Do it a number of times, sensing the hip joint, and trying to make that movement as smooth in the joint as you can. Put that one down, but leave the foot standing, and then do the same thing with the right leg, sensing the hip joint and also the leg as it moves through space. See whether it makes any difference if you think of yourself as moving your foot, picking it up and putting it down, or if you think of moving from the hip joint. Really feel it as you try to discriminate between those two emphases. Now stop and make some circles with the left knee. Pick your foot up and make some circles, sensing the hip joint movement. Go in one direction and then in the other, alternately sensing what the hip joint is doing, that you are making circles with your knee and what kind of movement through space your foot is making as you do that, whether it is circles, or something else. Now put that one down and do the same with the other. Begin by circling from the hip joint, and go in one direction and then the other. When you continue to do that, particularly observe what your knee is doing — whether it is a perfect circle. Then observe what the foot is doing, breathing freely and trying to sense just what the movement is that the foot makes. If it left a mark behind it, what would the mark look like? Stop, and extend your legs. Take the left foot from left to right. See what the hip joint does, and the buttock. Note how much the leg comes off the floor to do that, and also what the knee, lower leg and ankle do. Try to leave as much of your leg on the floor as you can. Also, try to do it without introducing any unnecessary tension into the body at any point, including the foot. Let the foot be relaxed. Now do it with the right one and compare whether it is the same with the left. It will probably be different. Now do them both together a few times. Stop. Try to sense your feet for a moment. Sense the entire lower body, but let the awareness particularly move down – 244 –

12. [#42] Heightening

from the pelvis, through the thighs, knees, calves and ankles to the feet. Then for a moment roll to one side and get up. Walk around and notice where you tend to look. See if you look at the floor now. Hold your head the way that it must be to allow you to look at the ceiling, and see whether it is difficult to hold it like that. Now let it be however it wants to be. It is in a temporary phase, in any case. You see that your attention is drawn down. Now lie down again. In fact, most people walk looking at the ground. If they look too far up, there is something wrong with the cervical spine. Ideally, one looks towards the horizon in general, but with good awareness of what is above and below. The eyes should look mainly ahead unless there is some good reason for looking down or up, and then the vision is wide enough to include the ground and the ceiling, and things at the side. Its essential level is forward. Now rap with your hands on the floor. Then make some circles with the hands. Then bend your elbows and make circles with the hand and arms in the air, feeling the rotation with the elbows. Go one way and then the other, opposing them and then letting them go together. Then take hold of your elbows with your hands and go side to side, feeling what the elbows do, but also what happens in the shoulder joints and all along the sides of the back. Make the movement as extensive as possible, and feel that the back comes up on the side opposite the one that approaches the floor. Sense the movement along the back, but especially the lower and middle back. Now stop, put your arms down, and bend your legs. Try to make some circles with your lower back on the floor. Press the lumbar spine against the floor as you circle, using your feet and legs to help you if need be. Go in one direction and then in the other. Then try to circle higher on your back and spine, that part of the back a bit below the shoulders and under the chest. Feel that the circling happens there on the floor. Then raise your pelvis a bit and push so that you feel that the body goes as far back as it can on the shoulder blades, and then comes forward. It is not raising and lowering it, but pushing it towards the head and legs, so that what stops the movement is the shoulder blades. Now lower your body and extend the legs, and just rap together and alternately with your shoulders on the floor. Pay particular attention to what the shoulders feel. Then clasp your hands and take the arms from side to side a few times, feeling what happens in the shoulder joints. Put the arms down at the sides, and turn the head from side to side. Just roll it from side to side and, as you do that, think of rolling the chin from side to side. Then do that movement, but think of rolling the mouth from side to side. Then do the nose, and then the ears. Finally, roll it at eye level. Breathe freely and let the neck be as loose as possible, the jaw loose and the tongue free in the mouth. Everything is loose, but roll it at the level of the eyes. Then think of the forehead, rolling it at forehead level, as high as you can feel that the head is rolling. It was easy to sense with the chin roiling; see how high on the head you can sense the rolling. – 245 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

Now stop and put your hands on your head, and gently massage it. At the same time, look up towards the top of your head with your eyes closed as if you could look inside your head where your brain is. Now put your hands down and, when you breathe in, try to breathe as if you were going to draw the breath up into your brain cage and on out through the top of your skull. Keep looking up there with your closed eyes and note whether you begin to sense something inside of your skull that you did not sense before, if it feels as if there is something inside there, and that it has sensation. See if, as you look and direct your breath upward, you do not get a feeling as if you are sensing something inside of your skull. Now see if you can feel as if your skull also lengthens, that through this activity it is growing up, expanding and getting longer, so that your head reaches further and further behind you along the floor. See if you have more space to breathe into up there. Look into up there, and see if those sensations become stronger. Stop, and after you have rested a moment and savored the sensations, roll to one side and get up. Walk around and see what it feels like. See how you spontaneously walk, noting such things as where you look and how tall you feel. For the average person who is accustomed to looking at the floor, this will raise the level of looking considerably. Walk around, and note if you also have lengthened your body, made it somewhat taller. How do you feel? Where is the level of sight? You should be able to see both the floor and ceiling, without having to either lower or raise your head.

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13. [#43] Differentiating One Arm

13. [#43] Differentiating One Arm Teaching time: 45—60 minutes

To begin with, walk around and compare your awareness of your two arms including the hands and shoulders at the joints. Do the arms move the same? Are the hands held the same? For example, do you flex the fingers of the two hands equally? Stop. And note if you sense whether one hand hangs lower than the other, so that the shoulder also hangs lower, more weight is placed on the foot on that side, and so on. Do the two arms seem to weigh the same? Lie down on your back with your arms at your sides palms down and scan your whole body, comparing the two sides. Are both arms and shoulders equally clear to your perception and do they make the same kind of contact with the floor? Are you symmetrical objectively and also subjectively? You yourself cannot, of course, answer the first part of the question. Your awareness of yourself is entirely subjective and coincides only more or less with the objective facts. A major aim of Psychophysical Re-education is to bring about a coincidence of the subjective and the objective so far as the body is concerned. Compare the two arms once again, including hands and shoulders. Remember what you sense so that you can compare it with what you will sense later on. Imagine rapping with your right hand and fingers on the floor, doing it by bending the arm at the wrist. Imagine rapping with the entire right hand and doing it at different rates, and also using more or less force. Imagine rapping very lightly and also loudly enough that the rapping could be heard some distance away. What is the sensation in the wrist as you imagine rapping? Imagine flexing and extending the arm from the elbow, bringing your hand back towards the shoulder and bringing it back down to the floor. And continue imagining that movement. Focus on the sensations in the elbow, but also imagine the movement of the forearm and hand through space and how they feel when they make contact with the floor and then come up off the floor. What happens in your upper arm and shoulder? Imagine taking the entire right arm overhead and then bringing it back to your side again. What part of the arm touches the floor overhead, and what does it feel like? Now actually do it. Take the arm back over your head and then lower it. And do it many times. See if it is as you imagined it. Let the arm rest palm down at your side. Imagine bending the arm at the elbow, bringing your hand back towards your shoulder and then lowering it palm down towards the floor. Actually do it a number of times and see if it is as you imagined it. Few people will accurately have imagined what happened during that part of the movement when the hand approached the shoulder or touched it. Is this only because that part of the movement is the least familiar? – 247 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

Put the arm down at the side palm down and rap with the hand on the floor. Try to remember if this movement is as you imagined it. Is it the same for the palm of the hand, for each of the fingers, and for the wrist? Stop. Rest, and scan your body comparing the right side with the left, especially the shoulders, arms and hands. Place your right hand under your head. Bring your elbow up till it points toward the ceiling and then let it fall back to the floor. Be aware of the arc inscribed by the elbow but more so of the movement in your shoulder. And see if this is not a rather unfamiliar movement and, therefore, sensation. Observe that your wrist also bends and that your hand senses your head while at the same time your head also senses your hand which is sensing the floor. Put your arm down at your side and rest. Put the right arm out at shoulder height. Make a light fist with your right hand and roll it down toward your feet and then up towards your head however far it will go in each direction. Roll it as far as it will go without straining. See if in both cases you go onto the side of the fist where the thumb is or do something else. At the same time sense the movement in the shoulder joint. Bend your legs so your feet stand on the floor. Lift up your pelvis rather high, and continue to roll your fist and see if you can roll it further in either direction. See if you gain more in the upward rotation than you do in the rotation down. Lower your pelvis and see if you retain the extra movement that you gained. Now, without unduly tensing neck or facial muscles, raise your head so you look towards your knees and continue rolling the fist. See if you gain any movement in the rotation down. You can either hold the head up or let it down as you roll the fist up, and raise it as you roll the fist down. Leave your head on the floor and see if the rotation is larger in both directions than it was at the beginning. Put your legs down and let your arms rest at your sides. Put your right arm at shoulder height and then bring the palm of the hand down onto your chest. Then make circles with your elbow, doing some in a clockwise and some in a counterclockwise direction. Make the movement as light in the shoulder joint as possible. Make it smooth and easy, and then quicken it without sacrificing quality for increased speed. Put the arm down and rest. Put the arm out at about a 45° angle from your body. Bend the arm at the elbow and rotate the forearm and hand from the elbow. That is, circle with the hand and arm rotating from the elbow. Do big circles and small ones, quick ones and slow ones, altering the relationships between amplitudes and velocities. Then let the arm rest at shoulder height with the elbow bent and the forearm vertical and the hand hanging loose from the wrist. Then make many circles with the hand both clockwise and counterclockwise. Look at the right hand and, beginning with the thumb, make many circles in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions. Do that with each of your fingers, noticing which ones make the best circles and which ones easily move in a differentiated way. Which fingers want to involve some others in their movement? Focus on the movement of the normally clumsy finger, the one next to the small – 248 –

13. [#43] Differentiating One Arm

finger, and see if it cannot learn to circle without imposing itself on its neighbors. Then once again rest, and compare the two sides. What changes do you notice now? Are they limited to the arm, hand and shoulder? Or has the whole right side by now been rather drastically affected? Compare the feelings of length in the two sides, the clarity of the body image, the contact with the floor, the awareness of breathing, and whatever else you may notice. Where in your mouth does your tongue lie? And then sit up. Place your left thumb between the small finger and the next one of the right hand. Slide the right hand down over the thumb and as far up the left arm as it will go, then bringing it back down again. This will usually be easier if the left arm is bare. Do it many times and then do the same with the space between the next two fingers of the right hand, sliding the fingers up and down the left arm. Do it with the next two fingers about twenty-five times, and then finally with the finger and the thumb. Lie down once again. Take the right arm overhead and bring it back to the floor. See if that movement is the same as it was when you did it somewhat earlier. Or does the shoulder move more freely? Let it rest a minute, and two or three times do the same movement with the left arm. Then do it several times with the right arm. Stop. Bend the right arm at the elbow and make a few quick circles with the hand and arm rotating from the elbow. Also make the circles as extensive as possible. Then just circle with the hand rotating from the wrist. See how fast you can make that one. Do it so that if you watch the hand and fingers are a blur. But without any straining of the wrist, holding of the breath, or other sacrifice of quality. Stop. And a few times just flex and extend your fingers, doing it quickly. Then let the arm and hand rest at your side. Slide the right hand up and down a few times at your side, alternating your sensing between an awareness mainly of the hand and the shoulder and an awareness of the floor and of the larger space that is around you. Keep your arm straight as you do it. Stop and rest. Compare the perceptual aliveness and the sensory capacities now of the right hand and arm with the left. Then slowly roll to one side and get up. Walk around and observe your own spontaneous movements. Note whether the right arm moves more freely and more extensively, so much so that it may be difficult to make the left arm move symmetrically with the right one. Note also whether there is any difference in the movement of the right leg as compared with the left, and in the contact that each foot makes with the floor. Which side feels generally better, more alive? Is there anything else that you observe?

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

14. [#44] Lips Teaching time: about 30 minutes

Please assume a comfortable seated position, preferably on the floor, and with your head reasonably erect. Try to become as completely conscious as possible of the whole head, the face, and also the neck. Try to sense the top of the head, the back of the head, the sides of the head above the ears, the forehead, the eyes, the eyebrows, the cheekbones, the sides of the face, the ears, the nose on the outside, and also the nostrils. Sense the chin and the jawbones, the bottom side of the jaw, the skin on down to where the man has the Adam’s apple, the sides of the neck, the back of the neck. And then become especially conscious of the lips. Sense the lips where they meet, the corners of the lips, and the outside edges, the surface. See if you can sense the insides. Try to sense the corners of the lips in relation to the outside corners of the eyes, and in relation to the earlobes. And sense the center of the lips in relation to the tip of the nose. Try to sense the whole thing now, all of the lips, all of the parts. Now open them slightly and try to imagine that opening, what it looks like, what shape it is, and how large it is. Use the little finger of the right hand to examine that space between the lips; see if they are parted approximately as much as you thought they were. And rub the little finger back and forth between the lips from one corner of the mouth to the other, sensing as you do that how the lower lip experiences it, how the upper lip primarily experiences that movement, and how the finger experiences it. Now, see if you can distribute the sensing equally to the lower lip, the upper lip, and the finger as the finger moves from one corner of the mouth to the other, or whether there is a greater sensitivity in one or two of those parts than in the third. Then close the mouth again and notice whether the lips seem more sensitive, more sensitized. Now open the mouth. Open it a little, then open it a little more, and keep on doing this until it is as wide as it will go, keeping always aware of the lips as you do that. What happens to them as you open them further, as they change shape? When you open wide, like a big yawn, what happens to the lower lip and what happens to the upper? Try to sense it, but then after you have tried to sense it, use your finger to discover if what you sensed was accurate. For example, did you sense the actual relation of the upper lip to the teeth when the mouth was opened wide? And the lower lip to the lower teeth? Now insert the middle finger of each hand into the corners of the mouth, the left middle finger into the left corner and the right middle finger into the right corner. Gently stretch the mouth, doing this about twenty-five times, gently. Open it a little – 250 –

14. [#44] Lips

and let it come back, open it a little and let it come back. This movement, by the way, is said to prevent the loss of fullness in the lips as people grow older. It helps them to retain nice full lips and not develop that thin-lipped look that some elderly people get. But do not overdo it. And, still with your fingers in the corners of your mouth, lift the mouth up and down several times, twenty times or so. Then stretch it out to the sides again ten or fifteen times the way you were doing it just before. Now close the mouth and once again sense the lips. Run the tongue over the outside of the upper lip for a while and then over the inside of the upper lip. Now run the tongue along the inside of the teeth, and all the way from one corner of the mouth to the other. Then do the same thing with the lower lip, explore the outside with the tongue and then the inside. Now gently wipe the lips if need be and sense them again. Now, two or three times, pronounce the different vowel sounds and be aware of what you do with the lips, trying to pronounce them just as you do normally, as you would if you were not paying special attention to the lips. A E I O U, A E I O U, A E I O U, and do it a few more times. Continue doing that, but now exaggerate the movement a little bit a few more times with the lips speaking a little more vigorously and exaggerating the movement slightly. A E I O U, A E I O U, A E I O U. Rest again, and sense the lips as you sit there. Then lie down and sense them. Now sense the rest of the face, keeping the lips also in consciousness. Try sensing the rest of your body, maintaining all the while consciousness of your lips. Keep doing that until I speak again. Remember to breathe normally while you think of the lips in relation to all the other parts of your body. And now sit up. Move your jaw to the right a number of times, keeping your lips in your consciousness, and see what that does. What happens to the lower lip? And what happens with the upper? And move the jaw to the left, and back to the middle, keeping the lips glued while you do this. Move the jaw from right to left, way over to the right and way over to the left, sensing the lips. It should feel as if when you go to the left the lower left-hand corner of the mouth comes down and the righthand corner comes up. And when the jaw goes to the right the right-hand corner of the mouth comes down and the left-hand corner comes up. If you do it quickly it feels like the mouth is making an arc with the lower lip. Then stop and smack the lips a number of times. Do it in bursts of one time, then two times, then three times, then four times. Repeat this, closing the lips once, then twice, then three times and four times. Keep doing it. See how loud you can make the noise. Do it without banging your teeth together. Stop. Now pucker your lips, making exaggerated puckers as if to kiss somebody or to be kissed. Then make kissing sounds as you do that. Keep doing it. Now actually kiss the back of the hand. Give your left hand a few kisses and give your right hand a few. If you want to experiment with different kinds of kisses that is all right, use whatever techniques you may have acquired along life's pathway. Your hand will – 251 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME III

probably benefit. But as you do that, do it a few times sensing what the lips feel, then shift your awareness to the hand and see what the hand feels. Shift your consciousness back and forth, seeing what the lips feel and what the hand feels. Now, stop kissing the hand but do the same thing rubbing the lips back and forth across the back of the hand. Do this with both hands, sensing what the lips feel for a few moves and then what the hand feels. And, can you discriminate at all between the left hand and the right hand as to what the mouth feels so that you could tell one from the other, even if they were disembodied? Stop that, and a number of times purse your lips. Make a little pucker not like kissing but just a little pursing pucker. Then draw the lips in, just turn them in to your mouth. Keep doing that, turning them in, then back to normal, then turning them in once again. Breathe in normally while you do that. Stop and sense them for a while. Go over them a few times with your tongue, inside and out, and then wipe them gently with your fingertips. Sensing the lips, the fingers, and just rubbing the outside of your mouth. Then stop and sense them again. Now I want you to do a rather curious thing. I want you to clench your teeth. From behind these clenched teeth I want you to recite poetry or some kind of oration which you may know, the Gettysburg Address, or whatever it might be. Something from Hamlet perhaps, or Edgar Allen Poe. Or, if you do not know anything you can recite just talk, but talking through closed teeth. And do that for a few minutes. Sing a song, also through the closed teeth. Now I want you to try to make that speech through the closed teeth as clear as possible. You will find that the best way to do that is to make the lips very mobile. Make the lips extremely mobile as you speak through the clenched teeth, trying to make it as much like normal speech as possible And also sing through the clenched teeth with the very mobile lips and see how clear you can make that singing. Freeze the lips a little bit, stop making them so mobile, and try your singing and talking. See how important that flexibility of the lips is if you are going to be talking through clenched teeth. If you have lockjaw, for instance, this is very important to know, but it is also important for speaking generally. Now, with your teeth not clenched, do some reciting for a while and then some singing, trying to retain much of that mobility in the lips that you acquired through the practice of speaking through clenched teeth. Be very aware, as you speak, of the lips, and try to let them be as mobile as is helpful to your speaking. Once again, let the lips be fairly immobile and recite and sing, and compare that with what happens when you let the lips be quite mobile. See which is better. I think you will see that for most people the greater mobility of the lips enables them to speak somewhat better and also to sing somewhat better if they want to do that. It will also be helpful in getting the tension out of the jaw, the throat, the face and the neck. It is one of the parts of the body that we want to free up and bring more completely into the body image. – 252 –

14. [#44] Lips

Now close the eyes and once more just be aware of the lips. Lie down and be aware of them for a moment. Touch them with your fingers and see if they feel very nice and soft, and, if your sensing is keen enough, you will be able to sense that they really are softer and more relaxed than they normally are. This exercise can be used remedially with people where the movement of the mouth is impaired, where the speech is impaired, but it is also a good exercise for everyone to do from time to time as part of the overall program of freeing the musculature and toning it, improving the speech, relaxing the muscles of the face and the neck.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME IV

VOLUME IV

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1. [#45] Learning Transfer and Sensory Discrimination

1. [#45] Learning Transfer and Sensory Discrimination Teaching time: about 90 minutes

Stand with your eyes closed, and we will do a little experiment as a preliminary to the next exercise. Direct your attention to your brain space. Look up into that space with your eyes closed. You can make circles in it with your eyes. Image making circles as you actually move your eyes. Go up into the top of that space. Focus your awareness inside the skull where the brain is until you feel you begin to sense something up there. Keep your attention focused up there. Think about making circles with your eyes, circles that begin around eye level, and then go up towards the top of the head so that you circle over every part of it. Also make circles at angles. Breathe freely. Try to bring yourself to a condition where it seems to you that you can feel your brain. Doing that, see if you can get any sense of the two sides of it. Think about what it looks like. Then, when you feel that space where the brain is, shift your attention just to the left side. Focus on the left hemisphere and bring that into a much sharper sensing than the right side. Use your eyes to do it, and the focus of your consciousness to do it, until you are much more aware of the space on the left side than on the right. Then maintain that awareness on the left side, the area of the left hemisphere. Slide your left foot back and forth in front of you. Slide it forward and bring it back. Keep your focus up there on the left side of the brain. Then slide your right foot back and forth. See whether one foot moves more easily than the other. Try it again with the left foot. Be sure that you remain focused on the left side of the brain. Then move the right foot again. Now shift your awareness to the right hemisphere. Allow yourself plenty of time so that the image and sensation of the left side fades and is replaced by a much clearer sensation of the right side. Maintain the focus on the right side. Slide your right foot forward and back, and then your left foot. Maintain the focus on your right side. See if one foot moves more easily than the other. Try doing that, switching them back and forth, a few times. Switch back and forth with the foot, not with the focus on the brain. The focus remains on the right side of the brain. See whether the foot moves more easily on the side opposite the side of the brain that you are focusing on, and try to understand why. With most people the foot will move more easily on the side that they are not focused on. Try to understand why that is. See what you are doing with your body that might make one side move more freely. Is it enough of an explanation that movement occurs on the side opposite – 255 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME IV

the hemisphere, or does it matter also that you shift your weight on the side that you are concentrating on so that that inhibits the movement? See what else you can discover for yourself. Then try still concentrating on the right side of the brain. Breathe into it to achieve a clearer and clearer focus. When it is very, very clear speak a few words just loud enough for you to hear. Now shift the focus to the left hemisphere, and maintain and increase it until the left hemisphere is definitely more clearly in your awareness. Then say a few more words. See if you notice any difference in the speaking when the awareness is focused on the left hemisphere and on the right. Then sit down. It is a subtle discrimination, but generally you will find that right-handed people will find it actually easier to speak when they are focused on the left hemisphere and left-handed people when they are focused on the right hemisphere. With some people it is much more pronounced than with others, depending partly on how well they are able to concentrate their attention as directed. There also seem to be other factors, but this has not yet been investigated. In fact, I do not think anybody else knows about it. It is part of some new experimental work that I have been doing. Now, as our main exercise, we are going to do a number of movements on one side and then transfer over to the left side what the right side has learned. We could also do different movements with the left side and create a clarity of body image on the left side that is greater than the one on the right. Anyway, it would be interesting to also do a series of movements on the left side and then do imaginary ones on the right, trying at another time to discover for yourself whether the images affect the right or left side more strongly in your case. Which side learns better with images? Which side requires the objective movements? By making a set of distinctions like that, you increase your powers of self-observation and become better able to do the work in general. Now, however, we will only work with objective movements on the right side. Put your feet on the floor in front of you. Let your right arm hang at your side and just let it swing to and fro. Try to sit over enough to the right side so that you do not make any contact of the hand with the chair. Sense the movement in the shoulder joint. Sense the contact that the inside of the arm makes with the rib cage. Sense the hand and elbow moving through space. Bring the whole arm into your awareness as fully as possible. Then just let it hang there at your side. Make a light fist with the right hand. Let it hang there and make a fist. Then rotate the shoulder in and bring it back. Continue doing that very lightly with the fist, but not a tight fist. Be aware when you rotate the shoulder of where the palm of the hand faces. Then, instead of rotating the shoulder in, rotate it out and back. Again, be aware what direction the palm of the hand is pointing in at the end of the movement. The arm continues to hang at your side. See if, by taking the shoulder back a little farther, you can change the way that the palm points so that it points a little further to – 256 –

1. [#45] Learning Transfer and Sensory Discrimination

the side or to the rear. Then rotate the shoulder forward again. See where the fist goes. Then rotate it forward and in and out and back in one continuous movement. Sense clearly what happens in the shoulders. Then put your right hand on your right thigh and rest. Close your eyes and examine your body image. Compare your awareness of your right shoulder with your awareness of your left shoulder. Then examine the entire arm and hand. Compare your awareness of your hand and arm on the right side to the left. Also notice which eye you sense more clearly and whether your head is turned somewhat to the right. If you feel your head is turned to the right, put it in the center. If you do not know, open your eyes and see whether you are looking to the right and discover in that way whether the head is turned. Now slide your right hand down your right leg. Go down to your foot by bending and then come back. Bend at the waist. Do it without bending the elbow. Sense what happens in your shoulder as you do that. Extend your right leg and go down. Pay attention to the feeling in the palm of the right hand and in the right shoulder. Then sit up. Once again, with the palms on the tops of the thighs, sense the two sides. See if now, not just the arm and hand and eye are more clearly in the body image on the right side, but you can sense the whole side. It may feel as if you are almost divided right down the middle now so that you sense the right side distinctly while the left is vague, a blur, by comparison. Then just rap with your right heel lightly. Breathe easily as you do that. At the same time, rap with the heel of your hand on your knee. Then do it so that the heel of the foot goes down as the heel of the hand goes up (so that they move in opposite directions.) Try to make that a very simple, coordinated movement. Breathe freely. See how quickly and lightly you can do it. Then raise the ball of the foot and the front part of the hand. One is on the floor and one is on the thigh. Breathe freely. Then alternate them so that the fingers go down as the toes go up and the fingers go up as the toes go down. Do not hold your breath. Then make that movement light and quick. See how fast you can do it without getting into a state that feels rushed or compulsive, or that causes you to tense up. For a moment, go so quickly that you can observe in yourself the feeling of tension that comes with doing more than you are easily able to do. It then begins to feel compulsive. You observe it before the movement starts deteriorating and your mental and emotional state with it. Then go back and find the place where you can eliminate all of that and yet move quickly and easily. When you make that kind of observation in your everyday life, it can be useful. Then stop. Close your eyes and do another body scan. Notice if the work that you have done also has brought the right hemisphere, regardless of which hand is the dominant one, into the body image much more than the left one. You can sense now the right side of the brain better than the left, even though the left side of the brain may be the – 257 –

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one that is most involved in the movement. In that sense, the body image may have overridden everything else. Now just blink many times with the right eye so it opens and closes and you have a clear sensation of blinking. See, for a moment, if you are aware of what you do with your left eye as you blink the right one. Keep your eyes open as you do that, because it is much easier to tell what you are doing then. You should observe that you are blinking your left eye also, but not as much, since it continues to see while the other one cuts off the vision. It may feel to you, until you become aware of that, as if you are only blinking with the right eye. In fact, you will find them always moving together. Then stop and rest a minute. Scan your body image again. See now how you relate to the external world on the two sides. See if your awareness of the floor is greater on the right side, if your awareness of the chair is greater on the right side. Some of you may even discover that your hearing is better on the right side. Pay close attention to whether more sound comes through the right ear. Also pay attention to your breathing. If the nostrils are not clogged, see whether you are breathing now more through the right side of the nose than through the left. Then put the right finger alongside the left nostril and close it. With your eyes closed, breathe through the right nostril. Direct the breath up into the right side of the head and down along the right side of the body. It is as if you can breathe in through the bottom of the right foot and out through the top of the head on the right side. Then stop. Again scan the body. Sense your right ear. Then, a few times, extend the leg as much as you easily can and go down the right leg with your hand. Go along the top and the right side and the left side and on the back side. Try to sense every part of your right leg with your right hand. Alternate between paying attention to the sensations in the leg and the sensations in the hand. Do a number of movements where you focus on the sensations in the leg and then do a number where you focus on the sensations in the hand. With practice, you will begin to find it rather easy to shift back and forth so that you can determine whether you sense the one or the other, and this is true also in dealing with inanimate objects. Are you focusing more on the object with your tactile sense or more on the part of your body that is touching the object? Then, when you feel that you can go back and forth between sensing the leg and sensing the hand, see if you can arrive at a balance where you are sensing the hand and the leg equally, where one has no supremacy over the other. One of the purposes of this exercise is to teach you to make finer and finer discriminations so that your senses will be re-educated to tell you what really is happening, and to open up experiential options with your nervous system that it does not otherwise exercise. Now try doing it just for a moment with the chair. Try it with the chair between your legs. Go back and forth between learning about the chair and paying attention to what your hand is experiencing. Then try to achieve a balance where you are not emphasizing one experience over the other. See if that is easier or more difficult than – 258 –

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when it is your own body you are dealing with in sensing two parts of it. Does it make any difference if the movement is quick or slow? Then stop. Put your right foot out in front of you and make a few circles with it. Leave the ankle on the floor. Rotate it one way and then the other. Sense the ankle, foot and knee. Hold the right knee in your hand as you do it. Also pay attention to what is happening in the hip joint on the right side. Note the contact of the underside of your leg and buttocks with the chair on the right side; the movement in your shoulder. Do you look right? See if you can feel the direction of your consciousness towards the right side as you do that. There is almost a tangible sensation of the direction of your consciousness towards the right side as you do that, a pull to the right. Paying attention is a physical process as well as a mental one. See if you get any sense of that. Then without holding your breath, try to eliminate the movement in the hip and knee as completely as possible. Then just rotate the ankle. Go in one direction and then in the other. Then let the right foot stand alongside the left one. Close your eyes once more and sense the two sides. Try to observe all the ways in which your orientation is now to the right. Not only is the right side much more fully in your consciousness, but the body is somewhat drawn to the right. See if you can feel that in the interaction of the consciousness with the body, the body wants to be where the consciousness is and tends in that direction throughout the organism now. You may be able to note it best in the shoulders or in the position of the head. With some people, the head not only tends to turn to the right in the way it would if looking right, but it also tilts a little to the right. The right shoulder may feel lower and the rib cage shorter on the right side. See what your experience is. Now try to imagine what your right foot looks like with your eyes closed. Then try to imagine what the left foot looks like. See if there is a certain strain involved in that, that it is not easy to bring the consciousness over to the left side. You can feel that it has to pull from the right to the left. Then stop. Get up and walk around the room. Pay attention to the two sides as you walk. Then come back and sit down. Now we will change it to some extent, or altogether, by just doing some briefer image work on the left side. Then sometime in the coming week you should experiment and do physical things on the left side, and see whether you think you can transfer it with equal facility to the right side or whether the transfers are equally easy from one side to the other. Different people will discover different things. It may have to do with something other than hemispheric dominance. If you can remember the same exercise, do it. However, do some fairly complex and different movements that include the different kinds of sensing. For instance, try to find the place where your behavior stops being free and starts being compulsive and stressful. As you increase the rate of the movement, remember that you can find a place where it starts to get stressful and you notice the muscles tense. As you continue with it, it will also get emotionally and mentally stressful. So you try to find the point where your – 259 –

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performance is optimal with regard to speed but do not cross the line into the other. Be aware of that line. Try to find similar lines in other kinds of activities. Now close your eyes. Sense the two sides. See if already, partly in anticipation of work on the left side, the left side is not as out of it as it was just a moment ago. Particularly sense the left hand. Let the hands rest on the knees or on the thighs close to the knees. Just imagine now sliding the left hand up and down along the left leg. Just imagine it. Do it many times. Also slide it on up to your hip and take it down. Then imagine extending the left leg and, without bending the elbow, take the hand down as far as it will go and bring it back up. Slide it along the left leg. Then imagine rapping with the left heel. At the same time, rap with the heel of the left hand. Breathe freely as you do it. As you continue to breathe freely, imagine that as the heel of the foot goes down the heel of the hand goes up. As the heel of the foot goes up, the heel of the hand goes down. Then move them alternately. Then, instead of rapping with the heels of the hand and the foot, rap with the toes alone for a moment, and then just with the fingers. Then imagine rapping with both together and see if that makes it easier. Then, breathing freely, try imagining that as the toes go down the fingers come up and as the fingers go down the toes come up. Now actually, physically, extend your left leg and let your left arm hang at your side. Imagine bending the leg so that the foot comes back to where it is standing on the floor. At the same time, bend the arm at the elbow so that your hand comes up towards your face. In other words, you are imagining bending both the knee and the elbow at the same time, drawing the foot and the hand closer to the body and taking them away again. If you have trouble with it, start by imagining one until that is clear. Then imagine the other one for a while. Then bring them both together. Then just imagine swinging the arm back and forth. Sense the shoulder. What is the sensation in the shoulder as the arm swings back and forth? Also, what is the sensation in the shoulder if you make circles with the hand that is, with the whole arm, like you were stirring something, keeping the elbow straight. Circle one way with your arm for a while and then circle the other way. What does the shoulder feel? What does the hand feel? Then, lightly, actually make a fist with the left hand. Let it hang there at your side. Imagine rotating the shoulder in and then rotating it back and out. Where does the fist go? In your imagination, bring your shoulder as far in and forward as you can and as far back and out as you can. Let your left foot stand on its bottom. As you continue to imagine rotating the shoulder forward and back, also imagine picking up the foot and putting it down. Quickly pick it up and put it down. What does the hip joint feel? What does the foot feel? Pick it up a couple of inches off the ground and put it right back down. Do it only in the imagination. Now stop. Sense your body. Sense the left hand, the left foot, the left shoulder, the left eye. If the nose is not stopped up, see whether now the breathing seems to come through the left nostril. – 260 –

1. [#45] Learning Transfer and Sensory Discrimination

Now, as you breathe, imagine that you are breathing through the bottom of the left foot and up through the top of the head through the left side. The breath goes up and down through the left side, going in and out through the bottom of the foot and through the top of the head on the left side. Really take the breath all the way up through the top of the head on the left side. Image doing it. Then see if, by doing that, the left side of the brain seems to come clearly into focus. See if you can sense that your eyes are now feeling as if they are looking up and to the left towards that space. Then stop and sense the two sides. See if now you can feel the consciousness being pulled to the left side and not as strongly as it was to the right side before. It is a definite pull in that direction, and the body tends left. Examine your body image now and compare the two sides. You may find that now you have a mix. Some things are clearer on one side and some are clearer on the other side, or you may have shifted over to the left side or the right side might still be dominant. When you do it on your own, continue until the left side has achieved a greater clarity in the body image without exception. See how long it takes you to do that. Now get up and walk around. Notice what you feel. For a minute or two try balancing the body image by noticing where one side seems clearer and then directing your attention to that area on the other side. That is another little exercise you can image. You can scan it and then balance it. Direct the awareness to any part that is less clear on one side than the other. Then just sit down. This exercise is called Learning Transfer and Sensory Discrimination. The first part was just a little experiment to demonstrate to you that you can have direct knowledge of hemispheric functions. That being so, it is a wonder that people did not discover it long ago. In fact, there are accounts by Darwin that indicate that people have had some awareness like that. They just did not relate it to the brain in exactly the same way that has been done in the last twenty years or so. If people sensed better, scientific discovery would have been made much earlier. Of course, some knowledge about hemispheric functions dates back to the 19th century.

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2. [#46] Segments of the Spine Teaching time: up to 90 minutes

Now, lie on your back and do the body scanning. Beginning with the feet, examine the body image. Note where it is faint; where it is stronger; where it is easy to sense; where you cannot sense anything. Compare the feelings in the two sides. Do they lie the same or do they lie differently? Does one side feel longer? See if that relates to the awareness of the surface of the body, as you do the scanning. Also, scan for symmetry. Generally, a well-organized body will be a symmetrical one, if it has not been damaged so that becomes impossible. The joints will rotate similarly. The hips and the shoulders will lie in the middle, the toes and fingers will have similar spaces between them, and the hands will lie at the same distance from the body. The work we are now going to do is a little different from most of the exercises. We are going to examine many of the ways that the different segments of the spine can be moved. To know how to move the spine in a great many ways is very valuable. It will allow you to release a large part of muscular tension in the back and to free yourself of back pain — whether it is lower back, upper back, neck or wherever it may be. It is also extremely important to have a spine that is supple, with vertebrae that are differentiated. The brain and the nervous system do not have a chance to function optimally if the spine is distorted. It is very easy to work on the cervical spine (the spine in the neck) and the lumbar spine (the lower spine.) It is much more difficult to figure out ways to move the thoracic spine (that part in the rib cage,) and you will find the same thing is true when you are working on the body with your hands. Until you have learned the knack of it, it is very hard to find ways to get the thoracic spine to move with anything like the same kind of freedom that the cervical and lumbar spine ordinarily move with. For the great majority, when lying on their backs, it is virtually impossible for them to move the thoracic spine without moving the lumbar spine. If you know where those segments of the spine are, you can try it. See if you can find a way to do it. Do not move the neck or the lower spine, yet try to move the thoracic spine in a way that is pleasant. Now bend your legs so that the feet are standing. Take the legs from side to side — left to right. See if they go over all the way. Observe how far they go, always without forcing. Do it so one knee slides down the other leg and up it again as you go. It means you have to spread your feet some distance from each other. Now, move the legs from side to side, keeping them together as a unit. Begin to allow the head to move with the legs. Observe the effect of the head going in the same direction as the legs. Then oppose the head movement to the leg movement. Now, put your legs down and rest. Observe how the lower spine lies in relation to the table. As you do that, roll your head left to right. If you do not require anything under your head, do not use it, – 262 –

2. [#46] Segments of the Spine

because it will interfere with the movement. Now, stop with your head in the middle. Draw your legs back toward you, so that the tops of the thighs approach the rib cage. Do not take hold of the knees with the hands. Being careful that you do not overdo it, take the feet from left to right (the lower legs remain parallel to the floor or approximately so.) Keeping the legs as close back to your rib cage as possible, swivel your bottom from left to right. Be sure you do not do it too vigorously or you may damage your spine. Now, swivel your bottom. Do not just go from left to right toward the floor. Put the left foot on top of the right when you do it. The movement should be mainly in the lower spine. You should feel it in the lower spine. Swivel, do not roll, from side to side. The pelvis swivels on the floor. Reverse the position of the feet. Let one ankle lie on top of the other ankle. Now, put your feet down and rest them. Leave the feet standing. Sense the small of the back in relation to the floor. Raise your pelvis enough so that you can rap lightly with the small of the back on the floor. Continue to do that. Put the back down flat and pick up the pelvis. Put the back down flat on the floor and pick it up again. Put it down. Then, when you can feel that the pelvis is really down and the lumbar spine is really down on the mat as close as you can get it, try extending your legs while leaving the pelvis there. The most effective way to do it, is to place the small of the back on the floor. Then flex your ankles, and gradually extend the legs, while breathing out through the mouth. Make a kind of hissing sound. When the legs are extended, let the ankles go (you just slide the heels along the floor to extend the legs.) Again, let the feet stand. Put the pelvis and the small of the back on the floor. Then, without lifting your feet off the floor, you flex the ankles, extend the legs, and breathe out. Try to sense clearly what happens in the spine, that you elevate it as little as possible. You just slide the heels along. If you pick the feet up at all, once the back is on the floor, you will arch your spine. You do not walk the feet along, you just slide them, both feet together. Try to sense to what extent you succeeded. If you take your hands and try to measure, that movement of itself will arch the spine, and you will not really know what you have done. As soon as you bend your elbows and put your hands there, you have already lost some of the extension of the spine that you have worked to achieve. It is not necessary to measure. When the body image is sufficiently intact, you will know where your spine is in relation to your table. Now, draw your legs back toward your rib cage again, and feel what it is to have the lumbar spine in contact with the floor. In that position, everybody should be able to feel it. If you cannot bring your legs back enough, use your hands. Let your hands rest on your knees, but do not pull the joints in a way that is painful. Swivel the bottom from side to side, so the feet go left, then right. Do not roll. You are less likely, with the hands on the knees, to do it vigorously enough to hurt the lower back. If you take the hands away and swing, or swivel too vigorously from side to side, the spine can be injured. That part of the body is so big, powerful and heavy that, if you used it to its full power, the spine in no way could resist the force that the lower body would apply to it. Swivel. Now, when your spine is really flat on the floor, put your – 263 –

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feet down. Stand them. If you just suddenly extend, you lose it. Feel for a little while what it is like to have the spine flat on the floor. Then try again, by flexing the ankles and breathing out through the mouth, to slide the legs down slowly. Leave the spine down as much as you can. If the spine comes up, at least feel that moment when it comes up, very clearly. If you sense when it happens, that is already helpful, and will eventually eliminate the tendency. Now, rest and observe how you lie. Next, bend the legs so they stand together, and take them side to side again, left and right. Let the lower back be free, and let the head turn with the movement. If the legs go all the way, let them go quickly and nimbly. Feel the movement of the spine in the lower back. A few times, oppose the head movement to the leg movement. Keep the ankles and knees together. Now, stop for just a minute. Let the feet stand, and spread them apart a little bit — about six or eight inches between the feet. Let only the right leg go over towards the floor. The left one remains standing. Then, bring the right one up, and let the left one go over towards the floor. Do that several times. Now, put the legs down and rest. Put your left hand on your forehead. Use the hand to turn the head from side to side. Be sure that you do not do anything with the muscles of the neck or upper back, except what is required to use the arm. Do not turn the head yourself. The hand turns the head. Next, let the palm rest on the forehead. Then turn the head from side to side. Let the palm just ride along on the forehead. Be sure you do not use the arms to turn the head. Repeat this movement several times, then put the left arm down. Now, do it with the right. First, use the hand to turn the head. Do that a number of times, making sure that you are turning your head side to side. The hand is doing it. Take it as far as it will go. Then use the head to give the hand a ride, as it will. Let the passive hand ride along on the turn of your head. Feel what is happening in your neck — the jaw is loose, the tongue is loose and the breathing is free. Always emphasize the quality of the movement, including the sensing. Be alert, so you do not begin to do it compulsively. Do not stop focusing on the sensations, particularly in this case the spine, but also everything else that is involved in the movement. Be aware that the breathing is never inhibited. Stop. Put the arm down. By pushing and pulling with your heels on the floor, rock your body up and down so that the spine moves, especially the cervical spine. When you push, your chin moves up and away from your chest. When you pull, your chin moves down. You have to bend the legs a little to do it in the beginning. Find a position that lets the neck move most freely. You can do it by moving the knees up and down, but it is not necessary. The movement can just be with the ankles, or you can use the ankles and the knees. Try to find out how to do it to create the largest, freest movement in your spine and neck. Also, you will find that by doing this, you either can or cannot arch the lumbar spine. Try to do it in such a way that you do not arch the lumbar spine, while at the same time you retain full freedom in the cervical spine.

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2. [#46] Segments of the Spine

I am going to show you, before we are finished, how many of the movements you are doing can be translated into work with a person on the table; also, how it can be done so that you will be able, with most of the movements, to move a three hundred pound man with ease, even if you are a very small person. The size of that other person will be irrelevant for most of the movements. You will be able to move that body very freely with almost no expenditure of effort, which is the best way to do it, not only for your personal comfort and economy, but because it allows you to work in a way that is subtle and without your senses being impaired by the use of powerful muscles. The more effort you have to exert to work on somebody, the less well you are able to sense what you are doing and what is happening with them. You always try to move yourself, or anybody else, with the greatest possible ease, in order to discriminate more and more clearly exactly what is happening. Now, without tightening your neck, raise your legs and bring yourself up to a sitting position, using the legs just to swing yourself up. Do not bend them, just raise them up high. Bring them down so that you bring yourself down into a sitting position without stiffening your neck. Now, sit however you are comfortable. Make circles with your head. You can think of circling with your nose, or with the back of your head — whatever facilitates the circling. If you go around too many times in one direction, you will get dizzy. Sense clearly the sensations in the neck. Put your hands behind you on the floor and do it. If you find you can make much larger circles, more easily, the head can go further back. Then, instead of circling, just raise and lower the head. Put your arms wherever you like. You should balance, in any case, so there is no discomfort in the wrists, and not much pressure on the hands. The hands behind you do not have to bear very much weight, if the body is positioned right. Now, as you do that, oppose the eye movement to the head movement. Look down as your head goes up. Look up as your head comes down. Do it without straining. See if you can sense that if you exhale as you lower your head and raise your eyes, that the breathing strains the eyes a little bit. Just doing it two or three times is not enough to damage it, but you can feel that the exhalation makes a difference. Just opposing the eyes to the head movement does not necessitate any strain, but the exhaling, as you lower the head and raise the eyes, lets you feel if you are able to sense well enough. Then, let the eyes and the head go together. Now, instead of doing that, stop when the head is looking straight ahead. Turn it left to right, and maintain the neck position without inhibiting the breathing. Let the eye movements oppose the head movements. If the tongue is free, it will generally follow the direction of your attention. If you turn the eyes and the head together, the tongue will not go to the same side of the mouth that the head and the eyes go to. If the muscles in the tongue are too stiff, it will not happen but when you have freed the tongue, you will find that it is so. If you oppose the eye movements to the head movements, you will find it is the eyes that the tongue will go with, rather than with the head. The tongue tends to follow the stimulation. It will go where the experience is stronger. In this case, the visual experience overrides the turning of the head. You will see, as we go along, that there are other linkages between the tongue movements – 265 –

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and eye movements. So far as I know, nobody has ever discovered or written about them. You will also see why they are important. Probably, many people's tongues do not move in the beginning but, as they go along, the muscles become freer and then the tongue will move. Now, stop and rest a minute. You can lie down. Now, lying on your back, interlace your fingers behind your head. Pick the head up as high as it is easy to do. Then, put it down again. Continue to do that, without any effort in the neck at all, but sensing what happens in the neck. Leaving the hands where they are, let the elbows lie out on the floor. Take the head from one side to the other, so that the ear approaches first one shoulder, then the other. You do it with the hands and the arms. Now, take the shoulders from one side to the other. The elbows will move down as you do that. Both arms are moving simultaneously. Keep the elbows out as you do it. Do not roll the head from side to side. You want the neck to bend to the side. You will feel the rib cage shorten on one side and lengthen on the other as you do that. Leave the elbows down close to the floor and bring your shoulders and your ears as close together as you can get them without straining. Pick the head up a little bit. Leave the elbows out. Do not raise them towards the ceiling. Your elbows should point up as little as possible. The ear should come closer to the shoulder. Put your right hand down. Leave the left hand behind the head, and use it to bring the ear toward the shoulder. Now lie on your right side and do it. Just pick up the head with the left hand, bring the ear up to the shoulder, then let it down. Try to make the movement sideways, not forward or back. Now, lie on your other side and do it. You pick the head up now with the right arm. Find the position that the hands should occupy in relation to the head that makes it easiest to move the ear towards the shoulder. Now, roll onto your stomach a minute. Let the forehead rest on one of your hands, one hand on top of the other, being aware of which hand you put on top of the forehead. Then very slowly try to bring the body up into, if you know Yoga, what is a variety of the cobra position. The head is up like a striking cobra. Try to do it vertebra by vertebra, in the spine. Do not just arch the lumbar spine and the cervical spine. You have got to try to also use the thoracic spine, bit by bit, as you come up. See how high you can come without straining. Then let it down the same way. In Yoga, this is supposed to be an exercise for the entire spine. However, if you watch, in ninety-nine per cent of the cases, the person will not use the thoracic spine, or use it minimally. They will just use the lumbar spine and the cervical spine, and the teacher will never say anything. He probably, often, is not aware of it. See what you do with it. Note that there is a tendency to do it that way. Just arch the spine, the neck and the small of the back where it is easiest, where you have most control of it. Move it bit by bit, so that the whole length of the spine is involved. Then, lie on your back and rest. Interlace your fingers under your head again, leaving the arms on the floor. Slide first one elbow down, and then the other. Let the head move with that. Slide the arms and elbows along the floor, from left to right, so that the elbow approaches the – 266 –

2. [#46] Segments of the Spine

rib cage on the left side. Then, on the right side, you can feel the spine moving and the rib cage shortening and lengthening. Now put your hands down. Let your head stay down and just slide along the floor. Let your hands slide up a little bit. Rest on your navel and do it, and observe that the spine is moving a little higher now than when the hands were lower. If you put your hands up around your diaphragm and continue to go side to side like that, still more of the spine will become involved in the movement. Then put your hands on your chest and do it and, when your hands are at that level, observe that the lumbar spine does not have to bend at all. Observe that you can immobilize it, and that the movement will all be in the upper spine, so that there is no doubt that it is moving. It is even easier to do that in the beginning, with the hands on the shoulders. Let the back of your head slide along the floor and the shoulders, arms and elbows slide up and down. Do it in such a way that the lumbar spine does not move. Put your hands down below your navel again, and do it. Now, unless you do something that makes any great strange effort, it will primarily be a lumbar spine movement. The spine will bend at the level of the hands, and anything else follows after that. Let it slide quickly and lightly from side to side, with the hands around the navel. Then put the hands up on the shoulders and do it, and see the different part of the spine that primarily moves when the hands are down. Go back and forth, and also try it on the chest. At each level where the hands are, observe that the movement is different. As you go up, observe that the thoracic spine is quite clearly involved. Now rest. If you need to, try to do a number of movements with the hands on the shoulders and the chest. Try to get the feeling of very free, extensive movement in that upper part of the spine which ordinarily never moves. If you go to it directly, without some preliminary work on the lower back and the neck, it will not move so well either. Give yourself as large an experience as possible of the movement in the upper spine, below the neck. Do this by placing the hands on the shoulders and chest, and over-doing it. Whenever a person begins to do a movement so quickly that they feel a little bit out of control, that is when compulsiveness has entered in and the movement becomes a potentially harmful one. By observing that, you can also learn to note that same compulsiveness in your everyday life. The feeling will be similar. So will the quality of drivenness that you will be able to recognize as soon as it begins to control your behavior. Do however much of the movement you can do that is pleasurable. Then stop and rest with your arms at your sides and your legs extended. Now, roll your head from side to side and see how quickly and how far it will go. Then stop and bend your legs. Take the legs from side to side, sometimes letting the head go with the legs, sometimes opposing the head and leg movements. Also, try to let the eyes go with the legs, with the head moving in the opposite direction. If you are still having trouble letting the head and the legs go over all the way together, take hold of your elbows with your hands and take the arms together with the legs and the head. Do it by letting the hands slip down so that they hold the wrists, or let the hands hold the forearms, whichever works better. Let the head, arms and legs go together if – 267 –

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you are having any trouble getting the legs all the way over. The forearms should be parallel to the floor when they are above you. Try doing just the head and the arms. Hold the arms very lightly, not moving the legs. The further your hands are down the arm, the greater the amount of freedom of the shoulder and the neck. Keep the arms up, so that when they are above you, they are parallel to the floor. Let the head go over all the way with the arms. Do it quickly, lightly and easily. There should be no effort in this movement. When that movement is extremely clear, and the head goes all the way with the arms to the left and to the right, let the head turn as far as it will turn. With the arms, go onto its right side, and onto its left side. When the movement is clear, then let the legs go with it. Let everything go together. Coordinate it; synchronize it. Your timing must be such that the head, the arms and the legs all move simultaneously. You have problems if the upper body is not synchronized with the lower body. You will not get the benefit of what you are doing. Then put the arms down and just move the head and the legs. Feel the movement in the spine. Let the lower back and spine move more and more freely. Do not just roll from side to side. The movement is in the small of the back and in the cervical spine. Stop and rest. One more time, just hooking the ground with the heel, push and pull so that the neck moves freely. The chin moves away when you push and comes back when you pull. Bend your knees if you have to, to get the head to move freely. If you do not obstruct the movement, the head must move. It is a completely involuntary movement, providing you are doing the right thing. You cannot just flex and extend your ankles. Push and pull on the floor, and bend your knees a little bit. The head is moving freely. Now stop. Once again, put your hands on your shoulders and take the elbows up and down very quickly. Slide the arms up and down along the floor, so that the upper spine moves. See if you cannot move more freely than you could a little while ago. Bring your elbows practically down to your rib cage. At least, approach it fairly closely. You can also do that with the hands on the chest. Do not pick your head up enough to strain your neck. Breathe freely. Now, stop. Bring your legs back towards you. Take your hands and let them rest lightly on your knees. Then, move your pelvis so that first your right buttock, and then your left buttock, slides down. Try to push the right one down and along the floor, and then the left. You will feel the movement in the lower spine. You can see it is different than just swiveling the two legs side to side. You get a distinct feeling of one pushing down and then coming back as the other pushes down. Then just lightly swivel, taking the feet from side to side. Swivel, do not roll, your body side to side. Put the feet down. Lightly rap with the small of the back on the floor. Take the legs down, trying to leave the small of the back on the floor. Remember the way that it is most effective: flex the ankles and breathe out through your mouth.

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2. [#46] Segments of the Spine

Now a few times, as quickly, lightly and easily as you can, just roll the head from side to side and let the shoulder get out of the way of the head. Return by letting the arms slide down on the side that the head turns to. See how far now the hand can slide down along the floor, as the head rolls side to side. Continue to just turn the head side to side, but let first one arm and then the other slide down. Stop with the head in the middle, and try to sense your spine. Sense up and down its length. See if you can get an image of it. If you know what the pelvis looks like, come up from there to where the spine is free of the pelvis. Follow the spine on up into the skull. Image it, or visualize it, of think of it as a straight line. Then breathe up and down that line. Direct your breathing so that it feels as if you can breathe right up your spine and out the back of your head. Breathe in through the pelvis and up the spine and on out the top of the head. Continue doing that, directing the breathing up and down the spine, but with the main emphasis on the upward breathing. Breathe up and beyond the top of your head, right out through the top of the spine and skull. Breathe up and out, and up and out. Then slowly, without stiffening the neck, and using the head first, roll to one side and get up. I will show you how many of these movements can very usefully and easily be done working with someone else on the table. In fact, you can achieve many things. By doing the movements this way, you can observe what the effects are on someone else. You also can learn what you can do for yourself. Walk around a little bit. If ever you ache, you have done it too vigorously. You have to always follow directions.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME IV

3. [#47] Thumb and Wrist Teaching time: about 45 minutes

Take a comfortable seated position, one that you can remain in for a while. Rest your arms on your legs. Do it so that the hands hang down. Then move your thumbs up and down. Alternate them. Do one first and then the other. Try to observe the difference in the movement between the two thumbs. See if one moves any differently than the other. Note whether you can sense the difference any better with your eyes closed. Now rotate your left thumb in a circle. See what direction you do it in. Then rotate it in the opposite direction. We are going to be working largely with the thumb in this exercise, but the effect will be not only on the thumb but very much on the wrist as well. Now stop moving the left thumb. Do the same thing with the right thumb. Make circles with it. Do them in one direction for a while, and then reverse and rotate the right thumb in the opposite direction. See that you breathe freely as you do this. Now stop. Put the two thumbs together on the inside so that the inside top joints of the thumbs are pressed against each other. Do it so that the left thumb presses against the right one for a while, and then the right one presses against the left one. You emphasize the pushing coming from the left or from the right. The thumbs should be vertical as you do this. They should point pretty much towards the ceiling. Then take hold of the left thumb with the right thumb and forefinger and use those fingers to rotate the left thumb for a while. Rotate it a number of times clockwise and a number of times counterclockwise. As you do that, pull out on the left thumb so that you lengthen it. You pull out on it and rotate it at the same time. Then, instead of rotating it, use the right hand to bring the left thumb over so that it touches the palm of the left hand (or comes as close to it as you can bring it.) Then let go of the thumb with the right hand, and do the same movement just using the thumb itself. Bring the thumb over towards the center of the hand and take it away. Take hold of the thumb again with the right hand and just give it a good shaking. Shake out the left thumb. Shake it mildly to loosen it. Lengthen it a little as you shake it. Let the rest of the hand and the wrist move spontaneously, just whatever they do. As you shake the thumb, be aware of how the rest of the hand moves. Then just stop. Put your two hands down flat on the floor. Rap with the left thumb. Then rap instead with the right thumb. See if you notice any difference in the agility or speed that the two thumbs exhibit in rapping on the floor. Be sure to rap with the thumb and not turn your whole hand. The movement is in the thumb. The rest of the hand does not move, or moves very little. – 270 –

3. [#47] Thumb and Wrist

Then just rub the underside of the left thumb over the floor, the inside of the thumb. Sense what you are touching with it. Do the same thing for a minute with the right thumb. See if there is any difference in the sensitivity of the two thumbs. Remember how it is. Then try rubbing the back of the left thumb over the floor. As you continue to do that, also rub the back of the right thumb and compare. Compare the sensing. Rub the back of the right thumb over the floor — the top of it, not the tip of it. Then also take the very tip of the left thumb and move it across the surface that you are seated on. It is in a vertical position. Then briefly do the tip of the right one also. Then let the right one rest. Draw circles on the floor in front of you with the tip of the left thumb. Circle in one direction for a while and then in the other, using just the tip of the thumb. Then, instead of making circles, make X's with the tip of the thumb. To make the X's, you can use the top of the thumb and the bottom of the thumb, the sides of the thumb, the thumb nail. Try to use all those different parts of the thumb. As you do that, consider what finger it would be most natural to do that writing with. See if you feel that, as soon as you think about it, instantly the forefinger comes to mind. Almost no one will ever think of another finger. Then, still with your left thumb, do the alphabet. If you find that it is difficult to write, you can print a particular letter. See which letters are easier to write and which to print. Discover it by writing, and you should only print if it becomes too difficult to write that way. Keep your focus of awareness on the left thumb. Now, whether you have finished or not, put your hand down and let it rest. Let the left one rest on the floor. As it rests, be as conscious as you can of the left thumb. The hand should be resting, palm down. Try it with your eyes open and with your eyes closed. Be aware of the thumb. Put the right hand down alongside it. Try sensing first the left thumb and then the right one. See which one you sense more clearly. Then just sense the left one again, and the finger next to it, and the middle finger, and the finger next to that one, and the small finger. Try to sense the thumb and all the fingers of the left hand and the wrist as well. Then include the forearm on up to your elbow in that awareness and sensing. Try to bring the whole thing in with your eyes closed. Sense the left hand, wrist, and the arm up to the elbow. Then lie down on your back in the usual manner with your arms at your sides and your palms down. Compare, for a little while, the two sides of your body. Compare the hands, the arms, the legs, the length of the two sides, how the two sides make contact with the floor. Observe whether just working mainly with the thumb of your left hand has considerably altered the whole organization of the body and the awareness of the body image. Now, as you lie, rap with the left thumb many times. Do it rhythmically. Rap once and then twice and then three times and then four times. Keep doing that. Rap rhythmically with the left thumb. Breathe freely. Rap rhythmically. Then come back up to a sitting position. Make a little hole with your right hand that the left thumb can go in and out of. Just make a loose fist with your right hand and take the left thumb in and out of that hole. It is going in between the four curved – 271 –

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fingers and the thumb of the right hand. As you do it, sense what the left thumb feels. Then, for a moment, shift your focus and sense what the right hand is feeling. Then shift the focus back and sense what the left thumb is learning about the right hand as it slides in and out. Then focus instead on the sensations being experienced by the thumb itself. Orient your awareness towards learning about the thumb's feelings instead of what the thumb can learn about the right hand. Make the hole a little tighter, and then make it a little larger. Just keep the left thumb moving in and out of it as you make the hole as tight or as large as you can do, while still allowing the thumb to both move in and out and to preserve some contact with the right hand. See what pressure feels best to the thumb, when it is not only not too tight or too loose, but is an optimum kind of relationship. Then just hold the thumb with the right hand and squeeze the left thumb gently a number of times. The right hand just gently squeezes the left thumb. Then use the right thumb and forefinger to shake the left thumb again. Take hold of it around the left thumb nail and shake it and try to make the whole thumb ripple. Again, let the wrist and the hand move freely. Next, use your right hand to bring your left thumb towards the finger next to it and take it away again. Keep opening and closing the gap between the left thumb and the finger next to it, using the right hand to move the left thumb. Just keep bringing them together and taking them apart. Be sure that your breathing is free. Then stop. Take the fleshy part of your right hand, the part below the small finger, and insert it between the left thumb and the finger next to it. Slide the right hand back and forth in that space. Come down to the right wrist and then continue along the arm all the way to the elbow, so that the whole arm is sliding back and forth to the elbow between the fingers of the left hand. Let it slide as far up the arm as it will go and back down again. Sense the left thumb primarily. Then put your fist in the gap between the left thumb and the finger next to it. Rotate the fist from side to side inside of that space. Just rotate the fist from side to side. Let it be a loose fist so that it interferes neither with the breathing or the sensing. Then put your two hands down on the floor again side by side. Sense the left hand and the right one. Compare them. Then give your attention back to the left hand. Push down a little with your left thumb. Just gently, push down and make it a rhythmic pushing, doing it once and twice and three times and four times. Just push the thumb down. Do not do it too hard. Then, instead of doing it up to only four times, push once, then twice, then three and four and five times, then six times, then seven and eight and nine until you have gotten to where you are pushing down ten times in a row with your thumb. Then rest the hand on the finger tips and push down with the very tip of the thumb. Then do that rhythmically, once and twice and three times and four times. Then again rest the left hand on the floor alongside the right. Compare the sensations. Take note of the left and right wrists and whether one hand lies any flatter or closer, and whether one seems lighter or clearer in the body image. – 272 –

3. [#47] Thumb and Wrist

Now bring your hand up in front of you again. Put the tip of the right thumb at the base of the left. Push in and press down with the right thumb so that the left thumb has to move down. The left thumb will move towards the center of the hand, which is down. Then, with your right thumb, come around to the outside of the left thumb and push in and down so that you work the thumb down. Instead of moving it towards the center of the hand as you did before, you move it towards the bottom of the hand and towards the wrist. Use the right wrist and the lower part of the hand. Keep doing that gently. If you position the right thumb correctly, you will not have any trouble moving the left one in that direction. Now, with your right thumb, push against the back of the left thumb at its bottom. You push in and pull down so that the thumb has to come back a little. The right thumb is at the base of the left thumb on the outside, and you press in and down with the right thumb. That pulls the left one back. Then stop. Now, just put the left thumb in the center of the palm of the right hand. Just let it rest across the palm. Use it to press against the right hand with its full length. It is the inside of the left thumb which is pressing against the palm of the right hand. All these light, easy pressures on different parts of the right hand are what we are doing. Put the hands on the floor again. Make a light fist with the left hand. Close the left thumb over the outside of that fist. Just keep opening and closing the left hand, making a fist and exerting a slight pressure with the left thumb on the outside of the fingers that you close to make the fist. Observe closely that the instructions to make a fist will often tend to inhibit breathing. The fist is associated with fighting and making any kind of fist will usually engender enough of an emotional response that, if you watch, you will see at least some inhibition of the breathing. Now stop. Shake out your left hand. Shake it a few times and put it on your leg. Caress your leg with your left hand, especially your thumb, the inside of the thumb, the outside of the thumb, the top, the bottom, the tip of the thumb. Keep on rubbing it against your leg. Be sure that all of the thumb gets to make some repeated contacts with the leg. Do the same thing with the floor. Rub the thumb all over the floor and let it sense the floor. Rub it very lightly and then with a little more pressure. Sometimes orient yourself towards sensing the floor and sometimes towards the sensation in the thumb itself. Now take hold of your right hand with your left one so that the four left fingers are on top of the right hand. The left thumb can press against the palm of the right hand. Keep pressing into the palm of the right hand with the left thumb in many different places. Press at the base of the right thumb, the base of the next finger and the next finger and so on. Press at the base of each finger of the right hand so that it has to move up and down as you press. Then just squeeze each of the fingers of the right hand lightly, using the left thumb and fingers next to it. Keep your focus on the thumb. Also squeeze the right wrist with the left hand, using especially the thumb. Keep on doing that, going all the – 273 –

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way up the right arm to the elbow and the biceps and the shoulder. Then come down. Always squeeze lightly with the left thumb. Do the same with your right leg, using your left finger and thumb. Then lie down and rest a minute. Now rap on the floor with your left hand. Then rap just with the thumb. Make it as light and quick and agile as you can. Then stop and rest a little, just sensing the hand and the thumb clearly. Then see how quickly you can make and release fists with the left hand. Exert a little pressure on the fingers with the thumb. Then see if you can put the thumb between the middle finger and the forefinger. Put it in there and take it out several times. Then try putting the thumb between the middle finger and the ring finger. Do that a few times. Then see if you can reach on over and put the thumb between the ring finger and the small finger. Then come back to the space between the middle finger and the ring finger and then the space between the forefinger and the middle finger. Then move the thumb towards the palm of the hand and take it back again. Sit up and rest a little. Make several more light fists with the left hand, sensing the contact of the thumb with the hand. See how many fingers you can lay it over, whether you can lay the thumb over the outside of all the fingers. Then let the left hand rest on the floor. Press down a few times with the whole hand. Just press lightly. Then press lightly with just the fingertips. Then bend your fingers so that your nails are on the floor. Press down lightly with the nails, with the fingers of the left hand. Press down and then straighten the fingers. Press down and then bend them and straighten them and bend them and straighten them. Do it gently. Then press down the tips of the fingers again, and then the insides of the fingers near the tips. Do it very quickly. Press and let go, press and let go. Do the same thing with the whole hand. It is not a rapping, just a light pressing with the whole hand. The hand remains on the floor. You just lightly press and take it away. Leave the palm on the floor. Do not break the contact. Then shake the hand out again. Once again, take hold of the left thumb with the right thumb and forefinger and shake it. Make it ripple. Also move it in circles, using the right thumb and forefinger to rotate the left thumb one way a number of times and then the other way. Use very light movements. Take it over into the palm of the hand and take it away. A number of times, open and close the space between the thumb and the forefinger. Then pull the left thumb out as long as it will comfortably come, and rotate it at the same time. Elongate it as much as you can and rotate it a few times one way and a few times the other way. Then, one final time, make light fists with the left hand. Squeeze very lightly with the left thumb on the floor. Then lie on your back with your palms down at your sides. Sense the left side and the right side, especially the left hand and the right hand, the left wrist and the right wrist, the left elbow and the right elbow, the left shoulder blade and the right one, the left side of the face and the right side. – 274 –

3. [#47] Thumb and Wrist

Rap a few times with the left hand. Then rap just with the thumb. Shake the hand a few times. Shake it quickly. Then sit up and keep doing that. Then stop. Put the two hands on your legs. See how the left hand and wrist feel and how the right hand and wrist feel. Rub the two hands simultaneously up and down your legs. Compare the touching. Remember always how they normally feel. With some, the right hand is ordinarily much more sensitive. Now shake the hands together. Shake them as fast as they will go. See which blurs and almost disappears. Shake them both as fast as you can. Compare the speed as determined by which blurs the most. Now stop. Get up and walk around a little bit. Shake the hand out a few more times. See if you notice if the left thumb moves any differently than it did in the beginning. Be aware also of the wrists.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME IV

4. [#48] Improving Walking by Working Mainly with the Big Toe Teaching time: 45 to 60 minutes

Sit down. Put your feet out in front of you where you can observe them. Put the feet flat on the floor so that they are standing. Raise the big toe of the right foot if you can. See how far it comes up, leaving the other toes down. Then raise the big toe of the left foot, however high it goes easily without strain. See if the effort to move one big toe causes movement in the other foot. Arrange yourself so that you can take hold of the left big toe easily with your right hand. Rotate it in a circle. Pull out on it gently as you rotate it. Be careful that you neither tear the skin of your foot as you do these things nor damage the toe by pulling or pushing too hard. Go in one direction for a while with your toe and then in the other direction. Then, instead of doing that, just take it back and forth however far it goes easily. You can also do it by holding both the big toe and the one next to it. Move one forward as the other goes back in a scissors-like movement. Focus your sensing, as always, on the kinesthetic sensations of movement, the tactile sensations of touch. Know exactly what the toes are doing, where they are in space in relation to each other. Then take the big toe as far towards the little toe of its foot as you can, so that the big toe crosses the tops of the other toes. Then take the big toe as far towards the little one as you can, moving it across the bottoms of the other toes. Keep doing that. Move it as if you would like to touch the small toe. In fact, as you try to bring the big toe over towards the small one from the top and then from below, also move the small toe towards the big one. Do them alternately, above and below. Then, should you become convinced that the big toe and the little toe are never going to meet, try the toe next to the little toe and see if you can make contact. See if they will meet both above and below. Then just enclose the big toe with the fingers of the right hand. Move the hand up and down over the encircled toe, using the toe to sense the hand for a while, and then the hand to sense the toe for a while. You enclose the whole toe with the hand, and the hand goes up and down on the toe. Then stop. Sit and observe the foot as it is placed on the floor in front of you. Now raise the left big toe a number of times. Then raise the adjoining toes, leaving the big one down. Then alternately raise the big one and the other four. It will work better if the foot is on a floor or other hard surface rather than on a mat. Now try, instead, to take the big toe out to the side. Widen the gap between the big toe and the other four. See whether if the space widens, it is because you are really taking the big toe away or because the other four toes are moving away. Hold the four toes down with your fingers and try moving the big one off to the side away – 276 –

4. [#48] Improving Walking by Working Mainly with the Big Toe

from them. Do it without holding your breath. The big toe moves out to the side along the floor, sliding out if you can do it. Widen the space between them. Take your fingers and do it. Just slide the big toe out and see how far it will go easily without any pain or risk of cracking the flesh. How big a space is it possible for you to have between the big toe and the adjoining ones without doing any damage to the toe? Wherever you can move it with your fingers, there you have the capacity to move it also with your brain and by using the muscles in the foot and toes. Then, having established how far it will go, see if you can move it without using the fingers at all. At the same time see if your other foot moves. Place the two feet side by side. Try moving the left big toe out and away from the others. You can also try moving the other toes away from the big toe. Breathe freely. Then see if you can do it without moving the right toes. In many cases, this effort results in contact being made with more primitive aspects of the nervous system. The feet are then not clearly differentiated, so that one foot moves when the other foot does. It is sometimes very hard to keep one foot and its toes completely unmoving while the other foot moves. For some people the primitive movements are very gross, while with others these are more subtle. But in almost all cases certain kinds of efforts to move the left foot elicit spontaneous involuntary movements in the right foot. Now stop. Pick up the left foot with your right hand. Put yourself in some comfortable position to do so. Then from below, with the left small finger, run it in and out between the left big toe and the adjoining four toes. Do it approximately twenty-five times. Then do it, always about twenty-five times, first with the next finger, and then with the middle one. Then run the thumb in and out. Continue on down the thumb until you put the wrist through. You can shift hands and do it from both above and below. See which is easiest. Go as far down as you can, all the way to the elbow and even further if you are able to do it. As you continue to slide the wrist, or the hand, in and out of that space, see if you can slide the whole arm up and down between the big toe and the adjoining ones. With some people it may be easier from above with one arm and with some from below with the other. Keep doing it and think of the space expanding. Take care not to crack the skin or force it prematurely. Let as much of the arm go between the toes as possible. Come all the way down to the wrist and then back up towards the elbow, however far you can go. You must have a bare arm if you want to do it right. Also, you must insert the arm repeatedly between each of the toes. Then lie down for a moment on your back and rest. Let your arms lie extended with the palms down and observe the sensations of length on the two sides. See whether your left leg feels longer than your right one. Then put them together and see if that impression is correct. Then sit up. – 277 –

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Let your feet stand side by side on the floor. Bring the two big toes up as high as you can bring them; then put them down. Do that several times, just as high as they will go. See whether the left one now goes higher than the right, or relatively so, if you know how they were in relation to each other in the beginning. If they were about the same, the left big toe should now go considerably higher than the right one. Now stop. Just slide the left big toe along the floor so that you sense the bottom of it. Slide it forward and backward along the floor. Alternately pay attention to what you can learn about the floor and then for a while to the sensations in the toe itself. Go back and forth from orientations that are primarily towards the external world on the one hand and your own subjectivity on the other hand. It is always, of course, your experience. Some physicist said that consciousness is always singular and never plural. When I was teaching philosophy we called that Solipsism. The further you go, however, in studying the brain and introspecting consciousness, the more difficult it is to avoid that position, so long as you do not insist upon the exclusiveness just of your own being. The idea of a truly shared consciousness or a really shared world is very difficult to maintain. By that we would mean that the perceptions are all alike. But each brain symbolically codes a reality of its own, and differences between individual “realities” can be extreme. Continue sliding the left big toe back and forth, Pay attention to those two orientations. Emphasize self and not-self. Then, instead of going back and forth, circle with the big toe on the floor. Then once again take the left big toe in one hand and let the other hand take hold of the other four toes and move them in opposite directions. Also bring the four toes towards the big toe and the big toe towards the four. Go underneath with the big toe one time and on top the next time. Alternate it. Bring all of the four toes in the direction of the big toe and the big toe in the direction of the four. Keep it a side-toside movement as much as you can. Be sure that when you take the toes away you take them as far as they will go in both directions without stretching or tearing. In other words, the big toe and the small toe approach each other as closely as possible from both above and below. Then they move as far apart from each other as it is possible for them to get by your hands taking them in that direction. Do it a little more quickly. The four toes go forward as the big toe goes back. Flex one as you extend the other. Then continue to do it, but treat the big toe and the adjoining one as a unit and the other three as a different unit. Then stop. Make some circles with the left big toe, using your right hand to do it. Move it in a circular position clockwise and then counterclockwise. Make the largest and most perfect circles that you are able to make. Then, when you have experienced a larger number of circles, see if you are able to make a circle with the big toe by itself. It is all right to hold the other toes if you think that will help you. – 278 –

4. [#48] Improving Walking by Working Mainly with the Big Toe

If you were an orangutan or a chimpanzee and could grasp the concept, it would be easy for you to do it, even circling in both directions. The musculature of the human foot is certainly not as well constructed for that as are the feet of some primates whose feet are close to the human, but still have that kind of flexibility and capacity to move that human beings once possessed and make regular use of. It is interesting that the foot of the human baby is a lot like the chimpanzees in many respects. Then later is becomes more of a human foot. Similarly, the foot of a gorilla is very much like the foot of smaller primates when it is a baby, but then because of its great weight it has to come down out of the trees and move on the ground, and the foot gets less flexible and more like a human foot. It has to make somewhat the same adaptation within the span of a single lifetime that human beings made over vast spans of time. Of course, it makes it much less well, but it is generally the same process. Anyway, see if you can make circles with the toe. Since it is so easy to move it in a circular movement with the fingers, quite possibly it can be done without using the fingers. But is it possible in both directions? Now stop and put the foot down on the floor again. Run your fingers along the inside and the outside of the left big toe. Sense the toe very clearly. You can do it with three fingers so that one also goes over the top of the toe. One is on each side and one is on the top, sliding them back and forth. Now once again simply raise the toe up high and put it down, however high it will go without strain. See if it will go almost straight up, however high you can point it towards the ceiling. Keep the other toes down. Then just rap with the big toe a number of times. Then leave the big toe down and rap with the other four toes. Then alternately rap with the big toe and the other four. See how quickly you can do It. Breathe freely. See if you can make it a really quick, agile movement, the four coming up as the big one goes down and the four going down as the big one comes up. Then stop. Lie down a moment. Sense your feet. Sense the left foot and the right foot. See where the greatest clarity is in the body image, in the toes, and in the feet. Do you sense the toes of the left foot with equal clarity or do you sense some of them better than others? Are any of the three middle toes of that foot included in what you sense? Perhaps you sense some of the middle toes but not others. See if you sense the toes of the left foot as well as the rest of the foot. Also compare it to how you sense the right foot, and compare the feelings of length on the two sides. Then slowly roll to one side and get up, without bringing the head up first. Walk around, and keep walking. See what you notice now about what the toes of the left foot are doing when you walk, and what the toes of the right foot are doing. See if the toes of the left foot are much more involved in the walking than the toes of the right foot are. Do they push up and assist the walking as the toes always should? Everyone should now be aware that the toes of the right foot do not give the same help to the foot that the toes of the left foot do.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME IV

Walk and really get a clear idea of what your nervous system absorbed, that lesson of experiencing a much better example of what the toes should do when you walk and how they can help. It gives a springiness to the foot and to the walking when the toes have become more functional. Next time you can work on the right big toe, and to some extent on the other toes of the right foot, so that it has the primary experience of participating in the walking much more as it should. Also it will be much clearer in the body image. Note also the increased involvement of the whole foot, which means that you come up more onto the toes as the foot leaves the floor. When the walking is as it should be, the heel comes down and rolls over the bottom of the foot, which is flexible, and onto the ball of the foot. Then you come up onto the bottoms of the toes, and then onto the tips of the toes. The last thing to leave the floor is the tip of the big toe or, if you have a “Grecian” toe [the one next to the big toe is longer), the tip of that one will leave last. The tip of the longest toe will be the last thing to leave. Every part of the foot will make some contribution to the walking. Nothing will be left out or excluded. When all parts make their proper functional contribution, then you are likely to have a healthy foot.

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5. [#49] Freedom through Awareness: a Practical Demonstration

5. [#49] Freedom through Awareness: a Practical Demonstration Teaching time: about 60 minutes

The following exercise demonstrates in a practical way the Importance of awareness for freedom. The power of focused awareness will be used to alter the selfperception, the organization, and the functioning of the body, making it more free. As usual, a considerable number of movements will be performed, and each movement should be repeated about twenty-five times. As far as possible, the movements will be simultaneous and identical for both sides of the body. As far as possible, awareness will be the only variable with which we work. This means that while the right and left sides of the body execute identical movements, awareness will be focused on one side only. The exercise should provide an effective demonstration for everyone, but the strength of the effects experienced will depend to some extent upon how well the individual concentrates or maintains the focus of attention. The greatest changes will, of course, be experienced by those who are able to maintain unwavering concentration on the movements and sensations as directed. Now, before beginning, it is important to carefully observe your selfperceptions, your musculoskeletal organization, and your functioning as they are at present. To begin with, lie on your back with your hands at your sides, palms down, and scan your body. Compare your awareness of the parts of your body. Compare the right foot with the left, the right shoulder with the left, and so on. Note how your body lies, and compare the two sides. Compare the contact with the floor. Flex and extend the various joints, continuing to make comparisons. Note how you breathe through your two nostrils, comparing, and whatever else you sense as you breathe. Close your eyes for a moment. Leave the right one closed and open the left, noticing how clearly you see the ceiling above you, and your perception of the light in the room. Now open both eyes for a moment. Then close the left eye, open the right, and again note the clarity and light. Compare what you saw with each eye. Rap with both hands on the floor and listen. Be sure the rapping is equal and try to detect if you hear the rapping equally. In any other ways you can think of, compare the two sides of your body. And now lie quietly with palms down at your sides. In a moment we will begin the experiment. The demonstration should succeed to some extent in every case. However, the most dramatic results will occur when the concentration is good; that is, when close attention is paid to the designated movements and sensations, and the mind and the sensing do not wander. In other words, the quality of the awareness will determine the degree of the changes in self-perception, bodily organization and functioning. Now take hold of your elbows with your hands and move your arms from left to right. Throughout the exercise you will pay attention only to the designated – 281 –

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movements and sensations on the left side of your body. As you see here, the left side and the right side are executing virtually identical movements, but focus on the left side only unless told otherwise. Pay attention now to the movement in your left shoulder joint. Go left to right, focusing on the movement in the left shoulder joint. Notice that there is also movement in the left elbow joint. Closely attend to that movement and the movement in the shoulder as well. If your head wants to go with the movement, allow it to do so, but let your awareness be as exclusively as possible of the left side of your head and neck. With that, you continue to note the movements and sensations in the left shoulder joint and the elbow. Be sure that the movements you perform are identical on the two sides. This may become increasingly difficult as there occurs a differentiation between the functional capacities of the two sides. But try to keep the movement the same. Now rest with your arms at your sides and with the palms down. Allow your left and right hands to move down and then up, the palms remaining on the floor. The hands slide down toward your feet and then slide back up toward your waist. The hands and the arms are extended so that the movement is, of course, in your shoulder joints. Pay attention to the movement in the left shoulder and the left hand. You do exactly the same movement on the right side but pay attention only to the movement on the left side. Now stop and compare for a moment how you sense your left hand as compared to your right, your left shoulder as compared to your right, the length of the two arms. Now bend your legs and let the legs sink to the left and then to the right but, as you do that, focus your awareness on the left leg. Notice that when you go left you go onto the outside of your left foot. When you come right, first the sole of the left foot rests on the floor, and as you continue you go onto the inside of your left foot. Continue the movement back and forth, noting how you move from the outside, past the sole to the inside of your left foot. Sense also your left knee as it describes an arc through space. Sense the movement in the left hip and note any tendency to move farther to the left than to the right. If your movement has become more extensive to the left, equalize it so that awareness truly remains the only variable. Try observing simultaneously the sensations experienced by the left foot, the knee and the hip. Try sensing the entire left leg as you move side to side. Is there any difference between the movement to the left and the movement to the right that now cannot be easily adjusted and equalized? Then stop. Extend your legs, and rest, observing how the left leg and right leg lie. Note the contact each makes with the floor. Note the feelings of length in the two legs, and the clarity with which you perceive them. – 282 –

5. [#49] Freedom through Awareness: a Practical Demonstration

Now let both of your feet move to the outside and then bring them back to their starting point. But pay attention only to the left foot. Note that this movement is a rotation out, by the hip joints, and focus your awareness on the left hip joint. Deliberately initiate the movement from there, rather than thinking about moving the left foot to the left. Both legs continue to move but your attention remains with the left leg, the movement in the hip, and how the entire leg and foot feel. Is the movement more comfortable on one side than on the other? Is there any discomfort on one side that the other side does not experience? Again pause and rest, focusing very largely on the left side, though briefly noting ways in which it may differ from the right side. Notice in what direction your eyes now are looking. Does your head lie on its back so that you face directly upward, or does it incline somewhat to one side? Now bend your legs once again so they stand on the soles of the feet. Extend your arms above you towards the ceiling and clasp your hands. Take your arms over to the left, allowing the left wrist to bend as you do so but keeping the rest of the arm extended. Then go over to the right, keeping the arm extended but bending the right wrist. However, maintain your attention on your left arm and the movement in the left wrist as you do that. Pay attention only to the left arm, to the left side of your head and your neck if they join in the movement. And be sure that the movement is equally extensive on both sides and otherwise the same to the extent that is possible. Now stop, and allow your palms to rest on your chest. Then bring the arms and elbows down toward your sides, and raise them back to shoulder height. Continue doing that, observing the movement in the left shoulder and arm. Make circles with the elbows, sensing what you do on the left side. Circle clockwise and counterclockwise. And then stop, leaving the hands on the chest and the upper arms at shoulder height. And just lift the upper arms up and down in a flapping movement, paying attention, of course, to the movement and the sensations on the left side. Now rest with your hands down at your sides, palms down. Note how the left side is lying and then briefly the right side. Rap with the backs of your knees on the floor, and focus on the bending of the left knee and its contact with the floor. Stop that and raise your hands towards the ceiling, arms extended, but wrists limp and hands and fingers dangling. And rap with the backs of the shoulders on the floor, noting what it feels like in the left shoulder, and the left shoulder's contact with the floor. And put the arms down. Breathe in and out and focus your attention on the breathing in the left nostril. When you have focused on the left nostril you should be able to feel the chest expanding on the left side, as the lung on the left side inflates. Also sense what happens on your left side with the exhalation. Inhale and exhale, focusing on the passage of the air on the left side and any and all movement on the left side involved in the breathing. Is there movement in your left shoulder when you inhale and exhale? How much of your back on the left side is involved? As you exhale and inhale slowly, look up with your eyes when you inhale and look down with your eyes – 283 –

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as you exhale, leaving the eyes closed and paying attention only to the movement and sensation in the left eye. Now rap with both hands lightly on the floor. Pay attention to the feelings in the left hand. But as you do that, notice whether you hear equally the sounds made by the two hands. Or do you hear more of the sound of one hand rapping? And what happens if you deliberately decide to hear better on the left side? Now stop the rapping and slowly open your right eye and look at the ceiling. Observe what you see and also observe how much light there seems to be in the room. Then close the eye. Slowly open the left one. Look at the ceiling. Note how clearly you are able to see it, and how much light there appears to be in the room. Try it with the right eye again, closing the left. Then close the right one and look with the left again. And do it several times. Is there any difference in the clarity of vision and in the amount of light perceived by the two eyes? Compare this with the comparison you made at the beginning. Now for a moment take your two hands and make them into fists. Roll them outward and bring them back, focusing on the movement in the left arm. And do the same thing with the legs. Rotate the feet to the outside and bring them back, focusing on the left side. And rotate the hip joints and the shoulder joints to do it, simultaneously focusing on rotations in the left hip joint and the left shoulder joint. Then stop. Finally bend your legs so that the feet are standing on the floor. And a few times take the legs left and right, paying attention to the movement in the left leg, foot and hip joint. Is there any difference in how you move to the left and to the right? Let the feet stand and clasp your hands above you towards the ceiling. Let the legs down and let the arms go left, with the left wrist bending, and then right with the right wrist bending, paying attention to the movement in the left shoulder, the left wrist, and the sensations in the left arm. See if the movement feels the same on the left and the right sides. Lie quietly with your arms at your sides. Compare the contact with the floor on the two sides, the clarity of the body image on the left side and the right side, the left side of your face and the right side, your left shoulder and your right, your left hand and arm and your right, the left side of your chest, and how you breathe now. The left side of the pelvis and the right, the left and right legs and the feet. Then slowly roll to one side and stand up. Sense what it feels like. Compare the contact of the feet with the floor. See where you want to place your weight. Do the two sides of your body feel equally alive? Walk around and compare the contact of the feet, the movement in the two shoulders. Stand still and try turning to the left and turning to the right. See if the turning is different in one direction more extensive, and if it feels better. Raise your left arm overhead, and then your right arm. Which arm feels lighter and moves more freely? – 284 –

5. [#49] Freedom through Awareness: a Practical Demonstration

Walk again and compare the movements in the knees, the hip joints, and see if it is really clear to you now that the condition of one side of your body has unmistakably altered as compared to the other. If the body image is more clear on the left side, then the awareness has altered your self-perception. If the body feels longer, lighter, better on the left side, then the organization has been altered and with that the functioning, as you can see or sense, by comparative movements. As an individual learns to concentrate better, these effects increase markedly. Awareness itself is a healing force as well as a force that brings about other improvements. But it must be a positive awareness if the effects are to be positive. In exactly the same way a negative awareness of the self, the body, or parts of the body can impair self-perception, interfere with proper organization, cause functioning to deteriorate, and produce illness and even death. It is important to try to grasp the many implications of what you have just experienced. Try to develop your understanding further, and find productive ways to apply such a fundamental and profound fact of your existence. (This exercise, not previously published, was created by Dr. Robert Masters and is usually given to somewhat advanced students of his Psychophysical ReEducation programs.)

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME IV

6. [#50] Breathing Awareness Teaching time: about 45 minutes

We will do some basic sensory awareness training to test both your powers of self-observation and also to teach you some things about your functioning while sharpening the sensory perception. The emphasis will be on breathing — how you do it, how to do it better. To begin with, sit up in a position that is easy for you to maintain. Place the soles of the feet together, if that is comfortable for you. Just breathe up and down along the line running through the middle of your body. Think of a line that runs right through the middle from the crotch on up to the middle of the breastbone, on up to the nose and between the eyes. Breathe up and down and observe your breathing. Then try breathing in to the count of five, holding for a count of five, and breathing out for the count of five. Try to make it an equal count so that the inhalation and the exhalation and the space in between are all exactly equal. Then try doing the same thing, but see if you can breathe in to a ten count. Hold it for ten and breathe out for ten. Again, the breathing should be equal. See whether you can really double the duration or whether you have to do it by counting faster. Double the duration if you can. See if that also means that you double the volume of your intake. As you increase the intake, try to be aware of where the breath goes. Where does the additional expansion take place to contain that additional amount of air? Then see if you can expand it to fifteen. If that increases the volume, try to be aware of where it goes. Just do whatever is easy. Do not inflict any suffering on yourself. Obviously, the greater the volume intake, the greater the change is in the expansion of the rib cage and whatever else you notice to accommodate that intake. See if one part of this is more difficult than another. Is it more difficult to inhale to the count of fifteen, or to hold, or to exhale, or is it all the same? If the numbers get beyond your capacity, just continue doing what you can. If you can increase it even a little, do that. Just do what is within your own means. Do not worry about the quantity. Do not compete with yourself or anyone else. Now try going to twenty. You must be sitting in such a way that your upper body has some freedom so that you are not tightening the rib cage. Try to be aware of what else happens. Do your shoulders rise and fall as you inhale and exhale? See if you notice movement in your hands. When you breathe in, the shoulders will necessarily raise somewhat and with that, your hands will rise. See if you can discern it.

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6. [#50] Breathing Awareness

Now, if you can, go on to twenty-five. I am going to stop at that number, but when you do it on your own try to see how far you can go and whether, again, the inhalation, the exhalation and the holding in between are equal, or whether one is easier or more difficult than the others. Do it in such a way so that you do only that amount where it Is easy to include all three within whatever number you are working with. Now forget about numbers and just breathe in and out as freely and easily as you can. Carefully observe your breathing. Sense it as it comes in through the nose and see where you can follow that intake. Try to follow the air down into your body. Then try to follow it out again. See to what extent you can succeed in following it in and following it out, while noting what happens with all of your body as you breathe. Particularly, get a sense of what is your optimal breathing In terms of volume and where it goes, and what your rib cage does, what your abdomen does. Then lie down on your back. Continue breathing. See how lying on your back affects you. Compare it with the breathing when you were sitting up. See whether, when lying on your back, the volume you take in is the same and the breathing is the same duration or whether it changes. Also observe where it goes and how that changes. Then try counting for a little while. See where you go as compared to what you did sitting up. Try to keep the volume about the same in relation to the numbers. Then, leaving your arms down at your sides, roll over onto your stomach. Just breathe. One of the things you may learn, by observing how you breathe in these different lying positions, is what is a good way for you to lie when you are sleeping, insofar as the breathing is concerned. You will see which positions inhibit the breathing most and which positions facilitate it most. You can try turning your head and also putting it on its forehead or the chin. See how many counts you can take in, and where it goes. Continue to make those observations, putting your hands up at a level with your head. Then put your hands above your head and see how that affects your breathing. Extend them a little and extend them more. Then, on the basis of this experimentation, place your hands and arms in the position that allows you to breathe optimally while lying on your stomach. What allows you the greatest volume of intake and the feelings of greatest freedom in your body? What is most comfortable? Then lie on your right side. Observe how you can breathe in that position and how what you do with your right arm may affect it. Be aware of what parts of the body move with the inhalation and what parts move with the exhalation. Try to sense the breath coming in and where it goes, and how the breath leaves your body, and what position you might get into that improves it. If you think of this just in terms of something that may improve your sleeping, you can see the benefit of making careful observations because your nervous system will remember what you learn. Also remember that placing the head on the arm, for example, is so negative in its effect on the circulation that it will offset any – 287 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME IV

advantages you might get with the breathing. Actually, if you sense carefully, you will find that positions which are detrimental in one way will not really facilitate doing something useful or beneficial. The body will rarely ever work against itself in such a way that one thing you do will improve your health while also making demands that in some other way will cause you to injure yourself. Now try lying on your left side. Compare that with the breathing on the right side. See if the same positions facilitate and hinder the breathing, or whether this side calls for a somewhat different arrangement. Once again, see how high you can count. Relate that to the volume of intake, not just how fast you can do the counting. Relate it to where it goes. Once again, do it lying on your back. This time experiment a little in that position. Try it now not just with your arms down at your sides, but also above your head on the floor or wherever else you may try to put them. Try also to make the back loose and supple so it does not lie rigid against the surface underneath you and inhibit the movement of the breath into the back of your rib cage. Hug your chest. Put your hands under your armpits and breathe so that you force the breath into the back of the rib cage and you can feel clearly that you breathe into your back. If the rib cage in the back was inflexible before, now by hugging your chest you begin to force the air back there and it begins to expand and move. You are aware of it. It should be a pleasant feeling, like a part of you coming to life that was dead. Put as much breathing back there as you can. You put as much pressure on the front of your chest, without it being painful, as is necessary to get as much breathing in the back as you can. See if you can gradually release the pressure on the chest while retaining the movement in the back. Deliberately breathe into your back, directing the flow there with your consciousness. See if you can keep it, while gradually releasing the pressure on your chest. Sense just as clearly as you can the breathing in the back. It is very important to have that movement. When you do not breathe in the back, you deny yourself a very large part of the breathing capacity that you have and the whole organism suffers for that. Therefore, it is extremely beneficial to become conscious of the breathing in the back and make the ribs flexible there. That same flexibility can also protect against many kinds of injuries. If the ribs are rigid and brittle in the back, it is conducive to injury. As you breathe into your back, again try to follow the breath in and follow it out. Observe what else is happening as you breathe. Try to make it a total observation. Now bring yourself back to a sitting position. Continue to breathe consciously in and out, following the movement of the breath. Allow your upper body to be as flexible as possible. Breathe into your back as well as otherwise. Let the whole upper body be as loose and flexible as you can allow it to be while you follow the breathing. Make the breathing as expansive as you can without straining. See if it

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6. [#50] Breathing Awareness

feels to you as if the breathing moves up the center of your body so that it is approximately symmetrical on the two sides. Breathe in to the count of ten, hold for ten and breathe out for ten. Try to equalize the duration of each of these periods of counting. Also try to have the feeling that you inhale and exhale the same amount. Then try inhaling to the count of fifteen and exhaling to the count of fifteen and holding the breath in between for however long it feels appropriate. If that is also for a count of fifteen, do it, and if it is for a shorter or longer period, do that. Be aware of what you do. Be aware of the duration that does seem appropriate when you retain the breath between the inhalation and the exhalation. Try not retaining your breath at all. Just begin to exhale as soon as you end the inhalation. Feel how inappropriate that is, that you have to work like a bellows to do it. There must be some period in between the breathing in and the breathing out when the breath is retained. Try to be conscious, probably for the first time, of how the duration of the breath retention relates to the duration of the inhalation and the exhalation. Extend that on up to the count of twenty if it is easy. Feel what happens in your rib cage and shoulders and your hands and face, everything that is involved in that breathing. Then, on your own for a while, see if you can increase the duration to twentyfive or thirty or thirty-five or forty or fifty, whatever you might do. What is the sitting position that most greatly facilitates the breathing Try to retain the feeling of breathing into the back. Follow it in and follow it out. Then without any regard for any of that, just breathe in and out in whatever is the fullest, most pleasurable inhalation and exhalation that you can do. Involve the greatest freedom of the upper body. Everything is as relaxed as possible, all the muscles are as free and as loose as you can make them. Observe the breathing in and the breathing out. Then, for just a moment, lie on your back and breathe. Just see what you breathing feels like. Does the breathing in the back feel any less constricted or inhibited than it did when you lay down before? Have you acquired some freedom in the upper body as you lie on your back? Having observed that, sit up and then stand or walk around and just quietly observe your breathing for a little while longer in each of these three positions. Let it be free and easy and coordinate it with your movements.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME IV

7. [#51] Neural Reprogramming Teaching time: about 45 minutes

To begin with, lie on your back. Your arms are at your sides and your palms are facing down. Arrange yourself so that you lie as symmetrically as possible. Do it without looking. Rely on your other senses to inform you concerning the positions of the various parts of your body. Only when you have done that, if you feel some need to, look and see if, for instance, your hands are equally distant. Are there equal distances between your fingers? You might also note if your feet are similarly positioned or if one goes out more to one side than the other, so that the rotations in the hip joints are dissimilar. This means, of course, a different and asymmetrical organization of the muscles and the two sides. I might add that I have just been reading a book about breathing by a man whose books on Yoga are supposed to be the best ones. He is writing this book for his own students and for advanced students of Yoga, so it is presumably for people who have been studying Yoga for a long time. At one point he was telling them to sit with their eyes closed and establish a certain breathing pattern. Then he said that after they had done that, they should open their eyes and see if they were sitting symmetrically. This is an incredible thing for one of the most advanced teachers to be telling his pupils, that they have to look and see where they are. I could not believe it when I read it. Remain lying down with the back of your head lying on the floor. Make some circles with your nose. At the same time as you do that, be aware that the back of your head is making circles on the floor. In fact, you are making circles with your head. Now think of circling with your head rather than only with your nose. Notice whether how you conceptualize makes a difference in the movement. Try circling again for a moment with your nose. Then circle with the head and also make the largest circle that you can. Note whether the focus on the nose restricts the movement and whether thinking of moving the whole head is a liberating thought, so that it makes an easier and larger movement possible. If you can make as large a movement thinking of moving your nose, then observe if you are not somehow failing to focus on your nose but are allowing yourself to give thought to moving the whole head. Let the head lie still. Circle with the base of your spine on the floor. In other words, make circles with your pelvis. Rotate your pelvis. Rotate it for a while in the direction that you spontaneously moved it in. Be aware of what direction that was. Then rotate it for a while in the opposite direction. Note whether you are now moving clockwise or counterclockwise. Stop. Be aware simultaneously of your head and your pelvis. Be aware of them as those two structures that exist at the opposite ends of your spine. Then circle with both simultaneously. Notice in what direction you rotate your head and in which direction you rotate your pelvis.

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7. [#51] Neural Reprogramming

Stop and rotate just the head. See if you move spontaneously in the same direction that you moved it when you moved it with the pelvis. Now rotate the head in the opposite direction a few times and then stop. Then rotate the head again. Then rotate the pelvis in the opposite direction. Try rotating the pelvis in one direction and the head in the other direction. Ask yourself why there should be any difficulty about opposing those two movements. Start very slowly moving one in one direction and the other in the opposite direction. Breathe freely as you do it. Then look for any other signs of mental or emotional struggle. Move one in one direction until that is clearly established and then try bringing in the other one in the opposite direction. You can begin either with the pelvis or the head. If you find that it is any easier to start with one rather than the other, then do that. Then stop and rest. Make some circles with your eyes. Make them clockwise a few times and then counterclockwise a few times. There should be no difficulty in moving in either of those directions, although the circles themselves may be imperfect. If some eye muscles are improperly functioning they may obstruct the circling. You may find yourself unable to complete a circle, or you may make an ellipse or whatever. Try to make a circle. Then let the head circle with the eyes, but make sure that the eyes do in fact continue to circle and do not just passively ride along as if they were just passengers in the head. You are doing two things. You are circling with the head and circling with the eyes. Then stop. See if you are able to circle in one direction with the eyes while circling in the opposite direction with the head. Start slowly. Again, why should this present a difficulty? Is the difficulty mechanical? The correct answer is that it is not, if by mechanical we mean that the muscles necessarily impede those movements. The blockage is rather in the brain and in the nervous system. We will see that it extends to such movements as opposing rotations or circles that are performed by many different parts of your body. However, the blockage is of varying degrees of severity, and in some cases is very easy to eliminate. In other cases it may be slightly or considerably more difficult to eliminate. We will see that sometimes a very simple reconceptualization of a problem by the mind will suffice to release the inhibited brain cells and reorganize the whole mind-body system so that no further obstruction exists, unless we once again start to think of the problem in the faulty way we did before we solved it. This is an interesting exercise. You will find that it will reward you and if you can learn to do the tasks that are outlined here and that we will experiment with, you will reap some rich rewards that I will discuss later on. Sit up. Put your hands out in front of you. Let your thumbs be parallel to the floor and separate from the rest of your hand. Let them point towards each other. Now rotate the thumbs so that they make circles. Make forward rotations for a while and then backward rotations. It is better that you do not rest them on your legs but hold them out in front of you. Now stop. – 291 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME IV

Rotate the right thumb, just the right one. Then rotate the left one in the opposite direction. Now just rotate the right thumb in one direction. You have rotated the thumbs together easily in both directions. Now keep them in front of you, facing each other, parallel to the floor. They must be parallel for reasons that you will see. Now stop rotating that thumb and just rotate the other one in the opposite direction to what you have been doing. See if that thumb has difficulty now moving as compared to the other one. Now move both thumbs in the direction that you have been moving the one thumb in. See that there is no problem involved in going in that direction. You are going to have to keep the thumbs parallel to the ground. Now, instead of holding the thumbs parallel to the ground, make them vertical. Rotate them in any direction that they spontaneously go. See if now the thumbs spontaneously move in opposite directions as long as they are vertical. See whether they go clockwise or counterclockwise. Try moving them both in the same direction so that they both go clockwise. You will probably find that that is more difficult than opposing them, but still it can be done without much difficulty. The thumbs are vertical now. If you do not do these horizontal and vertical positions that I am describing to you, you will miss the whole point of the exercise. Stop. With the forefinger and the finger next to it in a vertical position, make rotations. Try not to make it a rotation of the whole hand, but just of the fingers. In other words, do not rotate your wrists, just your fingers. See whether that one is spontaneously of opposite or same direction rotations. If the fingers spontaneously go in opposite directions, try to make them go in the same direction. You must keep them in a vertical position, with the fingers pointing up. Allow the wrists to participate and see if, by so doing, you make it still easier to rotate either in the same direction or in opposite directions. Let the wrists move. Now the whole hand is doing it. The fingers remain in vertical position. Then stop allowing the wrists to move and just do it with the: two fingers. See if it is easier now for those two fingers to go in the same direction or to oppose each other. Now, just with the thumbs in a vertical position, see if you can rotate those in the same direction without too much difficulty, more easily than you could do before. Then with the thumbs held parallel to the ground, see if you can manage to oppose the rotations. Then lie on your back and rest. Draw circles with your feet and toes. See if the rotations oppose each other or not, and in which direction they go. You are moving the two separately, not as one unit. You are moving them as separate entities. Make circles with the left foot and make circles with the right foot. The feet are lying on the heels. Let the foot rest on its heel with the legs extended as you make the circles. Make circles clockwise and counterclockwise. Let both feet circle in the same direction and do them clockwise and counterclockwise. Then circle with one foot going right and one foot going left. Then just reverse those two directions and see if now the opposition of the two becomes somewhat more difficult. Stop. – 292 –

7. [#51] Neural Reprogramming

Consider them to be a kind of unit so that you simply circle with both at the same time in opposing directions. Note that if you think of moving both feet as a unit but in opposing directions, it is extremely easy to do it. There is no bending of the knees. The circling is from the ankles. If you think of moving both feet as a unit, but moving them in opposite directions, for most people that is easy. However, if you think of going clockwise with the right foot while going counterclockwise with the left, so that you are doing two actions instead of one, then somehow the whole thing is more difficult to do, especially at first. Try it both ways. Now leave your feet alone. Put your hands on your chest and make circles with your elbows. Note if those circles spontaneously move in the same direction or in opposition. Circle to the front and down in a clockwise movement with the right elbow while circling up and back in a counterclockwise movement with the left one. See if it is the same with the elbows as with the thumbs — if you leave them down pretty much parallel to the ground, they go in the same directions, but if you bring them up towards the ceiling, suddenly they oppose each other, spontaneously. Now lower them. Go back to circling in a clockwise movement with the right elbow and counterclockwise with the left. Keep it down low enough so that there is some difficulty in it. It is not the body's preferred choice. Then oppose the movements. Reverse the direction of the circling that each elbow is doing. If you have difficulty opposing them, then stop and very slowly circle in one direction with the right elbow and in the other with the left. You will probably find that you can execute this without any great effort. It is comparatively an easy opposition to achieve. Then stop and rest a minute. Bring your knees back towards you a little so that your lower legs are dangling. Make circles with your knees. Are the movements in opposition or are they in the same direction? Here you may become aware of a factor not encountered by you before or which has not entered into your consideration. It is possible to circle with both knees at once by rotating the pelvis without any rotation in the hip joints, or almost none. Done this way, the knees circle as a unit clockwise or counterclockwise, but they cannot possibly oppose one another. If, however, the circles are made by the two legs separately while rotating from the hip joints, then the movements would probably tend to oppose one another. Try it. Then circle in the same direction with the knees while continuing to rotate the legs from the hip joints. Also continue to move the legs separately. Do not just rotate your pelvis. Do what you were doing a moment ago when you opposed them. They are two separate movements, but just move the legs in the same direction. Be sure that this is what you are doing. Stop and oppose the leg movements a minute, which you cannot do except by doing separate movements from the hip joints. Then, being sure that you continue to move from the hip joints, let them go in the same direction. Do not go back to just rotating the unit from the pelvis. Stop and rest again.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME IV

Rest your hands on your chest. Let your thumbs be parallel to your body just an inch or so above it. The remainder of the hand can rest on your body but the thumbs must be parallel. Then rotate them and see if they move in the same direction. Continue to circle while slowly raising them towards a vertical position. See what you observe now. Note that without any other changes whatsoever, the rotations of the thumbs have now come to oppose one another. See how it is a movement that Is In the same direction in one moment, and becomes a movement in opposing directions by means of a slight shift of the position of the thumbs from horizontal to vertical. How slight is the movement that is required for you to begin to experience what was the same direction rotation as an opposite direction rotation? Start parallel so that they are going in the same direction and very, very slowly move them towards the vertical. See if you can reach exactly that point where the shift occurs and Identify It. When do they stop going in the same direction and start going in the opposite direction? Breathe freely and see if you can come to the exact borderline where the movement changes. Now sit up. Put your thumbs out in front of you as you did earlier. Move them both in the same direction. Now move them in opposing directions. See whether you can do it with the thumbs horizontal as well as vertical. If you can do it with only one of those positions, try to understand why. Extend instead the middle and the forefinger. Circle those in the same direction. You are in the horizontal position. Move the fingers, not the whole wrist and hand. It is no good to move the whole hand. Try to be aware of what you are doing. If you can see that your whole hand and wrist are moving, then try to move just the fingers. There is no reason why the wrist has to rotate. Reverse so that they just circle in the opposite direction. Then oppose the circling of the fingers, one to the other. See if you cannot do that without putting them in a vertical position now. Stop again a moment. Leave your hands up there in a horizontal position. Circle with the two fingers in the same direction. Breathe freely. Reverse the direction of the circling with the two fingers. Do not oppose them, reverse them. Circle in one direction for a while and then circle in the other direction. The fingers should point towards each other. Then try opposing them so that one goes clockwise and one goes counterclockwise. See if now you can do it very easily. It was quite impossible before, but now you should find that most of you can do it. With practice it will become childishly simple to do that, and even with almost no movement in the wrist. Now lie on your back. Very slowly, try to circle in one direction with your pelvis while circling in the opposite direction with your head. Breathe freely as you do it. Stop and start again as often as you need to. Get a very clear idea of how the pelvis is going and try to move the head in the opposite direction. Sometimes it is possible to succeed in a complex movement like this if you take the pelvis north to west and the head from north to east and so on, doing it by quarters, or taking one of them to nine and the other to three on a clock. You are doing it a quarter of a movement at a time or a half movement, until you feel what it – 294 –

7. [#51] Neural Reprogramming

really is to oppose them. Try doing a few half-circles so that you circle with the pelvis just half a rotation in one direction and with the head half a rotation in the opposite direction. Practice that a while and then see if you can do just one successful circle. When you are able to do one, then try to do a few until eventually the old, repressive wiring in the nervous system is overcome. The first ones are the difficult ones. Then finally you should be able to make many smooth, easy rotations of the head and the pelvis in opposite rotations. Most likely, you will not do it on this occasion, although somebody might, but with practice it certainly can be done. Then similarly, by proceeding along the same lines, doing quarter and half movements, very slow movements and so on, you should be able to learn to oppose the eye movements to the movements of the head. You might complicate the matter a little further by opposing the movements of the head to the simultaneous movements of the eye and the pelvis. It is even possible while doing those three rotations to add on additional ones with the feet and the hands or knees and elbows or any combination of those, all rotating in various ways in relation to each other. As the difficulty increases and as the more difficult and complicated actions are successfully performed, so is the nervous system deprogrammed and the cells in the motor cortex disinhibited to an ever greater extent. That is why it is a very important thing to do. Such movements and such reprogramming and disinhibiting have a powerful effect on the human mind-body system. A sufficient amount of such work will allow the individual not only to move in many new ways not at all limited to just these exercise movements, but also to think of other things which could not be thought about before, and to feel, to sense and otherwise experience beyond the range of previous limitations. When you do have a breakthrough like that, there will not be any question in your mind that in fact you are thinking and sensing and feeling differently as a result of that neural reprogramming and breaking down of old patterns. Feel challenged to see how many opposing movements you can achieve. Discover how much else you might be able to achieve thereby. It is easy to remember the task because it is simply one of rotating parts of the body in opposition. The natural parts to oppose are those that you have two of, such as the feet, or the rotation in the hip joints when you move the knees in opposite directions, the two hands or the thumbs or the fingers of the hands, and also opposing the head to the pelvis or the eyes to the pelvis or the eyes to the head, and then bringing in those opposing rotations as best you can and making them simultaneously. This is one of the very best and most potent of all ways of breaking down those neural programs which are inhibiting ones. You will not break any that are valuable or constructive. You only break down the ones that are constricting and destructive or, if not destructive, at least obstructive. Now stop and rest. Let your arms lie at your sides. Allow your body to release. Go over it for a moment with a fractional, progressive relaxation where you let go of the toes, the feet and then the ankles, the pelvis and so on. Let go of any tension that you are aware of in your body, whether it is in the ribs or the wrists or the fingers or the shoulders, the – 295 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME IV

neck, the jaw, the mouth, the tongue, the face, the eyes, the scalp, whatever it may be. Let everything release. Let the muscles loosen and lengthen, the spine elongate, the back widen. Without reintroducing any tension, simply remember that now you have at your disposal a particularly useful and effective way to break through those kinds of inhibitions that are wired into the nervous system so that even simple tasks, or what should be simple tasks, are obstructed. The human being has many, many such obstructions. The ones in the brain naturally also appear in conscious life and in the unconscious as well as obstructions to all kinds of mental activities, whether it be remembering or thinking or imagining or whatever. Now we are finished. Roll slowly to one side without stiffening your neck and sit up or stand and move around whatever you may feel like.

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8. [#52] Expanding and Enriching Visual Perception — Circling Mostly

8. [#52] Expanding and Enriching Visual Perception — Circling Mostly Teaching time: about 90 minutes

We are going to do an eye exercise that will increase the mobility and the flexibility of the eye muscles. The rigidity of those muscles is surely a major factor in most of the problems that people have with their eyes. While this exercise will not eliminate every eye problem, some of you will find that your vision will definitely improve if you can find the motivation to do this and other similar exercises often enough. One of the things that I was thinking about when I was getting ready to do this exercise was the role of blinking in the health of the eye. It is very important to blink often enough. Then I was thinking about a problem that does not concern many people, but is a curious one. It has to do with professional hypnotists and their tendency of developing the habit of not blinking the eye. Then they have to relearn that habit, to consciously I earn to blink. Most of the people who come to you to be hypnotized, if you are a hypnotist, want you to look them in the eye and they want you not to blink. They take blinking as a sign of weakness. So you learn not to do that. In fact, eye contact in this culture, and in a number of other cultures, is a sign of dominance, a sign that one is trying to assert dominance over another. Many people take it as a sign of aggressiveness if you hold eye contact with them. There have been many studies done of all kinds of subtle shadings of when the eye contact becomes aggressive, just how much of it is needed to establish that one is not fearful of the other or one is interested in the other. They deal with such questions as when somebody is looking at you in a hostile way, how long you should look at them before you turn your head away or blink to indicate that your strength has been demonstrated but at the same time you are not looking for trouble. In other societies, if you look at someone long they think you are trying to put a spell on them. This is especially true in some societies in Africa and in Latin America and in the South Pacific. It is considered a very serious matter if you look somebody in the eye too long. They think you are doing witchcraft or sorcery, and they may attack you. There are still other societies where the people maintain eye contact for long periods of time. It is considered a friendly thing to do. If you do not do it, then you are considered to be probably up to something. It is a sign that gives rise to suspicion of your entertaining bad designs on the person if you look away. They believe that you think that your eyes will reveal the designs that you have on them so that is why you are looking away, to conceal your intentions. In ordinary life it is important to continue to blink. If you find that for some reason you have lost your habit of blinking fairly often, then you should try to get it – 297 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME IV

back. It can usually be done in a rather short period of time by just deliberately blinking. That serves the function of reminding the brain that the eye blinks, and very soon that habit of blinking will reassert itself. Now stand up and walk around a little bit. Try to walk in your normal way, the way that you ordinarily do it. Observe what you do with your eyes, where you tend to look and how much of the environment is accessible to you. If the eye muscles are too tight, as they are in almost everyone, then your field of vision is not as large as it otherwise would be. The constricted eye muscles will, in time, lead to hardening of the lens and other problems. It is the hardening of the lens that affects most people between the ages of forty and fifty when they cannot see so well and cannot read the fine print. That kind of thing can be prevented if the eye muscles are kept loose and the eyes are mobile. The criterion for the correct use of the eyes apart from any defects is that you take in as much of your environment as possible. You see as far to the left and the right and up and down, and in all directions that it is possible for the eye to see, without any special effort. Some people block that healthy awareness of the environment by lowering the head or turning it to one side or tilting it back. With others, the head is fairly upright but the eyes look down or up or to the sides. Try to determine what you yourself do when you walk. Do you tend to look down so that your awareness is mainly of the floor and you do not see an adequate distance above you? Is it because you look down with the whole head or just with the eyes? Try to determine if you see equally to the left and to the right. If you see more to the left, see if your head is turned a little to the left. If you see more to the right, see if you hold your head turned a little to the right. If you think that you are looking up more than you should, see if that is because you are arching your neck. Now come back to your mat. Look around you a bit and try to see this room and everything in it as you believe an artist sees. Try to see all of the different colors and nuances of color, different shadings, differences of light, differences in depth of objects. Try to see better than you ordinarily do if you are not an artist. Notice the individual elements of the environment that stand out a bit, and then let them sink back into perspective. See a particular object that has more meaning for you than others. Also see if, by focusing on a particular object, you can invest it with meaning. See if there are parts of the environment that you relate to with more emotion than others. See if there are things that you look at that elicit memories or associations. There are some things that you see that would be easy to fantasize about or empathize with and other things that you do not want to have anything to do with. Then seat yourself in a way that is comfortable for you. For quite some time, until I tell you to stop, rub the palms of your hands together. When Bates developed his eye exercises, which are the foundation for most contemporary programs of eye exercises, he found that this was probably the single most beneficial thing for the eyes that you can do. You rub the palms together to – 298 –

8. [#52] Expanding and Enriching Visual Perception — Circling Mostly

excite the electromagnetic field, and then put the palms over your open eyes. Bates called it “palming." Now put the palms over your eyes and exclude all light. You arrange your palms so that no light comes in. Try to do it in such a way that you do not cut off the air coming in through your nostrils. If you experiment, you will find that you can completely exclude light. Keep the eyes open. Look into the blackness that you create. Your eyes are stimulated by the effects of rubbing your hands together. You should be looking into blackness. “Palming” has been included in almost every program of eye exercise or treatment since Bates discovered it. When you are looking into blackness, think of it as getting blacker and blacker. See if by thinking of the blackness that you are looking into, it is getting blacker still. The darkness in fact increases. Be aware that your eyes are open. Do not close them. Sometimes it is very easy to close the eyes and not know it when you are doing this. Now take the hands away a minute and rub them together again vigorously. Then once again put them over your eyes so as to exclude all light. When you feel that it is as black as you can get it by arranging your hands and by thinking that it is getting blacker and blacker, then close your eyes for a minute. Keep the hands as they are. You may find that it is lighter with the eyes closed than it is with the eyes open. If you do not find it so now, you may find it so later on. It is a curious phenomenon. With some people, images will begin to appear or forms that are not recognizable but that move or have several differences of color. Then open your eyes again and look into the blackness. Do not remove the hands unless told to. It spoils the effect. If you did do it briefly, rub the palms together again and then put them back over your eyes. Be sure that your eyes are open. See if you can see anything in the blackness. Sometimes one will see shapes like spirals and filigree and latticework that Heinrich Kleuver called the “form constants” of images and what some believe are the basic perceptions that reality is built of. If you have ever looked with eyes closed into a stroboscopic light, putting your eyes close up on the edge of it, you see the “form constants” in very vivid colors. Now if you see them at all, they will probably be barely discernible. Now roll onto your back, keeping your hands where they are, covering your eyes. See whether there seems to be more light with the eyes closed. Also note whether it is any different lying on the back than sitting. Then sit up again and rest, uncovering your eyes. As we progress with the exercise, it will continue to become lighter with the eyes closed than with the eyes open. The question naturally arises as to what the light is and where it is coming from. There is no scientific research at all that provides any basis for the existence of images in the brain. Nobody can find where they could be or what they could be. They have no basis for existence from a scientific point of view. The same is true of the images of the other senses. However, with the eyes, light is at least partially explained as phosphenes and other chemical actions, whereas it is very difficult to understand how a person can sense sounds and smells and so forth as an image in conventional scientific terms. – 299 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME IV

Again, sit comfortably. Either look at the wall in front of you or, if you cannot see the wall, imagine it in front of you. Imagine a clock dial that is about twice the size of a conventional circular wall clock. It is at least a couple of feet across. Move your eyes around the dial, going from one to two to three and so forth. Only the eyes should move. See if you can make a smooth circle with your eyes. When there are points where the circling is interrupted, also see if you can remain on the clock dial. Move in different directions and just circle around the wall. Try to touch every number with your eyes. Stop a minute. Hold the image of the clock. Do not move your eyes. Just move your head so that your circle is larger than the clock. That should be comparatively easy. You should not have any difficulty at all. Follow the circle as long as you move your head. Let the eyes just ride around in the head. Your whole head should move in a circular movement. Do some one way and some the other way so you do not get dizzy. Then hold the head still and circle just with the eyes again. Go around the clock counterclockwise. Observe any tendency in yourself to tighten the neck muscles or the jaw or the tongue or to hold the breath. Then try closing your eyes and circling with them. See if it is easier with the eyes open or with the eyes closed. Be sure that you are not making circles with your head, but are only moving your eyes. Make sure also not to tighten the muscles at the base of the neck and do not inhibit your breathing. Then open your eyes and make a much larger circle. Make the largest circle you can make right now. The circle can go up beyond the roof and down below the floor, out beyond the walls. Make the largest circle you can make. Go in one direction and then in the other direction. Then stop. Rub the palms of the hands together again for a while. Then put them over the open eyes and look into the darkness. Keep thinking that it is getting darker and darker. Now, without exposing the open eyes to light, roll onto your back. Continue to look into the darkness. Then, keeping your hands there, close your eyes. Observe again whether it is lighter with the eyes open or with the eyes closed. Remember that the hands are still over the eyes, excluding light from the environment. By closing your eyes, you are reinforcing the exclusion of light so that it should be much darker with the eyes closed, unless the light is coming from inside the brain, or wherever it is coming from. In fact, try thinking about it getting lighter and look for forms. See whatever may appear to you. Now as you lie there with your eyes closed, look over towards your left ear and then over towards your right ear. Then move between the left and the right. Do it by making an arc so that you come up under the top of your skull or over the top of it so that you are making a half-circle, a semi-circle upward as you look from one ear to the other. Keep going back and forth. The head stays in the middle, unmoving. Look for any signs that you are tightening your neck, your jaw or your face muscles as you make that semi-circle. Then stop a minute. – 300 –

8. [#52] Expanding and Enriching Visual Perception — Circling Mostly

Go straight across from the left to the right and back again. Look at the left ear and then over to the right ear and back to the left, a straight line right through the middle of your head. There is no arc at all. Then when you get to the right ear, pause there a moment. Then when you go back to the left ear, pause there a moment. Breathe freely. Loosen the muscles of your tongue so that they are free. If you succeed sufficiently when you pause on the left side, the tongue will have moved left. When you pause on the right side, the tongue will have moved right. See whether your tongue moves with the eye movements, if the movement is from one side to the other, or whether your tongue stays in the middle, or what it does. A few times, let the tongue go with the eyes back and forth across from one ear to the other deliberately. Then oppose the movement of the tongue to the movement of the eyes. See whether you feel any strain in the eyes as you do that. Then stop and just look left to right and let the tongue do whatever it will do. Let the movement from right to left be slow and let the eyes pause a moment or” either side as you observe whatever connection there may be between your tongue and your eyes. Then sit up and rest. Now close your eyes and make some circles inside as if your face were round. Just go around the outside of your face. See whether it is a continuous movement or whether there are places where you tend to pause and the movement gets a little jerky. Also see if the feeling of circularity and the feeling of movement is clear and that you can circle more easily than you could at the beginning. Then just circle over the bottom half of the circle from one ear to the other. Then circle over the top half, going back and forth. Do a half circle on the left side. Then do a half circle on the right side. Open your eyes. Project the image of the clock again on the wall and go around the clock with your eyes. Go around it touching every number clockwise and then counterclockwise. Then instead of going around the clock, make a somewhat larger circle. Concentrate on feeling the circular movement with the eyes, the movement of the muscles. Concentrate on making the most perfect circle you can without tightening the neck or holding the breath or turning the head one way or the other so that it remains an eye movement. Try to perfect it and keep increasing the size of the circle, considering again that you have the capacity to look far beyond the confines of the room in all directions. Do not move your head. Try to eliminate the head movement. Then stop. Do the palming again. Make a blackness over your open eyes. Allow plenty of time to create the friction. Then, as you create with your hands the blackness over your eyes, see if you can feel anything coming from the hand into the eyes. Be sure that the eyes are open. Then as you look intently but without straining into that darkness, see if the hands feel anything coming out of the eyes. Do the one for a while and then do the other. See if you feel anything coming from the hand to the eye and then see if you feel anything coming from the eye to the hand. Breathe freely.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME IV

Then just close your eyes, leave the hands where they are, roll over onto your back and rest a minute. Then take your hands down. You may have read in the New York Times recently about a court case that was dismissed where a witness who had been hypnotized identified a man who had attacked another man. Although he had seen him in the dark and by ordinary standards it was too dark to identify him, when they put the man in trance he could see the face. On the basis of that he made the identification. There was a great deal of evidence that he was right. However, on the basis of the ophthalmologist’s testimony that that was impossible, they threw out the case. The mugger was allowed to go free. Years ago I used to do some experiments with hypnotic subjects who were able to get into very deep trance states. I would show them a dimmer switch. I would turn the light down and then I would turn it up until they clearly had in mind the concept of the dimmer, with which they were not familiar at the start. Then in the trance, with their eyes open, I would have them hallucinate a dimmer and believe that they could really turn the light up and down in the room, or I would give them an actual dimmer that was not plugged into anything. In a dark room I would have them use the dimmer. In many cases they could see far better when they were operating their dimmer turning up the lights than they could see otherwise. Some of them also felt that they were projecting beams of light out of their eyes. They also had much better night vision. They could identify objects. They could walk around without bumping into things. They could read in light so dim that they could never ordinarily read in it. The potential of the eye is always much greater in a variety of ways than the use that we make of it. It is a mistake to assume that the vision that you have in ordinary life and everyday usage is the vision that you are capable of having even without any special corrective work. This can be demonstrated just by altering the consciousness. If you learn to move along the continuum of altered states, then you can use more of the potential of your eyes. Now sit up again and close your eyes. Breathing freely, circle inside your head at eye level as if you were dividing your head in two parts with the circle. This time, instead of circling as if something were out in front of you, circle as if you were circling around the sides and the back and the front of your head. One part of your head is below the circle and one part is above. You go in one direction for a while and then in the other direction. Do not move the head or tighten up anything. Then right in the middle, about where the Indians place the third eye, stop and just look straight ahead at that point. Try breathing in and out of that point. Feel that as you inhale the eyes move a little back in your head and as you exhale they move forward. As the eyes move back, the ribs tighten a little and as the eyes go out with the breath, the ribs loosen. Then stop. Be sure that any time the eyes feel strained, do not go ahead with it. Several more times, circle around your head with your eyes. Stop in the middle point. Keep the tongue loose, the jaw loose, the breathing free. Forget about the breathing in and out, but keep that still middle point. See how long you can focus on – 302 –

8. [#52] Expanding and Enriching Visual Perception — Circling Mostly

it without thinking about anything. If the throat and tongue are loose enough, then you should have little trouble with words coming into your mind. If the eyes are relaxed enough, then you should not get images, so that your mind is empty except for that point. When you make the circles with your eyes, see whether it is a clear sensation of circling or not. Now stop. With your eyes open, and also with your eyes closed, make circles. Try to make the most perfect circles that you can with the clearest sense of the eyes moving. Make big ones and small ones, quick ones and slow ones, variations of it. Do not move the head. Do not tighten the muscles. Do not inhibit the breathing. Just try to sense clearly the eye movements. Now look at the point most distant to you and then look at something close. Then keep going back and forth, focusing on something far away and something close up. Now with your eyes closed, look as far up as you can and as far down as you can without straining the eyes. Also do it with the eyes open. See if you are obstructed by the fact of the floor or the ceiling or whatever. You can look right through them at what you know to be beyond them, as if the eyes could penetrate right through so that the eye movement is not stopped short by the floor or ceiling. Then look from left to right as far as you can look. Let the eyes move to the left and to the right. Do it with the eyes closed. See how clearly you can sense the left to right movement. Then open the eyes and do it. Still sense very clearly the eye movement. Then tilt your head back and look at the ceiling. Make the biggest circles you can make as you look up. Make them in one direction and then the other. Feel clearly, if you can, the movement of the eyes. Then look straight ahead of you and do it. Do not move the head, just the eyes. See what happens if you just think about the eyes circling and intend that they circle. If you can mentally direct them to circle, then they will move. That is a different kind of movement than the usual conscious kind. Also just think that the eyes will move left and then that the eyes will move right, and tell them to move that way. Do not hold your breath. Then a few times, tell the eyes to circle. See if they will move. Let the eyes relax. Blink them quite a few times. Then do the palming over your open eyes. Look into the blackness and think about it getting blacker and blacker. Think about an inky pitch blackness. See if, in fact, that blackness is blacker than the black that you had at the beginning. Suggest that it will get blacker and blacker and blacker. Keeping the hands there, close your eyes. Allow yourself the possibility of seeing light, the possibility that you may discern colors: blues, reds, green, yellows, whatever; spirals or organic shapes, images either barely hinted at or seen more clearly. Roll over onto your back and continue to look a while.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME IV

Leave your eyes closed and rub your palms together. Again put them over your eyes and see what you feel. See if you have a greater awareness of heat now coming from your hands, or whatever else it may be. Then take the hands away and sit up. Open your eyes and roll slowly to one side and get up. Walk around. Observe a number of things. Observe where you look. Do you look at the same place that you looked before? How much are you aware of? If you walk through the center of the room or someplace where you walked before, do you feel that the vision has widened and expanded so that, with the looser muscles, you are taking in more? See if your eyes are more clearly in your body image. Then look for colors, textures, shades of light. Try to remember what you saw and see if you see any more detail. Does anything look any different to you? Be aware of the subtle things, the direction your eyes are looking, the scope of the field of vision, and the way that you see things, how you look at them and what you see. Do the same things have meaning or the same kinds of meaning? In what you see, note the amount of detail, awareness of colors, textures, shadings of light and darkness. Then come back and sit down.

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9. [#53] “Sensing” Skeleton and Arms above Head (Extended Version)

9. [#53] “Sensing” Skeleton and Arms above Head (Extended Version) Teaching time: about 90 minutes

Lie on your back with the palms down at the sides. Scan your body mainly in terms of the skeleton. The time will probably come in the course of this work when you will have a most extraordinary experience of being aware, or seeming to be aware, of your skeleton. It is a very, very interesting phenomenon. It happens to everyone who does enough of this work. If you have done the work for a fair amount of time at all, you should have an awareness of your joints already that most people never achieve in their lives. That will increase, and one of the awareness’s that you will have will be of your skeleton. Much of the movement in this work is based on the way that the skeleton would move with much less than the usual amount of impediment or inhibition of movement by the muscles. We seek to gain sufficient control over muscles and other parts of the body that support or inhibit the skeletal joints. It is this control that allows the skeleton to move without undue interference by the muscles. In a leisurely way, try now to bring the skeleton, or an image of your skeleton, into your awareness as much as you can. Begin with the feet. Most of you know, at least in a general way, what the skeleton looks like and where the major joints are. You have your toes. Behind the toes are what are called the metatarsals, and they are like extensions of the toes running all the way back through the foot towards the heel. There are many small bones and joints in the heel. Then there is the ankle joint. There are two bones in the lower leg, the tibia and the fibula. One moves around the other. Then at the other end, the knee joint and one big bone called the femur. Then you have the hip joint and the pelvis with the spine joining it. At the base of the lower part of the spine is the tail bone, frozen now into the pelvis. Above that are the vertebrae of the spine proceeding on up through the rib cage. The rib cage goes all the way around to protect the organs in that part of the body. You have the sternum that runs down the middle of the rib cage in front and joins it. In the back you have the shoulder blades, the scapula. You have two bones that run across the shoulders, called the clavicles. Then you have the fingers and hands which are constructed very much like the foot. The wrist is very similar to the ankle. In the lower arm you also have two bones. One moves around the other, the same as in the lower leg, and those two bones are called the ulna and the radius. Then there is the joint of the elbow and then the big bone in the upper arm. That is the humerus and corresponds to the femur. Then you have the spine running on up out of the rib cage and into the skull, the bones of the head, the jaw bone, the lower part and then the upper part of the skull. It is like the body at the other end of the spine in that it has joints that were once articulated, but no longer are. However, as babies, the joints in the skull are articulated. It is said that those joints can be re-articulated by doing sufficient work on the skull. – 305 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME IV

Keeping that whole skeletal structure in mind, and forgetting about the rest of you, just go over your body. Try to bring the skeleton itself, or a picture of the skeleton, into your awareness, as if you were just bones with a consciousness. It is that basic awareness that you will have when the experience of your skeleton occurs to you. Then there will be other later ones of much greater complexity, in which more and more of the body, not only its structure but its physiology, will also be experienced by you. Finally, it will occur that you can have an awareness of so many parts and processes and functions of yourself that it would seem incredible to you now, that it would seem impossible. Some of that will be an authentic sensing of the gross physical body. Some of it will be an Imaging of It. In either case, it can be used to improve the body in its functioning in a most immediate way. Basic, however, is the skeleton, so continue with that. Really try to get a clear picture of it. I will give you a few minutes. Please remain with that. Do not let your mind wander or go to sleep, or otherwise be distracted. Now see how good you are at estimating the passage of time. See how long you think it is since I last said anything. It is four minutes. To some it seems just about that and to others it seems much, much longer. Now bring the whole skeleton as clearly as possible into your awareness. Put your arms down at your sides with your palms down. Your legs are extended. Try to get the clearest possible Image of your body, the feeling of the whole of it simultaneously, not part by part. Then, if you had noted how you were lying in the beginning, note how you are lying now. See whether by not paying attention to the muscles but only to the skeleton, the body is lying somewhat flatter. The muscles have ceased to do the same amount of work that they were doing before. Once again take several minutes and try to go over the skeleton, beginning with the toes and the feet, ankles, lower legs, knees, upper legs, hips, pelvis, spine, chest, shoulders, fingers, hands, lower arms, elbows, upper arms, shoulders, neck and head. Take several minutes and do it as completely as you can. As you go up it, let the skeleton sink into the mat. As you lie there, forgetting about the skeleton now, pay particular attention to your shoulders. Note the contact they make with the floor. If they do not make contact, how close does it seem to you that they come — related, that is, to how the wrists and hands lie? Is it possible to let the wrists lie flat without elevating the shoulders, or for the shoulders to make good contact without causing the hands and the wrists to flex? Slide your hands up and down alongside your body. Move your shoulders up towards the ears and take them away, keeping the elbows straight so that the movement is really in the shoulders. Also try to keep the palms down and the wrists down as you do that. Sense both what is happening in the shoulders and how the arms move and what the hand is touching.

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9. [#53] “Sensing” Skeleton and Arms above Head (Extended Version)

See if it seems to you that the movement is identical with the two arms and shoulders, or if they move differently. Then, as a way of testing that sensing evaluation, move just one a number of times and then the other. See if, by doing it that way, they move the same, if each shoulder has the same freedom, and whether the sensations are the same in the two. See If what you sense in that way corresponds to what you sensed when you moved them together. Also try doing alternate movements. Move one and then the other. See if that gives the same information or something different. Then just stop and rest. Sense how you lie. Then continue to rest with your arms out at shoulder height. Observe how you place your hands. Are the palms down or up or do you do something else with them? How much do the wrists bend? Now bend your arms at the elbows. Leave the wrists limp. Make some circles from the elbow. Do whatever you spontaneously do. See if, unless you make a conscious effort to do otherwise, you do not move them in opposing directions. Circle in opposing directions. Then change it and circle in the same direction. Then, whatever direction you are going in, reverse it and go in the opposite direction, but still circling in the same direction with both hands. Now make the circles just with your right hand and arm. Then circle at the same time in the opposite direction with the left hand. Stop for a minute. Just make circles with the left hand. Now continue to make the same movement with the left hand. Do not change anything. As you continue to make the same movement with the left hand, make an opposing movement with the right hand. Some people are able to do it very quickly and others have to stop and think and grope to do what they did spontaneously in the beginning. Let the arms lie at shoulder height. See if they lie as they did before. If the palms were down, are they still down? If they were up, are they still up? If they were some other way than that way, are they still that other way? Then try them in different positions. See if you have any preference. Try placing them on the sides. Let them angle back. Let them angle forward. See which feels better to the shoulder. Then place them in the way that the shoulder finds most agreeable. Be sure that it is so. Be sure that you are not imposing something on your shoulder joints, that they really do feel most comfortable with the hands the way you have them. Then make light fists and roll the fists down and bring them back to the starting place. Breathe freely. Just roll them like wheels along the floor. When they have rolled down as far as they will go, lift your head off the floor so they roll an extra turn or so. Move up far enough so that wherever they went otherwise, they now turn an extra quarter or whatever they will do. Exhale as you raise your head. Bring yourself up high enough that you get a maximum increase in the way that the shoulder will turn and the fist will roll. Be sure that when you raise your head, you roll your fists. Be sure that you do it by rotating the shoulder joints down. Then leave your head down and continue to roll the fists. Then rest. – 307 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME IV

NOW, with your arms out again, roll the fists back instead, however far they will go. Then bend your legs and let your feet stand on the floor. When you roll the fists back, raise your pelvis so that you increase the way that the fists can roll. You increase the rotation in the shoulders, and the fists roll further than they did. Breathe freely. Lift the pelvis as high as you have to let the fists roll as far as they will. Then leave your pelvis on the floor and continue to roll the fists back. Do not strain. Stop and rest any time you need to. Then put your legs down and roll the fists as far up as they will go and as far down as they will go. See if you have increased the shoulder rotation something like fifty per cent. Consider what you gained going back and what you gained going forward. Then just rest with your arms at shoulder height. Then put your arms down at your sides. Once again, sense how your shoulders are lying. Then, with the elbows straight, slide the arms up and down. Bring the shoulders up towards your ears and take them down again. Now stop and rest a moment. Now put your arms out at shoulder height again. Bend them at the elbows so that the forearms are perpendicular to the floor. Take them down towards the floor beside your head. Then bring them back to the starting point. Continue to do that. See if you can bring them back just to the starting point and no further. Put them above your head on the floor or however far they will go and bring them back to the position where the forearms are vertical. See whether the backs of the hands and the wrists will lie on the floor or to what extent they approximate that. See if the whole back of the hand will really straighten out so that the fingers are unclenched. Stop with your arms up and instead take them down towards your sides. See if you can put the palms and the wrists on the floor. If you cannot put them on the floor, let your head come up several times so that you can do it. Put everything down flat: the arms, the wrists, the hands and fingers. Then make it a complete movement with the hands going above your head on the floor and down below at the sides on the floor. If you cannot put the backs of the hands flat on the floor, bend your legs and raise your pelvis in order to do that. Then if you must raise the head to put the palms and wrists down, do that. Do whatever you have to do to put the whole thing down. Then, if you are either raising the pelvis or the head, stop doing it and continue taking the arms above and below. Be very observant of what your shoulders do as you make this movement. See whether they really have to come off the floor when you take the hands down. If so, how much? See if it is the same with each shoulder. If there is a difference, define it for yourself. As you do this, be sure that you keep the upper arms out at shoulder height. You should be doing both arms at once at this time. Then stop a moment. Let your arms rest with the palms hanging and the lower arms towards the ceiling. Then simultaneously take one arm towards the floor at your side and one towards the floor by your head. Be sure that when they meet, it is exactly at the – 308 –

9. [#53] “Sensing” Skeleton and Arms above Head (Extended Version)

starting point. Breathe freely. Observe what is going on in the shoulders. Take care that when the two arms pass, it is at the place where each one is vertical. Then stop and rest with your arms extended at your sides at shoulder height. Rest on the backs of the hands. Bend the elbows and slide the backs of both hands along the floor. The hands are to approach your head as if you were saluting. Then keep the backs of the hands on the floor and continue to do that. Move both at once. Do not pick your hands up, but slide them along the floor. Try not to lose your floor contact. Keep the backs of the hands on the floor as much as possible, and the wrists and the arms also. Continue to do it, but do it alternately with the two hands and arms so that one is going up as the other one is going down. Remember to keep them on the floor. As the arm goes away from the head and back to shoulder height, the hand stays on its back. Then complete the movement by letting the hand come down to your side. Keep the elbow bent. You will see that on the downward movement, it must turn over onto the palm. As it goes up and gets approximately to shoulder height, it involuntarily rolls over onto the back of the hand. When it reaches shoulder height going down, it rotates onto the palm. See if you can get any sense of what those two bones, the radius and the ulna, and the lower arm are doing as you do that movement. See if you can feel at all that they really do rotate around each other and what happens in the elbow and in those bones. What makes it necessary for the arm to turn over that way so that it is one way going up and another way going down? Also try the movement with both hands going up together and down together. Now stop and rest, but with your hands above your head on the floor. If your shoulders are sore, be careful about this one or do not try it. Also feel free to retreat from it from time to time. Some people have no trouble at all while others will not be able to do it. Some will be able to do these movements for a while and will have to stop and rest and image doing them. The arms should lie extended above the head. It means that the wrists are straight and the elbows are straight. See, in that position, how much of your hands and arms touch the floor. Then slide your extended arms up and down, so that the hands go as far away as possible. You keep the elbow straight so it is really a shoulder movement, just as you do when you do that with your arms down at your side. If you bend the elbow, it is either not a shoulder movement at all or it is greatly diminished as a shoulder movement. Continue to slide your hands up and down, keeping your arms straight. When your hands are as far above your head as you can get them, stop. Take your arms from side to side so that when they go left, the right arm will make contact with the right ear. Your hands are above your head on the floor. Just slide them left to right so that first one arm touches the ear and then the other. Alternate sensing the ears with the arms a few movements, and then sense the arms

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME IV

with the ears. Do not bring them so far that they come down as far as shoulder height. Keep them above your head. Now see if you can let your arms lie so that the arms make contact with the ears. If you cannot do that, let them lie as close to the ears as they will. Then, by moving the head, bring one ear to one arm and the other ear to the other arm. Slide the head along. Do not just turn it. Pick it up a little bit, if need be, and bring it to the arm. Breathe freely. Take the left ear to the left arm and the right ear to the right arm. Keep taking the head back and forth. Do that some more. Let the arm sense the ear part of the time, and the ear sense the arm part of the time. You could also try on one side to sense the ear with the arm and on the other side to sense the arm with the ear. If necessary, bring the arms down and rest and then put them back over your head. You are doing some new movements and making some new demands that have not been made before but which are necessary to reorganize the muscles and the skeleton and also to free up in your brain the cells that have to do with the unaccustomed movements. Now stop and leave your arms above your head, extended. See if they can lie closer to the head now. Roll your head from side to side a few times so that one ear and then the other touches the arm. Now let the left arm go out to one side a little and lie extended. Let it lie someplace where it can lie rather comfortably. Then bring the left ear to that arm. Put it where the arm and the ear can make contact. Leave the ear against the arm. Then, keeping the contact of the ear with the arm, bring the head back to the middle of your body. Do that several times. You take the arm away from the ear, then bring the ear to the arm and then bring them both back together until that arm lies alongside the head. Then leave it there and do the same thing with the right arm and the right side. Put it out there someplace where you make contact with the ear. Then bring the right arm and the right ear back to the middle. Just do on the right side what you were doing on the left. Now when you bring the head to the middle, keep the arm against the ear. Do not break the arm-ear contact. Now when your right arm can lie alongside the ear and stay like that, do the same thing with the left arm several times. See if then the right arm can lie alongside the right ear and the left arm alongside the left ear simultaneously. Then put your arms down at your sides and rest a while. Now see if you can put your arms back up there again alongside your ears. Now raise your arms towards the ceiling. Then see if you can bring them down so that your arms slide off your cheek bones onto the floor by your ears. You lower the arms so that they come down onto the face and slide off and rest alongside the ears, or however close to that you can manage. Try to let the arms fall back and make some kind of contact with the face. Then just slide off the face onto the floor. Do it slowly at your own pace. Sense clearly what you do. Bring your arms in as close to your face as you can and let them slide off. Breathe freely. Now let them rest at your sides, palms down. Notice how you lie. See how the shoulders are lying. Let the legs be extended. Let the shoulders go up off the floor. See if they make contact or much more nearly – 310 –

9. [#53] “Sensing” Skeleton and Arms above Head (Extended Version)

so. See about the space in between the middle back, whether that makes a different contact. Then, several more times, put the arms overhead. See if you can lay them alongside the ears. You can do that by sliding them off the face or however you want to do it. See if the backs of the hands now lie on the floor or how close the elbows go. Do the arms in almost every way go better above your head and closer in? Do the shoulders have a freedom of movement in several directions that they did not have in the beginning? Do it a couple more times. Let them lie alongside the ears just a minute before you take them back. Breathe freely. The easiest way to do it is to let them slide off your face and lie alongside the ears. But remember to let the backs of the hands, the wrists, the elbows, everything, go as close to the floor as they can go without forcing them. Do it one final time as completely as you can and then rest with your arms at your sides. Scan your body. Pay particular attention to the shoulders and the upper back. What else do you notice? Then slowly roll to one side and get up, not with the head first. Walk around without hands in pockets. Let your arms move freely. See how your shoulders move. Do an about-face. Then come back and lie down. Let us go over the various gains that have been made. Put your arms out at shoulder height, however they spontaneously go, whatever feels good. Put them with the palms down. Really sense that in your shoulders. Put them on their backs and sense that. Then put them on their sides where the small finger is. Then put them down at your sides. Then quickly, without thinking, put them out at shoulder height. See whether that is the way that feels best to you, or if you can tell. Now put them down at the side. A couple of times, so you do not lose it, put your hands and arms over your head with the arms alongside the ears. Let them slide off the face. Go as far back as possible. Just do it a couple of times. That Is enough.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME IV

10. [#54] Releasing Tongue and Integrating with Body Image Teaching time: about 90 minutes

Lie on your back and do a body scan. Begin with the feet. Do a very careful one. See if you can sense the toes and, if so, how many of them? As you scan, go over not just the surface of your body, but try to go down into the skeletal structure and see what awareness you have of the various joints and bones. See if, in some cases, even though you may not be able to say you sense them in the usual way, you have an awareness of them and how those bones function that was not part of your body image in the past. As always, notice where the sensing is strongest, where it is faint or where you are unable to sense the surface of your body at all. Also note whether the part that you are sensing moves at all. Observe carefully your breathing and the effects of your breathing on other parts. See whether you are aware that the shoulders move as a consequence of the breathing. How much of the back moves with the breathing, as well as the sides and the front of the rib cage? What do you feel in your neck? Try to consider what parts you may have omitted scanning. Really scan the interior of your mouth, for instance, so you know exactly how your tongue is lying, whether your teeth are touching or how much space between the teeth there is, whether one corner of the mouth is equal to the other or if it is different in different places. How much of the interior of your mouth are you able to sense? Now gradually, beginning slowly, turn your head from side to side. Move a little at first and then each time let the movement become a little larger. At first, roll it as far as it can easily go. As you do that, see what your tongue does. See if it goes from side to side in your mouth or whether it stays in the middle or what it does. Turn your head with the eyes closed. Take it side to side. Pay attention to what the tongue does inside the mouth. Taking your head really side to side now, however far it will easily go, note the movement, if any, of the tongue in your mouth. Then open your eyes and do it. Observe whether turning the head with the eyes open, the tongue moves any differently than it did with the eyes closed. Then, as you continue to be aware of what the tongue does in your mouth, oppose the eye movements to the head movements. Note whether the tendency of the tongue is to go with the whole head or with the eyes. Then, without introducing any tension into your neck, come to a sitting position. Continue to do the same thing. Turn your head side to side, opposing for a while the eye movement to the head movement. Then observe any movement of the tongue in your mouth. Breathe freely. Now just stop and rest. Sit with the head fairly erect. Observe the position of the tongue. See if it lies on the floor of your mouth or up near the roof of your mouth or somewhere in the middle. See where it is in relation to the backs of your teeth. Does the tip lie against – 312 –

10. [#54] Releasing Tongue and Integrating with Body Image

them or further back, or does it feel like it would like to force its way through as if the mouth were a little too short for it? Then observe how quickly you can take your tongue from side to side inside your mouth, without forcing it or straining it. Then try moving it up and down. See if you notice a slightly greater tendency to inhibit your breathing when you move it up and down than when you move it from side to side. Then retract it without swallowing it. Then push it forward and take it back so that the tip comes up against the teeth, and then draw it back as far away from your teeth as you easily can. Be sure that you really draw it back and that you do not just curl it up or curl it under. See if, when you feel as if you are taking it back in your mouth, you really are doing that rather than curling it under or curling it up. Sense very carefully and you will find that if you feel that you are taking it back very far, but you are actually doing one of those other things, you are not really sensing what the tongue is doing. You are bending it back either towards the roof or towards the floor, and turning it up or turning it under. Now stop. Once again observe how it lies in your mouth. See whether it begins to feel wide. In almost every case, the tongue muscles are unduly contracted, and with many people you see that it is quite rounded and held like that all the time. The tongue that is habitually contracted keeps chronic tension in the jaw and also introduces tension into the neck, contributing to headaches. It may impair speech to some extent. Even a little change in it can be a serious matter for an opera singer. Now open your mouth however wide it will go without straining. Do it two or three times to get a sense of it. Then see if you can sense clearly what you are doing with your tongue when you open your mouth. Close your eyes and see if you can sense it more clearly that way. See if it makes any difference whether you open your mouth a little or a lot. Then close it a moment. See if your tongue lies against the backs of the teeth or what else you can observe. Then several times bring the lower jaw forward of the upper one so that the lower teeth come forward of the uppers, and then take it back. Again, always do it within the range of comfort and without straining. Stop a minute. Ask yourself what, if anything, you do with your tongue when you bring the lower jaw forward. Do not do it. Just see if you can answer the question. Observe how your tongue is lying. Then, maintaining the awareness of the tongue, bring your lower jaw forward and see what you do with it. See if it is possible to leave the tongue where it was and bring the lower jaw forward. Do not strain at it. Just see if it is virtually impossible to do. Then see if what you do instead is to turn the tongue under and to turn it way under, or else to fold it back up. Do either one. You can either turn it up, folding it back towards the roof of the mouth, or you can fold it under. Which way allows you to bring the jaw further forward? See if it makes any difference. Then just stop a moment and let the tongue lie normally. Then once again take the lower jaw forward and take it back. See if when you did that, you sensed what – 313 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME IV

you did with your tongue or whether it still is not sufficiently a part of your body image and that you do not notice it without a special effort. Now stop and just let your jaw rest. Breathe easily. See whether your awareness of your tongue is increasing. In some cases, you might be more aware of it than you want to be. Then find the position where the jaw feels perfectly at rest. It requires a constant effort of the muscles to hold the jaw up. Without that effort the jaw would hang slack, as it does with some idiots. You can see if you identify the muscular effort that you are making to hold the jaw up, why it is actually desirable that some muscular effort should be unconscious. One can become sufficiently conscious for a while of the effort that is normally unconscious, in this case to hold the jaw up. Then it becomes a real effort and you have to learn to forget about it again so that it is not burdensome. Now take your jaw from side to side. See how quickly and easily you can do it. Find the place where it moves most freely. See if you can sense what your tongue does when you move your jaw side to side. Does it stay in the middle, or where does it go? Deliberately take it with the jaw. Then let it oppose the jaw. When your jaw goes left, you put it in your right cheek, and vice versa. Breathe freely. Then let the tongue go freely and again sense what happens. Try to sense what happens when you lightly and easily take the jaw from side to side. Then lie down and rest a minute. As you rest, yawn easily several times. See what your tongue does when you do that. See whether you yawn better if you let the tongue go up or if you let the tongue go down or if you do something else with it. Then roll the head from side to side. See if you can sense the tongue movement at the same time. Let the head go as quickly as you can easily and comfortably do it without sacrificing the range of the movement. Do not make it less extensive because you make it quickly and do not make it less free because you make it quickly. Make it as quick and agile as it can be without sacrificing the quality of the movement. Do it with the eyes closed for a while and with the eyes open for a while. See if you can discriminate whether that makes any difference. Any time you want to let the head rest, do it, and then continue the movement. Now as you do that, as the head goes right let the right arm slide down and when the head goes left, let the left arm slide down. Keep the elbows straight. You increase the range of the movement further in most cases by letting the shoulder go down out of the way of the head. Do not do it in a jerky way, but make it smooth and continuous and pleasurable. The hand and the arm should slide down the mat on the side that the head is turning towards, and slide up on the side near the back of the head. As you do that, you can feel that the whole upper body moves from side to side. The spine curves first on one side and then the other. The rib cage shortens on the side where the head is going and lengthens on the side that the head is turning away from. See if you can feel the whole upper body sliding back and forth along the mat as you turn your head and raise and lower your arms. Move from the pelvis up as – 314 –

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freely and extensively as you easily can. You bring the armpit down towards the hip joint as you turn your head in that direction. You keep taking the right shoulder down a little further as your head goes right and the left shoulder down a little further as your head goes left. On the side that you are turning away from, the shoulder keeps sliding up higher. It means that the whole spine has to curve more and more in each direction. Now stop. Bend your legs so that your feet are standing. Just take the head from side to side. Note what you do with your tongue. Then leave the head in the middle. Look as far to the left as you can and then as far to the right as you can. See if the tongue follows the movement of the eyes. With some, it will be a slight tendency. With others, the tongue will go all the way from one side of the mouth to the other, following the eye movement. Without holding your breath consciously, let the tongue and the eyes go together. Also try opposing the movement of the tongue to the movement of the eyes. See if you find that that introduces an element of strain into the eye movement. If so, just do it several times and do not do it anymore. Also see if you can look a good bit further with the eyes when the tongue goes in the same direction, and that the movement of the eye muscles is inhibited when the tongue opposes it. Then look from left to right with the tongue just resting in the middle of the mouth. See how far you look. Then see whether you can look further if you let the tongue go with the eyes. Then just roll the head from side to side. Let the tongue do whatever it will, but be aware of it. Now stop. Lower the chin towards the chest, and take it away again. Continue to do that. Be aware of the movement in the cervical spine. Then use your feet to rock your body so that it increases the movement of the head. You can put your feet as far away from your bottom as you like. Place your feet so as to make it easier to rock the body up and down. See where you can put your feet to get maximum movement in your cervical spine. Try to do it so that the neck is really free. As you keep pushing and rocking the body, instead of moving your head up and down, make circles with it. Remember not to make too many in one direction without reversing it. By this time, you probably have a notion of how many you make. You are not taking the head from side to side any more. You are making circles with your nose. If it helps you to make circles with your head, think you are making circles with your nose. Imagine there is a little piece of paper or wood suspended above you and you can circle with your nose on it. Now stop and rest a minute. Without introducing any tension into your neck, use your lower body mainly to come up into a sitting position. Roll to the side. Now take your tongue back and forth over the inside of the teeth, over the backs of the teeth. Do the uppers for a while and the lowers for a while. Also, without making any space between the lips, make a space between the teeth and take the tongue over the top of the lower teeth back and forth for a while – 315 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME IV

and also over the bottoms of the upper teeth. You are doing that to help yourself sense clearly the structural difference between the top of the tongue and the bottom of the tongue. What kind of surfaces do they have? Then open the teeth and the lips a little bit and let your tongue slide in and out between so that it makes contact with the top and bottom of both the teeth and the lips. Do it gently. Use that to sense clearly the difference between the top and the bottom of the tongue. Then continue to move it in and out. Do it so that a few times you make contact just with the teeth and a few times you make contact just with the lips. Then compare those two experiences of the tongue. See if the tongue is sensed any differently by you. Compare the top and the bottom when it is a matter of contact with a surface like the teeth and when it is a matter of contact with a surface like the lips. Then instead of holding the tongue out, let the lips close lightly and explore with the tongue the space between the outside of the upper teeth and the inside of the upper lip. Also sense the top of that space. Then instead of going back and forth in the space between the upper teeth and the upper lip, do it in the space between the lower teeth and the lower lip. Then let it go completely around so that it travels over the space between the outside of the lower teeth and the inside of the lower lip, and comes back into the space between the upper teeth and the upper lip and moves all the way around the interior, the space between the teeth and the lips. You cannot circle, but it makes a movement like exploring a football. Then just let the tongue explore the entire interior of the mouth behind the teeth. Go from one cheek to the other cheek and from the top to the bottom, as far back as it can go. Explore the roof of the mouth and the floor of the mouth. Then let it come to rest again. See if now, with some of you at any rate, instead of the tongue lying behind the teeth, the teeth have unconsciously opened a little bit and the tongue is between them. The tip of the tongue is between the teeth now. Then whether it is or not, place it there. Just a tiny bit of the tip of the tongue extrudes between the teeth. Then bring it out a tiny bit further, and a tiny bit further, without holding your breath. See how many times you can bite down on the tongue gently. Try to get the tongue as far out of your mouth as it will go. Continuously bring it out and bite down. See if you do fifteen or twenty or thirty bites. See how many you can do. Bring it all the way out, just as far as you can get it. Then take it back also. Do it with your eyes open and with your eyes closed. See if that has any affect on how freely you can let go of the tongue and move it out and in. Sometimes people will discover that they were self-conscious about sticking the tongue out when the eyes were open and, although they did not realize it, that was inhibiting the movement. When they closed their eyes they were able to make more bites and the tongue went out further than it would when that inhibition was functioning. Keep trying to get the tongue further out. These muscles are very important for many reasons. They are chronically contracted in almost everyone. It is important both to give it an opportunity to release the chronic contractions and also to bring it better into your body image. It is, in fact, – 316 –

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related to eye movements, to speaking, to breathing, to eating, to all kinds of things. So you want it to be as healthy and free a tongue as possible. Now stop and observe how it lies in your mouth. However, see if you can sense now the top of the tongue and the bottom of the tongue, and the sides of it. See how far back you can follow it into your mouth just by sensing. See if it is clear in your body image in a way that it has not been clear before, that you really know it is there now. Now bring your lower jaw forward and take it back. See if now you are conscious of what you did with your tongue. Before when it was done, scarcely anyone had any consciousness of what he or she was doing with the tongue. Now almost everyone should know. Open your mouth wide and see if you can sense what you do with your tongue. If you sense it spontaneously, the connection between the tongue and the brain has improved to the extent that you really know what it does. The nerves are functioning again that were not functioning before. Then sit and rest. See how your tongue feels most comfortable in your mouth. See if, in this relaxed state, when you bring your teeth together firmly, it is a little bit too small a space for the tongue, so you end up leaving a little bit of space between the teeth for it. That is how it should be. The teeth should not touch. There should be a little space between them. The proper degree of tension in the muscles that support the jaw should be such that the teeth almost touch but do not quite. When the tongue is free, then the tip of it will just barely go between that little space between the teeth. Usually it is tense enough that it will lie just to the rear of the teeth. When it is really free, it will take advantage of that little bit of space and the tip will go out a tiny bit, not enough to be accidentally bitten however. Now just turn your head smoothly and gently from side to side. Then raise and lower it. As you do that, oppose the eye movement to the head movement a few times. Raising and lowering the head, exhale when you take the head up and inhale when you take the head down. Then see whether it is any better the other way, when you inhale when the head goes up and exhale when the head goes down. Do you prefer that the breathing go with the eyes or with the head? See if you can tell which is more comfortable. Then let them all go together so that you exhale when your head goes down and the eyes go down, and you inhale when the head goes up and the eyes go up. Then put your hands on the floor a little behind you. Make some circles with your nose. In other words, the head circles. As you circle with the head, remain aware of the tongue in your mouth and also try to sense what you are doing with your right ear. When you think that you have established a sensory awareness of what the right ear does as the head circles, then maintain that. Sense also the left ear. See whether the left ear does the same thing as the right ear or if it feels different. Try to define for yourself what the difference is that you sense. Remember to reverse the circling of the head from time to time. – 317 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME IV

Now put your hands a little further behind you and try to find the distance behind you that will give the head its greatest freedom to circle. Try to find out what that distance is. If you put the arms too far back, you will not be able to make as big or as easy a circle. If you put them up too close, you will also not be able to make that optimal circle. Try to find out what the proper distance is. Try doing it with the soles of your feet together. Make the largest circles you can comfortably make. Do a few one way and a few the other way. Maintain awareness of the tongue and breathe freely. Those of you who know that you can do it safely, circle rapidly with the head a few times and reverse it. In some Tibetan practice you continue to increase the number of rotations of the head until you do at least a thousand in each direction. They do it so quickly that the head is a blur. This is very good for the vestibular system, for the inner ear. It almost eliminates any tendency to dizziness. If anybody feels that he or she can do it safely, make your head a blur. Then lie down and rest. Once again, turn your attention to your tongue. Sense how it lies and how differently it lies when you lie on your back from the way that it lies when you are in a sitting position. Be aware of the whole surface of it if you can. See whether it has a different relation to the teeth. Then again take your tongue out bit by bit, or bite by bite, as far as it will go. Then bring it back in the same way. See whether you can exceed the number of movements, in and out, that you made before. Breathe easily as you do it. Now stop. Turn your head from side to side again. Let your jaw be loose and your tongue be very free in your mouth. Let the breathing be free, as well as the eyes and all of the face muscles and the shoulders. See how quickly and lightly and smoothly you can roll your head from side to side. Then stop with the head in the middle. Place both hands on top of your head. Let the elbows rest on the mat or lie as comfortably as you can holding the top of your head in your hands. Breathe up into your hands, at the same time being aware of the tongue. With every breath, bring it more and more into your awareness. Also bring the whole mouth cavity into your awareness as you breathe up into your hands and beyond. Bring into that awareness the lower jaw, including the teeth. Become aware of where it attaches to the skull, those hinges at the side where it opens and closes. Bring the whole lower jaw into your awareness. Breathe up and increasingly bring more and more of the internal head as well as the external into your awareness, including now the upper teeth, the roof of the mouth, so that the lower jaw and the tongue and the interior of the mouth are all clearly there for you as you continue breathing up and expanding your awareness, so that it includes the sides of the face, the cheek bones. Bring in the nose and proceed on up so that you are sensing clearly the eye sockets and the eyes, without sacrificing any awareness of the rest of the head up to that level. Breathe up and increase the breathing awareness into the whole space of your head, inside and out. Now see if you can bring into that your ears and the ridge

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of bone above the eyes, the ridges above the eye sockets and the forehead. Then bring in increasingly the sides of the head and the back of the head. Breathe on up into the top of the head where the hands are. See if, as you do that, the distance between the jaw and the tongue and the top of the head appears to increase so that you have to travel back down to retrieve some of the awareness of the jaw and the tongue that you have lost and sharpen them again. The tendency as you move up is to withdraw and get further away from the lower part of the head. Being aware of that, keep the whole thing equally in the body image. Then take your hands away and put them down at your sides. Continue to breathe up into your brain space. Fill out the awareness of the head by including the brain until you sense just as much of it as you possibly can and you have as great an awareness of the whole as you can get, including the nasal passages and the eye sockets. Bring the outside of the skull in, and the scalp. See how perfectly you can sense the whole thing now. Begin with the lower jaw and the tongue. Try to bring the whole head, including the inside and the outside, as perfectly as you can into an image that you sense or feel that you sense. Make it a simultaneous awareness that includes the pathways of the senses and the breathing. See if you can feel as if you are breathing with the whole head, sensing even the hairs of your head. Then come to a sitting position without stiffening the neck and putting any tension into it. In that sitting position, close your eyes. Continue to breathe and fill the whole space of your head with your breathing. Then try to sense simultaneously the whole outside of the face and head and the inside. Then see if it is a very easy matter now to be aware of such things as the tongue and the teeth and the interior of the mouth and perhaps the ears, things that ordinarily are very unclear in the body image, or not there for many people. Try to get the most complete awareness of your head that you have ever had. Retaining that, let the breath feel as if it goes up and up through the top of the head so that perhaps the skull will even feel that it elongates a bit when you inhale and comes down a little when you exhale. Keep the whole head in your awareness. As you breathe up, let the neck lengthen and the head move up a little with the breathing like a balloon that is being inflated with helium so that the breathing makes the head want to float up and carry the body along. The feeling is of wanting to drift up, of being light and yet, at the same time, very well defined in your consciousness. If you want to think of some one part of it, whether it is the eyes or the tongue or the forehead or whatever it is, just that thought will bring it into a much clearer focus, while at the same time keep as the background of your consciousness the entire head. Then just slowly roll to one side and get up. Walk around a bit. Continue to keep that head as clearly in your body image as you can. Allow it to pull the whole body somewhat upward. Then see if now the tongue seems to you inescapably present and unlikely to be forgotten.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME IV

11. [#55] Brain: Imaging and Movement (Feet) Teaching time: approximately 90 minutes

This exercise makes the point that the brain itself is unable to distinguish, in many cases, between an image and a precept, between a so-called subjective experience and a so-called objective reality. An “objective” experience occurs in the world that is outside a person's body, but all experience is subjective in the sense that it occurs only in the brain and in the mind. Your experience of me is a subjective one. You only assume that I am an objective reality, and I experience you in the same way, so that our experience of each other is really of an image and not of the thing as we initially perceive it. The brain constructs the object that is seen out of something that is composed of particles in motion that might, if we could see it as it really is, appear to be something very, very different from the thing that is presented to our consciousness after the brain does its symbolic coding of the raw stuff called reality. Perhaps it is not anything to wonder at that the brain does not differentiate between the so-called subjective and objective realities, since known reality is all subjective anyway and it deals only in images. There are a lot of assumptions to the effect that the brain sees what is outside of itself and that we somehow have an experience of something objective. If you accept that, then it becomes mysterious why the brain fails to differentiate but, rather, acts upon other parts of the body similarly whether the experience be one of something that is a movement or something that is an image of a movement. If you keep in mind that it is possible to present the brain with images that it will mistake for what we call actuality, then you can use the brain to affect the body in very remarkable and profound ways. Everyone knows that the brain, when so deceived, can carry out very elaborate processes within a human body. One of the most commonplace instances that almost everyone has personal experience of is nocturnal orgasm during dreaming. The brain mistakes the dream for objective reality and triggers that whole very complex sequel of events that leads to a sexual climax. There are people who, if they can sufficiently and vividly image or even imagine sexual activity, can achieve the same thing in an awake state, or even more easily in a trance state or with certain drugs that facilitate images. There are many other complex activities that can also be engendered by images. There is a book by the late Russian neurophysiologist, Luria, called The Mind of a Mnemonist. It is about a patient he had who was able to image very, very vividly. If this man imaged a candle and held his hand next to it, his hand would burn. If he imaged icy water and put his hand into it, the hand became completely anesthetized. The response of the body to images is undoubtedly a very major factor in both illness and health, in determining when we die, how we age and so on. It is one of the reasons why there is such a great effort to change the notions about aging, because – 320 –

11. [#55] Brain: Imaging and Movement (Feet)

they work as self-fulfilling prophesies. The body ages according to the expectations and the images of age that people hold. If that can be reversed, then the aging process will undoubtedly move much more slowly. This exercise is done seated and barefoot. There are many, many exercises that can be done seated in chairs so that, if you have people who are unable to sit on the floor or if you lack space, it is still possible to do a very satisfactory psychophysical workshop or training program. We will do exercises seated from time to time. However, that is not the reason for doing this one. This one is to show you the similar responses that the body makes to what we call actual movement, and to what we call imaged movement. First of all, close your eyes. Place your feet side by side and about six inches apart, so that the fronts of the feet and the backs of the feet would be on the line if there were lines on the floor. Do it by feeling, not by looking. Only after you have felt, then look and see if the feet are in fact lined up that way. Then again with your eyes closed, consider that you are going to rap with the balls of your feet on the floor. Place the feet where you think the rapping with the feet would be optimal, but do not rap. Just put the feet where you think you could rap best. Then, leaving the heels on the floor, actually rap with the balls of the feet. It makes quite a bit of difference how far the feet are from the body, how well you can rap with the balls of the foot. Take them further away and bring them closer, and so on. Find out in what position the rapping is best done. Now keep the feet in that position where you can best rap with the balls of the feet. In that position, try rapping with the heels. You will find that if you really have the feet in the position where you can best rap with the balls of the feet, then you can rap only poorly with the heels. Put the feet where you can do the best rapping with the heels. The heels should come up fairly high when you do that so that the ankles flex and extend, but it is not the position where the heels can come up the very highest. Find where you can put your foot so that your heel can come up highest. You have to bring it in very close to you. In the position where the heel can come up the highest, you will discover that you cannot lower the heel to the floor once it has been raised. Place your feet in that relation to your body which will enable you to bring the heel up very high but will not allow you to lower it to the floor. Make a little effort, but not enough to hurt yourself, to force the foot down. Try to make the heel touch the floor. In doing that, you experience something of what is experienced by some women who habitually wear very high heels and then suddenly try to stop, perhaps because they are pregnant and are advised to stop wearing shoes like that. Then they find that they have so altered the muscles in the legs that the heels will no longer go down to the floor. They find that they can only wear low-heeled shoes with pain. For some women, it takes months to re-organize the body so that they can stand on the ground, and some do not manage it at all. Now stop.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME IV

We are going to work just with the left foot for a while. Place the left foot where you can best rap with the ball of the foot. Give your attention wholly to the movement, as you should always do when performing Psychophysical Exercises. Try to really find the place where the rapping is easiest. Then stop. Try rapping just with the toes. You should find that the difference in the relation of the foot to the upper body is not at all so extreme as that between rapping with the heel and rapping with the ball of the foot. Still, the position where you can rap best with the ball of the foot is not the same as where you can rap best with the toes. Try to find where you can rap best with the toes. You should sit forward with all of these positions. Sit far enough forward in your chair so that your leg has freedom. If you sit too far back you will not be able to find any of the positions where the foot moves best. Then bring the left foot back and rap with the heel again. The optimal position is when the ankle flexes the most and the heel comes highest into the air, but yet it is still easy to lower it to the floor. Then, stop and let the foot rest. Put both feet flat on the floor. Now just slide the left foot forward and back. Do not slide it out to the sides. Slide it forward and back. Make it an extensive movement. Then stop when the left foot is alongside the right one. Just take the ball of the left foot from side to side along the floor. Let the heel act like a hinge, and swivel the foot from the heel. Try to move the surface of the foot along the floor; do not have it up in the air. It is important that you sense the floor with the bottom of the foot. Try to keep as much of the bottom of the foot on the floor as possible. Then stop. Now instead, slide the heel from side to side. Try not to pick the heel up. Then just rap lightly with the whole foot on the floor. Pick it up and let it down, and do it lightly. The lower leg should be at about a right angle to the upper. You put the whole bottom of the foot down. Now stop. Close your eyes and sense the left foot. Compare it with the right foot. See if it is clearer in your consciousness, your awareness. Then see if this is also true of the left knee, shoulder, eye, side of the mouth and face. Is the body image clearer on one side than on the other? Extend the left leg. Leave the heel on the floor and raise the front part of the foot. Make some circles with the front part, rotating from the ankle. Make some in one direction and some in the other direction. Then stop and place the foot where you think you can most easily turn it onto its outside and onto its inside. See if you can find that place. The movement should be in the ankle. Do not take the whole leg from side to side; then the movement is in the hip joint and not in the ankle. Let your hand rest on your knee so that you can sense whether the upper leg moves or not. Do not allow the movement to be in the hip joint. Make it be in the ankle only. Again, it will make a difference where you put the foot. Eliminate the movement from the hip joint. If you have to, put one hand on the knee and one hand on the hip, the left one of course. Make sure that the movement is in the ankle. There – 322 –

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will be a very slight movement in the knee, but there should not be any movement in the hip. It is a foot and ankle movement. Now roll it from side to side. Stop. Just slide the foot back and forth along the floor. Use the foot to sense the floor. Orient yourself towards the world outside of yourself so that your intention is to sense the floor and learn everything you can about the floor. Then alter that orientation so that your interest is in your foot. Learn about what the foot is feeling and how the foot feels, your foot's own sensations. This is a self-interest, a selforiented sense. Then see if you can shift smoothly back and forth between an orientation to the outer world and the inner world, self and not-self. Most people are shifting that orientation all the time, for the most part unconsciously. You also find some who almost continuously are oriented towards the external world and others who are almost continuously oriented towards their own sensations and feelings. This one-sided focusing naturally makes a great difference in their thinking and behavior and what their personality is like. Sometime you might try to introspect and examine the way that you function in everyday life. Try to observe when you are oriented towards the outside and when you are oriented towards your own feelings and sensations. Now continue to shift awareness, but instead make circles with the foot. Make some clockwise and some counterclockwise. When you go clockwise, try to learn about the floor. When you go counterclockwise, pay attention to yourself. Then do the opposite, going counterclockwise and orienting yourself to the external world, and going clockwise and orienting yourself to your own world of feelings. Then stop. Once again, sense the two feet and the two sides of the body. See if you understand what neural re-education means. It means to alter the body image, to reeducate the sensory mechanisms. By doing these things, you alter your selfawareness in a drastic way. The body that you sense, the body of your experience, changes dramatically. Anyone with experience of Psychophysical Work will be aware of the fact that when the body image is sharpest, then the functioning is also best. However, the body image must be in coincidence with the physical body or else the action taken is not the action that one thinks one is taking. Clarity of body image alone is not enough. It has to be a correct body image, coinciding with the actual physical body. Now rap a few more times with your left heel. Place it where the movement is optimal. Then place the foot where you can best rap with the ball of the foot. Then place it where you can best rap with the toes. Flex and extend the toes. Place the foot where it is quick and light and easy to do. Slide the foot back and forth a few times. Stop when the feet are symmetrical. Get up and walk around for a bit. Compare the contact the left foot makes with the floor with the contact the right foot makes. Which foot is more flexible? See if the left knee moves differently than the right one. Also see if there is any difference in the two shoulders as compared to the way that they ordinarily are. Then come back and sit down. – 323 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME IV

The difference in the sensing and functioning has been achieved by means of movement accompanied by awareness of the movement, by focusing on the sensing. To the extent that the movement has been done with awareness and focused sensing, the left foot should be well differentiated from the right, and the body image should be clearer on the left side. The entire left side, not just the foot, should function better. Now the question arises whether the brain will alter the body to the same extent if you only imagine or image the movements. If the body is altered to the same or a greater extent by means of images alone, then presumably that means that the brain either cannot differentiate between the imaged movement and the actual movement, or it does not care one way or another. I think the fact is that it is not able to differentiate. There are many reasons why, based on my experiences with hypnosis and psychedelic drugs, I think the brain does not distinguish, rather than that it does not care or just happens to respond that way. Close your eyes and try to get a clear image of the right foot. You will probably find it difficult because the left foot is now much clearer than the right one. In some cases, the right foot will barely be there at all at the moment. In fact, if you differentiate enough, one side of the body will disappear, so far as the sensing of it goes. It will be there not at all or just barely. Now do, in each of the following cases, just a couple of movements, not at all resembling what you did on the left side. This will give you an actual experience of the sensation involved in the movement. Then you will imagine or image the movement, whichever you are able to do. Three kinds of images, or imagination, will be involved here. For our purposes, the most important of these is kinesthetic images. That is the feeling of the movement itself. The second is tactile images, which means the sense of touch, the contact that the foot makes with the floor. In this case, the contact of the foot with the floor is what you will be imagining mostly. Thirdly, use visual imagination or imaging, knowing what the movement looks like. By using all three of these you will create a much more complete reality than if you used only visual imagery or only kinesthetic Imagery. Place your right foot where you think you can do the best rapping with the heel. Rap just a couple of times. Then stop and, drawing upon the sensing that you just did, about fifteen times, imagine or image the rapping. Try to make the sensory powers of your imagination so strong that you can really feel it. Now continue to imagine rapping with the heel, or to image it. Try to pay close attention to what you are doing as you do that. See if it is harder work to image the movement than it is to actually do it. You would think that something done in the mind would be easier. However, see if you do not feel the imaging of the movement to be more difficult. Do you tend to interfere with your breathing, or to tighten your shoulders and neck muscles, or to do other various things that make the Imaginary movement’s hard work?

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11. [#55] Brain: Imaging and Movement (Feet)

Now imagine some movements with the left heel rapping. Observe what you do with your body. Then stop and do a few actual movements with the left heel. See if, as soon as you start doing the actual movements, the tension lets go and the thing becomes comparatively very easy. The physical movement is easier than the imaginary movement so long as the imagination, the imaging faculties, have not been cultivated. When they are untrained, then the imagined movement is harder. Now stop. Again imagine rapping with the right heel. Try to not tense the shoulders, neck and face. Do not hold the breath. Also observe, as you imagine that just as vividly as possible, whether you can feel the tendency in the right heel to rise and whether, perhaps, you actually do move it a little bit. In fact, when you imagine any movement, there are measurable micro-movements, very small movements, made by the muscles in response to the images. See if you can be aware of that. Also, see if you can be aware, or if it seems to you that you are aware, that your brain is sending those signals down to the foot to raise and lower the heel. Then if you sense actual movement in the heel, try to sense the signals also coming back to the brain. See if you notice when you inhale, the heel tends to come up a little bit, and when you exhale it goes down. Let the same thing happen with the shoulder and other parts of the body, rising and falling with the exhalation and inhalation. Now actually put the foot out where you think you can rap best with the ball of the foot. Do it two or three times and note carefully the sensations Then stop and imagine it. Do the actual physical movement only two or three times so that it is not enough to substantially affect the results. It is just to give you something to work with in your imagination since you are not able yet to imagine those movements well enough otherwise. Imagine rapping. Imagine it very vividly and try to not do those things with your body that make the imagining physically difficult. Then, observing closely, rap two or three times with your toes. Then continue imagining doing that. Then imagine sliding the entire foot from side to side. Actually do it a couple of times first, and then imagine doing it. Imagine the contact of the foot with the floor in that side to side sliding movement. Then slide the foot forward and backward a couple of times Observe, and then imagine that. Do not do It more than two or three times. Imagine it very vividly and, in so doing, do the same thing that you did before. Orient yourself towards learning about the surface beneath your feet for a number of movements, and then switch back the orientation towards your own feelings. Do a number of movements like that. Try doing about ten of each before switching to a different orientation. Continue with it for a while, and then stop and rest a minute. Your hands should be lying on the thighs, the palms down. Let the middle finger rest in the middle of the leg. Sit far enough forward in your chair so that it rests easily on the knee. You should be far enough forward so that the body can be upright and the fingers can rest easily on the knee without your bending. Now move the ball of the foot from side to side a couple of times, using the heel as a hinge. Then stop and imagine doing It. Remember to try to learn to make – 325 –

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the imaging easy. Learn to avoid those things that make it hard work. In fact, with practice it becomes both easier to do and the imaging becomes much stronger and more vivid. Now do a couple of movements taking the heel from side to side. Note those sensations. Then do that movement in your imagination. Remember to use the kinesthetic, the tactile and the visual sensory imaginations. Now stop and rest with the hands on the knees. Compare the two feet for a moment. See which is clearer in your body image, and also which knee, which hip joint, which shoulder and which side of the face. See if it is different from what it was before. Remain seated about halfway forward on the chair; otherwise you inhibit the leg movement. Then extend the leg out to where you think you can most easily turn it onto its outside and onto its inside. Do that with actual movements a couple of times. Then continue to do it with your imagination — kinesthetic, tactile and visual. Now stop. Pick your foot up and put it down lightly several times. Then continue to imagine doing that. Then make several actual circles on the floor, two clockwise and two counterclockwise. Note what it feels like. Then continue to imagine making those circles. Make large ones and small ones, clockwise and counterclockwise. As you alternate the direction of the circles, also alternate your orientation between self and not-self. Learn about the floor, and then learn about the feelings in the foot. The shifts in reality orientations are particularly potent in strengthening the neural circuitry. Now, drawing on past experience and without doing any actual movements, just move the foot back and forth in your imagination. Again, switch the orientation back and forth between the so-called objective and subjective realities. Imagine pressing hard so that you sense clearly what the floor feels like and so that the sensations in the bottoms of the feet are stimulated. Now stop. Again, without doing any actual movement, remember what it feels like and rap in your imagination with the right heel on the floor. Imagine it very strongly and see if you note any tendency of the heel to rise. You might notice a shift in the pressure of the toes on the floor. Then put the foot where you think you can best rap with the balls of the feet. Imagine that movement. Imagine doing it very quickly with the ankle flexing a lot. Make it light, but vigorous and rapid rapping. Then imagine rapping with the toes. Bring them up as high as you can, in your imagination only. Then just a few more times imagine sliding the foot forward and backward along the floor. See if you can simultaneously and equally sense the floor and the feelings in the foot. See whether, when you do that, it seems to you that the orientation is more towards the floor or towards the foot. Now stop. Keep the eyes closed and see which hand you sense more clearly, and which foot, which shoulder, elbow, knee, ankle and which side of the face. – 326 –

11. [#55] Brain: Imaging and Movement (Feet)

Get up and walk around. See if now it is the right side that moves better, the foot having a better contact with the floor. Is it more flexible with the knee moving more on the right side? Try to determine whether the change is the same from the imaginary or imaged movement, as compared to the actual, physical movement, whether it is greater, whether it is less. See if there is some kind of qualitative difference in the way that the body feels; that it is a different sensuous quality that the imaging gives from what the actual movement gives. It is a subtle discrimination that you should try to make, to see what the difference is between what is achieved by the imaging and what is achieved by the movement. Then come and sit. Now close your eyes and put your feet side by side. Can you sense much more clearly the right foot and the right side of the body? Now we are going to equalize the two sides. It means to some extent that you will have to exercise your own initiative, because with everyone the amount of work that has to be done to equalize will be different. I will give you some movements first that will bring you much closer to a balance between the two sides, and you can finish it off yourselves. First of all, just rap with both heels on the floor. Put the heels where they rap well and see if one raps faster than the other. If they were in a race, which would win? Then put the feet where the balls rap best. Then just rap with the toes, in the best position to do that. Use all of the toes, if you can do it. Then put the feet where you can rap with the heels, and imagine doing it, both of them at once. Imagine it as vividly as you can, rapping with both heels. Now place them wherever they rap best with the balls of the feet, and imagine doing that. If you need to, you can actually do it several times to get the feel of it. Then, using all three varieties of imaging — kinesthetic, tactile and visual — Imagine doing it. Then adjust the feet a bit, and imagine rapping with the toes. Do it physically a few times at first, if you need to. Then do five movements swiveling the balls of the feet to the left and then to the right together. They both go in the same direction. They both go right, they both go left. Slide them along the floor. Then imagine doing it. Now, instead of doing that, swing the heels left to right, sliding the feet along the floor. Let them move equally and symmetrically. Sense clearly what you are doing, where the movement is. Then imagine doing it. Now again physically move it. Slide the feet forward and backward along the floor. As you do that, alternate between awareness of the floor and awareness of the feelings of the feet. Do a number of movements sensing outward and a number of movements sensing inward. These are all misleading ways of speaking but the language does not really allow for an accurate description. You understand, but it is not adequate language because the language is so geared to a differentiation between the “subjective” and the “objective” world when it comes to describing things like movement and senses. Now make some circles with your feet. Do some one way and some the other way. Now with one foot sense the floor and with the other foot pay attention to the feelings in the foot. One foot is outer-directed and one foot is inner-directed. When – 327 –

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you change the direction of the circling, also change what the foot is doing so that if it was the left foot that was outer-directed now it is the left foot that is Inner-directed, and the reverse. Do that a number of times, changing both the direction of the circling and the orientations of the respective feet. Then imagine doing it. Breathe freely and do not tense up. Now stop. Sit with your hands resting lightly on your knees, your body erect. Close your eyes and see whether you sense equally the two feet, the two hands. Does it seem to you that your nose is in the middle of your face? Now if you still sense the right side more clearly, do some work with the left side. Do your own work. Do it both physically and in the imagination. If there is an imbalance in either direction, work on the side where the image is faintest to make it as vivid as it is on the side where it is strongest. Do it with movements of the foot, the kinds of movements we have been doing. However, choose your own and choose to what extent you do it as actual physical movements and to what extent you do them as imaginary movements, provided you do some of both. When you feel that the two sides of the body are equally clear, that the body image is the same on both sides so that it is a complete balanced body image, then get up and move around. See if the two sides are equal. First achieve the balance. Everyone is to work at his or her own pace. Take your time. Do it well, with regard to what you sense you need. Now sit down. You see that the mind can use the brain by means of sensory images to reorganize and change those functions of the body of which it has some experience. Now you can, at this point, use the mind and its images to cause the brain to reorganize the body so long as you have knowledge of the sensations that are involved. You have to know what the sensations are in order to image them, before you can exert any conscious control over the organism itself in the way that you were doing. There are also many processes of the body that you are not able to sense. To the extent that you are able to increase the range of your sensing, to sense inward and to actually acquire some sensory knowledge of internal processes, then you can bring those under conscious control as well. Otherwise, they can only be controlled through some kind of collaboration with the unconscious. To control such things as heart rate and skin temperature and blood flow arid brain waves and other ordinarily involuntary processes, it is really only necessary to establish a relationship with the unconscious that will take advantage of the knowledge the unconscious has of how to use the brain to regulate those involuntary mechanisms and processes. It is a somewhat dangerous and haphazard process as compared to establishing conscious control. Therefore, the range of conscious experience should be made as great as possible. The sensing and the conscious awareness should penetrate as far into the body, as deeply and as completely as it will go, so that the conscious mind can be used to bring about any of the changes that you want to bring about. Beyond that, you can only work with your unconscious and ask it to do these things for you. You can accomplish this by forming some kind of effective relationship between the unconscious and the brain.

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11. [#55] Brain: Imaging and Movement (Feet)

At the beginning and throughout this exercise, the point has been to show that the brain does not discriminate between Images and objective actions. When you see the changes that your body makes in more or less the same way, regardless of whether you do the imaginary or the actual physical movement, you understand that it is so. The body will also alter profoundly — and more mysteriously — in response to symbols, but that is another matter.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME IV

12. [#56] The Arch Teaching time: about 75 minutes

(If possible, before you begin this exercise provide yourself with some cylindrical object hard enough not to yield to the foot and wide enough so that both feet can rest on it. The object should be as large or a bit larger in circumference than an ordinary rolling pin. A rolling pin can, in fact, be used, but if possible find something a bit longer and a little larger. A cardboard roll used in packaging is good for the purpose, if stiff enough not to yield to pressure when the foot's weight is applied to it. If you are unable to obtain a suitable cylindrical object, you may omit that part of the exercise which calls for it. However, best results will be had if the work with the cylinder is included.) One of the most common foot problems, and sometimes one of the more distressing, is that of “flat feet.” Actually, when this condition is congenital, the foot is in some important respects superior to feet having normal arches. The distinction between congenital and acquired flat feet was for some reason not made by the U. S. Military for some time. Thus, during World War I, all men with flat feet were rejected for military service. By World War II, however, it had been discovered that men with congenitally flat feet, or with a very minimal arch, could actually outperform men with so-called “normal” feet, marching longer without pain or fatigue, doing better on rough terrain, etc. In the case of acquired “flat feet,” the arches have “fallen,” altogether or almost so. This happens to some people when they become too much overweight and to some whose jobs require a good deal of walking and, more particularly, standing. Policemen and waitresses are frequently cited examples. In those cases, there is often chronic and sometimes rather severe pain. Almost no occupation or amount of body weight will ever produce fallen arches or flat feet when the posture is good and the body is otherwise well-used. Posture and other elements of use determine the pressure exerted on the foot in walking and the way the body weight is experienced. A quite obese man or woman whose body is well-positioned with respect to gravity will move very lightly, and the feet will experience little pressure. On the other hand, a very slim person with poor posture can come crashing down on the foot with each step with a force equivalent to a number of times the actual body weight. That person is then, for all practical purposes, “heavier” than the person who has good posture but whose weight, as measured by the scale, is far greater. The average person, with average defects of posture and body mechanics, comes down on the foot with every step taken with approximately three times the body weight. Even in rising from a sitting position, such a person exerts a pressure on the feet that is well beyond the actual body weight. If you doubt this, sit in a chair, put some bathroom scales under your feet, and then rise to a standing position. The needle on the scale will then go far past the weight of – 330 –

12. [#56] The Arch

your body to demonstrate some of the pressure exerted on the feet. Were good mechanical use of the body present, the needle would move only to the point where it indicated the body weight and then would go no further. Almost all books by podiatrists and other physicians assert that nothing can be done by the person to remedy flat feet once the condition has occurred. The only possibilities offered are arches built into the shoe and, when the patient's pain is sufficiently acute, remedial surgery. Often, neither of these approaches is successful, and the patient well may be left worse off than she or he was before. And, of course, In the case of surgery, damage may be irreversible. The fact is that arches that have “fallen” and feet that have “flattened” can often be helped by means of suitable exercises or work on the feet performed by a knowledgeable teacher of Psychophysical Method. Moshe Feldenkrais, in Body and Mature Behavior, asserts that nothing in particular needs to be done for flat feet. When the person has learned to stand and walk efficiently the correction will simply occur, if it has not already occurred during the learning process. To give another example, the late Ida Rolf, in Rolfing: The Integration of Human Structures, reports that flat feet can often be corrected by a teacher working on the flat feet with his or her hands. I have also seen it happen, as Feldenkrais asserts, that the correction occurs without special effort, as posture improves and good use is established by means of a general program of psychophysical re-education. In some cases, including the congenital ones, pain accompanying the flat feet is mental or emotional in origin, and basically is caused by vanity, or the belief that pain should be experienced. The notion that high arches are beautiful or attractive, in the case of women's feet especially, can give rise to much dissatisfaction and other distress when the person's feet do not measure up to such a criterion. I have seen cases where women actually attempted to heighten the arch by clenching the toes and succeeded in creating a condition that eventually was maintained without conscious effort. They achieved this by contracting the toes and otherwise distorting the shape and the functioning of the feet and, in the process, bringing down on themselves troubles of various sorts, some pain commonly included. The arch so attained somehow blinded these persons to the fact that the toes were now ugly and the foot in general much less attractive to look at than before. Good functioning, health and aesthetics all had been sacrificed to achieve an end that was worse than the beginning. Apart from such consciously self-directed folly, not a few persons have arches that are too high, for somewhat similar reasons. When shoes and/or stockings that are too short are worn over a period of time the toes tend to contract to accommodate themselves to the shortness of the footwear. Shoes that are too narrow also will cause the arch to rise as a part of the process by means of which the foot, its muscles contracting, becomes narrower and rises in an effort to escape the pressure of the shoes. The responses to the pressures from the shoes are continuous signals to the brain to re-organize the foot. When this has been done often enough, the sensory mechanisms and the neural connections are damaged and the brain continues to hold – 331 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME IV

the foot in its distorted condition by means of chronically contracted muscles. One rarely hears about excessively high arches, but they are not at all rare in my experience. In fact, I would say that most arches are too high and that these greatly outnumber those feet which are regarded as flat. It is a general rule in doing Psychophysical Method work with the feet that they get both wider and longer. The spaces between the joints are increased as well as the spaces between the toes and the long metatarsal bones which lie behind the toes and which, in the skeletal foot, appear to be extensions of the toes. With the loosening and lengthening and widening of the feet, they also appear and feel softer on both tops and bottoms. It is this natural softness and yielding capacity of the bottoms of the feet that allows many people who never wear shoes to walk over surfaces we can barely tolerate even when wearing our shoes. Such peoples do not usually, as some have supposed, have heavy callouses on the bottoms of their feet, but rather the feet are so soft that they shape themselves around the surfaces they touch. There are some people the bottoms of whose feet are so soft and pliant, they can walk on glass without being cut. In various parts of the world, people without shoes have no difficulty walking and climbing over rocky terrain. Despite the advantages — health, functioning, appearance — some people are distressed when they lose their self-induced “high arches.” They have to be convinced that what they regarded as “beauty” was, rather, deformity. No one doing the exercises presented in this book should object to losing a bit of the arch to gain the benefits described. No one I have heard of ever has acquired flat feet as a consequence of doing psychophysical re-education work. However, I have no doubt that someone could achieve it if important instructions were ignored and the work was done excessively or foolishly enough. When the work is done properly, any reduction of the height of the arch will be minimal except in the instance of the arches which are clear-cut cases of pathology. Now be seated in a straight-backed chair, preferably one without arms, and we will work with the feet bare, as usual. In the future you can begin at this point and eliminate re-reading the preliminary discussion, unless you should care to review it. First of all, take notice of your arches. To observe them, do you try to sense the feet themselves or do you look at them visually, from the outside as it were, and as you might observe the feet of someone else? Sense them both ways, by looking and by feeling, and note whether the impressions gained by the two methods coincide. Then get up and walk around a bit and try to experience the foot's arches. As much as possible, walk just as you ordinarily do, but note closely that contact of the foot with the floor which might define the arches for you. As you walk, experiment a little and observe whether it is possible for you either to increase the arch, or to flatten the foot, so decreasing the arch. Could you perhaps flatten one foot while you increase the arch in the other foot, and do it without interrupting either your walking or your breathing? What method do you use to achieve this? One way might be to contract the toes of one foot while pressing – 332 –

12. [#56] The Arch

down on the middle of the other foot. That is the method the person is most likely to hit upon. There is another much more curious method an occasional person might discover. That is, while walking, to rotate one knee out and the other knee in, and so doing without walking on the edges of the feet. The effects on the arches of rotating the knees are more easily observed when one is sitting. To walk in such a way is very awkward. See, too, if you can find any other ways of increasing or decreasing the arch as you walk, but do it without introducing into your foot or your leg undue strain. Then come back to your chair and sit down. Sit with your feet equidistant from your body and with a fair amount of space between them. Let your hands rest lightly on the tops of your knees. Compare the two arches and try to sense whether one is any higher than the other. In general, do your two feet rest on the floor in the same way? Do the same parts of both feet touch the floor, and do they exert an equal pressure on it? What other comparisons can you make? Now, for a while we are going to work with the right foot. Unless otherwise indicated, all instructions will apply to the right foot only. (Another time you can do the left foot.) First of all, see how much you can tighten the arch by clenching or contracting the toes. Do it a number of times and observe what happens throughout the foot. Just be sure that the heel of the foot remains in place. Also, in flexing the toes, keep the toes on the floor. They will have to move along it but keep them on the floor all the same. No matter how much you manage to flex your toes, you are unlikely to do it as well as some people who keep the toes habitually flexed. As you continue you can doubtless make better and better hammer toes for yourself but some who have done it without trying will have outdone you. Now do raise the ball of the foot and the toes off the floor and continue to flex them, feeling the effects that this has upon the arch. Does the arch increase more when the toes are on the floor or off it? Put the toes back down and try to increase the arch while you move the toes as little as possible. Then just allow the foot to rest. Now instead of clenching or flexing the toes of the right foot, extend them. That is, bring them back towards your leg, the ball of the foot remaining on the floor. Note that this also increases the arch, but in a way that feels somewhat more natural, more consistent with the foot's structure. Continue elevating the arch by raising the toes toward the ceiling however far they go in that direction. Remember that at any time you can stop the actual movement and work with kinesthetic, tactile and visual images of movement. In any case, work with those images now, imaging the lifting up of the toes, the elevation of the arch, the feelings in the heel and whatever else you are aware of. Image the movements without holding the breath or introducing any tension into the muscles or joints, whether in your feet, your face or elsewhere. Do a few actual movements and note whether they coincide with the imaged ones. Then do the imaged ones again and see if the imaged movement can improve – 333 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME IV

upon the physical movement. Be especially alert for tension in your body as you do that. Now stop and note how the two feet are resting on the floor. Compare your sensing of the two, and also the two legs, your two hands, the two sides of your body. In what ways does the right side now differ from the left? Now, without letting the heel or the toes or the leg move any more than is essential, rotate the right knee to the outside. See if you can sense what happens in the lower leg and the ankle as you do that, and whether, as you continue with the movement, you find that the arch becomes increasingly responsive to it. The movement may never have been consciously done before, and thus may be difficult in the beginning, but as it is learned its performance improves. See if it not only gets to be easier, but that the elevation of the arch is also more extensive. Continue with that for a while, trying to improve the movement both as to ease and extensiveness. After that stop and rest. Note if the left foot now feels somewhat flat by comparison. Get up and walk around a little and see if the feet make noticeably different contact with the floor. Focus your awareness on the arches and note any differences. In some cases the change will be subtle, requiring acute and detailed sensing. In other cases it will be very easy to note that there are differences. Stop walking for a moment and just stand. Note if the left foot seems flatter, and if one leg seems longer than the other. If so, which leg is it, and why would it feel longer? If you are sensing from the middle of the foot, then the left leg may feel longer because the point you are sensing from is closer to the floor. Try to think whether habitually you base your sensations of your body's height or length by sensing from the middle of the bottom of the foot. Then sit down again. Now take a rolling pin or other cylindrical object you have managed to obtain and let the middle of your right foot rest on the cylinder. Push down lightly with the foot on the cylinder by raising and lowering your leg without, however, losing contact with the object. After you have done that at least twenty-five times, roll the object with your foot, going no further forward than the beginning of the ball of the foot, and no further backward than the beginning of the bottom of the heel. In other words, keep the rolling in the middle of the foot, the metatarsal region. As you roll, exert only gentle downward pressure with your foot. Too much pressure may cause pain to the foot now or later. Try to make your foot as flexible as possible, so that it feels as if it bends and shapes itself somewhat around the cylinder as it rolls. Also, see if you can make the sensations in the bottom of the foot quite pleasurable ones. Work on increasing the pleasure for a while, and on allowing the foot to be as supple and as responsive to the object as possible. Let your foot rest on the cylinder. Try to find positions on it which feel as if they would allow the foot to bend the most, and try to find places which might emphasize the arching of the foot. – 334 –

12. [#56] The Arch

Letting the middle of your foot rest on the cylinder, bring your toes down to the floor. Hold them there very briefly, then bring them up again, and continue doing that. Then just rap very quickly with the toes on the floor. Roll the cylinder with the foot again, rolling over the metatarsal area. Then let your right foot rest on the floor alongside your left one. Push down with your left leg and see if by not too forceful pushing, you can bring almost the entire bottom of the left foot down to the floor. Then, bringing equal pressure to bear, see if you can do that with the right foot. Note whether the right arch resists the pressure more than the left one did. At least some people will find it quite impossible to bring the right foot into as extensive a contact with the floor as they achieved with the left foot. Place your right foot on top of your left knee so that the ends of your toes point towards the wall opposite you. Slide the foot left a bit so that it is the leg just above the ankle that rests on the top of your left knee. Observe the arch visually and also try to sense it. Flex your toes and then extend them, noticing whether the arch is affected more by the flexing or by the extending, and how the changes produced by those two movements differ. Take hold of the heel of the foot with your left hand, and flex and extend the toes with the right hand. You will probably be able to increase the magnitude of the movements somewhat by using your hands. The toes will flex more and then extend more and the effect on the arch will be more pronounced. Now, using both hands, pull the toes back towards you with the right hand, while simultaneously you push your heel away from your body with your left hand. Then as you relax the pull backward with the right hand, pull your heel back toward you with the left hand, and continue doing that so you increase the arching of the foot each time you push on the heel and pull back on the toes. This change should be quite pronounced, and easy both to see and feel. Do the movement quickly for a while without straining, and then put the foot down on the floor. The arch may now have increased enough on the inside of the foot that the foot tends to go a little onto its outside. Move it back and forth along the floor, sliding it, sensing the floor, and trying to eliminate that tendency to shift over to the right. Then place your foot on the cylinder once again and use your foot to roll it, keeping the contact inside the metatarsal region. Let the contact be light and let the foot be as pliant as possible. For a while, let the foot lean slightly to the inside as you do that. That is, there will be a little more pressure below the big toe and its neighbor than there is below the other three toes. Then let the foot roll so that you do not feel that it goes either to one side or the other. Stop rolling the cylinder and let your foot rest on the floor. Alternately flex and extend the toes a few times, observing the increases in the arch, and then once again rest. As usual, let the hands rest on the tops of the legs, with the middle fingers at the center of the knees, and the two adjoining fingers near the outsides of the knees. Sense how the left foot lies, and the right. – 335 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME IV

Sense the left heel in relation to the ball of the left foot, and then sense the right heel in relation to the ball of the right foot. This means you also sense what lies between the heel and the ball of each foot. Note again if the left foot feels flat by comparison. It is not, of course, changed. Change has been in the right foot, and if the left one feels flatter when you compare, this must mean that the arch of the right foot has increased. Sometimes it is more difficult to sense the increase in the arch than it is to recognize it by comparing the feelings in one foot with those in the other. Get up and walk around and note what you sense. See if you can detect that the arch is, at least somewhat, increased in the right foot, either by sensing the arch itself or by comparing it to the contact of the left foot with the floor. Those who can clearly sense the change in the arch will, of course, find it even easier to compare the differences between the two feet. On which foot do you prefer to move? Do you find the seemingly unusual flatness of the left foot disturbing, or an encumbrance? Note whether, both when walking and standing, one side of the body seems longer, and whether the longer side seems to be the left one. If such is the case, the effects of this exercise differ for you from those of almost every other psychophysical exercise. Almost always, the side that is worked on lengthens, and is properly experienced as longer. In the present case, as I have suggested, the explanation for the actually incorrect sensing resides in the fact that the literal basis for sensation of length is somewhere near the middle of the foot. Thus, when one arch rises, its distance from the top of the head is diminished, and the other side will feel longer. This will be the case even though the side with the higher arch is actually longer because all the work has been done on that side. These feelings are illusory, but may persist for a while until, as with other exercises where one side is worked with, the nervous system reorganizes the body, bringing the two sides back into a balanced sensory relationship. This usually means, in practice, that the side that was worked on loses some of what it has achieved, while the side not worked on gains some of what the other side loses. This is evidently done by means of a transference of learning from one hemisphere of the brain to the other. That such learning transfers are possible is easy to demonstrate, and various Psychophysical Method, Feldenkrais and other exercises repeatedly make the point. Continue to walk, stand and sit, and see in. which of these three relationships to the floor it is easiest to sense what has changed in your foot.

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12. [#56] The Arch

VOLUME V

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME V

1. [#57] Learning Transfer #1 (Feet) Teaching time: about 45 minutes

To begin with, lie on your back. First take the position that you would normally take. Then, if you do not have them so, put the arms down at the sides, with the palms down. Spread the legs so that the heels are at least a foot or more apart. In that position, with your eyes closed, scan your body. That means you go over the entire surface of it and bring into your awareness as much of the surface of your body as you can. Also, as you go along, see to what extent you can be aware of your skeletal joints. It is possible to begin any place but usually easiest to begin with the feet, with the toes, and move up the foot to the ankle, and the lower leg, and the knee, and the upper leg, and pelvis, and abdomen, rib cage and chest and so on, and then to the shoulders. Do the fingers and come back up the arms to the shoulders again. Then do the neck and the head, all parts of it. In so doing, have several purposes in mind. One of them is to see how much of your body you can bring into awareness so that by the end of the scanning you can have a sense of the whole, or as much of it as possible. Another is to see where the body image is weak and where it is strong — what parts of yourself you sense clearly, what parts not so clearly and whether there are parts that you do not sense at all. Part of your self-observation should have to do with the position of the body. At what angles do the legs go out, for instance? And the feet? How do you spontaneously place them and are the spaces between the fingers the same? Do your thumbs lie at equal distances from your thighs? See if it feels to you that your shoulders are equally in contact with the floor or if perhaps one is raised higher than the other. Is your head truly in the middle or does it tilt to one side or the other? Do this without any criterion of what is right or wrong, or better. Just simply observe without evaluating, without imposing on yourself judgments based on preconceived ideas or ideals. Just observe how it is at this particular time. See if your awareness includes the way that your tongue lies in your mouth, and the contact of your lips, how one eye feels in relation to the other eye, and whether it seems to you that you breathe equally through the two nostrils. If you cannot tell, or in any case, check it by putting a finger alongside one nostril and then the other and see whether what you sensed about your breathing was correct. Bring your attention back down to your feet and legs. Sense how they lie. Now, without stiffening your neck or using your head to do it, come to a sitting position and then to a standing one. Observe that you do not inhibit your breathing. Walk around a little, observing how you move — the kind of contact your two feet make with the floor, how the two ankles move, how the two knees move, the two hip joints, how the shoulders move in relation to one another, how you hold your – 338 –

1. [#57] Learning Transfer #1 (Feet)

head, and where you look, whether you look at the floor or out towards the horizon or wherever else you look, and whether your awareness is of floor and ceiling simultaneously or how far up and down your vision goes, and also how far out to the sides it extends, how great an area your visual perception encompasses, and whether that field of perception has any particular shape. Might it be circular or square or triangular or rectangular or what might it be? Then come back and sit down on the floor. Place your left foot so that it is standing in front of you. Make yourself as comfortable as you can. Rap with the toes of the left foot on the floor. Then do it not just with the toes but with the ball of the foot. Place the foot at whatever distance from your body that facilitates rapping with the ball of the foot. Then stop. Close your eyes and try to get a picture of the foot for a minute. With your eyes closed, and still picturing the foot, rap again with the toes, doing it slowly. Rap with just the toes. Bring them up and put them down, forming a clear picture of the foot and the toes. Picture how the toes look, and also sense what the movement feels like. Now leave the toes down and imagine, both visually and kinesthetically, rapping with the toes. Imagine what raising the toes and lowering them looks like and feels like. Then try imaging instead rapping with the ball of the foot. Do it without inhibiting your breathing, sensing clearly that this is a movement of the ankle, and the front part of the foot comes down and makes contact with the floor and then goes up and loses contact with the floor as the ankle flexes and let’s go. Now actually perform that movement, and sense those things. Sense also, as you do that, whether there is movement in your knee, and in your left hip joint. How much movement there is will depend on how the foot is positioned in relation to the rest of the body. Try finding the place that will let you make the optimal ankle movement and that will let you raise and lower the rest of the foot, while leaving the heel on the ground, as high and as easily as possible. The movement will be both quantitatively and qualitatively optimal when you find the right place to put the foot. Then stop. Now find the place where you can make the best movement rapping with the heel. Leave the ball of the foot on the floor and just rap with the heel. Try putting the foot closer and further away and see what the place is where the heel comes up the highest and the movement is easiest to do. Now lie down and rest a minute. Sense your left foot and ankle and leg and compare that with how you sense the right one. See whether there is any difference. A few times just flex and extend the toes of the left foot. Then move the foot as if you were rapping with the ball of the foot on the floor. It is the same movement but the back of the heel lies on the floor in this lying down position. The sole of the foot is not standing on the floor now.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME V

Then instead of doing that, leaving the heel on the floor, just make some circles with the left foot. Observe whether you circle towards the inside of your body or towards the outside. Whichever way you spontaneously circle, do that for a while, and then reverse and go in the opposite direction, but be aware of which way you spontaneously do it. Then stop again. Flip-flop the foot from side to side several times by rotating from the hip joint. Then, instead, just rap lightly with the back of the knee on the floor. Then let the leg lie still, and without thinking about it at all, once again begin to make circles with the left foot. See how you spontaneously go, whether from the inside out or the outside in. See if it is not the same way that you did it the other time. Some people go in one direction, some in another. At some point you may understand why you prefer to begin your circling in one direction, but that riddle can be very difficult to solve. Now stop and bend the left leg and slide the foot along the floor. Slide it however far it can go without coming off the floor. Do it hard enough so that there is a lot of sensation in the bottom of the left foot. Try to become acutely aware of that sensation. Also try to make it a sensation of pleasure. Intend that it be pleasurable. Then for a moment, instead of paying attention to the sensations in the foot, try to use the foot as a way to learn about the surface underneath it. Orient yourself outward rather than towards your own pleasure. Try to learn about the mat, or whatever surface is under your foot. Try to suppose that you have just awakened in a pitch black room to which you have suddenly been transported, and you are using the foot to try to learn what you are lying on. It is the only part of you where you can make skin contact, so that it is your means of learning about your immediate external environment. Use it to sense, and you can also move it a little side to side or whatever other ways you might find to use it. You might swivel the heel from side to side, using the ball of the foot as a kind of hinge. Or you might use the heel as a hinge and swivel the front part of the foot side to side. See what other movements you can explore that would allow you to learn something about the surface. Then sit up a moment, again trying not to sit up first with your head. Use your lower body to bring you up so that you can avoid stiffening the neck. Let your left foot stand on the floor in front of you. Try to form a picture of it. Then take hold of the heel of the left foot with the left hand and insert the fingers of the right hand between the toes of the left foot. You have to pick the foot up and let it rest on your other leg. See whether those fingers insert better from above or below. Then instead insert the fingers of the left hand, and take hold of the heel with the right hand. See if that works better, and seems like a more natural, appropriate way to hold the foot. Use the fingers to flex and extend the toes.

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1. [#57] Learning Transfer #1 (Feet)

Now let the ankle move at the same time and use the hand that holds the heel to help with that. You are flexing and extending the toes and also flexing and extending the ankle. Position the foot in such a way to make that movement as easy and as extensive as you can. Then use the two hands to rotate the foot to make circles with it. Let them both assist in the rotation. Make it very clearly an ankle movement. Now stop and just hold on to all of the toes with the fingers, without inserting them. Bend the foot in such a way that you can feel it bending in the middle, and then straighten it. The toes will bend too. See if you can feel that the foot bends in the middle. Do it gently. Then, continuing to hold on to the toes with the left hand, slide the right palm up and down along the bottom of the left foot. Create as much sensation in the bottom of the foot as you can. Try to make it a double sensing, so that the foot is interested in feeling what the hand has to give it, and the hand is interested in giving sensation to the foot. You see that they are both very active partners in this transaction, that it would be inaccurate to say that one is passive. Also use the nails of the right hand to stimulate the bottom of the left foot. As that stimulation continues, let the ankle just flex and extend, flex and extend, as part of the movement. The left foot absorbs all of the sensations and the right hand is intent on providing them and finding ways to increase them. The ankle flexes and extends all the while. Now put the foot down. Let it stand, and sense it for a moment. Form as clear an image of it as you can. Also, with either hand as you prefer, run the hand over the top of the foot, in a caressing manner but also with the intention that the foot should widen and lengthen and the toes should extend. Rub the hand also over the sides of the foot, sometimes letting the nails move over the foot, sometimes the underside of the hand, sometimes the top of the hand, providing the foot with many, many different sensations and increasing the foot's feeling of aliveness and awareness, and also having that intention of lengthening and widening the foot. Let the muscles go loose and free. Then, using the two hands, take each toe and lay it out as flat as you can, doing it gently. Use your fingers in whatever way you like, but try to place your toes so that the bottoms of them are flat on the floor. If you gently pull out on the toe and lengthen it and pull out on it and lengthen it, see if that will allow it to lie somewhat straighter and flatter. The foot, and nervous system and the brain as they have to do with the foot, should now be in conditions of heightened interactions so that the foot is more malleable than it ordinarily is, and you can take your hands and fingers and sculpt the toes. After you have placed them so that they are positioned as well as you can with respect to the backs of the toes on the floor, also make spaces between them. Let the fingers go in and out between the different toes and let them do it repeatedly. Also place the toes so that they lie with spaces between them. Your fingers go in and out between those spaces. Again, have the idea that you can sculpt your own body and that you are sculpting it. Let the – 341 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME V

whole thing now lie as perfectly as you can make it at this moment. Place it so that it is the best you can do right now. Then just withdraw your hands and sense how the foot lies, and the toes. With that, also sense how the whole foot feels in its relation to the floor, and how it feels generally. Pick it up and several times move the ankle. Flex and extend it with the hands. Try holding the ankle with the left hand and the top of the foot with the right hand. Cross it over to one side. Not only flex and extend it but take the ankle from side to side, using the hand to do it. Try letting the left leg rest over the right one, or holding it out in front of you someplace where the foot can move freely and you can toss the foot from side to side. Also make circles with it, using the hand to do it. Then put the foot down and sense it. Slowly lie down. Put the two feet and the two arms down at your sides. Carefully sense the left foot, and the right, the left ankle, and the right, and on up the leg to the knee and the hip joint and the left hand and the right hand, and the left shoulder and the right one, the left eye and the right one, the left side of the mouth and the right, the left side of the face and the right. Then sense the two feet and ankles, again. Now to begin the transference of what the left foot has learned to the right side, several times just wiggle the toes of the right foot. Sense clearly what you do. Then imagine doing it. Then in the time I am going to give you, imagine doing as many of the movements on the right side as you can remember — the ones that the left side already has done. Flex and extend the ankle, rotate the ankle, sit up and use the hands to move the foot, put the fingers between the toes of the right foot and flex and extend them, gradually flexing and extending the right ankle and knowing what that feels like, and using one hand on the heel and one on the toes to rotate the right foot in circles, letting it stand and rubbing it back and forth on the floor, knowing what that feels like. Bend both legs now and let them stand side by side. Then take the right foot back and forth for a moment, sliding it along the floor with the legs standing. Sense as keenly as you can what the right foot can feel now as everything that the left foot has done transfers so that it becomes a part of the experience of the right foot, too, in some sense, and the right foot functionally benefits. Come to a sitting position with the right foot standing in front of you. Continue for a moment to stroke the right foot with the hands, bringing it also to life and sculpting it until completed.

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2. [#58] Learning Transfer #2 (Spine)

2. [#58] Learning Transfer #2 (Spine) Teaching time: 45—60 minutes

To begin with, lie on your back with your arms at your sides and your palms down. Close your eyes and sense whether it feels to you that your body is symmetrical. In any case, make it so, so far as you can be guided by your sensations. Do not visually or intellectually work to achieve the symmetry. Just be guided by your sensing of how your body lies. This is another in the learning transfer series, and it is somewhat different from the others in that what we are going to do is alter the functioning of one part of the body by working on other parts. We are going to be working with the spine and at the end, after transferring the functioning and the sensing predominantly of one side to the sensing predominantly of the other side, then we will largely equalize the whole and achieve a superior overall functioning of the spine. We will not leave it in a condition where it rotates better in one direction than in the other. Again sense your body. Bend your legs so that they stand side by side with the feet about one and a half feet apart. Then let the legs drop over to the right side. Bring them back and continue doing it. Let them do it in such a way that the left knee slides down the right leg as the two legs go over. Continue to do it so that the legs go right and come back and the left knee slides down the inside of the right leg. As you are doing that, pay attention to the feelings in the right hip joint and on the right side of the body. Sense how the right leg goes over and the right foot rolls onto its outside. Be particularly aware of the right side of the pelvis and the right hip joint, but also other movements on the right side of your body. Let the head go right and come back also. Continue doing it until I tell you to stop. Continue to sense the right side. Now stop with the legs standing. Move the feet another six inches or so apart. This time let the legs go right again, but see if you can do it in such a way that the left knee falls into the sole of the right foot. Once again pay particular attention to the movement in the right hip joint and on the right side of the pelvis, but also to the rest of the right leg and foot, and to the head as it turns right and to what is happening in your lower back — how the spine has to move as the body twists to the right. Feel that the demand on the spine and the lower back now is somewhat larger than it was when the feet were not quite so far apart. Interlace your fingers and put them under your head as you do that. Breathe freely and sense the right side. Then continue to do it, but with the arms folded across the chest. See if the body moves more freely now with the arms resting lightly across the chest. Feel how the leg goes more to the right. Feel also the movement in the spine and lower back. Allow the head to go. Then rest again.

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ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME V

This time put your legs down for a moment. Put your arms down at your sides and compare the left side to the right. See which is more clearly in your consciousness. Often it is easiest to say if one compares the eyes, to begin with, and the corners of the mouth and the sides of the face, and then goes on down to the two shoulders and the two hip joints, the two knees and the two feet and so on. Note how the two sides lie — feelings of length and especially the clarity of the body image, whether you sense your body more clearly on one side than on the other. Bend your legs again and place the feet at a distance that will allow the knee to drop into the sole of the other foot. Now, instead of taking them right, take them left once. Let the right knee drop into the sole of the left foot and remain there. Then bring them back as a unit with the left foot riding on top of the right knee. Let it remain attached to the right knee. Bring the whole thing up and over to the right side. Bring it back to the middle, and keep doing that. Keep going right — do not go left. Go all the way right and back to the middle with the left foot sitting on top of the right knee. Sense the movements in the right hip joint, and how the spine moves. Do not let any more of the upper body move than is necessary to let the legs go over. You can turn your head but do not roll over onto your side or you will not achieve anything with the spine. As long as the upper back remains largely on the floor, the demands will be made largely on the lower back, the most flexible part of the spine apart from the segments of the neck — that is, the lumbar spine, or the spine in the lower back region. The spine at that end and the spine up by the head are the only parts of the spine that have anything like the sort of freedom of movement that you are demanding now of your lumbar spine. Continue to focus on your right side. Put your hands behind your head and do it. The head can still turn right. In fact, you can let the left elbow come up while leaving the left shoulder on the ground, or not raising it much. Let the left elbow come up and let the head turn right as you go over to the right. Keep sensing the right side. Continue to do it but with the arms folded lightly across the chest. Remember to leave as much of the upper back on the floor as you can. It is essentially a lower back and lower body movement except for the head, which can roll with the legs. You utilize the two flexible parts of the spine to something like their fullest, within the limits of what the floor will allow. In other words, you turn your head as far as the floor will allow and your legs as far as the floor will allow if you can do that. If not, just do whatever you can. Remember that you are always free to stop and rest, and then resume, if you get tired. Breathe freely and focus your awareness on the right side. But in the background be very much aware of how the lower back moves and the feelings in the spine. You let the spine be as free as it can.

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2. [#58] Learning Transfer #2 (Spine)

Now stop for a minute and let the two legs rest side by side on the floor. Leave them standing. Several times let the right leg drop over to the floor and see if it feels unusually loose in the hip joint. Then instead of doing that, join the two legs and take them both over to the right and back to the middle as a unit, and feel it in your spine. See how freely the spine can move now. You should feel that not only are the hips very free but that the spine and the lower back have also achieved a degree of freedom that you rarely or never experience. Let the head go right or not, as you like. Then leave the head alone and take the legs over to the right, leaving the upper body resting on the floor and enjoying that feeling in the lower back and spine. Then stop and extend your legs. Compare the right with the left side. See again if you are more aware of the right or left eye, the right side of the face or the left, the right or left hip joint, the right or left hand. Compare feelings of length in the two sides, and see if you can sense that the right side is longer now. Now with a minimum of movement we will transfer not only some of the sensing over to the left side, but also the freedom in the left hip joint and the freedom in the spine that will allow it to rotate very, very easily side to side. Let the two legs stand. Two or three times take them left so that the right knee travels down the inside of the left leg. Note clearly what you do. See what the knee feels like going down the leg, and the feeling in the left hip joint, the sensations in the left side of the body. The head can go left. Leave the legs standing and vividly image or imagine going left in the same way, with the right knee sliding down the left leg. You can imagine the head going left, and what happens on the left side of your body. Put your hands behind your head and imagine doing it. Imagine it strongly and vividly, going all the way over to the left and coming back down to the middle. You can imagine doing it at different rates of speed and what it feels like in the lower back. Put your arms on your chest and imagine doing it. Again, very vividly image those sensations. Then spread your legs far enough apart that you can let the right knee drop into the sole of the left foot, and continue doing that, taking them left. Physically, objectively, take them left. Feel very strongly and note very keenly the sensations in the left side of your body, leaving the right shoulder down as much as you can so that it is a movement in the lower back and spine and hip joints. Focus your awareness on the left side. You can let the head go left. Turn the head left as you go. Now stop and image doing it. Image doing it with your hands behind your head. Actually put your hands behind your head, but image the movement. The head will be going left also, along with the other images — kinesthetic and tactile ones, movement and touch sensations. Make them very, very vivid. – 345 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME V

Then with your arms on your chest, continue imaging. Feel the right knee drop into the sole of the left foot, and going way left; how it feels in the small of the back and the spine; the head turning left so that both ends of the spine go all the way down — or allow the parts of the body they are attached to go all the way down to the floor. The cervical spine allows the head its freedom of movement to the left; the lumbar spine allows the pelvis and the lower body that freedom to go left; the muscles grant the freedom to the skeleton; the brain grants the freedom to the muscles; the mind directs the brain in this matter. Feel sensations of going down to the left; and sensing the left side. Now stop and let your legs go right so that the left knee drops into the sole of the right foot, and leave it there. Put the sole of the right foot on top of the left knee as you are over to the right, and then let it remain on top of the knee and ride back over to the left. Then bring it back to the middle and come back again. It is the same thing you did on the right side. You go all the way over to the left now with the bottom of the right foot sitting on the left knee. Notice the sensations very keenly. Then stop with the left leg standing vertical, and the right foot sitting on the left knee. And imagine the movement left. Put your hands behind your head to do it, the fingers interlaced. Imagine everything going to the left and the freedom of movement in the spine and lower back, and the head turning left, leaving the upper body on the floor, just taking the lower body left. Sense it clearly and vividly. Put your arms on your chest and continue to image the movement left — the legs and head, the free spine and lower body, the feelings in the hips as you go left, and the pelvis. Put the right foot down on the floor, and several times let the left leg drop over to the left. See whether the movement in the left hip joint feels free, and as good as the right one, or almost. Always, of course, take into account what your personal norm is. Assuming that the joints are usually approximately equal, see if now the left one moves with a freedom to rival that that the right enjoyed as a result of all the work it did. Then just image letting the left leg drop over freely to the left. Let it just fall effortlessly, unobstructedly left, as if the muscles did not impede the movement at all. Then join the right and left legs together at the ankles and knees and take them both over to the left and bring them back to the middle, feeling what happens in the spine, letting the spine and lower back become as free as possible. Breathe freely. Stop and image taking them left, imaging even greater freedom in the spine so that the legs drop to the left and come back to the middle — you can just flip-flop them back and forth and the spine rotates without inhibition. A few times let the head go left with the head in your images. Feel the movement in the spine and the body on the left side as the legs go left. Feel the left leg in its contact with the floor, and how it rolls over onto the outside of the left foot. Put your arms down at your sides and extend your legs. Compare again the sensations on the two sides, beginning with your eyes. Are you more aware of your – 346 –

2. [#58] Learning Transfer #2 (Spine)

left eye now? How about the mouth on the left side? Compare also the left hand, hip joint, knee, foot. See if the left side now lies a little lower than the right one, and whether the sensations of length have changed so that the left is either almost as long, as long or longer than the right, but definitely more clearly in your awareness than it was just a few minutes ago. Now let the two legs stand side by side and rest your hands lightly on your body somewhere. Take the legs all the way over to the right and then all the way over to the left, or however far they will go. Feel what that is like in your spine and take them back and forth as quickly and lightly and easily as they will go. Let the head go with the movement, left and right. Then leave the head alone and let the body go left and right, and feel it in the spine. Now spread your legs a little as you do that and let them go side to side so that each knee drops into the sole of the other foot. Then put your hands wherever you find that the spine has the greatest freedom. It will not be behind your head and it will not be with the arms out at your sides at shoulder height. Those are positions that inhibit the free movement of the spine. Now when you go over to the left, let the right knee remain attached to the left foot and bring the whole thing over to the right. Do that several times, taking them all the way right and left now with the left foot riding on the right knee. Go all the way side to side. Then, without breaking the rhythm of your movement, when you go over to the left let the left foot come down on the floor and take the two legs over so that the left knee drops into the sole of the right foot and remains there. Now go side to side with the right foot riding on the left knee. Go all the way over on both sides, the head moving at the other end. Sense in the lower body and spine what is happening. Now finally let the two legs stand side by side with the feet and knees together and remaining so. Take them side to side as a unit. See how freely they can move, and how flexible the spine is now. See if you can do it quickly and lightly, and as easily from one side to the other. If there is some normal impediment to movement, note anyhow that the spine is much more supple than it usually is, and how the muscles have freed up in the lower back to allow that kind of flexible, supple movement in the spine. Now lie down with your legs extended. Feel how the small of your back lies. Turn the head side to side a few times, letting it go as far in each direction as it will, and as smoothly and lightly as it rolls. Roll it side to side and then let it come to rest in the middle. Now scan your body one last time and observe whether the two sides are now equal or approximately so, and if not equal, whether the left side is more prominent in your awareness or the right side. Compare that to what you sensed originally. Especially note the way that the lower back now is — whether it lies closer to the floor than before. – 347 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME V

Here we have had two learning transfers actually — from the right side to the left and then back to symmetry, or something approaching symmetry. At the same time we enhanced the functioning of the spine, making it much more supple than it ordinarily is, and allowing a freedom of movement well beyond most people's norm. Now, keeping your neck loose and beginning the movement in your lower body, roll to one side, get up, move around and make a few more observations, including noting how you carry yourself and whether you feel more erect and the back feels better supported. Your posture is better. The focus in this exercise has been mainly on the spine, as distinguished from those exercises where one transfers, for example, from one leg to the other leg or one arm to the other arm. Continue to move, or lie down, whatever you wish, making a few more selfobservations now that this exercise is concluded.

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3. [#59] Learning Transfer #3 (Hands)

3. [#59] Learning Transfer #3 (Hands) Teaching time: 45-60 minutes

Seat yourself on the floor and assume a position that you can remain in for some time with minimum variations. You do not have to stay frozen there, but try to find one that is fairly comfortable. Place your two hands side by side on the floor in front of you. Close your eyes and sense the two hands. See whether one hand or the other is more clearly in your awareness. With right handed people, typically the right hand will be more clearly in the awareness; with left handed people, typically the left hand. Moreover, the right hand, which is typically in awareness and partly for that reason, will in the case of right handed people be more flexible, will move better generally, and the same thing will be true of the wrist. Since there is a different capacity on the part of these two hands in most everyone, it is not possible in the course of a single exercise to really equalize the two hands. However, one can alter very substantially the relation between the two so that in a little while, for instance, we will alter the left hand so that either it is as good or better than the right one temporarily, or it will come much closer to being the equal of the right hand than it is at present. At times it will certainly be much clearer in the awareness than the right hand is. Again I am addressing right handed people when I speak in this way. Left handed people will simply reverse what I am saying. Now continue to sense the two hands. See if it is possible for you to withdraw the focus of your attention very largely from the right hand and to place it on the left hand. You dismiss the right hand as being of comparatively little interest and concentrate on sensing the left hand. You can help yourself to do that by becoming aware of the contact of the left hand with the surface beneath it. Be aware of the palm of the hand in its contact with the surface, and then of the small finger. Also try to be aware of the space around the small finger. Then be aware of the ring finger of the left hand — its contact with the floor and the spaces on either side of it, and if you can, the top side of it. Then do the middle finger of the left hand. How does it rest on the floor? Sense the spaces on either side, and its tip and also its top, and the knuckle. Be aware of it simultaneously with the ring finger and the small finger. Then be aware of the forefinger of the left hand — contact, spaces, the top and tip. Try to be aware of it simultaneously with the other three fingers. Then be aware of the left thumb, and see how it lies. Observe that it lies differently from the others, which lie facing down. The thumb lies on its side, or more so. As you focus on the thumb, ask yourself if you ever noticed that before. In – 349 –

ROBERT MASTERS • PSYCHOPHYSICAL METHOD EXERCISES • VOLUME V

all the countless times that you have ever rested your hand on something, did it ever strike you that the thumb lies on its side and the other fingers lie on their underside, along with the palm? Then try to be aware of the thumb and the other four fingers simultaneously, the spaces between the fingers, and the palm, and the wrist, and the contact of the whole hand with the floor. See if you can sense the top of the hand. From the beginning at the wrist, has the whole hand become clearer in your awareness than it was at the beginning? Slide the hand forward and backward, pressing down just enough to make the sensing more pleasurable. Evoke pleasure sensations in the palm and fingers as they move over the surface of the floor. See if you can find a way to also turn the hand over on its back and do it. Slide as much of the back of the hand over the floor as you can. Try to make that a pleasurable feeling. Then do the tips of the fingers and the thumb. Then use the whole hand again but this time use it to try to learn about the surface that it is touching. Suppose that you could not see that surface, that you were in a very dark room, or had no vision for some other reason, and your hand is what you learn with. Then, instead of trying to learn with the hand, just pay attention to the sensations in the hand, no longer orienting yourself towards the external world to learn about that. Now you are interested in your own body's sensations. The external world is merely there as a means of giving you sensation as you touch it. Now rest the two hands side by side and sense them. Is there any change in the relation of the two? It might be that now the left hand is clearer. Or it might be that now the right hand is clearer still but that the left hand also lays a greater claim to your awareness than it did previously, that more and more it is emerging to lay its own claim to consciousness. Pick the left hand up. Let it dangle, and flex and extend the fingers a few times, making a light fist and releasing it. Take hold of the thumb of the left hand with the thumb and forefinger of the right. Pull out on the left thumb. Make circles with it as you do that. Rotate the thumb in one direction a number of times, and then reverse it and rotate it in the other direction, all the while pulling out. Observe that you breathe freely, and that you focus your attention on the sensations in the left hand and especially the left thumb. Then take hold of the forefinger of the left hand and do the same with that one. Remember to go in both directions. Focus on the sensations in that finger, and secondarily on the sensations in the left hand as a whole. Go on to do the middle finger now.

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3. [#59] Learning Transfer #3 (Hands)

Now go on to the ring finger — pulling it out, rotating it, focusing on the sensations. After going ten or fifteen times in one direction, reverse and go in the other direction. Finally, do the same with the small finger. Now put the two hands down again in front of you. Sense them for a moment. See which eye you are the more aware of, and which shoulder, and which ankle, and which foot, and which elbow, and which wrist and which hand. See if having focused your attention on those other parts for a moment has made any difference to the relation of the two hands that you sensed just a moment ago. Has the left one become more dominant? Take the hands off the floor again. Take the middle finger of the right hand and insert it between the thumb and forefinger of the left hand. Move the middle finger in and out between those fingers of the left hand, and focus on the sensations in the left hand. Then let the right hand be still and let the left hand act, sliding back and forth on the middle finger of the right hand. Then do the same with the forefinger and middle finger of the left hand. Do it very quickly and at the same time intensify the sensing. Now do the middle and ring fingers. Press in a little more with those fingers — not tightly, but just enough to intensify the sensations slightly. Go on to the ring and small fingers. Continue to slide those fingers back and forth along the middle finger of the right hand. Let the left hand lie still now and slide the thumb of the right hand between the small finger and ring finger of the left hand. Once again focus your awareness on the left hand. Then move the thumb between the ring and middle fingers of the left hand. Go on to the middle finger and the forefinger. Finally, do the forefinger and thumb of the left hand. Turn your right hand over so that you place the small finger between the thumb and forefinger of the left hand. Now let the small finger slide on down through so that your right hand and wrist and lower ar