I'd like to say a few words about lineage, and how I see it in terms of Holotropic Breathwork. Lineage appears to be part of most of the world spiritual traditions. I'm not trying to make a case for HB being a spiritual tradition, in the same manner as the other recognized traditions. However, its spiritual power is evident, and everyone I've talked to who uses it systematically reports that no matter what reason they began their HB journey, the method eventually took them into the sacred or numinous dimensions of existence. Plus, core breathing, the Inner Healer, extended cartography, focus on death/rebirth, and many other components make a strong case for HB being a spiritual discipline. At the very least, many of these components are found in other traditions as well.
After my initial major revelatory experience that happened when I was twenty, the first books I discovered were the ground-breaking series by W.Y. Evans-Wentz, one of which was "Tibet's Great Yogi, Milarepa". So I got all excited about Tibet, and Milarepa and his lineage, the Kargyupta School, and his teacher Marpa. It was an inspiring read then, and still is now. Marpa was tough! And I love to hear Ram Das talk about the dilemma of being attached to his guru and to his lineage, when other teachers are giving him hell for this attachment. So he says, well, he'll give up all attachments except for his lineage. Makes for a great teaching mystery for us on whatever path we're on.
So then I think about HB and Stan and Christina and this thing about lineage. And I remember a month-long at Esalen, when we were discussing lineage, and Stan and Christina talked about their unique experiences with Muktananda. And about how, if we were to look through the lens of lineage, then it's possible to imagine Muktananda and Kashmir Shaivism being part of an HB lineage. And some more of us ventured to share what we felt might be our lineages as well. It was fun, as well as valuable, in terms of making conscious certain themes of out past. But, there's a bit of a paradox with this whole lineage thing when it comes to HB and each of us who have found it useful. Here's how I see it:
Remember how I said last week that Stan is like Mick Jagger in Russia? It's true, I'm barely exaggerating. Some of them get seriously starry eyed around him. But one of the things that attracted me most to HB to begin with was this unique absence of the shadow side of all the guru thing. Stan and Christina's humility has always been a core inspiration to me. How they say they felt "hired" to do HB, or that they were just "riding the wave" wherever it took them. They are charismatic world teachers. And wherever they go, people are drawn to them, not just because of HB, but often because of the projections people make upon them -- oh, you are so great, when I'm near you I get shaktipat, etc.
But here's a paradox: The core teaching of HB is about the Inner Healer -- about how healing always comes from the inside, not from some outside person. This is what makes HB so special. But, for many seekers, just hanging out with Stan and Christina makes this truth fly out the window. It's easy for all of us to fall into the illusion that our healing comes through somebody else. And the problem of course is exacerbated for those of us who want to be practitioners, because we have to be clear enough not to see ourselves as healers, or to get caught in counter-transference when our participants tell us how great we are.
But back to lineage. This leads us to the question of exploring our own inner lineages, just as we did at Esalen way back when. Especially as we consider how HB will unfold for the next generations of participants and practitioners. For me, I can see how certain lineages may have unfolded through Stan and Christina -- streams of inspiration they are aware of, and some they may not be conscious of, but which will always be a mystery. But here's the important thing, as I see it: When it gets to each of us who come after them, the lineage stops being linear. In a sense, it goes sideways, to each and all of us equally. And how we choose to utilize the gifts of HB are up to us, always guided by our own Inner Healers, that special core gift of HB. Most of us will use it for our own growth. Some will use it in their work with other seekers. Some of us will continue to work in the training, in a world-wide organization like AHBI, or in our own communities. Some of us will use it as an inspiration for creativity and artistic endeavors, others for research, and for many more reasons. The possibilities are endless, all guided by the Inner Healer within each of us.
Some of us may feel a lineage emerge from within as we trace our unique heritages. It's always appropriate to be grateful for our teachers and helpers, like Stan and Christina, and whoever they may be. But then, just as they have always taught, to look deeply within ourselves, be empowered from within to bring forth our own unique contributions, whatever they may be, whether it involves working with HB with others or not. If I may be so bold, the HB lineage is just not a lineage any more, if it ever was. Lineage is a fun way to look at it. We can certainly learn valuable things about ourselves as we explore its paradoxes. But ultimately we will always be led to our own inner selves, as Stan and Christina have always taught. This is the greatest Holotropic gift of all.