Rebirthing is a technique involving specific breathing exercises which allow individuals to re-experience memories from the past and to release feelings and sentiments that are suppressed / contained within the emotional physical self.
Your Rebirthing Advisors are Ken and Renée Kizer
Leonard Orr, founder of the Rebirthing philosophy, says* that Rebirthing breath causes the inner breath to be connected to the outer breath. Inner breath can also be called pure life, spirit, God, or infinite being. The outer breath is air, oxygen, and the respiratory system. (*Physical Immortality: The Science of Everlasting Life. Chico, CA. Inspiration University, 1988)
Rebirthing is both a simple physical breathing technique and a profound emotional cleansing tool. It is a form of yoga streamlined for Westerners. Traditional East Indian yoga uses breath for centering, relaxation, and healing. The differences are that yoga breathing has a slightly different effect than Rebirthing, and Rebirthing tends to accelerate the clearing process faster than hatha yoga, the most commonly practiced form of yoga in the West.
The emotional part of a Rebirthing session is subtler and is the focus of the bulk of this book. Using the Rebirthing breath dissolves the emotional suppression in the body so that formerly held-in feelings begin to surface consciously.
Because approximately 90% of our thoughts and feelings are unconscious, a lot of what gets integrated in a Rebirthing session stays unconscious. This does not mean the breath is not working. It just means we did not need to consciously experience what changed. If how our lives work is a reflection of how healthy we are, and you notice your life works better after a seemingly uneventful Rebirthing, then it was a good session.
The first sessions tend to be the most dramatic. After some practice, (five to twenty sessions, depending on the individual), surrender and integration, and the sessions themselves, get easier.
For most people, the issues that are hardest to integrate (the ones about which we are most stuck) are usually the ones that do come up consciously. Generally these are around family and romantic relationships, career, and money.
When we start breathing fully, some of the formerly suppressed feelings begin to "surface" consciously for us to experience. Before this can happen, we must choose to feel the fear that prompted us to resist those feelings in the beginning. For instance, if we are afraid to tell the truth about ourselves because we are afraid people will leave our life, then we must face and go through the fear of abandonment before we will be able to speak our truth.
In a Rebirthing session, this can be accomplished without actually risking a particular relationship. Often, fears we experience only in situations involving other people, e.g., the fear of abandonment, come up on their own while breathing. To just feel this - and to do nothing about it, except to keep breathing fully the whole time - eventually dissolves the fear so that it feels safe to acknowledge that particular truth to oneself.
As it gets safer to let down barriers in the protected space of Rebirthing, it gets easier and safer to let down barriers around those we love. This shift is called integration, and it is simply surrender to the truth of the feelings in our body. Surrendering to the fear of abandonment actually frees us from thinking that people would leave, if we tell the truth. This is an important part of the healing that comes from the Rebirthing experience.
The Value of Rebirthing
The Rebirthing experience is arguably the best stress management tool on the planet today. It has value for several reasons. People are realizing how all physical ailments and diseases stem from unresolved emotional tensions. The energy in these unresolved tensions will not be denied in our lives; it has to be expressed one way or another.
Because the inner world and the outer world connect when breathing consciously, Rebirthing is a technique that works directly on the deepest emotional levels. There are many aspects of self and life about which we are aware, and there are as many or more realizations that never surface consciously. Fortunately, the value of the session is not determined by what we understand from the experience of it. This is because, while we may have no significant conscious thoughts while rebirthing, we notice our lives work much better as a result.
Rebirthing is not an intellectual process. It does not rely on our logical acuity or rationality for its effectiveness. Therefore, it is not possible to predict or direct what will come up, in spite of the conversation that might ensue as the preface to a session
The breath accesses the innate wisdom of the body, allowing it to heal itself. The ego, a part of our minds often out of touch with our emotional and physical needs, is invested in protecting itself, to the point that it will kill the body if necessary. The body's innate intelligence leads us to heal ourselves, if left alone by the ego. It is not natural to suppress feelings, and the body clears them automatically if allowed to do what is natural.
The effectiveness of a session requires no prior experience in anything except being alive and being able to breathe on one's own. It is not even necessary to know anything about personal or spiritual growth.
The main requirements for success with all growth work are: the awareness that the quality of one's life could be better than it is now; and the willingness to change what no longer works. The first condition does not mean there are complaints. Nor does it mean a lack of satisfaction with present conditions; rather it just reflects the natural desire to grow and expand. The willingness to change is a larger challenge than many people realize. Most people tend to unconsciously act out their old behavior patterns simply because it's what they have always done in the past. This has nothing to do with how healthy the behavior is for our well-being.
Change always involves a shift in self-perception. When we change how we see ourselves, this changes the value and importance of people and things. While this shift is going on, we may feel unsettled, until we know again who and what are important. It sometimes feels awkward until the body develops habit patterns based on healthier motivations. Some traditions teach that it takes 3 days, or 72 hours, to consciously change a belief or behavior. After the first 72 hours, the change starts feeling more natural.
With some experience in conscious growth, it becomes obvious that, while it may seem difficult to learn the new ways, the old ways certainly don't work, and it's self-destructive to go back to them.
Similarly, Rebirthing soon makes it apparent that the only choice is to surrender to the feelings that surface during sessions, because it is so uncomfortable to resist. We can resist, but it feels so much better at the end of the session when we allow change and integration to happen. With practice, fears and resistance integrate faster and faster, sometimes without using Rebirthing.
Being able to integrate discomfort as soon as we become aware of it is one goal of Rebirthing, and personal growth in general. The breathing guides us to the point of choice to let go or surrender and reminds us how uncomfortable it can feel when we don't surrender. However, it isn't the breathing that causes integration. The choice to surrender is the magic, which can happen independently of the breathing process.
For instance, when in a session it is noticed the body is holding tension, focus awareness on it. Acknowledging the tension - and allowing it to be there - actually gives the body permission to relax, which leads to the dissolution of the muscle tension. Willingness to just be with ourselves, no matter what we are feeling, enhances the process of letting go and the integration of new thoughts or behaviors.
Another valuable part of Rebirthing is the fact that with some practice, anyone can learn to Rebirth himself or herself. This is important in those moments when some uncomfortable feeling is experienced and there is no Rebirther around. In fact, Rebirthing can be done anywhere. It almost always enhances appreciation of life.
The Energy of Rebirthing
The energy of Rebirthing is simply love. Learning to let in more love is the most challenging and rewarding work we do as human beings.
The circular breathing rhythm increases energy in the body. This increased flow consciously highlights areas of the body where we hold resistance to love. The breathing also dissolves these blocks in a gentle, non-confrontive way. The more we allow this process to happen, the quicker emotional healing occurs.
It is possible, however, to resist this increased energy flow. If the objective is to increase the levels of pain, then suppressing the breath is the way to accomplish that objective.
Most people quickly decide they don't want to experience discomfort to this degree and allow the resistance to dissolve. This is how to get the maximum positive results in a Rebirthing session.
Taking regular time to practice conscious connected breathing has the same effect in other areas of our lives. It is more loving of self to give up resistance during a breathing session, and it becomes apparent the same thing is true in other parts of life.
Ultimately, all resistance is self-abuse. In Rebirthing, the energy of the breath brings up anything that blocks the free expression of love. This, in turn clears resistance from the body until all that is left is feeling good. This experience is the result of surrendering to, or stopping the suppression of, any feelings in the body. When we resist in any way, life gets painful, in the session or in real life.
It is important while Rebirthing to take responsibility for everything we experience. What this means is not avoiding what feelings the breath is bringing up. The sooner we just surrender to having all the feelings that are there, the sooner it becomes okay to have those feelings. When we resist whatever is coming up in our awareness, this causes stress in our minds or bodies. Stress is eventually painful in a session or in real life.
If we are always trying to avoid certain memories or feelings, we spend a lot of time unconsciously avoiding living major portions of our lives. The energy used when we suppress takes away from the energy of creative power. Some people think it is easier to create what they think is the ultimate get-away - death. Death is a temporary respite or escape, because or souls still have a consciousness after death, so it only postpones having to deal with our issues. These issues don't change, whether or not we are in a physical body.
The next incarnation brings the same lessons into sharper focus. They are usually more intense in the next lifetime, because we were so resistant in the previous one.
Another aspect of growth work is deciding on a particular issue or issues to resolve. Rebirthing simplifies this greatly by accessing the innate wisdom of the body, bypassing the intellect. We've often observed (in various forms) that a woman might decide the current romantic involvement presents the greatest challenge and focus on resolving those issues. She was confused because the more her partner sought intimacy, the angrier she felt. The breathing sessions helped bring up memories of how her father wouldn't let her sit in his lap after she started to develop sexually. He did not explain why he stopped giving her attention (his own discomfort with his daughter's developing body), so she thought she did not deserve love as a woman. The old thoughts of not deserving were pushed up while in the current relationship, creating the same upset she had with her father.
With a few more sessions of surrendering to her feelings of abandonment by her father, she relaxed more and more about her boyfriend's expressions of physical love. She stopped projecting her anger and grief at her father's action onto her boyfriend. She even told him of her experience with her father. As a result, he felt trusted and was more patient with her. Surrender, understanding, and telling the truth helped them create a more loving and fun relationship.
The unconscious, emotional, feeling, intuitive, and physical side of self has an agenda of its own in regards to healing. Rebirthing works directly in alignment with this inner guidance. Allowing this process to occur without conscious interference usually produces the best results. (This does not mean one should forgo any necessary medical attention. Sometimes this assistance is appropriate and can lead to the best results from efforts at healing.) Trust the strength and clarity of the technique to lead to ultimate healing.
Friends and Loved Ones
Rebirthing noticeably speeds up the pace of change. One of the more obvious side-effects of this rate of growth concerns close relationships. Sometimes old friendships end suddenly and new ones start as if by magic. This can be challenging, especially when long-lasting relationships seem to die. Our awareness of what relationships are fun and easy, and which ones are no longer working, is heightened.
From a long-term perspective, we often change our circle of friends when our attitudes change. We are always seeing our values reflected by the people closest to us. If someone leaves, that creates a vacuum or space in our hearts and minds where we had been holding that person. Since nature abhors a vacuum, it will naturally try to fill that space. Given time, chances are excellent that new relationships will come into our lives. This result is an indication of who we are now. This is all positive in the long run.
It is not necessary for other family members to Rebirth in order for them to get value out of the process. When one person in a family unit starts to change, every other person is affected and has to respond. The energy is undeniable, ultimately guiding each person to be more open and loving.
The result is that others around a person who is Rebirthing either start opening up their unlimited minds as well, or they have to get away from the person who is using the process. We don't have control of them even though we want them to get benefit from the technique. They may ask you about the process and only when they are ready. No amount of persuasion works until they are open to the technique.
The most powerful attraction seems to be when others notice us having more fun, it will be hard for them to not ask what we are doing that is making such a difference.
The Rebirthing Process
The Rebirthing process is a technique in which the conscious experience of surrender leads to a greatly increased sense of personal freedom. As this is a concept most of us were not taught growing up, it takes some practice to affirm it as a way of life.
The circular connected breathing process, or conscious connected breathing, as Rebirthing is sometimes called, can be split into five steps or phases. They are not necessarily experienced in strictly one-two-three order in a session. However, it is useful to divide it this way in order to increase our awareness of the different parts to assist in the best possible outcome of each session. I am indebted to Jim Leonard for his model of Integrative Rebirthing (now called Vivation™) and his delineation of the five stages of the Rebirthing experience. I have renamed and slightly changed the definitions of his original model.
1st Principle: Breathing
The first part is the actual breathing itself. The Rebirthing breath is accomplished by pulling the inhale high in the lungs, and simply dropping the exhale, keeping each inhale connected to the exhale connected to the inhale, etc. The exhale is neither forced nor held.
This is different than most forms of yoga or meditation breathwork which have a more structured way of breathing. At first this way of breathing may feel awkward, but the body easily adjusts to it.
2nd Principle: Awareness
The second part of the session is to simply be aware of what you are feeling and thinking. It is not necessary to dwell on thoughts, or to try to make them go away. There is a part of self that can be an observer of all this without being a part of either thoughts or feelings. For most people, this detachment is something that comes with practice. Usually the first series of Rebirthings is a revelation of feelings long buried, some never consciously experienced before.
Awareness is a state of being, not doing. There is nothing to do about what surfaces during a session. Sometimes people are tempted to act out anger or get deeply involved in crying. Feeling anger as it comes up is sufficient to eventually deal with it. Crying is very healing if it happens in a session. The effectiveness isn't in consciously expressing these or other feelings. The most important part is to just let these different emotions surface as they do and not resist or suppress them.
It is very tempting to fight some of this; however, the reason most people end up working with the breath is because they have been holding in feelings most of their lives, and resistance hasn't worked. Relaxing in the presence of discomfort may be a new way to dissolve or release it.
3rd Principle: Acceptance
The next step is to accept - without judgment - whatever comes up in the session as a part of ourselves. This also is an inner state of being, which means stop resisting or suppressing anything about self. Resistance and suppression are doings, and these are things that have complicated life up to this point. Resistance can manifest as sleepiness, tiredness, yawning, daydreams, restlessness, hunger, or anything that - in the session - distracts a person from finishing the Rebirth. It is not natural for the body to suppress, and the circular breathing rhythm allows the body to clear many of these held-in feelings.
4th Principle: Relaxation
As we become aware and accept all that we see and feel about ourselves, there is an experience of relaxation many people report they've never consciously felt before the session.
This happens when we stop running from - resisting or suppressing - feelings. If we have a belief that we never do enough, when that feeling starts to build inside, we may get busy to make it go away. It becomes apparent it's not possible to make the discomfort stay away, before we create burnout or a nervous breakdown. Some people aren't that conscious and have to create physical problems before they will stop long enough to let the body clear the feeling.
Learning to not do anything when that old belief or feeling is trying to surface is the fastest way to take care of it.
5th Principle: Integration
The completion of a session is called integration. Usually, any tensions, fears, or other uncomfortable feelings disappear. What is left is feeling relaxed, but not sleepy, and energized, but not wired. This experience includes the following characteristics:
Integration means feeling the certainty, or at least the possibility, of Physical Immortality. Integration is a more complete sense of self. It means feeling like we can continue the Rebirthing breath forever. It is feeling more open and alive.
It means having a more realistic understanding of talents and potential, and no longer setting goals that are unreachable. It also means not settling for something less than we are capable. Integration is a centered-ness that comes from being much less afraid of what life might bring us. Since we have looked into some of the deeper parts of self and realize that we have lived through it, we can proceed in life with a renewed joie de vivre.
Perhaps the deepest fear most people have is of dying, which is not the same as the fear of being dead. Rebirthing helps us address the fear of dying. When we start to look face-to-face at that one, there are few other things about being human that can scare us the same way. Relationships or money concerns seem less threatening to survival after processing our fears about dying and death.
Integration is living through what happens in a Rebirthing session and seeing this experience realized with a confidence that translates this new understanding into all other areas of our lives. Facing our feelings about our parental relationships translates directly into healthier, more satisfying adult relationships. Seeing how we might sabotage success - such as by having difficulty with money (perhaps to get back at our parents) - frees us up to address our anger honestly with them. The result is being more successful at making money.
Rebirthing is a holistic process in that it heals the emotional attitudes and belief systems that affect every area of our lives. In fact, it is awesome to experience actual physical headings just by changing our beliefs about what we expect from life. If we expect an abundance of love, health, and money in our lives - and we clear unconscious blocks to this expectation - we experience all the abundance we could ever desire. The more we love all we discover about ourselves, the easier and more abundant life gets. This is integration.
Rebirthing can be used any time it is desired, as often as it is desired. As a preventive technique, the recommended frequency is weekly or bi-weekly. There is a momentum built-up in using the tool this often, and the clearing effects of the breathwork continue between sessions. Less often, and increased tension and dissatisfaction may become evident. The rule of thumb is to use Rebirthing on a regular basis. This minimizes or eliminates crisis situations in our lives.
Circular connected breathing is the first step in a Rebirthing session. The most effective Rebirthing breathing pattern is taking a larger-than-usual inhale high in the lungs, just dropping the exhale, and keeping the inhale connected to the exhale in a circular breathing rhythm. The inhale is best focused high in the chest, slightly expanding the rib cage. Many people breathe unconsciously from their abdomens, which seems to limit how much air can be taken in.
This breathing pattern may be quite different from techniques used by musicians, athletes, those who do yoga, etc. For the purposes of Rebirthing, however, it is the best method devised so far.
The inhale itself is the only part of the cycle that uses any effort. Probably the most effective way to visualize it is pulling the breath straight up to the top of the head. Focus on expanding the chest, rather than the abdomen. An effective inhale does not require completely filling the lungs.
The exhale is effortless. With a healthy intake of air, high in the lungs, the exhale happens naturally and without effort. The fuller the inhale, the easier the exhale. Ideally, the release of the breath is felt all the way out the bottom of the feet. This allows the most amount of waste material to be cleared from the body.
Very often, people stop the exhale in the stomach or abdomen area. This typically results in increased tightness and difficulty. It is important not to hold tension in this part of the body.
Relaxing on the exhale is the ideal - as the breath is being released from the body. Sometimes people are so tense that they can only relax after the exhale is complete, before starting the next inhale. Experience suggests that the exhale is the half of Rebirthing that actually triggers relaxation. It is the part of the breathing cycle that clears tension from the body.
Holding the exhale (tightness on the exhale, or making more noise on the inhale than the exhale) corresponds to a belief system of attachment and control. Often, these are people who are attached to outcomes in situations. Attachment to outcome is a belief we can, by force of will, make something turn out the way we want, very often done in spite of the wishes of others. Invariably, things don't turn out as we expect and we get upset, because things have to be a certain way to feel safe. Consciously changing a tight breathing rhythm by releasing the exhale will speed the release of these control patterns.
Holding the exhale sometimes corresponds to having to be "careful." It's as if we are afraid to be noticed by others. Releasing the exhale makes it feel safer to be around people.
Forcing the exhale is the opposite of holding it. This can result from a belief system that reflects fear of being close - in other words, a fear of intimacy. People with this pattern often feel they will be controlled if they get close to others. Dropping the tension in the abdomen will dissolve the belief that closeness somehow means loss of freedom or being trapped.
4 Kinds of Breathing
There are 4 basic breathing patterns, determined by the speed and depth of the breath.
Because many people had the umbilical cord cut at birth before it was through pulsing, air was taken into the lungs before the amniotic fluid had cleared. This frequently causes the first breath of air to be painful. The imprint left from this experience is that breathing fully is difficult and painful, and, as a result, normal breathing is actually underbreathing. The Rebirthing experience is practicing breathing fully. It heals the damage done to the breathing mechanism in the body at birth.
Fortunately, doctors and midwives are becoming aware of how impressionable infants are at birth, and they are taking the time to arrange appropriate conditions to ease the newborn's transition into breathing air instead of amniotic fluid.
There is sometimes concern that "overbreathing" will lead to hyperventilation. Hyperventilation is defined as very rapid breathing leading to a decrease of carbon dioxide in the blood stream. This might happen when a person is forcing the exhale, but we have never seen anyone hyperventilate in our personal experience.
Cleansing is important because we are constantly creating and taking on residues and wastes from people and the environment. We breathe in dust and pollution from the air; we take on feelings - positive and negative - from others; and we are also creating our own waste by-products - used-up food and thoughts.
Rebirthing is cellular-level cleansing. Since the breathing mechanism handles approximately sixty to seventy percent of the body's wastes, it is important to breathe fully to allow all these wastes to be eliminated. Part of what gets cleaned out during a session is residue left over from experiences all the way back to birth. (It is not uncommon for a person to breathe out anesthesia from birth, so that the drug can actually be smelled in the room.)
Similarly, Rebirthing clears out the physical level residues of other significant experiences. A person's belief systems affect everything in his or her life, including the body. Anesthesia leaving the body leads to heightened awareness.
The next stage of the Rebirthing process is awareness. This is simply noticing the feelings, emotions, and thoughts we have while breathing. Because most of us have much training in suppressing or resisting the uncomfortable feelings in our bodies, we have forgotten some of our God-given awarenesses.
We are trained to hold down fear, hoping that if we don't have to feel it, there will be more room for positive emotions. What actually happens is that when we suppress any particular feeling, we suppress all feelings to the same degree.
The circular breathing rhythm is designed to start dissolving the suppression mechanism so that we can become aware of all the feelings in the body. It isn't necessary to understand what they mean, where they came from, and/or what to do with them. These actions can lead to re-suppression of feelings and emotions, frequently perpetuating old unhealthy patterns.
Loss of Awareness
In general, children are open, aware, and unconditionally loving at first. Often our parents cannot accept this much openness and love from someone; either they have to re-train themselves so they can accept more love or the child is taught to be less open - to stay within the family's definition of acceptable behavior. What frequently happens is that the child learns that there is acceptance and acknowledgment when following family dictates, but there is a risk of rejection or invasion when feeling unconditionally loving and open. Telling the whole truth becomes telling the family's truth, and avoiding or suppressing any thought that isn't in alignment with the family's belief.
The fear of disapproval that we carry with us into adulthood is not diluted by the years, unless the old patterns are consciously addressed. To surrender to some of the feelings that the breath opens up can feel like danger is imminent. In order to avoid danger and harm, people use many forms of suppression, such as addictions, distractions, and/or compulsive behaviors. All of them result in lower levels of awareness and openness, which leads to more difficulties later.
The most-favored avoidance technique, unconsciousness can be the hardest to clear and takes many forms. Although this is a passive behavior, it can mask a whole gamut of uncomfortable feelings, including such intense emotions as rage. This pseudo-sleepiness is the death urge in action; full breathing immediately starts to lighten the heaviness and sleepiness.
After some practice, most people experience the calming effects of conscious connected breathing. This memory can be good motivation to keep breathing when unconsciousness surfaces.
One obvious symptom is sleepiness. Another is being awake, or so it appears, but not really hearing or noticing what is being said to us in a session. A slightly different method is getting so busy that the mind is distracted from the feeling that is trying to surface. In all cases, continuing a full breathing rhythm will dissolve this lack of awareness.
There is no constructive reason to stop breathing in a Rebirthing session. It can be continued under most any circumstances. Falling asleep can be an exquisite experience during a session, but it's not Rebirthing. It will be more valuable to continue breathing until completion. Often, an "awakening" from the drowsiness also indicates completion.
One result of breathing out all the unconsciousness is increased powers of focus and concentration. It gets easier to stay alert in most any situation. It is also possible to be more rested with fewer hours of sleep when our bodies are more relaxed throughout the day.
Another way to avoid the feelings arising during a Rebirth is talking excessively. This could be a deep philosophical discussion; it could be further conversation about the current issues at hand; or it could be totally unconnected. In general, however, if it takes the person away from the effects of the breath, it's probably not the fastest way through the Rebirth. One signal is to notice the breathing pattern. If the person is breathing shallower, they are avoiding what's coming up in that moment.
On the other hand, pertinent conversation, as long as the Rebirthing breath is continued, can be useful and valuable.
Sometimes hunger comes up strongly in the middle of a session. In this context it is probably a form of suppression, and the best thing is to not eat until the session is complete. Hunger is a common experience after completion, and it is different than the hunger that arises during a session. The hunger experienced in a session is often the body literally feeling the thought that life is not nurturing or nourishing enough. This desire after a Rebirth results from a sensation of having lost weight or having empty spaces in the abdomen. Eating can be a way to nurture self and is okay as long as integration has been reached.
A condition that can occur during a session is known as suspended breath. It appears the Rebirthee is asleep, and there is no breath being taken (or only a very shallow inhale). This is actually being out of body, and usually happens when there is a feeling trying to surface that is too threatening to consciously experience. It seems at times birth trauma is also being integrated.
There is no danger here, because the body will get enough air. Breathing starts again on its own. The occasional blue color of a person's lips is the result of a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream.
We recommend keeping a Rebirthee conscious for the whole session. When drowsiness is so heavy it cannot be cleared while lying down, stand the person up. Standing behind a chair provides extra support, if necessary. We feel the best results are obtained by breathing out these bubbles of unconscious, sometimes resulting in profound insights about safety and security.
There are further measures that can be taken to prevent the drowsiness, such as putting one's feet in cold bath water, walking around the room while breathing, breathing with one's eyes open, breathing while looking into the Rebirther's eyes, or breathing while looking into a mirror.
An important concern is determining how best to keep a Rebirthee conscious. This can be a delicate point in the session - offering as much support as possible, without forcing the person into compliance.
Typically, old behaviors are being acted out. As a Rebirthee, being forced to do things because they are "good for you" might be an old pattern. The Rebirther does not serve a client by slipping into the role of enforcer. The Rebirthee needs to be clear about his commitment to work with the tool. In this example, the healing happens when the Rebirthee takes his own initiative and somehow stays awake long enough to reach completion.
As a Rebirther, insisting or forcing the client to use more extreme measures to stay awake (wanting to "help") gives the client no room to choose their results. The Rebirther's role is to remind the person (sometimes more than once, during a session) that staying awake as much as possible results in the quickest positive results. No change can happen until the person makes that commitment and takes action on it (i.e., keeps breathing now, and continues sessions on a regular basis). Eventually, however, they may choose to resist Rebirthing, or not to continue, and that is their right.
The third part of the Rebirthing experience is acceptance. Acceptance can be defined as ceasing to deny the truth of any memory, perception, insight or feeling about self.
For example, there might still be anger at one or both parents, combined with a fear of indulging those feelings. This might generate guilt for being upset with them, in light of their support when we were children. In this situation, acceptance means taking responsibility for our part when things worked out badly, and when we used to think we were victims of someone else. It may be difficult to see how our own actions "made" our parents behave as they did. Yet that is where the healing occurs. Understanding why we created people who would treat us as they did can prevent our choosing the same type of person again.
Acceptance means taking sole responsibility for everything that has ever happened in our lives. It is true other people play their own parts, yet they are only in our play because they were consciously or unconsciously invited as participants. Similarly, each other person involved must take responsibility in the same way, or they are also victims of external forces.
If we think of our life experiences as our own "hologram" that we've created, we become the producer, director, camera person, scriptwriter, actor, etc. of this hologram. This means we also can change it any time we choose. This is the power of acceptance. Until we take this viewpoint, we continue being victims of something or someone outside ourselves. Since we experience our belief systems constantly, it is possible to be a victim, but only by agreement, explicitly or implicitly.
For some people, the initial moment of realizing the power we have to sabotage our own lives can bring up a variety of uncomfortable feelings, something most of us have gone to great lengths to avoid feeling. This is part of the healing process. It is important to allow these emotions to come up and clear unimpeded. It is sometimes difficult to believe we would hurt ourselves or others, and it's normal to be a little upset at first, while getting used to being in charge of our own lives. The reason we would take responsibility is to change conditions that don't suit.
It's very clear in a Rebirthing session when we are still fighting this acceptance. There will be tension in the body, and it won't feel good. Tension or discomfort show us we are still holding on to the old belief systems. As soon as we surrender to letting the sadness or anger surface (and any other resisted or suppressed feelings), the body begins to relax. On this level, it is very easy to tell how well we are doing. It requires no intellectual effort. The body is always giving out signals, sometimes blatantly.
There is sometimes a temptation in a session to indulge in the feelings that are surfacing in our bodies - i.e., to act them out by yelling, screaming, sobbing, etc. It is easy to get angry with people or outcomes of situations when we feel the old frustration. However, this does not heal the old pattern, and in fact, we get stuck as long as we insist on being upset.
Drama, or melodrama, is indulging in emotions and feelings. Upset usually implies a victim-consciousness, which often includes feeling sorry for ourselves. Rebirthing is designed to take us through these feelings: then healing can occur. The breathing process is intended to show us how much better we feel, once we allow feelings to move in and out and through us.
Crying is perhaps the least distracting drama, as long as one continues breathing while the tears come. Usually, screaming or otherwise acting out more intense feelings is not necessary or appropriate for effective Rebirthing sessions, though some people have never allowed themselves expression of this, and a session can be a safe place to act this out.
Relaxation could also be called forgiveness, because once we have brought formerly hidden tensions to the surface, and accepted them, it can be a very natural thing to forgive ourselves for having them. There is no longer a need to hide or run from our fears, or to justify them, as they no longer feel controlling.
Forgiveness means that we can accept what we have done in the past. This doesn't mean we have to like the things we did; it just means we stop holding it against ourselves. Once we quit hiding our history from ourselves, we see that we no longer need to do those things that used to create fear, tension, or judgement. It is not possible to change old behavior patterns until the forgiveness happens. Until that time, we are locked in internal (and often external) warfare - one part wanting to change and the other unwilling to let go of the past. As long as there is guilt about something, we still have judgement.
To have guilt about how we handled a previous relationship means we have not forgiven ourselves. It also means we have not yet changed the source of the behavior that created the guilt. If we had changed the source of the behavior, there would be no guilt (or inclination to repeat the same quality of relationship). This can be an indication that there is now some clarity about this particular issue.
For example, as long as there is a belief something is still unfinished in a previous relationship, then a part of our attention is still focused on those feelings. Often, there are regrets about how things could have been better, if we had behaved differently.
Acknowledging and releasing guilt about our actions might lead to a realization that we did the best we knew at the time, and there is nothing more to do to finish that relationship. There is an actual physical sensation of relaxation once we let go of the guilt from the past or in the present.
Relaxation comes as a result of knowing there is now nothing we need to fear, run or hide from. Since fear and the need to hide come from inside ourselves, when we stop running from ourselves, we also stop avoiding life as much. When relaxation is achieved, there is an ease in social interaction that may not have been present. There is a confidence in making important decisions that may have caused days or weeks of agonizing in the past. There is a sense of groundedness and connectedness that may have been missing, because we found ways to avoid certain feelings.
Relaxed in this sense of the word is a profound experience, more than simply thinking that things might be okay now (at least until the next round of bills comes in the mail). It is an unmistakable knowing. If we aren't sure, we aren't relaxed. A benefit of Rebirthing is that it unerringly leads us to this state of relaxation, if we simply allow it. Using the breath lets us see that this is our natural and most alive state of being.
Relaxation occurs on the physical level all during the Rebirthing session. When suppressing or resisting feelings, the body also physically acts out the resistance by getting tight and rigid. In a breathing session, this effect is heightened considerably. There are a number of sensations possible as a result of fighting the feelings, including hunger, feeling trapped, getting angry, and tetany.
Normal physical sensations common in sessions include tingling, lightheadedness, and dizziness. There is no action required, except to keep breathing until the discomfort disappears, and completion occurs.
Another common physical response to Rebirthing is tetany, an involuntary tightening of the muscles during the session. It can happen over almost the whole body; however, it most often occurs in the hands, neck, back, thighs, and calves.
Tetany is purely a result of resistance to feelings being pushed up by the breathing, whether conscious or not to the Rebirthee. Rebirthing does not cause this tension. Rather, the breathing brings a condition to the surface about which we were formerly unconscious. When we surrender to the feelings, the tightness goes away. It consistently works to dissolve the tightness, even if we don't know what we are resisting to create the cramps.
Massaging the affected area of the body only works on the symptom, and not what creates the tension. We recommend not trying to massage a person when tetany is experienced, mainly because it does not speed up the letting go. More importantly, it can cause physical pain to the Rebirthee. Gently reminding them to breathe easy - and to relax the exhale and the abdomen - usually guides the Rebirthee out of the tetany in short order. Remembering the tetany was created for a reason - to get that person's attention. Acknowledge that and explore what the tetany signifies. In general, it is best not to intervene with massages or back rubs, etc., as these can easily become the focus of the session. Using the breath to clear the body appears to be the most effective approach.
"We are born to make manifest the Glory of God that is within us. It is not just some of us, it is Everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
Marianne Williamson: A Return to Love
There are a number of cues that indicate when a Rebirthing session is over. The more conscious we are of these signals, the better the results from the breathing for everyone involved. Awareness fosters integration, and integration fosters awareness.
Integration in a Rebirthing session is when tension, sleepiness, tightness, and/or discomfort have cleared out of our minds and our bodies. (Sometimes extreme tetany will not completely leave the body until a short time after the session ends. There is still a definite shift, marked by a point when the tension stops building and starts to disappear from the body.) Integration is a feeling of being able to keep Rebirthing forever. If there is any resistance to breathing - or what it is bringing up - the session is not complete. Continuing to breathe, until resistance is minimal, is what creates integration.
Integration is a conscious experience of change, even if there is no visible or conscious clue of the shift.
Integration is feeling free of negative internal judgement. It is feeling the freedom to make commitments and the confidence to take risks. It is feeling the freedom, wonder, and love of the miracle that we are alive, or at least more at ease and comfortable in self.
Integration means knowing that love makes us strong, not a slave to what others demand of us. It is being strong and free of guilt enough to say no to those who demand we take care of them, knowing their own power comes when we stop propping them up.
Integration is the experience of the world today as an absolutely safe place to live - safe enough that we can stay as long as we'd like. This is not a head-in-the-clouds view of life that denies some scary realities. It is the certainty that our life urge is so strong and clear that we will always manifest the conditions around ourselves to be immortal.
Integration means feeling the certainty, or at least the possibility, of Physical Immortality - reconnecting with our innate joy of being alive. This can also be called bliss, which is defined as constantly and forever re-experiencing our connection to God.
Enlightenment is knowing we can choose bliss whenever we want to have this experience. It is knowing that thought is creative, we are the creator, and we can change any condition or experience at will.
Bringing It All Together
This is also a good way to define integration. Humans are the only creatures on the planet capable of thinking we can be separate from God. This is a major source of guilt and shame. If we know we are always a part of God and always loved by God, there is nothing to hide and we are always right for ourselves.
When we release guilt and shame, our innocence comes back - the experience of the universe as unlimited, where anything is possible. One definition of innocence is not knowing there are things that can't be done. This innocence returns when we forgive our guilt, missed opportunities, and inappropriate actions. Notice this also means taking responsibility for the consequences of those in/actions, not pretending they "don't really matter". They do, but it still need not hold us back.
Anything done with a genuine love of self and others is a service to mankind. It can be nothing less because it is respectful of self and others. In addition, there is a joy in this service that makes it easy to give the energy necessary for really large undertakings. This is when the journey to a goal is as enjoyable as achieving it.
The universe, and our existence in it, are inherently bountiful. There is no "Divine Punishment". There is no need for that. We do an excellent job punishing ourselves with guilt, shame, and other destructive behavior.
Integration is coming to realize all these things about ourselves. It is knowing there are no limits to the abundance of love; it is knowing we can now choose in love and integrity to create exactly what we want to get from our time on this planet; and it is knowing we are no longer necessarily limited by what we were told by others about ourselves and life.
The effects of Rebirthing are cumulative; that is, the more it is practiced, the longer the relaxed feelings last. This implies the breathing process must be used as a matter of routine. Similarly, enlightenment is an experience we can have as a result of practice, and it does also wear off. There are still the challenges and choices of living to be made, whatever amount of awareness or consciousness we develop in life.
Astrology is simply charting the movements of the eight planets, sun, and moon in our solar system, and interpreting particular angular relationships they make with each other. These angles, or aspects, imply certain tendencies, depending on the nature of the individual planets, and the signs they in which they are found. A person's birth, or natal chart, is literally a picture of the planetary positions at the moment of birth.
All interpretation is derived from the thirty four elements of astrology - ten planets, twelve signs, and twelve houses of the chart. The meanings that can be derived are valuable for their accuracy. It is important to remember that this tool only describes predisposition to particular kinds of behavior. It is not compulsion or force to act this way (though behavior patterns can feel that powerful); it is simply the line of least resistance.
Predisposition to Behavior
A person's sun sign is a major influence on attitude and behavior. For instance, Scorpios are usually intensely emotional people. They may appear at times to be rather detached and distant, but others may not see the depth of feeling that is present. Gemini people are usually talkative, active, and less interested in emotions. They can have trouble with the intensity a Scorpio needs to thrive. Geminis can be emotional, but it's not as natural as it is for a Scorpio (or Cancer or Pisces - all water signs).
However, the Sun sign is only one possible influence of many - it's possible to have as many as ten or eleven of the astrological signs emphasized in a birth chart. Even though a person is a Libra, he or she may also have a strong Scorpio, Sagittarius, and Capricorn influence in their birth chart. From reading the definition of these signs, it might become apparent that this person has a variety of conflicting motives.
For instance, a Libra person is typically interested in fairness to all and maintaining harmony, whereas a person with a Scorpio influence is more interested in sustaining a certain emotional intensity. This intensity is sometimes expressed as melodramatic, high-risk situations - the type of experience that makes Libras uncomfortable. Someone who has both of these energies emphasized in their chart might wonder why they think they want peace but keep experiencing deeply emotional situations. Or, they might think they enjoy the strong feelings present in a romantic involvement, but have difficulty expressing these emotions to others.
This mixture of astrological influences reflects what is known about the complexity of human beings, as most people have influences that are considered at odds with each other. Similarly, most of us experience inner conflict on occasion. One important aspect of astrology is that it describes how to harmonize these energies to become centered and aligned, so that inner conflict does not interfere with taking appropriate action(s).
As effective as astrology can be in deciphering subconscious motives and attitudes, it does not tell how a person will choose to use this potential. This is as it should be, as each person has the freedom to make such decisions. What the chart does illuminate is how a person is most likely to be, think, and act.
Rebirthing and Astrology
Astrology can be valuable in the sessions with people. From the chart it is possible to tell:
Astrology can save countless hours in conversation and processing, determining the nature of an individual's life challenges and strengths. This is valuable, whether or not used in conjunction with Rebirthing.
Ken Kizer is a professional Rebirther and Astrologer. He was born October 27, 1949 at 12:24 p.m. in Lawton, Oklahoma. His sun sign is Scorpio, his moon sign and rising sign are Capricorn.
He has done group and client work with Astrology since 1982 and with Rebirthing since 1986, primarily on the East Coast of the United States. He has written numerous articles and essays on personal growth, leads professional Rebirther Trainings, has owned and run a personal growth center/bookstore with his wife Renée, and writes and travels with his wife, Renée, leading workshops in the US and Europe.
Early influences were RamDass and Alan Watts, as well as Gilbert Shelton, R. Crumb, The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Some experience with yoga and Eastern thought in college, delayed by a ten year marriage and career in the automobile parts business, ultimately led to hearing the word "Astrology" in his head while at work one day. Some initial reading led to a full-time commitment to growth work, personally and professionally. Astrology was a life-saver at a time when little else was making sense. Rebirthing is the process that integrates it all.
In between first exposure and professional work, he spent time learning various healing tools, such as polarity, kinesiology, Tarot, massage, and chanting and mantras, in addition to the primary interests in rebirthing and astrology. Exposure to an East Indian guru in 1983 (Satguru Sant Keshavadas, whose Indian ashram is in Karanataka, 20 miles from Bangalore) opened up the experience of unlimited possibilities, confirmed and integrated by his rebirthing work.
His specialty is in assisting people in resolving unhealthy beliefs and behavior patterns. The conscious insight provided by Astrology and combined with the emotional healing power of Rebirthing is an especially potent combination, and accelerates a person's growth markedly. He and his wife Renée are both astrologers and rebirthers who often share leadership of their work with each other.
His intention is to share the gift of these tools with others who also seek joy in their lives and meaning to their existence.
Renée Kizer created the WomanPower Series. She leads workshops and seminars on relationships and rebirthing with her husband Ken, and works with individual clients. She is known for her power, love, humor, and compassion for others in identifying and resolving the challenges in all our lives.
She has combined studies toward an MS in Sociology with accredited Clinical Pastoral Education training, hospice volunteering, and work with abused women's groups. She has studied with Sondra Ray, Bob & Mallie Mandel, Jim Leonard, Leonard Orr, Ellsworth Chytka, Twyla Nitsch, and others. Currently she is writing a book on women's relationships with men.
Renée has always been involved in community service fields. While raising two children, she was an active volunteer director for church Sunday schools, Meals-on-Wheels, and a trained facilitator for the Junior League of Richmond, Virginia.
Ken & Renée have made numerous media appearances in support of Rebirthing and personal growth. They continue writing and teaching. They have been happily married and working together since 1989.Website: www.mindspring.com/~kizer/