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The Metamorphic Technique as a Living Practice

I have the impression that it was towards the end of his life, that Gaston talked about the Metamorphic Technique as a ritual. He said it was a ritual that kept the consciousness of the body and the mind occupied (with something they felt was important), while the real work of transformation took place on the level of Unity, out of space, time and matter, guided by the creative power of Life and its intelligence, which is beyond space, time and matter.

This would seem to imply that the touching of the feet, hands and head were of no real consequence, apart from it being an act to allow the body and mind to feel included in a ‘doing’.

In one sense this is true – because the essence of life is beyond form, and as we know transformations of form happen out of space, time and matter. Gaston used the analogy of going to a restaurant. It is not the experience of the restaurant that transforms our food, but the life and power of our digestive system.

However I also wonder whether this way of looking at the practice of the Metamorphic Technique, might not also lead to a mind/body and spirit split, as in another reality form and essence are one. And the consciousness of the body is a potent doorway into essence.

As I listened to Gaston’s last lecture ‘Embracing Life’ the other day, I saw Gaston bridging two worlds when he talked about the Metamorphic Technique. That of Robert St John’s work of Metamorphosis, through which we get the prenatal pattern for instance, and the polarities of afference and efference, which Robert had an interest in balancing; and Gaston’s own passion, that of the experience and practice of detachment, as defined by the Metamorphic Technique, which we cultivate by staying with the fact of the matter, starting and staying with the reality of what is in any particular situation, emotion or person, and discovering that within the core of any fact lies the energetic progression, direction, solution, and release of the particular matter in question. We stay attentive to, rather than react against what is happening. We don’t try to fix or cure, but we notice the facts, acknowledge their presence, and let them be. Through the practice of detachment, we acknowledge the far greater power of Life itself beyond us as ‘healers’, to manifest creative solutions/expressions through each person we touch.

At times I have felt a type of ‘gap’ in how we talk or write about the Metamorphic Technique, as if something were not quite ‘connected up’, at least in my experience. And I wonder whether the way Gaston used the word ‘ritual’ might also reflect a gap. Perhaps the worlds of Metamorphosis and healing on the one hand, and the Metamorphic Technique (which arose out of Metamorphosis) on the other, are not comfortable bedmates. Perhaps it might be argued that they can’t be.

I know a ritual sets the scene for something possibly deeper to happen. In that sense, a restaurant sets the scene for our meal to be digested. Or putting our hands together palms facing at the level of our chests, sets the scene for our hearts to feel more unified; giving or receiving a session of the Metamorphic Technique sets the scene for the vastness of who we are, or as Gaston put it, of what we are, to communicate through us more freely. It’s true that the practice points to something beyond itself. But I would also argue that it is involved automatically with something deeper than itself. Rituals reflect a deeper level, but are also inherently part of something deeper, that we can register. Can we ever split the intermingling of correspondences?

In the workshop ‘ Roots and Blossoms’ one participant asked, so why work on the feet then? Why not just work on the elbow, if we truly follow what Gaston was saying? Silence followed this question but I really appreciated her questioning. Why indeed? I have often asked myself this, sensing a verbal answer on the edge – but not quite being able to grasp it. If it really doesn’t matter where we touch the person, as we are practising a ritual in the way that Gaston termed it, with the real work in question having nothing to do with the touching of the prenatal pattern and the spinal reflexes; and because all parts of the body correspond to each other in any case, why indeed do we not just work on the elbow for instance?

On the level of duality life will always be a paradox: though the body is ‘all one’ in all its correspondences, at the same time, there are also specific parts of the body, that reflect specific doorways, as I will call them. Just as the Earth seems to have specific places of spiritual power where people congregate, which seem to offer particular openings to people, so too does the body have specific points and places of energy which are doorways to specific areas of our experience and to the reality beyond.

So if we come to the feet – they ground us – they anchor us – and when I feel the grounding of my simple human form, I feel a deep safety and love, and touch into my formlessness. In astrology the feet, as symbols for Pisces, reflect divine consciousness, as well as the collective unconscious, (Pisces as two fish swimming in the opposite directions of duality). In a dream I had a few years ago, shortly after doing my training with Gaston, two feet with their soles (!) facing the pews, were positioned at the altar at the front of a church, rather than a cross – Feet are a powerful symbol of our humanity, but are also a living anchoring reality and perhaps symptom of our humanness! And we bow to feet as a recognition of our divinity.

With the Metamorphic Technique, we are touching the pre-natal period, when we were being formed. What a doorway! You could say we are in the practice, paying homage to the creative force of Life! The life that we are that is bursting out of primordial silence into the forms that we become. All this we get in touch with by touching the recipients’ feet.

Why do I see the Metamorphic Technique as being more than a ritual, at least in the way I think Gaston was partly defining it?

In the ‘Roots and Blossoms’ workshop, I shared that Gaston had expressed his appreciation of my being able to penetrate his aura when I worked on his head. It felt important to share this, though I didn’t consciously understand why. I thought I was bringing it up for another reason! One of the facilitators had a question about this, as they felt “we are not supposed to be penetrating”. This word could indeed suggest that I was trying to be active, to actively ‘heal’ or ‘reach’ him or ‘pick’ something up. However Gaston was sharing his appreciation, not his discomfort, and I was clear I was not doing any of the above.

This question has led me to realise what his use of the word penetration was pointing to: by staying with the fact, the seamlessness between form and formless is revealed, and a feeling therefore can arise of a sense of penetration or permeation! Things open out; facts and consciousness communicate, and seemingly lift us into the transcendent realm of communion. I say ‘seemingly’ because we are in truth not lifted anywhere: it is all already right here now.

The word penetration is not a contradiction to detachment; rather it brings with it a deeper understanding of its benefits, and highlights our ‘ritual’ as a living practice, in which form and formless weave their dance.

We could say that penetration also reflects the deeper levels of participation.

What happens when we participate with ourselves as a living practice? (For instance experiencing the depths of ourselves in the silence of unstructured meditation), or when we participate with others, as I did with my fellow workshop participants recently? Things get moving. We share, and through this we open out and make our connections with each other conscious. Insights as new births can arise.

As we participate, the Life that we are, the I am that I am beyond the Hélène that I am, moves me and you, beyond our little forms, and Grace appears, either in a kindly or fierce form, to weave more of itself into our little lives.

Recently during an extended period of meditation, I experienced myself as the receiving of any sounds arising. I then had a realisation as to why in recent weeks I have felt love arising frequently as sounds themselves have arisen in meditation. It is because they are a confirmation of that very receiving I am talking about; they are a confirmation of the essence of life, the essence of us all. So I experienced myself as the receiving of the sound, and the sound as being the confirmation of that receiving ….so intimate, so seamless…Love – form and formlessness as one.

So by including the body, and recognising its transparency of form, by holding feet and acknowledging what they reflect, while we let them be, (which is paying homage to the Life that we are), we perhaps bridge any gap between Metamorphosis and the Metamorphic Technique. And perhaps we may call our craft a living practice, as well as a ritual.

Here I want to thank Eddie O’ Brien for flagging up the importance of participation in his various sharings within the Association.

Hélène Demetriades
Metamorphic Technique practitioner and teacher