This is an adaptation of some of the work of Arne Mindel. I like what I have understood from his work, though I wouldn’t claim to actually teach his work. I’m very excited by many of the ideas that I have found in testing out his ideas and exercises.
A basic premise of Arne Mindel’s work is the idea of “subvoices”: that we have personal and transpersonal “subvoices” that are running simultaneously through our bodies. This idea evolved out of Jungian ideas of Archetypes. Similar to Mary Stark Whitehouse, Mindel was a Jungian psychotherapist who became certain that we need to look at what is going on in the body to understand the self and the psyche. They went on different paths with this, with Mindel’s work perhaps being a bit “wilder”. In a way, Mindel seems always willing to give up theory for what is actually going on and following cultivated intuition around what feels important or juicy. His ideas of subvoices are parallel to the idea of sub-processes as discussed in the Deepening exercise.
A central idea of Mindel’s is that what we tend to want to call ‘dysfunctional’ generally arises when two subvoices are blocking each other and are not able to continue their process. Their actions lock into and trigger each other and so neither is able to complete or continue. The Maker/Resistor score is meant to address these blockages.
First, one identifies a Symptom. This can be a discomfort, a pain, some negative sensation. It can be very local and specific or more whole body. We imagine that the Symptom is being caused by the conflict between two subvoices (intentions/processes/etc.): the Maker and the Resistor. Don’t worry about the names… you can call them voice X and Y if you like, or Bob and Nancy, whatever works for you.
Stage 1) begin with relaxing and imagining what is trying to happen that is creating the sensation (the Maker). Start very small and mechanical… centimeters. Follow intuition. Try to let go of resistance (the Resistor) and let the Maker act more fully… take it just a bit farther. A bit farther can mean many things
- allow a joint to articulate farther in the direction it is articulating, rotation, flexion, extension, etc.
- take something farther in space
- increase or make more precise a quality (which might even be “smallness” or “slowness”
Again follow intuition. First impulses are generally correct. If not, they give information more quickly if you just try them. Allow identification of Maker to be intuitive… what wants to be happening. Often, it will just unfold if you let it begin. How does it extend to the rest of the body? What tone does it have? How does it relate to environment, floor, verticality vs horizontality? As you ask the questions, ask them physically, not intellectually. In other words try and see what it feels like. There will usually be a sense of coherence that you are looking for… a coherent voice. It may be repetitive, it may develop and change. What quality of movement does it have? What speed does it move at? Is it more toned or less toned? How does it relate to space, eyes, ears? How does it breathe? Sound? Does it say things verbally or not? It may stay simple and mechanical, it may move into the realm of sensory investigation, and may evolve into a full fledged character or even classic personal (or transpersonal) archetype. Does it have an emotional feel or dynamic? Just go with it without judgment. You can assess later. Just say “yes” to what is happening in the moment. Keep assuming that some fine adjustment is going to make it more “it”, and experiment with subtle adjustments. Again, usually the first thing you try is going to be the correct direction, if you just let yourself.
Important Note: This is not the same thing as making the symptom bigger! In these terms that would just be making the two subvoices speak louder at the same time. It is usually a sign of getting it when the symptom mysteriously goes away. In other words, if the symptom was a pain, making it more painful is NOT doing the exercise.
Stage 2: The same exercise with the Resistor. Allow the actions/process of the Maker to dissolve back into the interior of the self, and relax. Relax any of the tensions or actions that made up the voice of the Maker. The starting question then is what was keeping that thing from happening? What was resisting it. Usually it begins with the opposite action… if the Maker started with a flexion, for example, start with an extension, etc. It might not contrast mechanically, though. It might be tangential instead, or it might contrast in tone, timing, feel, emotion. Again, experiment and ask with your body, not your mind. Try to work from a place of relaxation to start with and specifically invite the tensions or reaction patterns which composed the Maker to stay relaxed while you explore the Resistor. It may be as simple as the opposite physical actions, but will likely be more complex than this and may evolve into a completely different character and not be a simple opposite. Again, just try things, go with first impulses, don’t get caught up in intellectual evaluations, and let sensation, feeling, emotion be your guide.
Stage 3: Synthesis: start from rest, recall the Maker, allow it to move you. Then try to invite in the Resistor and play with one and the other and see how they might be able to MOVE at the same time. Maybe it starts with alternating in time. Maybe they occupy different parts of your body. Maybe their characteristics somehow fuse and synthesize into something else. Again, the Symptom is a sign that they are locking into each other. If the Symptom comes up, relax and try alternating again or letting one speak (metaphorically) for a while. It may be impossible to have them them flow at the same time, in which case, the best outcome may be a kind of negotiated truce between the two voices. Ideally, you will find ways that they can work with each other or move around each other and cooperate. If you are lucky, the symptom will be gone at the end of the exercise or transformed into something else.
Notes: the subvoices are not “your true self”… in a sense, there is no such thing. They are just different subvoices which act through your body. They may be related to your dominant personality, they may be a classic shadow of your dominant personality structure, they may be something seemingly totally out of left field. They may feel very familiar and may also feel a bit alien. They may be long term residents of your self and may also be transient visitors. They are part of you, but the purpose is not to define some sort of essence of your self, but to see what is going on, no