We need a new world order based on cooperation and spiritual values
HEALING SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS
By Walter Last
In a wider sense we live in three different forms of relationships. These are our higher relationships with God and the spiritual dimension, our interpersonal relationships in human society, and our relationships with our planet and all of its life forms.
In a holistic way of living we move towards greater harmony on all three levels. Meditation and the spiritual path are our attempt to heal our relationship with our spiritual source, while an attitude of loving care towards our planet and its creatures will heal our relationship with our biological roots.
Our social relationships, in a way, are the most difficult to heal, for they are the testing ground for what we have learnt, and how far we are spiritually advanced. With much effort and by using emotional release, reprogramming and meditation we may feel that we have made much progress in healing ourselves. But have we? We can only find out in our social interactions.
Are we still upset if someone makes a mistake? Do we suppress our annoyance or do we speak out and if so in a suitable way? Do we instead feel like pointing out what has been done wrong and how to correct it or do we prefer to let the other discover this for himself? These are all different possibilities of responding to the same problem, and the way we respond can show us how far we have healed ourselves and what we still have to do.
Furthermore, no matter how well we fare in these tests of everyday life, can we be fully happy and satisfied if we encounter on the streets or on television the suffering of our underprivileged brothers and sisters? Certainly not! With our increasing sensitivity and compassion this causes us to suffer ourselves and we feel drawn to help. Again, there are different ways in which we can respond to ease our common suffering. Foremost may be to give hope and healing by our living example.
We may also donate money, goods and services to the needy. We may single out an individual for special support, or we may work through an organization, we may use the political system, or in other ways try to change our whole structure of social injustice. What will it be? Increasingly we will be drawn to do something because we feel and know that we are all one. Whatever our choice, it is not a question of right or wrong but of trying to live according to our highest ideals, using the opportunities as they arise.
Our intimate relationships, more than anything else, are a testing ground for our feelings and emotions. They are the catalyst that can make us feel on top of the world or in the depth of depression. How do we cope with these strong feelings and emotions? Our intimate relationships are a mirror of our general level of consciousness, they show us how well we are able to manifest our ideals in everyday life.
There are different kinds of intimate relationships. In the best sense, they all will be love relationships, lovingly relating to a partner, be it in marriage or without a legal status, short-term or long-term. Preferably we try to find a partner with similar or compatible ideals or we try to improve our existing relationship by finding and harmonising our ideals. Our common ideals, more than anything else, can help to ensure a happy and fulfilled long-term love relationship. A relationship based mainly on sexual attraction or a need for material or emotional security, on the other hand, does not have a solid foundation and is likely to fail.
In our society it is fashionable to make romantic love the deciding factor for marriage. However, this is the kind of love of which it is rightly said that love makes blind. With this, it combines the two worst factors for marriage: it does not last and it blinds us to the shortcomings of our partner.
After a few years the erotic appeal has been swept away and the relationship faces the test of reality. In many instances the couple stays together only for the sake of the children, in others it is the need for emotional and material security. A new romance is now sought outside of marriage. Sometimes this leads to a string of marriages and divorces based on erotic straw fires.
The only hope for such a marriage to provide a happy and satisfying relationship is the transformation of erotic love into mature love. Sometimes this just happens on its own with compatible individuals, but most have consciously to work towards this goal. While it is said that one cannot make oneself to love someone, one can work, nevertheless, on diminishing one's ego that is the greatest obstacle of loving the other as a person.
I see the greatest chance for this transformation into mature love to succeed if both partners become interested in inner growth and self-responsibility and start walking the spiritual path hand in hand, healing themselves and each other. Preferably even join up with other couples with similar interests.
Making a Relationship Work
One of the most destructive elements in many present relationships is the demanding of rights. Traditionally males had most of the rights and a relationship may just develop in this way even without any special effort on their part. This commonly leads to emotional deprivation and increasing resentment of the female partner. The other side of the coin is the growing trend of western and especially American females to become assertive and demanding in a relationship. This tends to push the male partner away and results either in the male emotionally withdrawing or the relationship becomes an arena for competition and fighting. The solution depends instead on a cooperative approach.
This may start by one of the partners realising that the competitive approach does not lead to happiness and only makes the relationship unpleasant to be in. The main thing that this individual needs to realise is that they cannot change their partner by demanding or expecting change. They can only change themselves. Depending on the nature of the relationship the partners may talk it over how to change track or the realised partner may take the first steps alone.
In most instances, deep down in our basic feelings females want a partner who embodies the ideal that they have of masculinity while males would like to be with their ideal in femininity. I am not referring here to physical appearances but to emotional qualities. Therefore, try to find within yourself and offer to your partner the best or female qualities that you are capable of. Do this with a loving heart without demanding or expecting an instant reciprocal change from your partner. In most cases your partner will begin to change for the better of your relationship.
Things that your partner did not do or did only with resentment when you demanded them may now be offered as a gift. Instead of demanding or nagging what you want your partner to do, the right attitude is to think of what you can do to make your partner happy. However, if your partner is not willing or is unable to change in return and repeated discussions do not lead to a satisfactory result then separation appears to be the best solution. It is not a sign of spirituality to let yourself be emotionally abused and suffer in silence. If you believe that circumstances force you to remain with an uncooperative or abusive partner, then use this opportunity to learn and practise unconditional love and forgiveness.
The keys to making a relationship work are goodwill and communication. We must learn to share our inner life with our partner. It is also important how we share. We let our partner know that we feel hurt by something s/he did or did not do, but we do not accuse. We speak of our own feelings and may say "I feel hurt by what you did", but we do not say in an accusing voice: "You did this to me."
Initially it may be good to agree on set times for sharing. Ask your partner if something annoyed him or her and then let your partner speak without interruption. If this direct approach is too difficult in the beginning keep diaries about your hurts and suggestions and exchange them from time to time for discussion.
Infidelity is possibly the most common cause of severe relationship problems. From a spiritual (not a religious) point of view the real problem is not that our partner shared love or sex with an outsider, but that he or she broke the stated or unstated trust in the sexual exclusivity of our relationship; one partner then feels resentful and the other guilty. This is not a recipe for a happy relationship, and how soon and well it can be mended depends mainly on the spiritual quality of forgiveness on the part of the hurt partner.
However, again looking at it from a spiritual point of view, it is quite natural for a sexual attraction between males and females to develop in suitable conditions, while on the other hand it is not good for our spiritual and emotional wellbeing to suppress strong longings or desires. This leads to a typical dilemma: we have a choice either to harm ourselves through emotional suppression or through feelings of guilt and a possible deterioration of our relationship.
A spiritual way out of this is by learning to transmute our sexual feelings for an outsider into unconditional love and beam this back onto this person. Another possibility is instead of sharing sex to share a joined meditation or meditative sex without any direct touching of the sexual organs, for details see the article on Spiritual Sex.
If your relationship is sufficiently open, you may also discuss if and under which condition a sexual encounter with an outsider is acceptable. You may realise that the demand for exclusive mating rights is due mainly to a combination of our social conditioning with a fear of losing our partner. This is not a solid foundation for a spiritual relationship. Instead, if sexual fidelity is important for your relationship, then both partners should freely agree to it, because that is how you feel about each other, and that is what both really want.
However, emotionally mature partners will not enshrine this into law because they realise that we are not perfect. If one partner should not be able to keep this agreement, then the spiritual solution is to ask their partner for forgiveness, and obtain it without any damage to the relationship. If both are secure in their love and commitment for each other, then they may not even wish to emotionally restrict or deprive their partner. However you work it out in your relationship, try to find solutions that are based on openness, understanding and forgiveness.
Sometimes we may wonder what it would be like to live in a genuinely loving and caring society. Surprisingly, such societies existed even in modern times. In 1929 the anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski published an account of his two-year stay with the Trobriand Islanders near the East Coast of New Guinea.
All the people there were happy and caring. They shared with each other and liked to work. Children were always good-natured and effortlessly conformed to the rules of their society, and they had one freedom that appears unbelievable to us: there was not the slightest restriction on their sexual activities. There was no emotional suppression at all.
Children watched their parents and others making love, and when growing up started imitating them. Younger children would just tenderly play with each other, while teenagers had unrestricted penetrative sex. However, there was one important social convention: pregnancies must only occur in marriage. These islanders actually did not know that sex had anything to do with getting babies. Everyone believed that babies were a gift of the Gods given about nine months after the wedding, because it always happened that way. Without any other precautions or protection than this belief, babies out of wedlock were unknown.
After loving experiences with many different partners, the youngsters eventually found their marriage partners. Marriage was desirable because it gave babies and status. The marriage lasted as long as the couple loved each other, usually for many years or a lifetime. While married there was never any unfaithfulness or even a desire for it, they did not even have a word for it.
Marriage break-up was no disaster for the children. The father always remained a good friend of the mother and the children. Furthermore, as they did not have the concept of a biological father, the maternal uncle always played the father role. This was a matriarchal society, and all property rights came through the mother to the children.
As these people could observe all varieties of loving sexual activity, it had no unhealthy fascination or obsession for them, as it has for most people in our society. Consequently, abuse of children, rape, or other forms of violence, were unknown to them. Sexual activity to them was as natural and open as eating to us. No doubt, if eating would be regarded as 'dirty' and restricted in the same way as sexuality, and children and others would not be allowed to see us eat, most of us would have neuroses associated with eating disorders.
The Continuum Concept
In the 1970's Jean Liedloff lived for several years with the Yequana Indians in the jungles of Venezuela. She discovered that these Indians lived in a continuum of unbroken traditions in close harmony with their inner and outer nature. This appeared to be the reason for their unusually positive qualities.
There was no trace of aggressiveness in the Yequana towards each other, even if they were all drunk at an occasional party, and they never blamed anyone for anything. Even in difficult circumstances they remained in a composed and happy state of mind. There was no competition in their interactions, only cooperation.
They were completely fearless, sure-footed, agile and enduring. At rest they were totally relaxed but could be fully alert in an instant. To illustrate this in a funny way, Jean related that sometimes one of the men would wake up in the middle of the night, remember a joke and start telling it. Instantly all the others were wide-awake, roared with laughter and seconds later were sound asleep again.
They just loved to work, for them it was a pleasure using their bodies. They did not even have a word for work; they just did cheerfully whatever needed to be done. The children were always well behaved, obeyed happily and instantly, never fought among themselves and were never punished. How they raised their children was, of course, the secret to their success as human beings and as a society.
Until the babies indicated on their own volition that they wanted to start crawling around, they were always carried, usually by the mother. Also during sleep the baby remained in body contact with the mother. There is no danger of injuring the baby when rolling over, as subconsciously the mother always remains aware of the position of the baby.
After the baby started crawling and later creeping, the mother was always available when the baby desired body contact. However, the mother would not tell the baby and later the infant what to do or not to do. There were sharp knives lying around which the baby might pick up at the wrong end to play. There were deep pits or dangerous drops near which it might play without an anxious glance of the mother. It might even pick up a burning branch from a fire and stumble around the thatched huts. There were no warning calls and no accidents.
Neither were the children told when or what to eat or when to sleep or which role models to follow. Boys would quite naturally pick up bows and arrows from other boys and start shooting with sharp arrows without being shown where or what to shoot or any safety precautions. They might start doing this at the age of eighteen months.
Girls at that age, on the other hand, might join a group of women and girls and practise grating roots. At the age of three or four a girl might be in full charge of an infant, play and work is all the same to them. An adult might need something, gives a short command or request and the child instantly brings it.
The parents totally trusted the innate protective instincts of their children. A baby may appear to be completely oblivious to any danger when playing at the edge of a cliff but its subconscious or body self protects the baby much more effectively than the mind could do, just as it does in a sleepwalker. If we warn an infant of a danger, the mind starts interfering with the body self and it loses its instinctive protection. If, on top of this, the parent is afraid that the child will fall, then it will try to fulfil this expectation and fall.
Small children are extremely psychic and always try to meet the expectations of their parents, especially of the mother. The Yequana children never fail because their parents have unwavering positive expectations. Children are neither blamed nor praised for anything, just confidently expected to do the right thing.
Furthermore, babies and infants are deliberately exposed to the widest possible range of sensory stimulations. From this and by observing adults and older children, they learn to judge unfailingly their ability to cope with each situation, and their parents completely trust their judgements. They know if the child is not confident to judge a situation, it will ask a parent for help.
There was one problem child to show that the amazing abilities and behaviour of these children were not inherited but the result of their upbringing. This child belonged to a Yequana couple that had lived in contact with our civilisation for some time, but also this child belatedly learned to fit in.
these men were much tougher than men in our society, if one genuinely felt
strong pain, such as when cleaning out a deep wound, he would not hesitate to
cry out loud, comforted without words by physical contact with his wife or
mother. If either a child or an adult lost their natural family, they were
adopted into another family. This was important even for adults for their
emotional and social support. For more information see
As compared to the Yequana we live in a primitive society in regard to our social relationships. I believe that future generations will see our society as severely unbalanced, an overdeveloped technocracy on a socially sick base. We can learn from the Yequana how to heal our society. It starts with our relationships with our children. For a long time to come we will not be able to rely on authorities and experts in this endeavour, instead idealistic individuals and groups must take the initiative.
Parents, preferably within the framework of a support group, must start experimenting to raise their children according to continuum principles. This is not easy in our situation. It involves not only constant close body contact with the mother or other carers for the first six months, and a trusting attitude with positive expectations, but also other children in a wide range of ages as positive role models. Two-year olds learn best from three-year olds and they in turn from four-year-old children.
It can be done. I have known mothers who did keep body contact with their babies until they wanted to start crawling. I have seen a three-year old boy without close supervision or need for safety concerns use a sheath knife, a hatchet, an electric drill, and a blowtorch, and he immediately and happily ran home when his parents called. I believe that children who felt secure and loved in their baby and infant years, and who had a wide range of relevant sensory stimulation and positive role models, can be trusted even in our modern technological society.
Obvious dangers, such as knifes, staircases or pools, should not be a problem. Babies and infants easily learn to float, and I see less of a chance of a secure child falling into an unfenced pool than an insecure child drowning in a fenced pool. Make children aware of hidden dangers through your own behaviour. Children imitate, therefore you do not yourself what you do not want them to do.
I believe that antisocial behaviour is a sign of severe emotional deprivation, especially in early childhood. Give your existing children, and especially those with antisocial or neurotic tendencies, the opportunity to experience the missed phases of emotional development. Try to explain to them in simple terms why or what you intend to do, such as inviting your children, possibly one at a time, to sleep in the parent's bed whenever they feel like it. Get them to do it even if they are initially reluctant. Also cuddle a lot and possibly massage each other, bathe or shower together.
For infants all this will be natural and enjoyable but with older children emotional barriers may need to be broken down gradually. While loving sexual activity in the presence of infants is desirable to provide a role model, for older children it might be upsetting to be exposed to it unprepared. Use your own judgement, and also include the children in tenderly relating of the whole family but in a way that does not intentionally cause sexual stimulation.
Emotionally deprived children grow into adults with antisocial or asocial tendencies. On one side of the scale this manifests as criminal and destructive behaviour, and on the other as shyness, lack of confidence and depression. A further result is the ego-centred individualism so prevalent in western societies. It brings forth political, business and community leaders who are more interested in personal power and wealth than in the overall good for the whole of our society.
In contrast to our present system that I would describe as adversary competition, a society of emotionally mature individuals would be based on benevolent cooperation and spiritual values. Elected representatives, for instance, would fully cooperate to find the best solutions for the common good, and the most suitable citizens would be chosen, not based on a party system.
Business ventures would operate according to cooperative principles, both between different ventures as well as internally, without a sharp division between capital and labour. Actually, I regard an individualised spiritual communism as the highest social ideal, as it was practised by the Yequana Indians, and to a lesser degree in various monasteries and religious orders, but the latter generally are not sufficiently individualised. However, to be successful such a system must be based on spiritually and emotionally mature individuals. Any system will become corrupted if used by immature individuals.
A first step towards reforming the present business climate would be a legal and community expectation that the main duty of care for corporations is to the whole of society rather than to their shareholders. The very reason for the existence of companies is to be seen in service to society. In addition, a company has a duty of care to its employees, its shareholders and the environment. A further step may involve government incentives to form cooperative ventures.
The judicial system would be based on conciliation and rehabilitation. The more emotionally mature a society becomes, the less conflict will arise. Similar with the health care system, which will largely become redundant as people learn to live in harmony with their biological, emotional, mental and spiritual needs. Any necessary therapy would be a combination of the best in modern and natural medicine.
Agriculture, food processing and energy production will be sustainable and in harmony with planetary requirements. A society of self-responsible citizens will be based on a maximum of individual freedom and a minimum of bureaucratic interference.
No multitude of laws and law enforcement will keep a society of deprived and ego-centred individuals operating harmoniously, while emotionally satisfied and responsible individuals will function well in any system with a minimum of rules.
The main problem, therefore, is not to devise better political and social systems, and improve our laws and wealth distribution, but rather to provide the opportunity for everyone to heal their emotions, and start on the road to self-responsibility. A harmonious society will then automatically evolve from this.
In the following I like to give a few examples to show how a caring society might solve some contemporary problems.
The most important aspect will be to raise all children in a caring and loving way following the principles of the continuum concept, in order to ensure a harmonious society into the future. The school and education system will concentrate on developing creativity, intuition and holistic concepts similar to Rudolf Steiner schools.
There will be no parties or electioneering. In one possible model electors will simply write the name of one neighbourhood community leader of their choice on the ballot paper based on their personal experience. Leaders will be chosen for their experience, maturity, spiritual insights and wisdom. The elected leaders from several neighbourhoods will form local councils of wisdom. These local councils will then elect someone, possibly even an outsider, as representative at the next higher level. In this way it can continue up to a world council of wisdom.
Very suitable as community leaders will be women after they have harmoniously raised a family, because they will be very skilled in facilitating just and harmonious social relationships. The legal system will be very simple and observed in spirit rather than in letter. Together with other decisions affecting the individuals, communities and regions in their care, these councils of wisdom on each level will also be responsible for any so-called legal disputes, and arbitrate in a spirit of cooperation of all concerned.
Initially the unemployment problem may be solved with flexible working hours. This means instead of an unemployment rate of 10% the standard hours of work per week will be reduced by 10 per cent. Conversely, if a shortage of workers develops the standard working week will be lengthened. Standard hours may be different in different professions or ventures. Eventually work will become a desirable outlet for creativity.
Our society based on the adversary system causes so much friction, conflict, waste and incompetence that I estimate our present lifestyle could be maintained with less than a quarter of the present work input. However, this percentage may initially be somewhat higher until underdeveloped nations and the planetary environment reach an appropriate level.
The more a society matures, the less resources will be required for the legal, law enforcement and prison systems, for the defence, pharmaceutical industry, and the hospital system. Most of these could be eventually phased out. On the other hand, much more will be channelled into sustainable agriculture and health-friendly food production, into education, training and community facilities, including an appropriate public transport system.
In regard to health care, I see a unified system of holistic medicine in which surgery and drug medicine are branches, just like nutrition, herbalism, or homoeopathy. Extensive clinical trials will determine the best combination of procedures for specific diseases. However, in an increasingly enlightened society, diseases as we know them will become increasingly rare. Surgery, for instance, will only be required for accidents, which themselves will become less common. Most of the healing work in such a society would be concerned with promoting inner and outer harmony and spiritual growth.
In regard to a more natural sexual development of children and teenagers, I see two possibilities. One is complete openness in sexual matters, letting children watch loving sexual activity of adults without any restriction. This is nature's way as practised in the animal kingdom. This does not necessarily lead to unwanted pregnancies as shown by the example of the Trobriand Islanders. How it all works out depends on the customs of society and the examples shown by the individual members of society.
The other possibility is to lead the juvenile sexuality towards striving for high ideals within the context of a loving and caring society. At a certain age or level of development, girls would be ceremonially and lovingly initiated by experienced and spiritually evolved men, while boys would be taught by women with the same qualities. There are different possibilities of either the juveniles choosing the initiator or leaving this selection to their parents. This may be the spiritual solution of the future.
Of course, in our present condition all this sounds rather utopian. Unfortunately, I do not believe that a transformation into a more caring and mature society will take place gradually and in a coordinated way. I expect the present system to run into an acute crisis and more or less self-destruct. If and when this happens, it will be important to have mature leaders in all areas who can pick up the pieces and show the way towards a caring society as outlined above.
The small nuclear family as the basis of our social structure is an expression of the ego-centred and individualising nature of our society. It leads to social isolation, difficulty in relating and cooperating, and a disruption of the age-old continuum of traditions.
Formerly, and presently still in underdeveloped countries, there was a continuum of learning experiences. Step by step, through observation and imitation, children learned how to care for babies, do the various forms of housework, repairs and other skills, how to make love and relate in a loving way, how to care for sick people, give birth, and how to deal with death and dying. Grandparents made themselves useful and passed on their experiences.
Now, most of these skills have to be incompletely learned from books, or left to the experts, and the art of relating and cooperating is at an all-time low. The recent explorations in communal living are an attempt to return to the security and emotional closeness of the extended family, and a more traditional lifestyle.
Activities in various clubs and interest groups are used to lessen our social isolation. However, this is commonly only a bandaid. Instead, I suggest setting up neighbourhood healing groups with the specific aim of healing each other, our social relationships, and us.
A healing group can provide many functions not normally available in our society. In a way, it can act as an extended family, with an unlimited variety of support facilities, such as baby-sitting, child minding, kindergarten and pre-school, and possibly even alternative schooling. Members can help each other in all stressful life situations, be it childbirth, sickness, bereavement, unemployment, or building activity. There may be common fruit and vegetable production, a food co-op, communal library and leisure facilities, and shared expensive working appliances.
The main aspect of a healing group, however, would be healing activity on all levels. For healing the body, experiment with all kinds of natural and holistic healing methods. Suitable communal healing modalities are massage, reflexology, acupressure, spinal therapy, meridian therapy, and so forth. Individuals share their experiences of what they do on their own, such as nutrition, colour therapy, packs or flower remedies. Many different forms of massages may be used, such as stimulating massage, deep muscle massage, and sensual massage, or energy distribution massage.
A member of the group may participate in a healing workshop, and then pass on the experience to the others. The group may also invite natural therapists, and other health professionals and healers, for demonstrations, lectures, and teaching of specific methods.
There may be group evenings on which you exercise together, on others you may discuss interesting topics, someone may read a good book and report on it, there may be meditation evenings, or all of these in varying combinations. You may use group therapy for emotional release; do rebirthing together and other emotional growth work. Buy some books about emotional therapies for the communal library, and then just start experimenting.
A healing group may actually operate on two levels. At one level it can just be a neighbourhood support group with food co-op, shared child minding, communal leisure activities, and so forth, and on the other level individuals dedicated to healing may specifically meet once or twice a week for this purpose. An empty large garage could be converted into a group-meeting place, while smaller groups might meet in living rooms of participants.
In the following I like to describe just a few of the multitude of possible group activities for exploring and developing feelings and bonding relationships. In group-exercises try to pair off with partners of the opposite sex, or when forming a circle alternate the sex.
I See the Love
The women sit in a circle, possibly on cushions on the floor or just on the carpet. A man sits opposite each woman. If there is an excess of either sex, they pair off with a member of the same sex.
For about a minute look each other silently but tenderly into the eyes, trying to express and radiate love. Then, with a signal from the group leader, the men move to the next partner and again both meet each other in a tender gaze. In this way the men move around the circle until they sit again opposite their original partner.
Now, while again looking into each other's eyes, the men say: "I see the love in your eyes". They may either repeat this phrase from time to time or a variation of it, such as: "Your heart is filled with love and it shines out of your eyes" or "My heart is filled with love, it radiates from my eyes".
After a while the men may in addition start tenderly touching and stroking the hair and the face of their partner. After about two minutes on a given signal roles are reversed and the women express tender feelings in words and by touching and stroking hair and face of their man. Finally, on the signal, the men move to the next partner and repeat the same procedure and so forth until they are back with the original partner. Now, one after the other, participants describe their feelings and how it felt different being either the active or the passive partner.
This is to recreate the security, love and warmth of the embryo in the womb or the baby in the mother's arm and at her breast. Someone stands in the middle, front-to-front gently pressed against a partner of the opposite sex and with the front of another partner of the opposite sex against the back. The middle person has the arms over the shoulders of the front partner and the one at the back also stretches out around the middle person to the one in front.
Stay like this for several minutes, possibly lightly swaying if that feels better. In addition, you may have two more persons lightly press against the sides of the one in the middle. See if it feels better if these additional 'huggers' are of the same or the opposite sex as the one in the middle.
For a woman in the middle it may also feel better to have another woman in front, just experiment with different combinations. You may, for instance, have four persons with alternating sex standing as closely as possible with their fronts together or the whole group may form a ring each one standing pressed with the front against the back of the one in front. The ring may stand still or slowly move.
Learning to Trust
After pairing off, couples walk around slowly intermingling with the others but with one partner of each pair having their eyes tightly closed or blindfolded. After some time you swap places.
In another exercise you form a circle with seven people and someone in the middle with arms crossed in front of the chest. Those in the circle lightly touch the middle person with their hands. The one in the middle has the eyes closed and after a moment the body relaxes and starts swaying. It will lean towards one pair of hands and is then gently passed around the circle.
After a while you can make the circle bigger by adding more participants, or just spacing out so that the one in the middle is inclined at a greater and greater angle. His or her body should remain straight and the feet in the middle of the circle. Those forming the circle may put one foot back to be able to support a greater weight.
In a variation of this exercise, one person may stand with closed eyes, and the back turned towards a mattress on the ground. Several helpers stand with outstretched hands behind, and catch the person in front as he or she falls backwards with a rigid body. Gradually extend the range before catching the falling person.
If there is no healing group that you can join or sometimes even in addition to it, you may find a healing partnership. Ideally, that is with your present partner in a long-term relationship. However, many are not so lucky and often prefer to live on their own rather than in a stressful relationship. In this situation you may find someone with the same interest in health improvement and spiritual growth, but without either one of you wanting a love or sexual relationship. You may then meet at set times, and do all the things that might be done in a healing group. This will probably be more suitable for mature-age individuals. Eventually others may join in and then you have your proper healing group.
See also the related article Sexuality.