I like original thinkers, people who have very personal, thoughtful and articulate opinions on all subjects. These thinkers who come to make us question certainties and evidence. But I have no attraction for gurus. For those people who are quick insert their certainty back in place of the certainty they have just shaken. For those people who say they can change us, “save” us or show us the way to salvation. Especially when they dare to say that they are the only ones who can offer us salvation.
This mistrust of the gurus is something that has strongly attracted me to Holotropic Breathwork. What we call the holotropic attitude is the belief – the voluntary belief – that we already have all the resources to grow, heal, learn, etc. And it is the essential experience that Holotropic Breathwork aims to achieve: taking a moment to listen to what is happening inside us or for us, at a specific moment in our lives. In this respect, Holotropic Breathwork can be likened to meditation. Holotropic Breathwork, like meditation, is a technique of exploration, observation. But that’s where the similarity ends.
The strategy, in Holotropic Breathwork, aims to turn your attention inward and try to make everything bigger, whether it is an emotion, a physical sensation, a memory, a “weird” experience, etc. But the strategy also aims to “stay with” what is happening, not to reject the experience as useless or insignificant a priori. It can be really challenging work, but it can also be very difficult. The word “breathwork” talks about breath, of course, but it also talks about work.
What always amazes me is when a person who has just worked very hard and obtained a result that seems to create a feeling of relief, comfort or satiety will often attribute their condition to someone else, especially to the facilitator who has just worked with them. I make it my duty – and it is the duty of every Holotropic Breathwork facilitator – to always give the power back to the person.
“Thank you for giving me credit, but you did the work.” It should be noted that it gives me the right to do the same thing when someone wants to pin his or her difficulties on me. I do not own the successes or difficulties (the word “failure” has no meaning in Holotropic Breathwork) of the breathers. My responsibility is to ensure that material and human conditions foster a sense of security. That is the meaning of the expression “to hold space”. The work that is done in this space is not my responsibility and as a facilitator, I consciously decide to have no plans for people who breathe. And this is the difficult work of a facilitator: avoid projecting his or her will on the work that occurs in a breathing room.
This points to a simple method for identifying a guru: the guru is the person who takes credit for your work and presents your difficulties as failures. This is possible because the guru has a project for you: he declares that he knows better than you what you should be or become. But gurus can only take all this power because people are willingly giving it to them. And this is where the apparent paradox of power lies.
If you ask people if they want more power, the vast majority of people will say yes. But this is far from being the case. Power is even a source of vertigo, of terror. After all, as superhero movies say, with power comes responsibility. And power can only be obtained according to the responsibility one is willing to accept.
Example: in the face of the challenging environmental situation, it is tempting to refuse to see your power. To refuse power is to allow yourself to do anything, because, ultimately, you convince yourself that everything you do is useless or meaningless. But taking power means deciding that the actions you take count. With this logic, someone will try to reduce his or her energetic footprint, consume less, favor renewable resources, reduce waste, etc. The actions to be taken are infinite and it is almost impossible not to feel awe in front of all that will still be left to do.
Taking power, taking responsibility, is an act that condemns us to discomfort, work and uncertainty. Taking power requires a lot of courage. It is much easier to give our power to someone who already claims to know everything, to someone who is certain of things. This is what makes gurus or personal growth stars so popular. It is also what eventually causes their downfall, because power, concentrated in few hands, always causes corruption.
How about you? Do you have the courage to claim your power?