if you’ve been doing somatic education for any period of time – or any form of education for that matter — you’ve observed periods when your clients (or students) appear to have lost comprehension of your instructions. In fact, there have probably been periods either during sessions or during your training when you lost comprehension. I have. We all have.
This is normal. You are observing (or experiencing) a place in psychic space I call, “The Zone of Incomprehensibility”. Being in this zone is not the same as being in “The Zone” – but the two zones are related.
Being in The Zone is a state of flow in which you retain consciousness of what you are doing while experiencing simultaneous timelessness and mastery of what you are doing. It’s a creative state of functional ability in which you are so immersed in what you are doing that you have no sense of “you” and only a sense of doing what is being done.
Human life consists of a vast, intricate network of such zones linked together like atoms into molecules, each of which is a domain of knowledge and ability where you feel like you know what’s what and how things relate.
Between such zones is The Outer Zone — the Zone of Incomprehensibility, much as outer space exists between worlds. In that zone, we don’t know what’s what. We encounter that zone any time we move from the familiar into the unfamiliar, as in doing anything new or entering into a new relationship before we’ve gotten to know the other person.
It’s Incomprehensible Mystery. It’s the Unknown that people are said to have a fear of.
Why the fear? Because we don’t know what’s what, and we expect we’re supposed to.
The Zone of Incomprehensibility is a transition zone in which we lose orientation prior to the acquisition of a new orientation.
When we work with clients, we are guiding them out of their familiar organization, away from familiar sensations and actions into new sensations and actions. In the process, they enter The Outer Zone and lose their orientation. They may lose orientation so thoroughly that they can’t tell right from left, what you mean by ordinary words, or what they were doing a moment ago. If you’re doing a good job, it’s going to happen.
What they are is going through is The Zone of Incomprehensibility.
Abandon words and go for “means-whereby” instruction to help them land in their new orientation. If needed, wait until their eyes come back into focus (they may have tranced out). Guide them across the Abyss to The Promised Land. Let them know it’s OK. In fact, tell them in advance, it’s going to happen.
Listen to music from The Zone. Read about mind-body transforming somatic education.
Lawrence Gold is a long-time practicing clinical somatic educator certified in The Rolf Method of Structural Integration and in Hanna Somatic Education, who occasionally writes on primal features of Existence. With articles published in The American Journal of Pain Management (Pain Relief through Movement Education: January, 1996, Vol. 6, no. 1, pg. 30) and in The Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients (A Functional Look at Back Pain and Treatment Methods: November, 1994, #136, pg. 1186 ), he brings some of the deeper matters of human existence down to earth, so you can chew on them.