When we enter the water in AQUA we lose quite a lot of ‘control’. We feel in our body the sensation of entering an alternative state of being creating a physical altered state of consciousness.
The Bushmen use the metaphor of being ‘under water’ to describe the trance experiences brought about by their healing dance. Being in trance and being under water, share some common physical sensations such as blurred vision, difficulty breathing and being formless.
To enter the water is to physically enter an altered (another) state of consciousness. Just as in trance-like or dream states the rational/control conscious centres loosens, so in water the body has a different kinesthetic experience – it does not obey the rules of dry-land. The experience is influenced strongly by the water – its qualities of buoyancy etc. have different effects on the body kinaesthetically – such as feeling the weightlessness of gravity, the resistance of water (density), or the currents moving us (turbulence).
Movements and dances that emerge from this state have the potential to become a source of new information and insight. The body (kinesthetic experience of self) is different and “altered” in water.
The warm water also relaxes the muscles in the body and alters our blood pressure. As the body relaxes, so does the mind. We are also reminded of another time and another place when we were safe and all our needs taken care of – in the womb. This primal experience of oneness is something drives our psyche to find connection again in the world. When we do connect with this we enter into an altered state of consciousness that Freud called the ‘oceanic feeling’. He describes this as being at ‘one with the world’ and a ‘sensation of eternity’.
The benefits of going into trance-like states are:
• Insights and spontaneous thoughts are easier without the filter of the rational mind
• Healing of the soul as we reconnect with the sensation of oneness
• Appreciation for our own body and sensual experience
• Integration of mind, body and soul
AQUA may not always be experienced at full blast! But as we begin to touch on any one of these aspects, we begin to connect blissfully with life. Each session takes us deeper as we learn to let go and enter the cosmic flow of life with ease and joy.
– Christos Daskalakos