We have heard the saying “energy flows where attention goes.” Most of us probably understand this concept, if only vaguely. The role of attention in healing is at the centre of a modality called the Grinberg Method® and so we are taking a closer look at what this means.
In this video, the founder Avi Grinberg talks about fear and pain, attention and energy, and the story behind how his journey evolved into a structured approach now called the Grinberg Method.
Within these 24 or so minutes, Avi shares many gems such as “with enough energy and attention, there are very few things that cannot be achieved.” It is a good way to understand the importance of attention in healing.
The issue for many people these days is not a lack of time or even will, but rather a lack of energy. We dissipate our energy in many ways, and often unconsciously. We focus on the past, on the trauma, on what’s “wrong”. It is however not to say what we experienced is unimportant. The problem is how much energy we use to maintain these patterns, patterns to avoid fear and pain. These are therefore ways that keep us from being fully present and engaged. We are not even always aware of what we are doing.
That is why, to Avi, humour is essential. Not to laugh off what we experienced, but rather to not let what we experienced in the past be the rock of our existence. “Without humour, it becomes heavy, dogmatic, serious, meaningful, significant, and you become obsessed with it. You become hypnotized on your own pain and fear. Humour allows you to let go of it easier.” And to shift our attention.
Village and Walls
His theory on how we lost that attention is when we settled down in villages. We previously lived as hunters and in constant fear, as what could end our lives was never too far away. To stay alive, we paid attention to our surroundings and we perceived with our whole body. We lived with this fear that kept us enlivened and alive. It was a fear that had purpose and a short timeline. We quickly discharge this fear and the hormones related to a stress response. Either by fighting off the danger, running away from it, or we died.
When we built villages, we built walls to separate ourselves from a world that was hostile and unsafe. These walls did keep us safer. We however also built walls inside, to separate us from fear and pain.
The issue is not with fear. The body is built to deal with it. However, instead of dealing with a quick spurt of it, like hunted animals do when they either fight or flight, we live with longterm chronic fear. This, the body was not built for.
The positive of fear
Fear is a tremendous energy and force. “Fear exists in every moment. You are alive. You are mortal. You are afraid,” is the reminder from Avi. The body is in fear, a survivalist fear, all the time. But fear awakens. It allows us to feel alive. It is electric and electrifying.
Avi puts it this way, “fear is a strong energy that allows us to be more awake and more strong, more flexible, and be able to run faster.” And what we do, instead of allowing it to “move me, to move with it” we block it. We need a lot of energy to block this much energy, thereby dissipating our life force and becoming helpless and frozen. Paralzyed with fear is not just a metaphor.
HOW DOES THE GRINBERG METHOD HELP With Attention in Healing?
The Grinberg Method teaches us to increase attention on the part of the body that is weak and to let go of the areas we are obsessed about. Attention is crucial to healing. It engenders the body with more flow and more energy, to do what it naturally does.
Attention allows us to see where we hold certain patterns of being – where we hold tension, where we withhold the breath. When we release the energy being used to maintain these limiting patterns, we get all this energy back. This newly freed-up energy supports recovery from illness. It also allows us to do what we want, to move outward into the world, and onward to our dreams and desires. Instead of living small in our mind and patterns that may have helped us at some point, we get to live fully, and freely.
For anyone living in chronic pain, Avi offers a few thoughts on moving beyond that pain. To start with, we have to change our attitude towards pain. Far too often we see pain as bad or wrong. Most people’s immediate and understandable reaction is to move away from pain and to avoid it.
It is natural to dissociate and “partition our mind and leave our body behind, to move to a safer place inside” when faced with something difficult, terrible, and terrifying. This is survivalist instinct. The problem comes when we continue existing in this way. We continue to live partitioned within, instead of unifying ourselves and living in the present once more.
Avi makes a point that the Grinberg Method is NOT a treatment. It is not alternative medicine. He says that by paying more attention and taking responsibility for our health, Grinberg Method students become better patients. Grinberg Method is about learning. Clients are students. What do we learn? To be autonomous. To be free, and more ourselves. And honestly to live life more happily.
Energy flows where attention goes. The question is where is our attention? Is our attention in healing? Is our attention on the past, or on the traumas? Again this is not to discredit traumas or anyone’s experience. It is about helping all of us shift out of a focus that is not helping us heal or move forward. Attention in healing requires us to let go of limiting patterns so that we can experience personal freedom.