The more I use The ICE Method the more I think about “enlightenment.” So with great interest I read the Huffington Post Article about Hwansan Sunim reintroducing Buddhism to the West.
From there I clicked to his YouTube Channel and spent an afternoon getting introduced to Son Buddhism from Korea. Hwansan Sunim states directly that healing and well-being can be results of a meditation practice, but they are never the end goal of Son Buddhist Meditation Practice. The end goal is enlightenment. He defines enlightenment as “a direct spiritual awakening to one’s own nature, one’s true self.”
I pulled these thoughts on enlightenment from the first video in his teaching series. “Without enlightenment you experience only your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations.” That’s ICE exactly – identifying whatever issue arises, including the emotion and physical sensation. These signals are stored in the body as peptides. In Son Buddhism, you address these through meditation. In the ICE Method you address these through Memory Reconsolidation.
Hwansan Sunim says this is all you can have without enlightenment – the thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations. All these are rooted in the body. As long as we think we are only bodies, we live in fear of death.
“Only enlightenment can free us from our constant underlying dread.”
ICE and Enlightenment
Here, I think, may be the connection between The ICE Method, the fight/flight/freeze stress response, symptom relief, and “true healing,” or eventually, enlightenment As I’ve written many times before – people can use The ICE Method in a session and get complete pain relief from their symptoms, only to return to fight/flight/freeze and the resumption of pain when they get back in their routine stress environment.
ICE, it might be said, gives us a momentary glimpse of enlightenment, certainly a momentary freedom from the pain producing pressure of thought, emotion, and physical sensations. But the task is to somehow stabilize this experience of calm in a person’s life. Buddhism and other traditional approaches usually take years for this process to take root and stabilize. Memory reconsolidation provides a turbocharged method for clearing stored peptides, but it can happen so fast that the new state does not stabilize. When the fight/flight/freeze pattern of our life retriggers after a session, its inertia often prevails over the new state of calm. At least this is my experience in working with many people. For some people who are for some reason apparently “ready”, the new ICE state of calm stabilizes very quickly and they come to know calm as their default state.
I have tremendous regard for these traditions that invite us into a lifestyle of calm. I also have tremendous regard for the discovery of Memory Reconsolidation and its application in The ICE Method. The tradition invites us into a lifestyle. ICE offers an understanding and a technique for pulling away the barriers of thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations.
If you have time, I think you’ll enjoy these instructional videos introducing the Son Buddhism Meditation Technique.