Your Body-Your Home: Meeting An Old, Wise and Trusted Friend
In this article I write about the effects on our lives of our mind using our body vs our body using our mind, to live our life. The former risks leading us into fear and dissatisfaction and is constantly trying to mitigate (potential) damage. The latter allows the mind to be guided by our actual experiences, to learn and gather our own wisdom to live by.
Your body is for your experiencing of and expressing in the world.
When you hold yourself in embodied awareness* your body will tell you what it is you’re experiencing; emotionally and physically.
When you hold yourself in embodied awareness, your body will tell you what it wants to express and experience.
When the body is used to show an identity, mask or front to the world, it is the mind that is using the body to perform according to the mind’s own motivations. This mind-created self is always smaller than the actual embodied self. This smallness is experienced in the body as anxiety (emotionally), tension and constriction (physically) and as repetitive worry in our thinking.
The body-self desires the closeness and trusting peace of self- and other-connection, the opposite of what the mind often creates: separation, distrust and unrest.
The body desires the hands, mind and voice to express what is inside, as yet unexpressed.
The body uses the mind for creating, understanding and learning.
Often though, it is the mind using the body; overriding its communication of its experience and needs. The mind will use the body as a prop in the world, to appear a certain way, to strike a bargain, to meet certain expectations of achievement and outcome, or to compare it to other bodies.
Unfortunately, this use of the body by the mind seeks to create artificial results, with big consequences for the self. Any feelings or needs that do not accord with outcomes the mind requires are prevented from expression or from being felt. This leaves part of our being undigested, frozen and hidden in the body, sometimes for years. In trying to metabolise these, the body might show symptoms emotionally or physically through anxiety, depression, illness or other physical complaints.
Often though, the mind had good reason to take over the running of the body.
As children, we needed to be held and shown how to digest life and how to safely express ourselves. To teach a child to digest what is happening in or around her, he or she needs have someone to listen and help them to express and understand what is happening for them. The child then learns about their body and its feelings. Without this learning and guidance, feelings and desires can feel utterly out of control and overwhelming. This is even more true and traumatic when a child’s integrity of self is breached, emotionally or physically, through abuse.
This is often where, for self-protection, the connection to the experience of the body-self is replaced with the control of the mind-self, which is disconnected from the body.
The mind’s access to knowledge on how to lead a (safe) life is often fear-inducing and based on shaping by family-, societal-, religious- and personal psychology-based beliefs. And therefor cannot meet the particular individual self.
This becomes particularly noticeable in our lives when we come to dead ends where we realise we keep having the same issues in our relationships, work or health. The mind is unable to navigate and metabolise the life-transitions we need to live the life we want.
What is needed, and what we then get steered towards through our emotional and physical symptoms, is a shift from the mind steering and managing our life to a listening awareness of what our body is telling us.
This is where, in the moment we encounter the truth in our own actual experience. And this actual experience creates our very own personal wisdom, according to which we can make informed, loving and grounded decisions for our life.
This is where we meet with and are met by our self.
It can take a while to get used to how the body speaks to us, so used are we to our minds dialogue and reasoning. Like any relationship, the relationship with our body takes commitment. It requires us to listen with trust and curiosity. It requires us to make our inner attitude towards ourselves that of a kind non-judgmental and patient friend. It takes whatever time it takes and thrives on moments of connected awareness.
*Embodied awareness is experiencing your inner experience emotionally and physically, without the constricting interference of the mind. The mind interferes with the direct and more expansive experience of the body-self by analysing, defining or overlaying with imagery.