“Yes, and how does that feel in your body?”
Maybe you are familiar with this question, maybe not. Many of us go through life living from our heads, having ideas, working with logic, trying to understand, always to understand. Understanding, however, can lead us down the rabbit hole, without ever truly knowing the answers. Knowing something beyond words, beyond reason.
It is our gut feelings that warn us of danger, if we pay attention. It is our heart which falls in love. Our minds are important, of course. The mind helps us make our way in the world. Yet, our bodies know. We often take what we know, without reason, from our instincts and feelings, and then apply our reasoning to that knowing, in order to plan, to make things happen tangibly, in life.
“I just had a feeling about it.” This statement might lead to an idea, which then becomes a strategy, and with our sophisticated reasoning and data-sorting abilities, we can extend that plan to reality. Love might lead us to choose a partner, but our minds then create the structure for that in the world, a shared life, property, goals, and so on.
We forget that knowing, that the felt body sense of ‘aha!’ is just as important in healing and wholeness, as it is in love, self-preservation, or creative insights.
Somehow, we are only just getting in touch with our body’s innate knowing as a primary source of healing, be it healing the body, the emotions, or the soul. It’s true that truth (or wisdom) is an experience, a state of knowingness, and often cannot be explained or reasoned.
The body, both as a facilitator of profound transformation, and as a repository of wisdom, is much neglected in modern practice. Bodies hurt, contain emotion, experience bliss, and die – they are with us for life, and during life, communicate wordlessly in multiple ways. Carers and practitioners often lack training in how to work with and through their own bodies, and with those of others, in order to facilitate self-awareness, self-love, spiritual connection, and peace. Whether one’s approach is touch, or non-touch, somatic practices engage an awareness that we must work with and through the body in order to be deeply self-attuned, and deeply attuned to others.
“Where in your body do you feel that fear, that sadness?”
The answer to that question can then become an avenue, a site, for more love, for more attention. There need not be a story around the feeling, a reason for its being. There need only be presence, in that space, to relieve the pain. It’s actually possible to relieve ourselves from the past, from pain, without going into the story about it, without assigning to the story a weight of consequence. Things happen that have a resonance in the body, but we need not continually go back again and again to the past, to blame, to relive it, to cast ourselves as victims. We can, instead, be with the sensation in our bodies, and heal profoundly from that space.
This is done differently in differently modalities. Some of you will be familiar with how this works in neuro-linguistic programming, in which the client works out how she/he perceives the world, in order to rewire responses and reactions. This works in bodywork (acupuncture, acupressure, de-armouring) with release around certain physical points on the body.
No matter how you might explore this personally, I encourage you to make a practice of always tuning in to how your body responds, how it reacts. Over time, you will begin to notice patterns, consistencies, and then your body will become an excellent communication device. From this connection to self comes many gifts of insight and healing. It’s a journey of a lifetime, but your body is with you for a lifetime, so it’s a connection well worth cultivating!