Tag Archives: emotions

Be Still and Know

There are numerous styles of meditation many of which have, in recent times, sailed west on the winds of migrating eastern gurus. In certain sects of Buddhism there in Vipassana meditation, very popular in the U.S. In Yoga Philosophy there is a system called the Eight Limbed Path of Raja Yoga. In Catholicism there is Centering created by Father Thomas Keating and The Interior Castle of mystic St. Teresa of Avila. Most styles or systems of meditating have one thing in common: drawing your attention inward to begin to know and connect with your self/Self, and to create the ability to direct your mental capacity by choice rather than by habit or default.

In our everyday lives, our energies and psyche become fragmented by the many issues that we encounter and the multitude of tasks that we have to accomplish. Meditation is meant to draw all of those energies back into one integrated stream of consciousness that we can direct at our choice. A metaphor for meditation might be the use of a magnifying glass to focus light on a leaf or piece of paper. If you focus the light long enough, it will create ample heat to set the leaf or paper on fire: similarly, when you meditate regularly, you can focus as intensely. You then have control of your mind energy and can use it in a very powerful way. This is called one pointedness in Yoga Philosophy. It is the ability to focus so deeply that you go right to the heart and pulse of life.

You don’t need a quiet mind to meditate. Sally Kempton in her book Meditation for the Love of It, describes the approach of Tantric meditation, “The core tantric strategy is to harness and channel all our energies, including the apparently distracting or obstructive ones, rather than trying to suppress or eliminate them. When we do that, the energy within thoughts, within emotions, in our moods, and even in intense feelings like anger or terror or desire can expand and reveal the ground that underlies everything, the pure creative potential of consciousness itself.” In other words, you can use what is in your mind already as a tool to go deep into your own consciousness. But don’t become a slave to your thoughts, emotions, or moods. Go to the felt sense, the energetic feeling, behind them.

To begin the meditative process, most meditation approaches use a focus point. That focus point can be your breath, the sensations in your body, a word or sound, a prayer, a piece of music, a felt sense, your heart beat and sundry other supports that can help to anchor your attention and direct it. The only thing you need to attain the multitude of benefits of meditation is patience and an unwavering commitment to stay the course. Go for it!

 

The Body Speaks

The living, incarnate human body is a plastic, elastic, radical verb. Every minuscule movement, every cellular activity and pulsation, every muscle twinge is an expression, a physical articulation that conveys the meaning of you to anyone who is awake and aware. It is a neon sign flashing the unspoken, the covert, to the world.

The movements and expressions of the body transmit a silent language. “A University of Pennsylvania study reported that the majority of communication is transmitted non-verbally. 70% of communication is body language, 23% is voice tone and inflection, and only 7% is your spoken words!” (http://www.marquette.edu/hr/documents/the-art-of-communication.pdf). Imagine that, words hardly matter.

Every cell of your physical form gives data. In Oriental diagnosis, a good practitioner can tell you the state of your emotions and internal organs by the signs they see and feel in your body. That paradigm describes how the functions of each organ organize the various aspects of your physical, mental and psychological being. Author Alex Jack describes in, Profiles in Oriental Diagnosis,” how Leonardo da Vinci, who rarely finished his works of art, was diagnosed with digestive issues because he constantly emphasized the first, or pointer finger, in his paintings.

Digestion is about seeing things to completion. The pointer finger is the point where the colon meridian – a meridian being a river of functional energy — transforms or comes to an end. This piece of information clued researchers to understand that da Vinci’s digestive issues are what prevented him from ever completing his works of art. “Pains, aches, unusual motion, or other abnormal problems or movements associated with this finger are a sign of developing weakness of the intestines.” Body language – so much info in the tip of a finger!

The body always speaks from the present as the flesh and bones of your physical being register the steady stream of on-the-scene senses, feelings and thoughts. That’s the radicalness of it. It’s all genuine, in-the-moment, uncensored information. The body doesn’t lie. Because the feelings and thoughts that manifest in flesh are in the moment, these articulations are more crucial and surely more genuine expressions than words – each of which also contains the meanings of our own personal history.

Can you control your body language? Some people can consciously do that. Actors and actresses have a talent for and are trained to express the most subtle of thoughts and feelings. They consciously manipulate the muscles and motions that manifest and project certain emotions, qualities, characteristics and body shapes. Shapeshifting!

Masters of energy can control their body language in many ways. For instance, by becoming completely still inside, moving past thinking to being, and drawing their energy inward, they can actually seem to disappear. Really every individual controls energy. For example, when you deny your feelings – you mask them. Masking blocks energy. But even that gets recorded as a lack of aliveness consequently giving clues.

When you have time, try this experiment. Watch a movie or TV show with the volume off and see what you notice in the performers’ body language. You might get the whole plot, with additional levels of understanding, without ever hearing a word!

What would happen, if in our every day activities, we spent significant time in silence with each other, simply being present to, and mindful of, the other? We might get to know one another in an authentic, profound, holographic, and comprehensive way. The ramifications are enormous.

Ain’t Got No Body?!

“Most of us have undergone rigorous training in ignoring our bodies. Bodily awareness is not some peripheral function, but the foundation of our sense of ourselves and our ability to respond to the world.” Says Susan Aposhyan, expert, teacher and author in how the body and mind are integrally intertwined. How connected to your body are you? Do you believe that your head is your only necessity in life? Do you live only in your head? The body is an intelligent organism made of components that work cooperatively with all aspects of yourself to make you a holistically healthy, functional being. Everything that happens in life affects the body as well as the mind. The mind affects and shapes the body. The body is a reflection of your mind and it also shapes the mind. The information that comes from the bodily intelligence helps to organize the mind.

What you don’t know about your body can impede your effectiveness in the world. You can ignore it or make it a slave at your own expense. Every feeling and thought you have is correlated with physical sensations. Those sensations inform the mind about your experience in the world. When you are in a chronic, stressful situation that you cannot effectively escape from or impact in a successful way, for protection, you suppress unwanted sensations, feelings or thoughts.

Your body then creates physical defenses by habitually constricting the muscles, thus deadening the tissues of your body, a defense that is called ‘armoring’ in some psychological systems. Once you suppress or defend yourself against certain thoughts and/or feelings, you are no longer aware of them which means you have cut off communication to that aspect of your being and don’t have conscious access to those feelings and thoughts and what they need to tell you. Feelings and thoughts are correlated with sensations: armoring deadens sensation.

Physiologically, this coping strategy of defense is stored primarily in the muscles and fascia – a sort of plastic wrap that wraps around, communicates with and connects together everything in the body. Fascia allows and supports a river of energetic flow throughout your body/mind. Armoring cuts off the flow of blood, lymph and energy in your body so that you are no longer fully alive, you have numbed parts or large areas of yourself; you no longer have awareness of certain areas or access to all aspects of your intelligence.

Armoring or defense structures after a certain point no longer serve a beneficial purpose. Simply becoming aware of your defenses actually begins to change the armoring, to thaw the numbness which then allows the life flow to resume. This is a first step to opening to your greatest potentials and to a healthy, more vibrant, energetic body and exciting and satisfying life.