Mind, Body, Spirit -- the Dilemma
I'm thinking again of the client I mentioned last week, and wondering how her holiday was for her. I begin to wonder about the essential weirdness of life - where people assume that a change - of partners, location, position, status - that a change will somehow "make things different." In my client's case, this holiday had taken on mythic proportions. All things will be possible, she thought, with a change of scenery.
Another client said she and her husband had an "escape fund," into which they put money (and from which they noticed they were extracting money to pay for house repairs…) so that they could escape from their lives. This is essential weirdness - to scrimp and save and squirrel away - all with the goal of running away from the life they are living. It's like saying, "My life is unremittingly dull and so I'll spend 48 weeks of each year in misery so that I can escape for 4 weeks, and then escape more when I retire." And then they die, and manage, finally, the ultimate escape.
Others are "one step away from finding themselves," and that one step is perpetual. They create distractions, they create traumas and illnesses, crises and catastrophes, each designed to get in the way of actually having a life. If there are no readily available external crises, they are creative enough to invent one. Pick a fight, dredge up the past, and obsess about the future. The fight, the disagreement, even the conversation is so focussed on "getting it right or making a fight," that whatever good might have come from the interaction is lost in the smoke and mirrors.
The "cure," the alternative, is presence.
I continually amaze myself at how well illustrations pop up for Into the Centre, just as needed. I'd gotten about 3 lines written, when Dar appeared on the blanket box next to my computer. She was feeling "woozy and off," and in that moment was a choice. I could say, "That's nice, dear, eat a bagel," or I could break away from the computer and see what was up. For us, that means Bodywork.
Dar mentioned in her article a few weeks ago that her tears were stuck. So, I went to work on the sticking places - the sternum and the ocular ridges. Dar went into her experience and I "just pushed." I won't get into a big explanation of what happened, as that's Dar's experience. For me, my presence, thumbs and elbows were needed, and being in that moment was where true living was.
As I mentioned last week, finishing a bit of Bodywork with my new client, I noticed her reaching out her hand to make contact. This, I believe, is the essence of living. She recognizes, in the clarity of the moment, simply because she is present, that there is an actual human being in the room with her. She is no longer lost in the past or in the future. She is no longer stuck trying to "make meaning" out of the experience she just had - which would pull her out of the moment and into her interpretations. No, she is "in the moment," the moment is as it is, and in that moment, contact makes sense.
I believe that there is a certain sense that being present is about being "fully in" our bodies, while fully "out of our heads." (Yes, I get the joke - Fritz Perls once said, "Go out of your mind and come to your senses.") Our penchant for living in our heads, in the midst of our interpretations, memories and projections, is the leading cause of dissatisfaction with life. The mind, a vast storehouse of data, is pretty lousy at attaching meaning. Although, god knows, it tries.
I amaze myself at how many people, day in and day out, choose to attach themselves to ego and to meaning. In this process, they become their roles. The ego becomes identity. It's no wonder, then, that death is so fearsome. If what I am is "Wayne," and that is all I am, then I'm dead. Literally and figuratively.
If I am not my ego, if I am not how I define myself; then I am equally not as others attempt to define me. And yet, as long as a person chooses to use the opinions of others as a definition of self, that person is essentially simply a collection of parts, as are defined by others.
In a sense, then, in order to recover a balance of body, mind and spirit, we have to overcompensate for a while. That we have spent most of our lives in our heads, coming up with explanations for ourselves, is not the same as owning and being myself.
Owning and being is a process of intuitive knowing and "simply observing," as opposed to a mental process of defining.
Perls, then, was right on target.
I find one of the more interesting things that happens during Bodywork is the identification with breath and sensation, and then the immediate pull to "explain away" what is happening. As we feel the urgings of spirit - a pull toward wholeness and service, there is an equally strong pull toward denial or aggrandizement.
The funny part about all of this is that the person who is simply in the moment and in their own bodies isn't required to "be special," to "do tricks," or to be noticed. Jesus once said, in reference to the three elements of worship in Jewish life - prayer, tithing and fasting - that "the left hand should not know what the right is doing." All three elements were to be conducted in "the closet." Privately. Known only to self and to God.
That being said, why such resistance? I think we scare ourselves with what we feel flowing within us. The river of chi - that is the essence of "I" - is wide and deep and powerful. Our mind-created self-image seldom includes such words let alone actually feeling such a powerful flow. We begin to feel a profound sense of how alive we could actually be - our bodies begin to move and vibrate, and our spirits leap within us, and we, or helpful friends, say, "Whoa! Don't go there! That's wrong, or nasty or weird." And, fearing disapproval, we stop ourselves.
As we were sitting together following Dar's Bodywork this morning, she said, "Do you hear bagpipes?" Really. And there actually were bagpipes, as the local Canadian Legion had a parade to the cenotaph, and a few kind words for the dead Queen Mother. As we stood up, Dar looked out the window, she laughed and said, "Hmm. I must have been making too much noise. Someone called the cops." There was a squad car parked on the corner, helping to direct traffic.
Being non-judgementally with someone as they shout and scream, cry or sob, shake and rock and perhaps breathe and move themselves into ecstasy, flies in the face of what society and our minds tell us is "normal." Yet, normal has gotten you exactly the dead-end life you wish to escape from. Better, far better, to learn to let yourself go. To loosen the bonds and restrictions you place upon yourself. To go inward in the moment and explore how you block yourself from truly being. To expand outward and inhabit your body- fully, deeply, passionately.
There is a place in all of us that is free from the constraints of mind. This place doesn't need permission, or cooperation from others. It is the place in you that is you, and small as it may be right now, it wants out of the prison. Not some day, when it's convenient. Not while on holiday, 2 weeks a year. Not at a workshop down the road. Not standing out as some ego driven monster, driven by praise and exponentially inauthentic. Not by identification with role.
There is a place in side that is already free. Just for a while, work with someone who will help you to live from there. And then, commit to living from there, all the time.