Mind, Body, Spirit — the Dilemma — North Americans are “mind obsessed.” Which is too bad, because there are other arenas of input that can help us.
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I wonder about the essential weirdness of life — where people assume that a change — of partners, location, position, status — will somehow “make things different.”
For example, a friend 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…)
It was there, they said, so that they could escape from their lives.
This is really weird — to scrimp and save and squirrel away — in order to run away from the life they are creating, moment by moment. It’s like saying, “My life is unremittingly dull, 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 tell me that they are “one step away from finding themselves,” and that one step is never taken. They stop themselves by creating distractions, or they create traumas and illnesses, and self-declared crises and catastrophes. Each one designed to be an excuse to explain why they don’t have a life.
If there are no readily available external crises, they create one. They’ll pick a fight, dredge up the past, and obsess about the future. And then they’ll waste time on their creation, again bypassing making any kind of change.
The “cure,” the alternative, is presence.
Here’s an example. Some time ago, Darbella said that she was feeling “woozy and off.” I could have said, “That’s nice, dear, eat a bagel,” or I could have taken a break to see what was up. I chose the latter, and that led to Bodywork.
I went to work on Dar’s regular sticking places — the sternum and around her jaw and eyes. Dar went into her experience, and I “just pushed.” I won’t get into a big description of what happened, as it was Dar’s experience. For me, my presence, thumbs and elbows were needed, and being in that moment was where true living was.
After finishing that bit of Bodywork, I reflected on how this kind of “contatctful presence” is the essence of living. In the clarity of the moment, simply because one is present, one is no longer lost in the past or in the future — no longer stuck trying to “make meaning” out of anything.
Being present is about being “fully in” our bodies, while fully “out of our heads.”
Our penchant for living in our heads, buried in our interpretations, memories and projections, is the leading cause of dissatisfaction with life. The mind, which works well as a vast storehouse of data, is pretty lousy at attaching meaning. Although, god knows, it tries.
I amaze myself at how easy it is, day in and day out, to choose to attach to ego and to interpretation. In this process, we become our stories. The ego-story becomes our 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 also not as others define me. Their stories are theirs.
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.
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” the experience. As we feel the urging of our bodies — a pull toward wholeness — most tighten back up and head toward denial.
Why such resistance to being present? I think we scare ourselves with the energy 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. And most have resisted feeling it flow. When we feel the profound sense of how alive we could actually be — as our bodies begin to move and vibrate, and our spirits leap within us, we say, “Whoa! Don’t go there! That’s wrong, or nasty or weird.”
And, fearing the disapproval or others, fearing what this might mean about our self-definition, we stop ourselves.
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 are now living; you know — the one you want 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 by standing out as some ego driven monster, driven by praise. Not by identification with a role.