This past weekend, I had an interesting experience which has brought my attention back to how much our body can tell us about our state of being.
It was our monthly book group meeting. and we were discussing a beautiful book (‘the humingbird’s daughter’) based on true stories of a woman healer Saint Teresa, set in Mexico. And during the discussion, several topics came up. Notably, one of the topics was of the existence of God. One of the women said she could not believe in God, because she did not see ‘proof’. She also could not believe in healers, whom she thought to be phoneys who often cause more harm than benefits. This somehow caused me to flare up into a passionate discussion of what we call ‘proof’ is really our own definition and rationalization. And I did believe in healing through methods other than going to a doctor. For instance, ayurveda and chinese medicine which are based on centuries of study provide holistic ways of healing. and more than that, her words reminded me of someone else I knew who dismissed any ideas of alternate energy healing methods as hocus pocus. As I got into a full fledged debate giving my points quite vocally, right in the middle of my sentence (on how both quantum theory and wave theory try and explain physical phenomena, but neither of them can do so fully-you can imagine how involved I had gotten into it.. 😉 ), she said, ‘you are trying to convince me based on your experiences, and you are not really listening to me’.
It cut through my thoughts like a knife. I knew she was absolutely right. and I knew our perceptions were different because we had been through different experiences. She had been in Uganda where she saw people who had a simple infection in a limb go to the village healer which made their condition much worse, so that most often when they came in, it was too late and the limb had to be amputated. Set against that backdrop, I could understand her beliefs.
More than anything, while I was there throwing caution to the winds and debating, i had this strong sensation of being walled in, of feeling claustraphobic. I couldn’t feel space around me. I didn’t want to feel this way! The more I fought that feeling by going on with my argument, the more keenly I felt lack of space. And the minute I let go, the space widened. It was a tangible physical sensation. and if I had stayed in the sensation rather than reacting and fighting against it, I may have let go sooner.
Fundamentally, if we begin to notice, all feelings of separation such as anger, fear, jealousy make us feel closed in. There is a solidness to these feelings like a wall we push against. and in comparison, all feelings that arise from interconnection and compassion make us feel open and spacious. So, if we paid attention to our body as a compass, we would be able to act from the places that make us open rather than closed. Our actions will arise from the expansive and generous spirit that resides in all of us.
Our body is such a fundamental part of our being. and yet, our mindfulness in our body is not nearly as much as it could be. Our body is our internal compass. It can help us make the right decisions. and thats why activities which open the body and make us more present in this physical being, feel good!
Here is to cultivating mindfulness in our bodies and listening to what our body has to say. Being physically present in whatever we experience without running away and without judging. Let our bodies guide us to joyful living.
With love, S.