“Nothing is as close to us as our body, but there is nothing else that is close to us and about which we know so little.” Gunther von Hagens, creator of the “Body Worlds” exhibits.
All of us walking around on this great big revolving ball of dirt orbiting around the universe schlepp around a fairly significant load every day, most of us a hundred pounds or more. Some of us, lots more. Yet what do we know about these bodies that we live in and what is our relationship with our bodies? I would venture a guess that the vast majority of us don’t reap the benefits of the rich value that our bodies offer. Even worse, many of us are pretty darn annoyed about almost everything body related and, quite honestly, pretty ticked off that the body we got wasn’t quite what we had in mind.
Or is it? Maybe your body is EXACTLY what you have in mind. You just don’t know it, consciously anyway. According to Bruce Lipton, Ph.D., author of The Biology of Belief, “It is not gene-directed hormones and neurotransmitters that control our bodies and our minds, our beliefs control our bodies, our minds and thus our lives.” Pair this with the teaching of Abraham-Hicks, “A belief is just a thought you keep thinking,” and you have sort of a mind-blowing idea. Your life, which includes your body, your circumstances, your relationships, your finances, the whole shebang, are all a product of your beliefs, which are a product of your habits of thought.
If this is true, and let’s just say it is for the sake of exploration, this body you’re schlepping around and complaining about is really nobody’s fault but your own. Yeah, I know I alienated a wad of you right there. Understandable. My pointing out the fact that your reality really kind of stinks right now, and then proceeding to tell you that you created it is not likely to win me many friends. Until they realize it’s true.
Back to this body of yours. You created it: it is an expression of your life experience on this planet thus far. So how can you make that advantageous for yourself? Instead of complaining and moaning about what a pain in the back side your body is and how you got ripped off in the body department, start to partner with it. Learn it. Explore it. Listen closely to it. For goodness’ sake, try being nice to it. Find out what messages your body has for you. If you actually do this, brace yourself for amazement.
I don’t remember learning much about my body in school, much less from my parents. Of course, there was that science class that mentioned anatomy and then there was that horrible, embarrassing junior high school film about the birds and the bees. That’s not really the angle about body messages that I’m trying to hone in on here. Don’t get me wrong, my parents and my schoolteachers were awesome. They were teaching the very best they knew to teach, and taught me some great stuff. But “body awareness” is a huge body (couldn’t help myself!) of information that is massively valuable, and it’s just not taught in mainstream society. At least not in the U.S. Midwest culture that I grew up in.
Whether you love your body or hate it, or something in between, it has incredibly valuable information for you just for the listening. That tightness in your tummy when you think about your upcoming presentation at work, that is a clue to a belief that you have about your abilities or lack thereof; a belief that really has very little to do with your actual abilities. It has more to do with what you picked up about your worth and value when you were just a little kid. It might indicate a belief that goes something like, “What I have to say is not valuable; I should be seen and not heard,” and it’s been tripping you up your whole adult life.
But if you were to stop and listen, your body can give you clues to uncover those somewhat subconscious beliefs and help bring them to the light. In my search for knowledge about how we humans function, what works well and what works not quite as well, I have stumbled across several leading edge thinkers that have spent their lives studying this. For example, Eugene Gendlin, Ph.D., who developed the philosophy of Focusing, teaches that “your body knows more about situations than you are explicitly aware of. For example, your body picks up more about another person than you consciously know. With a little training, you can get a bodily feel for the ‘more’ that is happening in any situation.” I have personally experienced this, have helped others experience it, and it is quite amazing.
Another teacher, Steve Sisgold, has written an entire book: “What’s Your Body Telling You?” He has found that, “the happiest, healthiest, most successful people are those who integrate IQ (cognitive intelligence) with BQ (body intelligence).” Sisgold calls this unique state “whole-body consciousness”. There is an entire field dedicated to this topic. According to Wikipedia, Somatic Psychology is an interdisciplinary field involving the study of the body, somatic experience, and the embodied self, including therapeutic and holistic approaches to body.
These are just a couple of examples of folks who have noticed the great advantage of embracing the wisdom of your body and intentionally tapping into it for a whole new level of guidance, effectiveness and enjoyment in life. Your body is a product of your thoughts and beliefs, and for that very reason it is a powerful tool to help you become more aware of your thought patterns and the effects of those thoughts. When your body tightens up, whether in the neck area, around the throat or in your stomach, it is telling you that there is something that it feels the need to defend against. When you feel an openness and lightness within your body, that is a clear signal that you are in alignment with your inner, eternal self and your body feels safe to open up.
This might be old news for you, or it might be a whole new, crazy way of approaching life. Either way, it is worth investigating further. It can have huge payoffs in all areas of your life, not just your physical body. Heck, even if it was just a benefit to your physical body, that is worth the price of admission, because regardless of how you feel about your body, you take it with you everywhere you go.