From our capacity for emotional, mental, energetic, and perhaps even cosmic experience, it seems a gross understatement to say humans are complex creatures.
And as complex as we are, it seems noteworthy how we are primarily held within our physical form. Even as science begins to recognize the reality of the energetic fields that emanate from our bodies, what many traditions have called auras or energy bodies, it seems important to remember how interconnected our physical structure is in all of it.
In my explorations of what it means to be human, I’ve found myself again and again returning to my body. As much as we may be spiritual beings having a human experience, it seems a simple but important reminder that as cosmic as things may be at times, we are having a human experience.
And part of having a human experience is very much having a body.
A body that feels, senses, intuits, and breathes. A body that often knows before we decide with our logic whether something is good or us or not. A body that doesn’t lie or tell stories.
Yet, if our bodies can be such allies for our human experience, why are so many of us disconnected from its wisdom and essence?
I believe at the core of this question lays one of the fundamental challenges of our modern time. We’re not yet very good at dealing with trauma.
Often our first brush with trauma is innocent. Imagine as a toddler running, falling, and scraping your knee. For the child who is still learning about what it means to exist in human form, the sensation of scraped knees is simply that, a sensation. Something that happened.
We know that children usually don’t even know how bad a cut is or how hard a fall has been until the other humans around them react. When our parents approach with worry and concern in their voice and manner, we receive the first imprinting and begin to view our bodies as fragile, and the innocent sensations we feel through it are somehow not ok.
And so it begins.
We feel a sensation that we view as being unwanted, and we do whatever we can to remove or fix it.
Bandaids are used, pain relievers get prescribed, and suddenly, before we know it, we’re hooked on finding ways to make our uncomfortable human experience a little more bearable.
Of course, this example has a lot of nuance and perhaps oversimplification. I’m definitely not saying the use of pain relievers and such aren’t useful or even helpful for stabilizing our minds and vitals.
What I am saying is that when we approach our emotional world with the same methods of numbing and distraction, we create disconnect and separation from our body and thereby lose a huge aspect of our full spectrum humanity.
For most of us who grew up in the modern world, our inner world of emotions, sensations, and anomalies is often foreign and unfamiliar territory. It seems an unfortunate result of our culture’s pursuit of control and dominance that we inadvertently shackled a vital aspect of our humanity.
And sadly, we’re missing out.
I believe the first stage of transformation is always Awareness. Being fully aware of what is happening for us includes more than just what we think about a situation. It also means knowing what our bodies are saying, the signals it is giving us, the felt experience of the moment.
It seems most important to remember that whatever our body is telling us, the sense of hot or cold, the tinging along our arms, the tightness or relaxation of our bodies, is a message.
While sometimes unpleasant, the more we can relate to these sensations with resilience, patience, and appreciation, the more we find a wellspring of guidance, alignment, and flow.
For most of us it means relearning the subtle language of our body and its various centers, namely the heart, belly, and pelvis. Often when we feel into these areas, we feel something, but we aren’t quite able to say what it means.
What does this mean for us in our daily lives?
It means the more we connect and build an understanding and dialogue with our bodies, the more resourceful we become, the more information we have to make supportive decisions, and the more depth, beauty, and vividness we can experience in our every action and interaction.
The process of recalibrating ourselves to hear our own body language can be a grand adventure. Like all adventures, our inner explorations can lead to dark corners and locked doors all in the service towards excavating the hidden gems of our felt and unresolved experience.
The unsexy part of this message is that it does take work.
The process of unearthing and feeling and being with the emotions and sensations many of us have kept hidden away since childhood, or even fully feeling the grief and loss that come with our adult lives, requires a warrior’s spirit and courageous heart.
This is where dance, TRE, the Feldenkrais method, and other forms of somatic therapy are extremely useful, if not vital, to regaining access and to enliven the circuitry of our feeling and emotional wisdom.
It’s been said that the only way is through.
I believe part of this through is to, with resilience, awareness, and healthy servings of courage, to go through and to experience the depths of our emotional and sensational world for the sake of living our human lives, fully.