Shared by Cranio in the Community member, Danielle Rowarth, a registered BCST Therapist and Chi Kung Instructor based in Jan Juc, Australia. Her original blog can be found on her website.
The practice of mindfulness has been life changing. But for me it felt like it wasn’t enough and that something was missing. So what’s next? What can we do to become even more present and even more whole? How about exploring the world of embodiment? After all we do have both a mind and a body. Integrating both can take us into a whole new world.
So What Does Embodiment Mean?
When the mind is focused on feeling the internal sensations of the body, feeling the weight, outline and shape and/or engaging with the senses then we are able to notice the world around us, as well as our internal world, from an incredibly aware and still state. We are embodied.
Why Are We Not All Embodied Already?
We live in a world that is so information rich and intelligence is so highly regarded. This means that we can spend much of our time with our awareness only in ever residing in our heads, sometimes we forget that we have a body and it’s only when we feel pain or discomfort that the body shows up on the radar.
Painful past experiences, uncomfortable emotions and traumatic experiences can leave an imprint or residue in the body that we don’t want to feel. The brain gets good at partitioning off bits of us that don’t feel so good. So it is possible to discover that bits of the body are really hard to have an awareness of. There’s nothing wrong with this, in fact it’s a clever way of letting us carry on with life without the constant discomfort that can be troubling or overwhelming.
What Happens When We Start to Reconnect?
Reconnecting with some of this stored stuff can be uncomfortable, but it can open a door to a rich, whole and present existence.
I love this description from the book Body Intelligence Meditation, by Ged Sumner:
“When you are in touch with your body, you can feel all the nuances of your being. That’s the key – to be in touch with yourself and not in a mental fog. You will start to notice many things as you relate to your body through being receptive. You will notice how your posture is. You don’t need to be measured. You just feel it because you are able to listen to your joint receptors. You can feel when certain foods aren’t right for you. You can tell if you are not breathing well, because you don’t remain disconnected from it. You can tell if you are upset or repressing emotions, because you are in contact with them. Your body no longer needs to ‘scream’ these things at you.”
Developing ’embodiment’ takes practice. It is such a worthwhile practice and the most direct way of experiencing life from a deeply connected and rich perspective.
“Your body can be experienced so completely that you become a vibrant sentient being rather than a thinking apparatus. Once this occurs, you will be harmony with the same life force that guides the universe. You will be able to feel its power as well as your innate sea of bliss, which will lead you into an ecstatic union with your own life”
How to Use Embodiment as a Practice
There are a number of different ways of doing this.
The Embodied You Program teaches a simple exercise where we tune into the weight of the body, the outline and skin, our senses and our internal sensations with a gentle awareness. (I have an embodiment practice on audio that I give to Embodied You participants, if you would like a copy, please email me). If you’re interested in deepening more fully into your body, I highly recommend the book “Body Intelligence Meditation” by Ged Sumner as a way to learn about and connect deeply with your anatomy and physiology. There are free audios on the Body Intelligence Meditation website to download and use as a practice.
Other Useful Tips
Always meditate with a gentle, kind and curious awareness. Over focusing and critical judging isn’t helpful and won’t encourage a connection between mind and body. Working with a Craniosacral Therapist who is practiced in gently assisting clients to access an embodied state can be very beneficial, especially if there has been overwhelming or ongoing multiple traumatic experiences. A gentle guide can help access and resolve the patterns that are held in the body.Being in the body takes practice, it’s not easy being in a body as it is constantly changing and sometimes it’s just not comfortable. So take your time and know that this practice is not a quick fix but an ongoing practice for life. Enjoy getting to know you, there is nothing more worthwhile that you could be doing.
Eventually you will find that when the intelligence of the intellect and the vast, incredible intelligence of the complex organism that is the body come together, it’s possible to access a potent space full of potential to create a life filled with purpose, passion and joy….