Body Language

The body speaks to us daily. Moment by moment actually. What throws us sometimes in this conversation is the subtlety, nuance and seemingly “foreign” feel of the body’s communication with the rational mind. This is partly due to the busy and frenzied nature of the every day mind which cannot hear the body’s cues until they are extreme. To learn to listen with a sensitive ear to the tides and rhythms of our bodies is to open a door to great possibility in our lives. To be in direct contact with our bodies is to know how the Universe and all of Life flows. That is because we are Life itself, embodied.

What often gets in the way of this vital communication is the tension we hold in body and mind. There is one kind of tension that builds up over the surface of the body much like a suit of armor. It gets created when we have too much going on; when we view our lives as emergencies. It reinforces itself through our denial of a sane pace and of our bodies most basic biological needs like rest and food.

Then there is the tension that emanates from within. A kind of holding on and holding in that was established within us long ago. It is a kind of contraction that is built on the limiting and fear-based beliefs we carry about ourselves and the world. Maybe we can recognize it in the raise of our shoulders as we add to the piles of “shoulds” we must take on to believe we are a good person. Or maybe there is a tension in our jaw as we clamp down or bite back something we really need to say to someone but don’t for fear of alienating or angering another. Perhaps it is in the way in which our stomach clenches as we put up with behaviors from other people because we believe that it is our job to absorb or smooth over what another does.

We all have our places in the body that represent deep and long held beliefs. Over time, these tensions build up creating dis-ease and imbalances in the body. No matter how you look at it, tension held in the body over the long term, is the enemy of health and healing. Worse yet though than its impact on the body is the way it robs us of a sense of ease, joy and freedom in being who we are. These inner tensions hold us in check keeping alive ways of being that undermine our vital life force. It is as if we are encased in concrete. This casing keeps us from “violating” some inner code of conduct we established for ourselves long ago that we developed to help keep us protected, accepted, and included.

One of the most profound opportunities we can give ourselves is to discover what it is that we really believe about ourselves and the world. Really believe. The rational mind will often not admit to us what is beneath the surface, but the body will always reveal the truth of what is happening within. Like looking at the trees to see the presence of the wind, we can locate our truest beliefs about ourselves by observing the movements of the body.

To practice this, locate an ongoing and perhaps long-standing place of discomfort in your body. Notice where it is located and what it feels like. Pay attention to thoughts associated with the area. Become aware of when and why it flares up. Then, be willing to listen. To learn the language of the body is a lifelong process. It is the equivalent of learning a foreign language as an adult; its takes lots of time, practice and patience. And it takes devotion. To Life.