Insights



What is Guidance?

Fear

Love

Presence

Openness

Compassion

Witnessing

Psychosomatic Interaction



What is Guidance?

Your inner guidance is part of your consciousness that exists within you, and it tells you the most appropriate thing for you to do at any given moment in your life. It is consciousness that is outside of your thinking mind, and it is accessed through embodied inquiry, through listening and feeling in your body.  In listening to it we are put in touch with a greater depth of consciousness. Our inner guidance can see a much larger perspective than what is at the forefront of our minds. It tells you what is true for you, and as such can be used as a decision making tool to lead you on your path of living.  

Inside everyone there exists the ultimate teacher 
who knows how to challenge you, 
knows who you are and what you are capable of, and knows exactly when you're ready for more growth and how... 
and then leads you to grow.

Quite simply, your guidance speaks through the subtle sensations of your body. You know when you've made a decision and are doing something that doesn't "feel right" for you? It's usually accompanied by a tangible feeling in your body that something isn't right. That's your guidance telling you "no". You can use this same intelligence when you are making a decision to find out what the appropriate course of action for you is. You literally feel Guidance in your body what your guidance is telling you in the form of a palpable, distinct sensation.  Try it: ask a simple yes/no question and then pay attention to your body and observe how it feels. It might be difficult to feel at first, or you might start to notice that either a 'yes' or a 'no' feels right in your body. In time, it might become easier to feel clearly and come in the form of a recognized physical sensation, indicating responses from affirmative to negative, or it could come in the form of words.  If it is words, it requires a still mind to listen, and the words are spoken gently and simply, not telling you what you "should" do, just what's true for you.  Your guidance is always there, whether you listen to it or not.  And you can ask it any question at all, big (life-changing decisions) or small (what does it serve me to eat right now?).  And this is how you strengthen your relationship with your guidance: through inquiry.  The more questions you ask, the more you develop the ability to listen to your guidance clearly, and the more you strengthen your trust with it, giving you the courage to follow through with what it tells you.

Because honestly, what it tells you will not always be comfortable or easy.  But it will be true to you.  Following your guidance can reveal the Self.  And in any transformation there are challenges.  The obstacles between your ego and Self-realization are all of your fears.  Experiencing and learning from our fears is one of the most difficult things we can do emotionally.  Being present with fear, with pain, and with unpleasantness, all while staying open and not becoming negative to the experience, is incredibly challenging.  Which is why we usually prefer to avoid it!  But being conscious with our fears is part of the necessary process of bringing them from the darkness of the mind into awareness so that we can be with them.  And in the process of being with our fears and learning from them, we regain that which we'd lost by living in reaction to them.  There is deep, personal power that results from consciously confronting each of our fears.  

Living with guidance puts us in a constant inquiry with life.  A natural state of engagement. Listening to our guidance is an act of embracing the mystery.  It is not trying to protect ourself from what we don't know, but rather it is being vulnerable in the not knowing, and getting comfortable with it, which is where we need to be.  Because the vision that we can conceive for our life is much too small for us.  Life has something bigger in store for us than what we can imagine.  By letting go of preconceptions of what we want our life to be, we open to the possibility of something that serves us in a much greater way.


Fear

While traveling through India, and being in constant inquiry with every decision I made (and do you realize how many decisions you make each day?! ), I strengthened my relationship with my guidance.  And I noticed that there was an emotion that, if I wasn't completely calm and centered when checking in with my guidance, interfered with receiving the answer clearly.  It is the powerful emotion of fear.  

Fear is the obstacle to the Self.  Our reactions to our fears do not reflect the Self, but rather are movements of the ego.  Yet many of the decisions that we make in life are reactionary to the conscious or unconscious influence of our fears.

The Self is clearly visible at infancy.  Babies come into the world entirely open, without a sense of "other".  Their emotions are entirely genuine and unaffected by self-consciousness.  From early on, as a survival mechanism, we start to experience fear.  And fear causes pain.  Pain is not something to react negatively to, but when avoided or not dealt with in a healthy way, we can react to pain by closing the heart.  It's entirely natural: if something causes pain, don't do it.  And so our minds will naturally react by closing our hearts to avoid feeling that pain, because our mind thinks being closed is safe.  Yet, our happiness in life relies on our keeping our hearts open and vulnerable, to connect with others for friendship and companionship, and to connect with the world around us.  

When a child is scared, it feels pain, and naturally starts to cry.  Crying is an innately effective way to deal with pain and heal the heart.  Yet we are taught at a very young age to not express our fears, and as a result do not address the pain in the heart that results from feeling that fear.  Even more detrimental, we are taught to "toughen up" to the pain that we feel, desensitizing us from the beauty of our intrinsic vulnerability.  Depending on childhood environment and gender, many people are taught not to cry, eliminating this means of dealing with pain.  Adults are expected even more not to express any fear, and so suppress any emotional pain they might feel.  And as anyone knows, suppression of emotions is avoiding the issue and can compound the suffering.  Only in allowing the feeling to express itself, and being present with what we feel, can we work with it.

The older we get, the more we come to be the product of our fears.  At a certain age, we start to develop self-consciousness around others.  While self-consciousness is a vital tool for interpersonal navigation, it can bring with it fear.  Fear of judgment by others.  Fear of shame.  Fear of isolation.  Fear of being seen as imperfect.  And because we have an innate, neurobiologically-facilitated tendency to be social beings and to connect with others, we fear disconnection.  We fear doing anything that will make us not fit in with those around us - our friends, our family, our community.  And so our behaviors and desires to fit in have the foundation of fear.  This manifests in conformity of wanting what others have, behaving in an "acceptable" way, and believing what others believe... all for the ultimate purpose of happiness which comes from connectedness.  However, in pursuing fear-motivated conformity at the expense of truth to ourself, we move further away from who we really are.  And further away from connecting with the Divine within, which is what brings true happiness.  Self-conscious fear leads to reactionary living, not conscious living.  It is a subtle and insidious fear which prevents us from changing from our status quo of what we feel is "safe", and prevents us from expressing our authentic truth.  

Fear is a necessary emotion, but in fear-based society we are exposed to it in unhealthy quantity, duration, and manner.  We are bombarded with fear-based advertising, politics, media, religion, etc. and it has pervaded the collective unconscious of our culture.  As a survival mechanism, fear is a crucial reaction for say, not getting killed by a predator, but in most people's modern lives that is not an issue anymore.  Yet the chemical reaction of stress is the same intensity for something extreme like fear of being face to face with a hungry lion, and something less extreme like social anxiety.  It is a necessary emotion, but is only healthy in small amounts.  And unlike most other animals, the effects of fear stay in our system.  It is compounded when our psyches play the fear over and over in our minds.  Our emotional mind can tell the thinking part of our mind to feel fear, but the thinking mind is not wired to tell the emotions that everything is safe.  The recurring presence of that fear becomes a psychological controller, and its negative effect of stress on the body is the main source of health problems.  Worry, anxiety, and insecurity are all manifestations of fear, and affect the way we live our lives and interact with each other.  Conscious presence is a powerful tool for working with recurring fears such as these, which gain staying power from the mind wandering to the past and the future.  

Only by bringing our fears into consciousness, and being present with them, can we reclaim our power that we've surrendered by living in reaction to them.  

If you eliminate the controlling influence of fear, the Self will naturally start to be revealed.
The self inherently longs for the Self.


Love

When I speak of love, I do not speak of the emotion.  Love isn't just a feeling, it is an energy.  It is something that flows through us independent of emotion.  Because it is a connecting energy that opens us and breaks down barriers, and in the process enables us to connect with "the other", it induces a feeling in us of well-being and happiness, a feeling of oneness.  However, the subtleties between energy and emotion are not always apparent, and our psyches attach emotions to that energy.  Happiness, sexual desire, greed, possessiveness, trust, pain, safety, fear, vulnerability, etc. - a whole range of emotions for people.  But the effect of love is openness.  It opens us up to connecting to what is greater, wherever it may be.  In others, in nature, in experience.  Love opens us up to Life.

And in that openness we are vulnerable, which is the only way to live wholeheartedly.  By being open to "the other", we enable ourself to feel the experiences of life.  And the more open our hearts are, the more fully we can feel the experience of being alive.  However, the heart can become constricted through emotions such as fear, hatred, and loneliness, and thoughts such as judgment, inadequacy, and isolation (the illusion that you are separate from everything else)... but through consciously practicing love and opening ourselves, love can conquer all of these internal afflictions.  Love is the fire in which impurities burn.  It transcends all emotions and thoughts, and it is a transformative energy.

And love is everywhere.  It is an energy that exists in everything, regardless of human awareness.  Because the Divine is love, which is everything.  All you have to do is open yourself up to it.  The only thing preventing you from love is you.  

At an essential level, you are Divine.  And the expression of the Divine that you are, in its truest expression, is love.  Everything else is just a derivation.

The more you practice love, the more you'll notice its effects in the way you interact with the world, and in turn, how the world responds to you.


Presence

Presence is the key to life.  It is the path to living your truth.

Presence is cultivated by training the mind to flow in the present.  It is an incredibly laborious process, and takes devotion and constant vigilance to train the mind not to grasp.  The untrained mind is like a wild animal running free.  If you do not train it, it can trample your garden and tear you to shreds, replaying thoughts over and over.  The path of conscious living entails the responsibility of training this wild animal.  Learn to direct it, harness it, and its power will be a tool in your hands.  But remember, even though you have trained it to a certain point, your mind will always have a spirit of freedom and a tendency to wander off course.  Be gentle and forgiving with your mind when it strays.  Call it back on course with compassion, without judgment or negativity.  Beating your animal does not make it wiser or any more obedient.  But constant guidance and nurturing can help it learn the pathways to living in the present.

In order to fully live the experiences in life, our mind must be present in our body with whatever is going on.  We experience the world through our senses, in our body.  However, much of our life our mind is spent elsewhere, thinking about the past or hypothetical futures.  When we have a task to do our mind will come to the present to focus on that task.  But even then, often times the mind will soon go into "autopilot" mode and wander off thinking about one preoccupation or another.  Which is understandable, because honestly staying focused on something is hard work, more so if it's not exciting or entertaining.  We generally prefer to check out mentally when our experiences aren't pleasurable or exciting, but the dilemma is that it is harder to check back in when we do have the experiences we like if we've developed a practice of disengaging ourself from the present when things are difficult, painful, or boring.   

Develop a practice of staying actively present with whatever is going on.  No matter how unpleasant or painful, no matter how exciting or boring, no matter what just happened or what you know is coming... just stay present in your self and senses in the moment.  

In life we can only experience the present moment.  That is the only true experience we can have, as our memories of the past are just impressions of what was, and the future is yet to be experienced.  The only real experience is now.  Right now.  

Imagine how full your experience of life would be if you practiced actively focusing on each present moment.  You could have more real experiences in a day than you would in a month flying on autopilot.  And here's the best part: our experiences are enriching.  The experience of living is what we long for in life.  It's what make us feel alive.  It's what makes our life satisfying.

Consider how much of your life is spent with your mind on autopilot.  When we operate not being fully present in the moment, most of life becomes a retrieval of memories, of the mind calling up what happened to us in the past.  Even if the recall is from just 10 seconds ago, this is not a real experience.  It is a reflection of the past being recreated by the mind.  This is the kind of living that leaves you wondering how time flew by, or feeling at the end of an event/meal/interaction/trip etc. like you really didn't get to experience it... because your mind was somewhere else most of the time, and not in your body and sensations.

I do by no means suggest that all thinking outside the present should be abandoned.  Mindful tasks such as solving problems, anticipating and making plans, reflecting on the past, and learning to integrate what has happened, are a necessary part of living.  In fact, I could not be sharing this with you if I did not reflect on the past and what I've experienced.  It's a simple truth, however, that most of the thoughts in our minds are not intentional, mindful tasks, but rather autopilot meanderings.  

The autopilot is mindlessness.  It is the mind being too smart for its own good.  It says "Oh, I've seen this before" or "I've done this before", and then checks out and goes off thinking about other things that will probably never serve us, like replaying the past, or imagining and scripting futures that may likely never occur.  And you know why it will do these things?  Because they are entertaining as hell.  Our mind loves drama.  It loves to replay the past events, pleasurable or painful, because they are interesting to us.  It loves to imagine possible futures because they stoke our desires, pains, and fears, these emotions that make us feel alive.  We all just want the feeling of being alive.  So our mind creates these impressions of the past, or imaginary futures to give us the feelings of being alive.  This is escapism, and not being present with reality.

And this is how we can sleep through life. Everything that happens to us becomes a replay of our memory from a partially present mind, because our minds are busy entertaining us with other thoughts instead of being fully present with what is actually there.  Living in the present isn't as entertaining as our mind's wanderings.  But because it is real, it is infinitely more rewarding. This is because living in the present is the path of the Self.

When our mind goes into autopilot, our authenticity is lost.  We are not responding to what is real and here but rather a projection of what our mind anticipates.  Our mind thinks it has experienced most things before, but the challenge is retraining the mind with the truth that every experience is unique, because the experiencer is different at every moment of existence.  The mind forgets sometimes that we are part of the experience, and not separate and objective. Our own emotions and sensations are part of the experience.  And since we are constantly in a state of change, each experience can never be reproduced.  Our behaviors in autopilot mode are therefore not authentic because they are not responding to the truth of what is really there and how we are, but instead are reacting with old routines and habits to what we expect to be there.

The path to Self is one of intently deconstructing our behaviors and thoughts. The more awareness we bring to our thoughts and behaviors, the more our fears are revealed to us, as our reactions to our fears are exhibited in our behaviors and thoughts.  When fears are brought into consciousness, we can reevaluate whether our current thoughts and behaviors are serving us.

Our truth is expressed in response to the inquiry of each moment.  And we must be present in our minds and bodies to participate wholeheartedly in this act of authentic expression.

The challenge comes in keeping the mind engaged and resting awareness in the body.  Develop a practice that when you become aware of your mind wandering and you call it back to presence, you bring your attention to the body, and the sensations of the body.  What you are feeling, what you are hearing, the details in everything that you are seeing... the sensations that are constantly sending you information.  The body is always present.  Align your mind with it.


Openness

The path to Self is not about happiness.  It's about truth.  It is about being open to the world and ourself with whatever is present.  

If what is present is that you are pissed off as hell, that is your truth.  If what is present is a mountain of sorrow, then that is your truth.  Live your truth.  Acknowledge your emotions honestly.  And stay open in them.  In society we are told that some emotions are more acceptable than others, that it is okay to show certain emotions, while others are encouraged to be suppressed.  And that some emotions are more acceptable to show if you are a certain gender (pain, anger).  

Recognizing and being open to feeling the range of emotions that we have in our human experience is often an ability that has to be revived.  It can be challenging to get comfortable with fully feeling what is real for us in any moment.  Yes, it does involve letting go of our front that "everything is okay".  And it takes courage to be vulnerable to ourself, as well as to the world.  But love is being vulnerable.  In allowing ourself to be vulnerable, we open ourself for deeper, authentic connections, both with the world and with ourself.

And openness and being vulnerable is what connection is all about.  Openness is living.  Being closed is a way of desensitizing ourselves to the emotions that we feel.  And our emotions are incredibly useful. Our emotions are the guideposts on the path within.  They teach us about ourselves. Only through staying open and present to every emotion and experience can we come to a deeper understand of ourselves.

This is often times incredibly difficult, because certain emotions are tough to be present with (sadness, anger, jealousy, fear, etc.).  These are emotions that cause us pain.  And because we tend to not want the pain associated with them, we react by becoming negative towards our emotions, and try to get away from them.  The dilemma with this is, as soon as we become mentally negative towards something, we close ourself off to experiencing it, and in doing so avoid it.  It takes patience and practice to recognize pain, and not react by becoming negative.

Because with pain there is hope.  Every time we feel pain in our heart, it is an opportunity to open up our heart more.  If we avoid our pain, our unconscious reaction is to close our heart, desensitizing us so that we don't feel it.  But if we stay consciously present with the pain, we can explore what part of our ego is holding that causes the pain. In a sense, we can use the pain as an entry point to understand what is closing us off, and as a result of that understanding, open our heart to feel more, and in doing so become more vulnerable and openhearted to life and to the world.  It is a process of becoming more sensitized.

And here's the beautiful part: the more we sensitize ourself to our pain, the more we become sensitized to our joy.  The deeper we experience our sorrow, the deeper and more meaningfully we can experience the joy in our lives.  And even more wondrous, the process of sensitization reveals subtler layers of the empathy innate within us.  The more we stay present with our own pain, the more we sensitize ourself to the pain of others, and the more deeply we feel their joys.  

In a mindful context, pain is an opportunity to open ourself. Compassion is taking it one step further.  By opening ourself and sharing our suffering with another, we are allowing them to suffer with us.  Their decision to willingly share in our pain is, in itself, an act of opening up. Then, the sharing is a process by which they have the opportunity to feel the pain of another and consciously allow it to open them even more.  Therefore, sharing our pain with another is not only an alleviation of your own pain, but it is a gift to them allowing them to open their heart.  

Because it isn't about getting to a point where we don't have pain in life.  It is about getting to a point where we can be present with our pain without judging it as right or wrong, good or bad.  It just is. And the more that we can be present with our own pain, the more we can hold others in compassion with theirs. We are all in this together.  Life is meant to be shared.  

Allow others to share in your suffering.  Not only is it a means to connecting on a genuine level with others and deepening relationship, but it is an opportunity for them to open their hearts even more.  


Compassion

The Self shines through compassion.  It is one of the greatest gifts in life.  It is opening your heart to suffering, and being transformed by it.  Compassion is accepting what is, and just holding it with love.  There is no judgment, just acknowledgment of what is.  


Compassion in the body

The practice of compassion can start within.  Disciplines such as yoga, meditation, tai chi, qi gong, or any other practice that puts your attention inside of your body, are beneficial for developing the skill of observing without judging.  When you rest your attention in your body, practice observing and not reacting with a need to change anything.  Yes, you will find tension and tightness.  Yes, you will encounter pain and discomfort.  Our default reaction to these unpleasant sensations is that the mind will start generating a negative mood/attitude towards these sensations. Unfortunately, the reaction of becoming negative to our tension and pain causes more tension and more pain.  This is the psychosomatic result of reacting negatively to whatever is in our body.  The same principle applies to life.

Practicing compassion, we learn how to approach whatever is there in life without reacting negatively to it.  Just acknowledging what is there, and holding it in love.  When I was traveling through India, there was an overwhelming amount of things one could possibly react negatively to.  In the spirit of staying open to whatever is there, I adopted the motto: "It's all part of the India experience."  Just accept it for what it was, and stay open, because there is another experience coming right at you.  And if you're closed off by obsessing about past experiences, you miss the opportunity to experience what is here, in the present moment.  The same can be said of life in general: "It's all part of the life experience."  There will be things that happen that are unjust, ugly, frustrating, scary, painful, infuriating, and saddening.  And many of them, we cannot change, because they are in the past.  The more we develop a practice of just acknowledging them as part of the life experience, and releasing them to the past, the more we can stay open to the present, because there is more life coming right at us.  

With practices such as yoga and meditation that put our attention in our body, there is the opportunity to practice compassion on sensations.  Sensations are both physically real and present, and as such are a great starting point for practicing compassion.  The more we mindfully develop a habit of non-reactive observation, the more we can overwrite the habit of reacting negatively.  After we've observed whatever is there without getting negative mentally, then we can respond if our body is asking for a stretch or a movement.  In our impatience we sometimes forget that our body needs time to rebalance. Keep conscious that you don't try to fix it all right now.  Just give your body what it asks for, and it will fix itself.  Give that sensation your loving attention, and be present with it.


Self-compassion

When we develop a solid practice of compassion for our body, it takes a perspective shift to extend that compassion to our self. In our body, sensations are physically real and present, but in our mind we have the past and the future, and our actions and decisions to hold in compassion. Because of this, self-compassion is one of the most challenging qualities to develop, but one of the most empowering practices for inner peace.  

It can sometimes be difficult to accept the decisions and actions of the past, both of ourself and others. However we have no choice but to accept them so that we can let go of them.  "It's all part of the life experience."  There is nothing that we can say or do that can change the decisions and actions in the past.  And if we put our attention towards reliving past experiences, our mind is not present... which is the only place we can experience.  The only time we can live is in the moment, and by dwelling on the past, we sacrifice the present, and neglect the future.  Only by staying present in what is actually here, now, can we form new experiences.  This isn't to say we shouldn't learn from the past. But there is a behavior of the mind (and I know mine is not the only one that works this way!) that has a tendency to go back and replay incidents over and over and over again.  And each time it stirs up negative emotion, or criticism, or tries to figure out what we could have done differently.  This is our mind beating up on us.  

When we develop compassion, we let go of judgment.  When I use this term, it's not judgment in the sense of evaluating and assessing, but the judgment of criticizing and viewing negatively.  When we judge, we close ourself to the experience.  As soon as we start to judge something negatively, we distance ourself from our own experience.  That negative thing becomes the vacuum of our attention, and the mind is drawn to focusing on it, and in the process closes us to the experience of what is happening in the present moment, in our body and our senses.  By staying in compassion, we can observe without judging, staying open to the reality of what is, and holding it in love.  And the best thing about love is that the more we experience it, the more we become it :)    

Self-compassion requires accepting ourself, and holding our perception of ourself in love.  In the process of judging ourself on what we have done in the past, we are actually beating up on our current self.  By practicing just acknowledging and holding our past in love, we are being kind to our present self, and empowering it by holding it in love.  When we hold ourself in love, we become stronger and less affected by fear, and we enable ourself to act from a place of truth to who we are.  Self-compassion allows the Self to shine through.  


Compassion for others

The more compassion we feel for ourself, the more we open to feeling it for others.  We discover that the practice of compassion is so much easier to practice than judging.  And it not only uplifts those we show compassion to, but by not going negative with judgment it allows us to keep our hearts open to love and to life.  

Here's the shift of perspective : "View the world as an extension of your body."  

In my yoga practice, I don't react negatively to discomfort or tension in my body, I just acknowledge what is and hold it in love.  I practice this relationship with my body.  This shift of perception allows me to practice the exact same relationship with the world around me.  Approaching the external world as though it were my body.  Just acknowledging what is, and holding it in love.  

We wouldn't get negative at our stomach for grumbling, so why should we respond any differently to a stranger who's complaining?  Just acknowledge them, and hold them in love.  This isn't just for their sake, it is for ours!  Compassion is its own reward - by avoiding judgment we allow ourself to stay open.  And by not getting negative and staying open to life, we are also staying open to possibilities, both for us and for others.  By exercising compassion with others, we allow for the best in them to emerge.  

With compassion comes an ability to connect more openly and more authentically with others.  It is accompanied by being less judgmental with them, and enables a wider range of authentic and genuine connections.  And since we are all just different expressions of the Divine, every person has the Divine within them.  Compassion enables us to get to know the many faces of the Divine.


Witnessing

Witnessing is a state of consciousness where we are just observing what we are sensing, thinking, and feeling. It is non-judgmental observation of our internal state.  It is different from our thinking mind, because it can observe what the mind is thinking and feeling.  It is unaffected by our emotions, and as such can observe the truth of our internal processes clearly.  It therefore provides a solid perspective from which to begin to reassess our own habits, both in relation to ourself and in our interaction with others.  It is a means to self-knowledge and a powerful tool for presence.

When we allow ourself to witness what is going on in our body and mind, we are operating from a simple state of awareness.  Engaging this awareness, it is possible to be fully present with an intense emotional process such as anger, suffering, or fear, and experience it with acceptance.  The more we accept it, instead of fighting it, the more the emotion starts to change.  Whenever we feel strong emotions there is often a lesson to be learned that reveals something to us about our beliefs and our attachments, if we process the emotion and trace it to its origins. This lesson can often be difficult to see clearly when the emotions are intense, and by simply witnessing the emotion, the intensity starts to fade. In this space of equanimity, it is easier to see the origins of our intense emotions, and the lesson to be learned or the underlying belief or attachment that is causing the suffering.

Be present in the entire spectrum of the human experience.  The witness consciousness is not an avoidance of emotions.  It is about recognizing them and being able to stay present with them, so that you can listen to what they have to say.  

And the witness consciousness, by nature, has no spatial-temporal scope.  It is pure consciousness of the here and now.  Whenever you notice yourself having difficulty bringing your busy mind into the present moment, try witnessing yourself.  It automatically launches you into the now.


Psychosomatic Interaction

The mind and the body are inextricably tied.  They are united in this experience of life, and in truth are one.

Most of our attention in life is spent in our conscious mind.  The conscious mind is merely the surface of the water.  The unconscious is the deep power underneath, by which the conscious mind is influenced.  The unconscious mind is where most of our fears reside, and it speaks through our dreams, and more significantly, through the body.  

The unconscious mind has a behavior of storing our emotions in our body.  For example, fear manifests in the form of physical stress in a psychosomatic process.  This is why, the more people get stressed out, the more they suffer from physical maladies such as tension, sickness, disease, etc..  Our physical health is directly related to our emotional health, as stress is the main cause of most health problems.  

Here's the fascinating part : the mind can help the body heal.  And even more astounding is that the body can help the mind heal.

The unconscious mind puts stress in our body psychosomatically.  The conscious mind can reverse that process to alleviate stress, facilitating the body to heal itself.  There is a psychosomatic practice (presented on the "practices" page) by which we can hold the tension and stress in our bodies in our attention, and through focus and mental direction of our breath, we can consciously facilitate the body to physically de-stress.  This is the intentional conscious mind helping the body heal.  

Apropos of the body helping the mind heal:

The unconscious mind puts stress in our body psychosomatically.  This often happens during our sleep.  As the saying goes, "All you need is a good night's rest", and in the morning those things that were emotionally difficult from the day before are less challenging to be with.  This is because there is emotional alleviation that occurs when we are sleeping.  The unconscious mind psychosomatically projects those emotions in the body.  The unfocused nature of the unconscious mind is not adapt at processing emotions... that's why all of the fears that we've avoided in our life persist in the unconscious mind.  Only the conscious part of our mind can process these fears and emotions.  As such, bringing our fears into consciousness is the only way to work with them effectively.

However, when we sleep our unconscious mind mitigates our emotional stresses by putting it in the body.  This manifests in the form of physical stress tension.  The body facilitates the mind in emotional release.  Our bodies are incredibly intelligent, and have wonderful systems with which to process the effects of our emotional stress.  This processing happens every night.  

Here's the kicker: we can use these same psychosomatic processes that occur with the unconscious mind... with the conscious mind.  The reasoning being, by consciously releasing our emotional intensity to our bodies, we enable the conscious mind to think more clearly and thus to more effectively process our emotions mentally.  

Sometimes when struggling with difficult emotions, our mind and our emotions generate a feedback loop.  The more we think about something unpleasant, the more we feel that emotion, which then in turn triggers more thoughts about it. Our habitual mind can get stuck, replaying the thoughts over and over in our head, regenerating the same emotion.  This is unnecessary, and often causes huge amounts of collateral stress.  And the more we feel the stressful emotion, the less clearly our mind can think.

By consciously focusing our minds on our bodies when we are feeling stressful emotions, we can psychosomatically diffuse the emotional intensity into our bodies.  This short-circuits the feedback loop, and enables the mind to think more clearly, and get its bearings so that it can process whatever thoughts are triggering this emotion.  Try it. Next time you are feeling a challenging emotion, bring your awareness to your whole body. Get embodied. You'll notice it clears your mind, and can facilitate the process of consciously digging to the root of your suffering to understand it and work with it.

The body is remarkably resilient, and equipped to process the effects of our emotions.  And we can consciously use this ability of the body to facilitate emotional processing.  



View more about this process and other intentional practices on the practices page.