While chatting with a colleague today about our respective paths, we reflected on the significant turn in therapy towards relaxation and embodiment. While this is not necessarily new, and there are numerous therapy modalities that facilitate mindbody connection, we were interested in the context beyond therapy.
The promotion of topics such as relaxation, mindfulness, eastern energybody practices and body-thought-emotion awareness has exploded in popular culture.
Alongside this, the new-age, spirituality-growth/development paradigms have become part of our modern narrative.
When we considered these – embodiment and spirituality – we acknowledged that there is at times a gap that separates the two.
This gap is often trauma related.
Traumatic encounter is experienced by the whole person, and while thoughts, feelings, beliefs and emotions are impacted and shaped by trauma, the body is the vehicle that carries the experience.
Trauma often causes a person to dissociate or shift away from bodily awareness so as not to feel pain. It is a coping mechanism that we all have, and which serves us at times, but which later in life if trauma impact has not been addressed, reconnecting with felt, bodily experience can be difficult.
If we come to a time in our life where we look for greater meaning and connection, we often turn to the spiritual – that which nurtures our sense of connection, reflection, and service.
And yet, when it comes to spiritual development and practice, many folk who have experienced trauma or who carry the energy of past-life trauma, find embodied awareness and expression challenging.
In this way, the trauma body can feel discomfort, resist, become sick, shut-down, exhibit dis-ease, and block or reduce the very connection that a person might seek.
For the individual cultivating her or his spiritual unfoldment there can be frustration, confusion, despair and hopelessness when confronted with seemingly unknown reasons for not expanding or progressing in desired ways.
Alongside this, there can also be great strength, perseverance, ingenuity, curiosity, resilience, hope and more.
Still, the blocks continue.
There can be embodiment – the physical, visceral, sensory awareness – without spiritual awareness.
But in order to meet and unfold spiritually, one has to be in body, have grounded bodily experiences in tangible, conscious ways that enable growth in this material world.
Because we live a material existence.
We may be spirit having a human experience, and our body may be a house of which we are a temporary custodian, but for the span of years that we are embodied, it is through this glorious vehicle that we come to know ourselves and the world of which we are part.
It is through our embodiment, every feeling, sensation, movement, disruption, pleasure, pain that we meet our spirit and the Source of creation.
But the two must be conscious. Being in body and being in spiritual connection – both must be equally and fully brought to awareness in order for your expansion and growth.
That means feeling. It means meeting the glitches and the hurt they cause. Every disruption, every hurt acknowledged and felt has the potential to self-dissolve or be released.
Energy therapies can help, and they too are more effective when embodied – when the individual assists in the work, feels the energy, becomes aware of the blocks, aids in the release, understands its origins, links any trauma with current day energetic and bodily experience, is aware.
It’s the same with body movement. Be aware in movement. What is body telling me, showing me, feeling me?
Awareness is key – body and spirit.
If this resonates and you haven’t found a practice, like yoga or body meditation, qigong or tai chi or similar, maybe locate a relaxation or body-scan recording online or an MP3.
Any exercise, repeated practice that grounds you in bodily awareness will aid in your spiritual unfoldment. Again – it’s not enough to go through the motions – when you hug that tree, you have to feel the tree and all the delicious sensations running through hands, arms and body.
And this is not just for folk who’ve experienced trauma – anyone wanting to develop spiritually will at some point, need to come to body awareness.
Get in touch if you have any questions. Meantime, give yourself a wee tap, tap, tap, head, neck, shoulders, arms, torso, bum, hips, legs… and really feel it… notice what body says about your attention.
After all, it’s one unique, glorious body per life – why not really make it a great friend.