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The Body as a Friend

When someone says that inquiry doesn’t “work”, I wonder what that means for them. In my reality-tunnel inquiry is simply asking. It’s not a prescribed way of asking- so it could be asking anything. Common inquiry pointers include: What am I paying attention to?, What is in my attention?, Do I want this moment to continue?, Who am I?, What’s here?, What’s this?, Who’s asking/feeling/paying attention/etc?, What’s the problem?, and so on. Living inquiries facilitators inquire into what’s living/alive in the moment. I do this by looking into the thoughts arising in the guise of words/our internal dialogue, images/memories, or sensations/energy, and then asking questions. Taking the time to come into mindfulness, or rest as I often call it, and asking simple questions allows me to see the massive amounts of data that is already here, which is giving shape to my experiences. Being able to have attention on the words allows me to see the belief systems and assertions that I often live by, as well as how they are linked to pictures/memories and different sensations in the body. Inquiring into them allows me to experience that they are not me, per se, nor are they threats or commands (making us do certain things or engage in compulsions/addictive behavior). Due to our culture’s preoccupation with mental processing, feelings and sensations are largely downplayed, avoided, or denied. This discounting of the bodily experiences demonizes emotions and sensations in such a way that I am moved to try to do just about anything other than feel/be with them. As I am able to watch and feel the data come in as thoughts, I experience that it is not determining who I actually am or connected to my safety. Moving inward into bodily sensations becomes easier, and even welcomed. As I slowly acclimate myself to this space, and experience first hand that the body is not a foe, but instead a friend, the mental gymnastics becomes less appealing, and meeting the experience as it is becomes more possible. I still find myself in mental gymnastics sometimes – trying to figure out, understand, strategize, etc; but, now there’s often a very different feel to that engagement. Instead of feeling like mental configuring is the safe route to go, it often feels burdensome and full of effort. Not long ago I was speaking to a friend about something that was worrying me. As I was telling her what was going on, I was aware of the thoughts and stories coming out of my mouth. After awhile it became too much work to put words to it and I told her I just wanted to feel what was up for me rather than talk about it. I jumped into the feeling of worry. As I jumped into that rabbit hole I had a huge wave of emotion come in, which spontaneously shifted to laughter. Utter despair shifted to joy in the course of about 10-20 seconds. This was really fun for me, to experience such a wide range of data in such a short period of time (who needs to go to an amusement park when there’s one right here!?!?!). It was also cool because, in the past, I’d get lost in the content that was linked to the emotions/sensations, and I’d be in that wave for quite a long time. Of course, there is nothing wrong with that either. It seems to me that befriending my body, and getting to know it intimately, allows vast amount of data to come in and out of my attention without me getting stuck. The more familiar I become with the space of the body, and the vast amounts of sensations in it, the more the body serves as a home I can rest in, at any time. As such, I find myself less drawn to engaging in the mind in hopes of finding safety (which it doesn’t provide, by the way) because safety is already here. [1] If you’d like to experience your body as more of a friend then foe, please consider attending one of the embodied meditations I facilitate, purchase a recording of past meditations, contact me for a private session, or sign up for my embodiment deepening course (one starts in a week)!   [1] This is not to say that the body is actual “home.” . Because the body and sensations are largely considered less then desirable, bad, to be avoided, etc, I find it a useful distinction to refer to the body as home, for practical purposes. In the broader scope of things, thoughts, images or sensations/the body are neither home, nor not home, they are just mechanisms of the human form. The grokking of that is a coming home in and of itself. After this grokking, they all can be thought of as “home” in the sense that it is seen that none of them are.  

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