Trust the source, tame the mind
It’s been a good thirty years of confusion, or, rather, of misunderstanding. In the early 80’s it did seem like a revelation that the mind has power over our bodies, specifically the power to heal. Affirmations, prayer, meditation do the job of recalibrating, re-writing the body’s pathways. That is all good and well, but only as far as healing is concerned. These “spiritual interventions” are just that, interventions under the threat of cancer, heart disease, etc., when the bells of doom are already ringing. How about their usefulness in everyday life? If you are a practitioner of these methods you might know that they only work so far: over time there still may be a disconnection between what you wish for, and what you really believe, or, more specifically between what you preach and what you practice. This is because the body cannot be fooled, and, as the pillar of our whole being, can only really be well to the extent it gets its needs met.
At the core of the misunderstanding is the implied definition of “spirituality”. In the common perception spirituality is something of the mind, of the spirit, of intention, a belief that all that is inter-connects, and that there is a higher intelligence that manifests in all that is. Question is, HOW does it manifest? Answer: in the most humble of forms: matter. Spirit is matter. Einstein said matter is compacted energy. Spirit is energy. Everything is energy, in its myriad forms of manifestation dictated by vibrational frequencies. Matter, like our own bodies, is what carries that uncanny intelligence that knows past, present and future, and orchestrates the symphony of Life. (Where matter comes from is a matter of persuasion, and it is not the topic of this article.) The tiniest particle in any living organism KNOWS what to do, where to go, how to act and react to keep the whole alive and well. That, my friend is intelligence.
So where does the disconnect come from, the one between our intentions and practices, our wishes and our beliefs? It is a gap between our minds and bodies, one that happens the moment we “disagree” with the body’s signals. Culture perpetuates this disconnect. Throughout our upbringing we are taught to disregard, and even distrust our own feelings that manifest themselves in the form of physical sensations of comfort or discomfort. Pressure, tension, ache, itching, pulsating, heat/cold, restriction/expansion, tingling, wetness/dryness is the language of the body. Sensations are the body’s way to speak of feelings and needs. These are the signals that inform of that higher intelligence of inter-relationships, survival and thriving. Body sensations express feelings (of hunger, of loneliness, of love, etc.), which are code for needs (to eat, to reach out, to touch, etc.). Needs are in turn precursors for the necessary actions to be well. Without these actions that are based on our feelings and needs, and originally on our bodies’ sensations we would never do what it takes to be well.
We are relentlessly taught to ignore, dismiss, reject and scorn upon these signals. From day one we are indoctrinated through shame, guilt, and doubt to label them as useless, selfish, self-centered, narcissistic, lazy, stupid, or even evil (as in “idle hands”…) It is culture that turns us against our Selves, our Higher Selves, against the very spiritual essence that we are, and that our physical selves “embody”.
“And certainly we should take care not to make the intellect our god: it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality. It cannot lead, it can only serve.” Albert Einstein
The body knows best. There is no need to worry about it turning us into animals, or antisocial criminals. The argument is not an either listen to the body, or listen to the mind. Listen to both, and put the body in charge. Let the body know, because it does, and it never lies. It is informed by the whole organism’s present moment condition, and inter-relationships, that is, by Spirit. The mind simply does not have access to this level of intelligence. Our cognition is informed by other places, other times, other people and situations, that, if all goes well, may only apply partially to the complexity of this present moment – or not at all. True guidance into the next healthy action, or word, or thought, or attitude is in being present and surrender to your physical feelings as they present themselves right now…and now…and now. Use your mind to make sure it is socially acceptable, but NEVER to overrule, reject, ignore, or otherwise discredit your body’s truths.
You cannot pray for health and poison your body with booze or nicotine. You cannot say “I love myself” and ignore your need for rest, kindness, or attention. Make sure you ground your intentions with your practices: your words, and actions, and thoughts, including your prayer, affirmation, and imagery with the true needs dictated by your body. This way you will be able to sustain the power of your intentions, by believing them, because they coincide will your experience. This alignment is only possible if the body is the master, and the mind a humble servant. The body knows what you need, the mind knows how to make it happen. First things first: matter (i.e. the body’s wisdom) over mind (i.e. the mind’s powers of reasoning) creates inner connection, which in turn enables the mind to influence the body. This alignment spells inner guidance, health, balance - and authenticity.