Our bodies are marvelous instruments that combine subtlety with precision to allow us to move through and interact with the physical universe. When you go into a room, notice your sense of what the room is like. Do you get a sense for what is happening in the room – even before you really see or hear anything happening? Is it energized and excited or focused? Is it tired or stressed? Is it tense or at ease?
All of these qualities are sensed through your body, which is exquisitely tuned to transmit and pickup remarkably minute signals about stress and energy levels, states of excitement, etc.
Outside of the brain, the largest and most complex nerve center is in the heart and the third most complex nexus in the body is the stomach. It is no coincidence that folk wisdom recognizes these two areas as seats of wisdom. Nor is it an accident that metaphysical philosophies from all over the world recognize the heart and the stomach area as important.
Not only do these nexuses express their own intelligence, they generate unique electrical and magnetic fields and they respond to electrical and magnetic fields in characteristic and subtle ways.
What does this mean in everyday life and in an everyday practice? You don’t need complex electronic equipment to tune in to these signals. You already have sophisticated sensing equipment built into your body. All you have to do is be aware of what it tells you. Practice trusting your intuition. With trust and practice, it will grow stronger and more available, just as any natural ability will.
Be ready to step sideways, outside of your logical, problem-solving “mind-that-talks,” and instead to be open and receptive to felt experience in your body. The body communicates with such felt experiences and with images, not words. Words come only later, once the mind steps in to interpret or paper-over the wisdom felt through the body.
Interestingly, as you practice noticing and honoring the signals your body sends you, your relationship with your body will shift. You may notice that pain or stress is a signal to stop what you are doing and rest or do something else and that when you do this, your overall performance and results improve. You may notice that pain and suffering are separate things that do not necessarily lead to each other.
Recently we had a house guest who asked for some OTC pain reliever because she was suffering from a headache that seemed to be mounting. It wasn’t until she asked that I realized that we didn’t have any pain killers in our medicine cabinet. I don’t even recall the last time that I bought analgesics for chronic stress or tension related pain.
This wasn’t always the case. As many Americans do, I used to stock pain relievers along with adhesive bandages and antiseptic. However, now I rarely take such drugs even for acute pain. When I had kidney stone problems last year, I took some Advil for the first day that the pain appeared, but discontinued using pain relievers after that. My urologist was astonished that I wasn’t in pain because he regularly sees patients who have much smaller stones in agonizing pain.
When our guest asked for the pain killers I realized suddenly that I had gone through a big shift in perspective. The stresses and tensions that can lead to pain are recognized and dealt with before they can fester into body pain. Hence, the analgesics are unnecessary. Even acute pain can be experienced without suffering and even released without dulling the senses with analgesics.
What else may be possible through honoring the body’s wisdom? Each person’s experience is different, just as each person’s voice is unique. Dare to discover for yourself what is possible. At its heart, this is a process of being completely present with the body and body experiences, whatever they may be, with no expectations, scripts, judgment, or resistance.
© 2012, David Park. All Rights Reserved.
“Honoring Your Body’s Wisdom” by DCH Park is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.