Meditation | Being with Body
I woke up today with deep aches throughout my spine. I’ve trained myself to sleep on my back and I’m still struggling to restore my body on most nights. This seems like the perfect day to talk about my body in meditation. I’ve recently gone through an online class with Thomas Hübl, a gifted mystic who has asked us to meditate upon the issues of our body, especially as it relates to spirit or chi.
My body has gone through some trauma over the years. My physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual boundaries are continually undergoing repair and rewiring, much like an old Victorian home. I’ve invested in psychotherapy for much of my life, and all sorts of healing modalities, mostly for personal healing but also because I have a voracious curiosity. Since starting meditation a few years back, and then my awakening with Master John Douglas, living with intention has really paid off with profound openings to my intuition.
My mind and spirit feel good as I chose my meditation card and ready myself to lie down. I do my best to find balance on days like this, hoping to not push too hard. When my body begins to go numb, that is my personal white flag. Must. Stop. I realize I should be stopping well ahead of that, but there is simply too much to be done within the cycles of my work and life at Gentlewood.
JC: How are you feeling today?
Jesus seems more somber today. Does he know how I feel already? Of course…he must know, right?!
Sally: My mind and spirit feel good. My body…I don’t know.
I’m treading on a subject that is extremely difficult to both understand and put into words for my spiritual teacher. Do you have an hour or two as you ponder world affairs? I settle with just thinking it’s complicated. I go back to speaking aloud.
Sally: My body feels old and young at the same time. I feel old because there are parts of it that have aged beyond my years and there are parts that feel young because they’ve stayed “stuck” in whatever age they experienced the trauma. Does that make sense?
JC: Your body is in the past. It is “weighted” with experience it hasn’t processed.
I feel heavy and my body is listening attentively.
Sally: What can I do?
JC: You can write. Writing brings it to the surface, brings it out. You can move. You can be with it.
At this point, I breathe deeply and check in with my body. I ask how it is doing and my response is at least a half dozen different voices, from all over my internal body. I hear organs, I hear muscle groups, I hear tiny voices in small places of constriction. I’m glad I am asking. I’ve talked to my body before but have never gotten a response!
Here’s what I think to myself: I’m confused because my feelings about my body are conflicting. It’s overwhelming and I don’t know where to start. And it’s constantly changing. I feel especially sad, a real sense of loss.
JC’s last comment, “being with body” intrigues me. It reminds me of a practice I took away from a Self-Compassion class I attended: it’s called Soft-Soothe-Allow. I decide to try it and go to my back, first.
I “see” it; a mass of overlying muscle groups that are inflamed. It looks like short, folded bedsheets that are pulled too tight. I let it know that I am there and I just talk to it a little with compassion. As if it’s a friend sitting next to me, going through a hard time. And I just allow it to be heavy, the way it is. I report back to JC.
Sally: My back sounded heavy, tired. It told me, “I am here for you.”
I realize that I must sound like a mom to it, always disappointed in her child. That’s gotta be hard. It sounds sad, like it has been forgotten. This was the voice of loss. And it was male, about my age or a little older.
Sally: I want to go to my neck.
JC: Go to your neck.
I’ve had deep pain in the right side of my neck for some time. While part of the pain is structural, my neck is compensating to the right for my torso twisting to the left, having leaned on a cane for a few years, the deeper pain originates in my throat. No. Actually, There’s a good possibility it starts in my gut and reaches up and out through my throat.
I breathe into my throat and my consciousness follows, and to my surprise a strong female voice speaks up. She sounds justified. Do you remember Lillith, Frasier’s ex on the TV show “Cheers?” Yes, I was talking to a stand-in for Bebe Neuwirth: confident, assured, and ready to state her case.
Bebe to Sally: I want to speak out. She pauses for dramatic effect. I’m ready to bring my voice to the table.
BAM! Wow! Attagirl! I’m impressed and proud. Well, this puts my writing in a whole new perspective!
The meditation chime sounds before JC and I can neatly wrap up our time and I am yanked up out of the vision as he watches me from below. I quickly write my journal notes. I write so quickly because for me, meditation is like a dream state. You grab the essence the best you can before it goes into the ether. I put down the pen trying to read what I’ve just written. I make sure everything is in the right order because sometimes the memory isn’t linear, so I have to go back and innumerate the events. But this one’s clear as day. Thank you, body!
That’s when it hits me. There was no mention of my cognitive issues. Never even came to mind. You are going to regain 100% of your cognitive function were the last words Master John Douglas told me at the end of my first visit with him in New York City.
WHAT I LEARNED:
Feelings are alive in our bodies, whether we feel them or not
Health begins with a relationship to one’s body
Being critical of one’s body is not sustainable—it catches up with you
Our body is the first stop in considering our feedback loop
What part of your body is most trying to get your attention?
If it could talk, what would it say?
Can you treat it like a good friend and listen without judgment?