Our body is always in the moment. Our mind might live in the future or in the past, but life is lived in the moment, and life is experienced first and foremost by our bodies. When we feel connected to our bodies, we never feel isolated, alone, or separated because the connection to our physical form is felt on a profound and fulfilling level. Energies can be contacted that are unknown to an isolated person.
When we consider the wisdom of the body, we might think of “choiceless awareness:” the capacity for feeling directly whatever “it” is, both inside and outside, with no thought or desire of wanting anything to be different. Choiceless awareness is essential for higher consciousness. This acceptance and awareness helps us get in touch with the body and feeling the nature of it. We can sense an intelligence – a magic quality of the body that is nonverbal, non-metal, and non-dualistic – that is activated through feeling, not thinking. This intelligence is the Wisdom of the Body.
We can connect to the wisdom of our bodies through sensations: feelings that are not always pleasant, but when felt, they indicate that the body is balancing itself. When sensations reach a particular level of intensity, we call those symptoms. Symptoms can be beneficial in releasing the feelings from our body, but we often interpret symptoms as unwanted and alarming. Really, symptoms are just a sign that the body is healing and purifying itself. When we accept our symptoms, we can relax, and let the body’s process occur as it will. If you accept these feelings with love, you allow and create an environment for self-healing. If we fight our feelings, we fight our own energies.
When we accept and process strong physical and emotional feelings, rather than attempting to suppress them, we can begin to heal at a higher energy level. You can allow the wisdom of the body to heal you when we accept and experience our feelings as they are, without the thought of changing them. With acceptance, our body is able to work with our higher self, soul, and essence, and it can use this power to transform.
We normally approach the body in terms of how we think it should look and be: too fat, too thin, we could be in better shape, we should have more muscle, my body looks ugly, and on and on. We’re overly concerned with these thoughts! Behind a concern for the body is a sense of dislike, and hatred of the body is common. That dislike or hatred is oftentimes what motivates us to work so strenuously to change the body. We make plan after plan: exercise, dieting, and more, which is all working to force our bodies into becoming the ideal that we hold in our minds. This is a form of violence we place upon ourselves.
When we try to force our bodies to change, we’re coming from the mind, and not the feeling center. We’re in the mind because we have a goal, an ideal, a picture of what we want to be, of what we think will bring us happiness. We relate to the body as an object that should be a certain way in order to please us. When we act and think this way, we’re experiencing the body from a dualistic standpoint – never going beyond the ambivalence inherent in dualism. It becomes impossible to finally find ourselves pleased with our body. When we find ourselves disliking our body, it’s not because of what it looks like or how it is, but because we’re not connected to it or in touch with it. We’re not in the feeling center, rather, we’re alienated from our body. When we’re alienated from and disliking our bodies, we think the fault is in the body, and we strive to change it, but we’re looking in the wrong direction. If this one basic attitude isn’t corrected, we won’t be happy with the body, no matter what it looks like.
The feeling center connects us to our bodies. When we feel, we connect to the body as an experience of the self. The body is the lower self, but realizing this is powerful and meaningful. We transcend the tendency to think of the body as an object. We move beyond dualistic perception and experience the body as energy. When we dislike and try to change our bodies because of that, our body thinks it is being rejected, and it responds as anything or anyone will respond to rejection: by getting worse instead of getting better.
The effort of dieting and exercising is secondary to the emotional message we give the body. Of course we can fight our way into shape, but it’s an uphill fight with impermanent results. Worse, we’re left with neurotic conditions of being split against ourselves, of fighting ourselves, because the body is the self. Alienation and dislike of our bodies comes from a deep, unconscious place. We’ve been rejecting the body for so long and have built up unconscious patterns that influence us, and we’ve fallen into a vicious cycle. We dislike the body, and because we handle this dislike improperly, we reject ourselves. The rejection registers in the subconscious, creating more negative conditions such as being overweight or in poor health, and we reject ourselves further. The patterns continue to build over many lifetimes. It’s not possible to uncover and purge all this negativity overnight. It’s a lifetime of work to love ourselves fully – and why we’re here.
If we genuinely love our body as it is, imagine how different our experience would be! The healing power of love can bring about miraculous, spontaneous changes. The body wants to balance itself and has the intelligence to do so. It’s prevented from doing so because our body has been crippled by these constant messages of rejection.
How do we begin to love and connect to our bodies?
We can’t intellectually love ourselves. We cannot simply think what we consider to be loving thoughts about the self, or pamper ourselves, and assume that now we’re loving ourselves, even though these actions might result from love. Self love is not a quality of the mind. Self loves comes about by developing the feeling capacity – I invite you to learn to accept and experience your feelings about your body, as they are, even your hateful feelings.
This is acceptance. This is how you love yourself. This is what brings healing.
When you learn to accept and experience whatever hateful feelings you may have about yourself, your real transformation beings, and you learn the art of loving yourself. Resisting, denying, or being motivated by negative feelings to make external changes results only by suppression. Instead, we can focus on love. Learning to love yourself first involves understanding what love really is. Turn to your body with a readiness and openness to listen, rather than demand. Listening with the heart, or feeling, will start you on the powerful and transforming direction of self-love.