“Mr. Duffy lived a short distance from his body.” James Joyce, A Painful Case
In ‘A Painful Case’ Joyce goes on to describe the consequences of living a short distance outside the body and my epiphany is that this is a perfect description of how many people live their lives. By being disconnected from their bodies it also assumes being disconnected from their feelings, thoughts, emotions, five senses and everything having to do with who we are. In a situation like this it stands to reason that if we are disconnected from ourselves then we are also disconnected from the world around us…a perplexing, stressful way to be.
Where do we feel conflict, and where do we feel ease? In the body of course! We know things aren’t right because we feel they aren’t. BUT, we have to actually be in the body in order to know this or it’s just a story. Paradoxically, the more we are in our bodies, the more ease we can feel. Even though I have been physically healthy throughout most of my life, my teachings have been focussed on the mind believing ‘If the mind is right, everything else falls into place’. However……
If we are not in our bodies, there is no way to heal from outside. Our bodies are our vehicles. We need to be in them in order to drive. They are the vehicle for ease, stress and everything else we are here to experience. Do you live in it with dignity or drag it around like some necessary baggage? We pummel, bully, and push our bodies into submission. We demand healing from the mind, and the body digs it’s heels in deeper and says “I’ll heal at my own pace, thank-you”. We have no idea what we need unless we can feel, see, sense what we actually need as opposed to what we think we need, which often comes from an outside source.
I have had a love-hate relationship with my own body, and didn’t even know I was living outside of it (many blocks away) until I started yoga many, many years ago. Even then it was a gradual process of re-entry. I had lived outside, looking in… criticizing, judging, trying all the fad diets of the 80’s. I had an idea of what I should be which was on a magazine cover, but in the mirror my body stared back at me saying “Nope. I’m me.” When it didn’t cooperate which, let’s face it, was never, I would pack my bags and vacate.
When we live outside, we create inner conflict between an idea and reality. This is a major source of anxiety and confusion and reality always wins. When we are with ourselves we have access to our full range of feelings, guidance, intuition and wisdom. We act from a place of authenticity in relationships. So how do we move back in?
By noticing, sensing, feeling our way in. Sometimes by moving, but staying connected. Then comes complete and absolute respect and acceptance.
It now makes sense to me why the ‘body scan’ meditations decrease levels of chronic pain- it ends the war.
It is a complete acceptance and surrender to what is happening as the starting point without adding tension.
Make sense? Try it now. Take a moment and a deep breath. Feel into your body… what is present for you right now? No judgement. Can you feel your aliveness? Your hands and feet? Sense them, before you name and think about them.
Come feel your way back in tonight as the platform for healing, relaxation and mindfulness.
Breath by breath, let’s move back in. After all, you can’t move anywhere else. Where ever you go, there you are.
Note: No class November 6th.
Have a peaceful week,