Coming Home to the Body

It’s a primitive urge, the need to come home, and though we make many homes for ourselves over a lifetime, they’re all secondary reflections of the archetypal home: the body.

Yet, our relationships with our bodies have come to focus almost exclusively on improving them: making them stronger, thinner, younger. We’ve exchanged body as home for body as project. We’ve objectified our physical selves, and in the process, have made ourselves homeless.

Troubles with self-image, self-esteem, weight and health are laced with that homelessness. Without a conscious relationship with body, we drift toward either paralyzing angst or a relentless, multi-tasking drive. With no body, we are indeed, nobody. We live in thin air, in ideas about reality, rather than in reality. Our pleasures are blunted. Advertising, cultural ideals, and medical advertising and intervention prescribe the terms of our interactions with our physical selves. We play hide and seek with death and are left unprepared for its arrival. We believe that the lightening-quick intellect is the model for how life should proceed: fast, linear, rational. And the body…, well the body should just catch up.

The story of how we became homeless straddles philosophic, economic, political, cultural and religious spheres. The more important question is, how do we get home?

The Journey into Body

Drop into the body. Let your awareness take a tumble from the control tower in the skull, out into the wilds of torso and limbs where additional intelligences thrive. I suggest this trip into the wilds because the body's resources are, for our purposes, boundless. Far beyond the kind of thinking we identify with our brains.

It's not that easy a shift, from brain to body. For me it is an ongoing learning because I have deep allegiance to brain-thought. The drop into somatic awareness seems, at first, like a detour, a delay and a step down from the superior intelligence we've come to identify with brain.

I've noticed that it is a long stretch for my clients, too. But the answers to the big questions—Why am I sad? How do I get past this problem? What do I really want in this life?--the answers to these queries are most quickly found when brain can observe and take seriously the body's intelligence, and sort the memories, impressions and emotions that stir when we put a question to our whole selves.

Involving the body's many intelligences not only offers better solutions to problems, it also enhances emotional and mental stability.

Practice thinking with brain and body. Consider an issue and notice your body's response as well as your brain's. Take that response as valid information in the matter. Factor it in. See how things will be different.