Learning how my body can be a path to my True Self, through the Body Window!
In my personal journey toward self discovery and healing, I have discovered that my physical body was becoming a pathway to my soul, my true self. My body was a 'window' to show me my inner condition, if I just listened to it.
'A healthy mind can only exist in a healthy body.' ~ Ancient Greek wisdom
In order to find your True Self, you must first ask the question, “What is my soul?” I believe that your soul is your true self. The soul is that part of you that remains after all life’s experiences and the depth of your emotions is stripped away. It is the real you. (Because the word spirit can be used to describe your current state of mind, as ‘she was in good
spirits,’ I like the word soul better when describing our true selves. For me personally, the word soul seems to cut a deeper path, getting down to the root of it all. So I choose to use the word, ‘soul,’ but one could just as easily substitute ‘soul’ with the word ‘spirit.’ One often sees the phrase, body-mind-spirit, which is used a lot. I choose body-mind-soul).
Devoid of experiences and emotions you just are. Your being just is. In Eastern philosophy this concept is described as the great I AM. Surprisingly in our culture, Popeye said it best when he said, “I am what I am and that’s what I am!”
The real you is a person that feels a sense of purpose and a sense of belonging to a greater scheme. This is a person that is doing exactly as destined, and fully capable of love and compassion in the most altruistic sense of the words. All totally stripped down, it is about LOVE – God Love or Universal Love.
For you to experience Love in the most altruistic sense of the word, you must first choose to love yourself, or to choose to receive Love in your life. Instead you punish yourself, and don’t realize that you are doing it. This is what you have been taught to do, that you are required to earn love. You fail to believe that Love is free. You do not have to work for it. You do not have to do something for someone in order to be loved. It is there if you choose to accept it. You can receive it through connecting with yourself, God, the Universal Spirit, the Collective Conscious. You do this by merely asking for it (See Grace Pays a Visit ). It is through Grace that you receive Love, so that you can pass it on to others.
I believe that without receiving Love, or choosing to accept Love, by first loving yourself, and your body, you cannot fully pass Love on.
Loving your body is important and is the basis for the whole concept of the Body Window.
Our Purpose as Human Beings:
Your soul is destined to experience Love and to share it with others as you move through life. This is your purpose - to pass Love on. This is the path to being One in the Universal Spirit – One with God. Without the full capacity to Love, you cease to 'be' in the true sense of word. You cease to be your true self. However, if you pass on the very Love you are trying to obtain, you feel good, because you are connecting with the universal, collective spirit, because God is Love.
The Body Mind Connection:
For the body-mind to be integrated fully, you must believe that they are both one and the same. Science is now proving the powerful existence of the body-mind connection. Scientific research documents that that the two are deeply connected. The fact that health is about healing not only the physical body, but the mind as well is not new, despite Western medicine and its reluctance to address the issue.
Most, but not all of Western medicine still treats the body as a separate entity. How could any healthcare practitioner truly heal you in a scheduled, regimented 15-minute appointment? The doctor listens intently, makes a diagnosis, then the physical symptoms are treated with a prescription and rarely if ever, is any thought given to the emotional and spiritual nature of the symptom(s).
Sunset over the Sangre de Cristos, Southern Colorado
Then you latch onto this label to convince yourself that what you have is somehow outside of yourself, or not part of you but external to you. Then you readily accept the magic pill to fix you, so that you will no longer need to think about the emotional cause. You place yourself in the position to perhaps never be able to get off this magic fix! It is so much easier to have this magical belief that a pill will cure you than to do the inner work necessary to find the real root to your body ailments. I call this external healing vs. internal healing.
This is why the Body Window is needed. Healing is an internal process and a process using self-love.
Why Using Only Your Mind for Healing is Insufficient:
Even if you attempt to use your mind to assist in healing, the mind often will block the process, feeding your beliefs with rationalizations and justifications as to why there is nothing else that you can do. Instead of empowering yourself to trust that you will be able to know what is best for you personally, you accept the magic pill. You shut off your Body Window, your intuition, your internal guidance, and the pill helps mask the emotions that would help you gain access to your real truth. Is it any wonder that often your symptoms prevail as you marry yourself to the magic pill? Do you really know what is going on inside you with this type of treatment, when the body-mind connection is so blatantly ignored?
With more and more drug companies advertising directly to the consumer, it is easy to believe that there is a quick fix to everything by just popping their pill. Besides, who cares about any unwanted side effects, as you address the immediate issue? As long as you believe that you are taking care of the initial problem you believe that you are on the road to recovery. What you are really doing, by taking their pill is masking the emotion, instead of seeking to understand its message. The Body Window has just become a solid door that is slammed shut.
In my journey as a hands-on nurse, I am absolutely appalled at the number of pills people take, especially our elderly, who are the most sensitive to drug interactions. Despite side effects to medications, physicians often will continue to treat the condition, only now adding another pill to treat the side effect! Or a pill to potentiate the one you are on. I just cannot believe the advertising campaigns seen on TV to brain wash people into believing that if your current anti-depressant is not working, perhaps you need to add another one to potentiate its effects. Of course, their drug is the one to do the job. And of course, the first drug didn’t work. You did nothing to understand the true source of the emotional pain. Why not add another drug?
The February 10,2010 issue of Newsweek's headline article addresses the issue of the medical community's disregard of research that shows that for most people, the efficacy of anti-depressants are no better than a placebo (dummy pill with inert ingredients)! Apparently many, many studies have repeated the same finding. Physicians are reluctant to accept this information, because they state that they would not be able to 'do' anything! It is much easier to prescribe a pill and shove you out the door! Problem fixed! Patient cured! Do you think the drug companies will let the public know this information?
Is it any wonder that our healthcare system is broken, that we can no longer afford the high cost of health care?
The amount of prescription drugs used in this country to treat
symptoms is amazing. Consumerism is now applied to healthcare!
Preventative measures such as integrative holistic healthcare are
totally ignored. Concepts like listening to your Body Window, listening
to the intuition of your body are laughed at as 'unscientific.' The
pharmaceutical companies and the manufacturers of healthcare products
spend more on lobbying than any other healthcare lobby. What a powerful political tool to prevent the open competition for holistic approaches to healthcare reform.
Additionally, your doctor may claim something nebulous like your symptoms are due to stress, and you must do something about this chronic stress in your life. When you accept this information, again you are really believing that ‘stress’ is something external from you, something perhaps that you can control. This sets you up to believe, that you need to take drastic steps to manage stress, instead of realizing that it is not the ‘stress’ that makes you ill, but your response to the stressor. The Body Window is a closed door once again.
Unfortunately, believing that you can control the external environment that causes you stress, will only send you into a vicious cycle of attempting to control it, failing to do so, then suffering even more deeply from the pain of having failed. Then you try even harder to control your external environment, find again that you are unable to control it, and suffer even more deeply again. I assure you that attempting to control others, or your environment will only cause you great pain and suffering. Allowing yourself to feel your emotional pain (See How Emotions Affect Our Body ), accept it and release it, is the only way to redeem yourself from this cycle. Learning to use your Body Window will help you in this process.
The Body Mind Connection Needs to add the SOUL:
I choose to take the body-mind connection even one step farther. Often the soul is left out of this equation. I believe that for complete health and healing the spiritual aspects of health, or the soul has to be included in the body-mind connection. Your minds alone cannot always access your body’s wisdom as I have illustrated (See Nothing is Hidden ). You must learn to use your Body Window.
Our rational society has helped us form deeply ingrained patterns of behavior through bombarding us with the notion that we can come to conclusions by the sheer use of our brain, or better explained, our left-brain (See Improving Body Balance is Improving Life Balance for a description of left-brain vs. right brain functions).
The left-brain is the rational, dominant, deductive part of most of our brains. To use our right brain, the creative, sensing and feeling part of the brain, and to actually feel something is often considered as a sign of weakness, a sign of ‘femaleness’ in our society. (The medical prefix for womb, hyster-, comes from the Latin word for crazy or hysteria, because hysteria was most often found in females. It was once believed that the womb traveled around in the woman’s body, making her have crazy, hysterical symptoms in that body part.) The belief is that being female or emotional is somehow weak. And often people have chosen to accept this as they are brain-washed into believing that science and rationality is the best approach to the world. Thank goodness, this is not true in every situation as people everywhere are slowly awakening to the God-given gift of the right brain! It is through our right brains or our intuition that we access our body’s messages.
The Body Window demands that we use our right-brains!
We have not been taught how to fully use our right brains, and our intuition, or to be OK with our feelings and by default our bodies. It is our right brains that most easily access the messages the body brings to us. We are taught to beat our bodies into submission or to minimize the pain, or worse to believe that what our bodies are bringing to us is evil. (This is especially true when our bodies have been victimized through abuse).
The Power of Human Touch:
We usually deal with our bodies through the left-brain, or our rational selves. We ‘use our heads’ to figure out what is wrong with us by going to doctors who gather information by performing tests on us. We put all this information together and come up with a reason for why we have our symptoms.
The Body Window demands that we use our right-brains!
A very interesting phenomenon occurs when right brain activities are performed on painful areas of the body.
The act of human touch, a physical gesture that symbolizes warmth and love, and brings us good feelings, brings out other emotions from our bodies. The key is a caring approach – a compassionate touch. Anyone who performs bodywork of any type will be able to tell you how powerful the body is as a messenger! The client who bursts into tears when (s)he gets a massage is demonstrating the release of emotions through touching the body. When certain areas of our bodies are touched, painful memories are remembered and released.
The healing ability of human touch through various forms of bodywork such as massage, yoga therapy, Thai Yoga massage, Rolfing, Rosen Method, Rubenfeld Synergy, Bioenergetics and other touch-centered modalities is well documented. Emotions frequently emerge through a therapeutic, compassionate touch (See Healing Through the Power of Touch ). By touching the body with a caring approach, the body worker is ‘touching’ our true selves, our emotions, and our souls. The intuition of the body is speaking to the person what the left-brain wants to keep suppressed (See Developing Intuition by Using Your Body ). Their Body Window is speaking.
The Body is the Messenger
We refuse to believe that our physical symptoms are part of us. It is extremely negative for us to believe in a ‘mental’ or emotional cause of our symptoms. That would imply that the physical symptoms are not ‘real’ but are all in our heads! That implies weakness. The symptom is in our body, we tell ourselves, and therefore separate from ourselves. But the symptom is not in our bodies, nor is it in our heads. The symptom is in our body-mind-soul. Our bodies and our minds and our souls are all one, and the body is the messenger.
The body is the messenger because the mind has failed to recognize the symptom as its own. The body then becomes a powerful tool to tell us our inner condition. This is what I call the Body Window. The Body Window is a way of using the body as a spiritual tool, by using the body as a window to our inner condition, our true selves, to our souls. The body is a window to the soul.
Cow Face Pose
I must make a comment here about our culture’s tendency to separate physical pain and emotional or spiritual pain. Physical pain is ‘real’ and emotional pain is not. The phenomenon in healthcare, in regards to this, is that healthcare practitioners often discuss whether a patient’s pain is ‘real’ or not, i.e. physical in origin. The current thinking is that pain, due to its subjective nature, is always real to the person and needs to be treated, regardless. This is a good thing. When we see a person who we think the pain may not be ‘real’ or physical, we are actually recognizing the body-mind-soul connection, or the Body Window, without realizing it. Because the separation between the physical body from the emotions and the soul is artificial - any pain of any origin is real, and therefore, needs to be recognized and be considered valid.
Our bodies give us information about our inner condition through the Body Window. The information seeps out, and we can choose to hear it or not. This information may take the form of great pain, as the body screams at us that something is wrong, that there is body-mind-soul turmoil going on. We need to pay attention to our pains, our illness, and our inner emotional condition. We cannot just push through the pain, or mask the pain with a pill, without great dis-ease eventually taking over us. The inner wisdom that is our body speaking to us is significant indeed.
Our physical symptoms are giving us clues as to the areas in our lives that need attention. These clues come out in symbols, or metaphors regarding our true body-mind-soul condition. The Body Window is the case of the itchy ears, (See Nothing is Hidden ).
The Body Window is the case of my friend who was hospitalized with a ‘broken heart’ at age 56, where she truly had physically blocked coronary arteries, requiring emergency medical intervention. She came to realize later that her physical symptoms were due to extreme relational difficulties at the time. This is no coincidence that the heart, the center for love, was affected.
Women who have suffered from sexual abuse, and who deal with life-long issues from this trauma, often develop cancer and other conditions of the female sexual organs.
There are many documented instances of the connection of the body-mind-soul. You many also want to read Bernie Segal’s books on his experience with cancer patients that document the body-mind-soul connection.
Thought Creates Matter
The very psychic pain that we feel is held in our bodies at a deep level and we don’t connect the pain with the body symptom. Especially when we have a name for the pain - a disease, that excuses us from searching for a deeper, truer meaning. Our cells carry intelligence, or memory that continues despite the fact that our entire body’s cells totally replace themselves every so many months. It is a fact that our thoughts "create" responses in our bodies. Thought creates matter.
Stated in a different way, the mind can change the body. Take for an example the well-known fight or flight phenomenon. This information is translated from nothingness (our thoughts) to actual matter (our bodies chemical responses) and creates action in our bodies to take the next step in a dangerous situation – either run away, or stand and fight. Thought creates matter.
Muscle Memory – The Body’s Ability to Learn
Is it so impossible to believe that our bodies carry the memories that we have learned throughout our lives? How do we remember to ride a bicycle, or ski, or dance? No one has trouble believing and accepting this form of body memory, or ‘muscle memory.’ Our actual cells retain this memory to call upon our muscles to perform, even if the original cells of the muscles that actually learned the skill have been replaced many years ago. Where does this "intelligence" come from? Just as desirable memories in our bodies are maintained, so are undesirable memories.
Revolved Fierce Pose with Prayer Hands
What follows this memory may cause us pain, in all senses of the word, emotional, physical and spiritual. But the pain is more acceptable to our minds if it is perceived as merely physical. It is more acceptable in our society to have physical symptoms, which are not of emotional or spiritual origin, so therefore we are not seen as weak. We can blame our symptoms and dis-ease on something external.
Star Trek’s Spock – A Metaphor for Human Emotion
Everyone has emotions. Emotions are neither good nor bad – they just are! Emotions are just information about our true selves, our inner condition., Very few of us know how to deal with emotions most effectively to not cause us strife. None of us had perfect parents to show us how to have perfect lives. None of us really effectively suppress our emotions.
In Star Trek, Spock, who is half Vulcan, half human, is a great metaphor for the ‘human condition.’ He comes across as a purely rational, non-emotional being. He attempts to suppress all emotions, his human side, yet fails. His emotions are there, but hidden deeply. When his emotions finally surface, the result is rage. Even Spock needs to release his emotions once in awhile! What a commentary on the condition of humanoids!!
Nothing is Hidden!
Your unreleased emotions are just waiting to be manifested in your body, in your soul, hidden in yourself so that only your left-brain can find them in an acceptable package! Nothing is Hidden! What is acceptable in a neat package to your left-brain, the physical symptom, is right there out in the open for all to see, as your body tells the world that all is not OK! Your Body Window is speaking! You just don’t realize it yet. Or you are not ready to hear it yet. Then your Body Window speaks louder to you, to try to get your attention. Your condition worsens. When you are emotionally ready to access your body’s message, the body’s illness and pain is there waiting for you, to tell you what it knows.
We carry our "pain" in specific areas of our bodies that our mind tells us, on a subconscious level, to carry. Our muscles and organs, and all tissues support our intelligence. Every thought is translated into a bodily response and stored in our bodies. Our bodies reveal to us what the mind fails to see. We hide behind the "physical" aspect of our symptoms, fragmenting ourselves, and believing that the symptoms are only physical, outside or external to us as a being. Then we fantasize about what will make us well, instead of seeing ourselves as whole, with our body telling us what our minds cannot bear to know - that we could have actual healing through body-mind-soul awareness, through the Body Window.
The Body as a Metaphor for our Souls:
If the psychological pain that we carry around were so strong that it creates illness, how far-fetched would it be to suppose that this "pain-body" as Eckhart Tolle calls our emotional pain in his book, A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life's Purpose, becomes a literal pain in our bodies? I find it extremely significant that he chose to use the term pain-body. We use the body and body terms in metaphors all the time. This is one great example. Maybe it was inadvertent, maybe it was not, but he has expressed the concept of the Body Window.
We use language every day that uses body metaphors, which we don’t always fully realize. Nobody bats an eye about this type of language, this type of “body talk” and we use it to describe our condition. We ‘eat our hearts out,’ get a ‘gut feeling,’ ‘limp through life,’ ‘embrace the day,’ ‘don’t back down,’ ‘get on someone’s nerves,’ say, ‘she touched me deeply with her words,’ and many, many more that we can think of.
Often our centers for intuition are in our guts. That is what we really mean when we say we get a gut feeling. It is because we actually feel a pain or twinge in the gut when something doesn’t feel right. Our thought, our emotion creates the physical response. Our inner condition, our true selves, our souls are speaking. It is the language of intuition. This is the Body Window at it’s finest.
We hold tension, in certain muscles and tissues without being aware of it. This tension becomes habitual patterns of holding our bodies in abnormal ways and postures (See Understanding Your Body - What Your Posture and Movements Say About You). We lose sight of the fact that constant tension will lead to illness and injury in precisely those areas that have held the tension.
Wide Angled, Seated-Lateral Flexion Pose
We hold our breath when we are stressed, giving less oxygen to the muscles and tissues. The pain and tension increases, creating a cycle of stress, tension, and chronic pain. Sometime when you are stressed and on the edge of losing control, try taking 10 deep breaths. Really belly-breathe and expand your chest. The action of breathing deeply will relax your diaphragm - slow your respiratory rate and your heart rate, thereby bringing more oxygen to your tissues. You absolutely cannot stay stressed if you breathe deeply. The age-old wisdom of our mothers really works!
How to Trust Yourself and Listen to Your Body Window!
Various body-mind disciplines describe each part of the body and each organ, and what emotional or ‘metaphysical’ issue each part represents. I have read many wisdom teachings on this subject. You can also search the Internet on ‘body-mind’ and you will get an array of sites discussing this subject. All of this 'body' of wisdom (pun intended) that I have read and my own personal experiences has led me to my current beliefs.
Many years ago I began with, and would highly recommend a book by Louise Hay called "You Can Heal Your Life." This book is a great starting point to self-discovery by using the Body Window. However, we need to be careful of limiting labels, for sure. The real danger is, to believe that an external label can be substituted for your own, internal wisdom.
If I say that the back represents support, in intuitive, body-mind-soul language, and back pain, especially lumbar (lower back) back pain, signifies a deep emotional response to a feeling of a lack of support, you might limit yourself in this belief. You could jump to label yourself as lacking in support from your significant other or something else, when instead your true self was trying to alert you to something entirely different. However, if we believe that we alone need to discover our truths and be open to what our symptoms are suggesting to us, I guarantee that the physical symptom or pain will lead you to a path of self-discovery, of discovery of your mind-body-soul. This is using your Body Window to its fullest extent.
Using your body, as a window to your true condition requires that you first trust yourself and your body to reveal that which you need to know, that which you think is hidden. You really can develop your intuition, or re-develop it with this trust, if you seek it. Your Body Window is always there waiting for you to listen to it!
We all had more intuition, when we were young and before we became acculturated to believe that our rational, left-brain was the more important tool in our lives than the right brain.
The Body Window demands that we use our right brains!
Your power of intuition can be developed, through recognizing and using you Body Window. This is finding your true self.
The Power of Intuition: Listen to Your Body Window!
You have forgotten how to listen to your body! Always remember the line: Listen to your Body Window! If you find it hard to trust yourself, and your body’s intuition, because you have forgotten how to do so, a partner and guide might be helpful for you, at least at first, until you are able to become more intuitive. You may choose to use a bodywork practitioner to help you if you at first do not trust yourself. You may honestly ask your friends or your significant others what they see as discrepancies in you. It is very easy for us to see conflicting issues in others, but not always as easy to see it in ourselves.
If you use your body as a window to your soul, or your true self, you must trust in your own internal guidance to understand what your Body Window is telling you is really going on. You must discover your own truths, your own solutions to where your real issues lie. You must learn to move into your pain, instead of away from it, to fully feel it. You must thank your pain, letting it know that you are seeking an answer to its message. Pain, after all is a signal from the body to the brain that something is wrong. It’s like, ‘wake up left-brain ding-a-ling, I am trying to tell you something!’ If you ignore this pain, and push through it, I guarantee that it will come back with a vengeance, in its current form or in another as your Body Window speaks to you in a louder voice.
Finding My True Self through the Body Window
If you choose instead, to move into the pain, and feel it deeply and ask yourself what is the significance of the pain, you can discover what is truly in your soul. You become open to your body's messages through your Body Window. You can eventually discover the area that needs work and begin the process of healing. It is only through acknowledging and exploring the meaning of the physical pain in your body, and deeply feeling this pain, that you can release it (See How Emotions Affect Our Body ). This is the key concept of personal healing of the body – mind - soul. In other words, you will never be free of the pain until you are able to acknowledge it and really feel it and understand its message to you. You must acknowlege the Body Window, the body as a messenger from your soul.
Roadside Rest in the Autumn Mist, New York State
The way to understand and access your body as a window to your soul is through daily meditative practice, Intuitive Movement, or through partnering with bodywork specialists and spiritual guides, or better yet, a combination of them all. If you are searching for a Body Window guide, I would be honored to assist you. Visit my Holistic Health Coach page for more information.
Not many people can do this or are willing to set aside the time needed for themselves. It is way easier to mask the pain, both emotional and physical (they are one and the same after all) through drugs and medical treatments. It is much easier to accept a label, a medical diagnosis, than to admit that you have some internal work to do. The Body Window is ignored.
You just want the pain to go away, to be ‘fixed’ instead of listening to its message. After all, you need to keep going on, keep pushing through the pain, keep sacrificing, (a very noble ideal you tell yourself).
If your exercise program exacerbates your pain, why would you keep doing the particular activity that hurts it? If your neck and shoulders ache as a component of your response to stress, how will you acknowledge and feel it, so you can release it? If you are chronically tired and can never create space for yourself, how will you prevent illness?
If you use your Body Window, it requires that you go within, that you wake up to awareness. This is spirituality at its fullest, the path to discovery, the path that unfolds over time. If you believe that the Kingdom of God is within you, as Luke 17:20-21 teaches you, and I do, then the journey is to go within to find your soul, to find your true self. The Body Window gives you a way to do so.
The body is a major tool in this discovery process. Using my body as a window to my soul is finding my true self!
May the health and healing of your body-mind-soul begin as you use your Body Window to go inward!
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