On the radio I heard a discussion about a program that helped gambling addicts by using dramatic acting. A young man spoke about his addiction and his $1,000,000 debt. He said he had tried a variety of counselling methods to resolve his addiction but nothing changed until he joined the acting group. He said that by acting he had to engage his body and, “with your body there is a sensation that is so real – that’s where I felt the humungous shift in finding my own truth rather than reflecting and running away from it.”
By connecting with his body he healed his addiction. His insight into the body’s role in healing prompted me to write the following article.
Listening to your body’s GPS
Do you listen in wonder to the voice of your car’s GPS giving you detailed instructions,”….at the next roundabout, turn right….in 500 metres you will reach your destination….”? We seem to have unreserved faith in our GPS’s ability to deliver us to our desired destination. We have confidence in its knowledge of where we are and its ability to take us where we want to go.
Take a moment to compare the voice of your car’s GPS to the voice in your head – the voice that expresses the thoughts racing though our minds; “I think I recognise that house….. He forgot to put the rubbish out (again)…. I’m so stupid, why do I always do that…… No, I think it was to the right…..I didn’t get the milk…..I wonder why she said that…. Oh, look at that woman’s dress…..I must be lost …….” and on and on. It’s pretty obvious that the voice in your head, unlike your car’s GPS, has little, or no idea where you are or where you are going.
And yet that voice in your head is the navigation system that most of us use to live our lives by – the so-called rational mind. We live by expectations and “shoulds.”
To expect the mind to be a trustworthy guide in life would be like expecting my computer to offer me empathy and wise counsel. I genuinely appreciate all the marvellous things my laptop can do, including helping me to write this article, but I would be quite insane if I expected it to tell me what to write. Yet this is what most of us do – we look to our thinking to tell us what to do.
Our thinking can at times seem so clear and instructive. Yet our capacity to think is heavily compromised by our beliefs, our conditioning, our perception of society’s expectations and various unresolved traumas we have experienced. Thinking can make us feel clever but we cannot think our way to healing.
“Few of us have lost our minds, but most of us have long ago lost our bodies.” Ken Wilbur
Our thinking mind certainly has a legitimate role to play in our lives; it is invaluable in acquiring knowledge. But being knowledgeable doesn’t always serve us well. Knowing what to do with knowledge requires wisdom. The rational mind is good servant, but a poor master. It is not our deepest truth teller and doesn’t always guide us in the best direction.
“Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit.
Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.”
~ Miles Kington
Within us all there is a guidance system (our very own GPS) which we can consult at any time. Our bodies have a message for us and if we listen with the same awe and reverence that we give to the GPS in our vehicles we will find guidance and direction in our lives. This is easier said than done, I know. But we can start by paying attention to the body. Using its own special language in the form of physical sensations, it tells us exactly what we need to know.
Most often, we only notice our body when we experience pain or other symptoms. Once we register pain or discomfort, we then put our efforts into getting rid of the symptoms.
“A trembling in the bones may carry a more convincing testimony than the dry documented deductions of the brain.” Llewellyn Powers
The body is extremely sensitive. If we carefully observe the reactions of the body, a whole world opens up. We notice subtle changes in heart rate, breathing, muscular tension, and digestion. We feel tightness, softness, vibration, heaviness, space.
Notice where you are sitting right now – the weight of your body, your breath, the sounds around you. Let yourself be in this moment without a commentary. Or if there is a commentary, just notice it as such. What do you sense? How do you feel? …And what is your sense of that which is aware? Don’t think about it.
Through the body we can have a sense of being in harmony or disharmony with whatever situation we are facing. Through the body we can feel in connection and continuity with the whole of life or dissociated, split off and alienated.
Through the body we can feel settled or unsettled, at ease or uneasy. Through the body we can feel spacious or contracted, grounded or spacey, enlivened or deadened.
We need to learn the language of the body – it speaks in physical sensations. Everything that happens in our bodies is an opportunity to respond. We can be guided or we can ignore. But first we must listen…..
The inner guidance whispers while our conditioned habits are screaming.
By listening to the body we can gain wisdom and be guided towards an awakened, authentic and creative life. Through the body we can experience our truth.
During your care at Enkindle Wellness I will guide and assist you to notice and pay attention to subtle blockages and restrictions in your body that hold the secrets to your healing. A slightly restricted ankle, a twist in your body as you lift your knee, a restriction in one side of your chest with deep inhalation…… These tensions are the result of past traumas in your life and more often than not relate to symptoms that manifest in other parts of your body. My job is to help you to learn the language of your body.
Like the former gambler on the radio, noticing a sensation in your body can cause a “humungous shift”. You move closer to your truth of who you really are.
The radio program was on Radio National’s Life Matters “Tackling gambling stigma through theatre.”