“Presence of Mind grows out of Presence in the BODY.”
That’s my quote. One day it literally grew out of my tissue and into my conceptual mind. Simple and profound, easy to intellectualize and hard to live. Every day I wonder why it’s so damn easy to forget it. Why I seem to let the chatter of my thinking mind be the foreground of my experience. Why I runaway into the past or future, but have a hard time staying in the NOW.
Last week, I was working with grief and letting go. I found myself at the edge of what I believed I could bear in terms of this painful heartache. It brought up old wounding of not having what I want, and the experience also made me remember how little support I had to learn how to let go of something I was not ready to release. Along with the present moment pain (which was difficult enough!), I could also feel the pain of my childhood, and the lack of understanding how to process my experience so I could let it go. This little girl’s overwhelm began moving towards the foreground of my awareness. Just when I thought I could no longer bear this pain, I thought, “What if I just sense my body?” And so I did.
This amazing thing happened. I could feel the rising up of my belly center, the presence in my body coming up to meet my head space. Like a dear friend reaching out to support someone she loves, my body’s presence rose up from my belly, and my thinking mind began to relax and settle. It felt supported and became more open and less grasping. At that moment, I knew that my Head center and Belly Center were coming together, in the collaborative service of my heart. Slowly, I fell into the (seemingly) unbearable pain and tension in my heart. As I stayed with this, breathing gently into my chest, I began to notice a softening of this taught organ, until I realized that I was relaxing into a deeper part of my heart-space. As I continued to delicately allow this experience, a doorway opened; and I entered another place. Moments later I realized I was coming into the sacred chamber of my consciousness. A place Hameed Ali (my spiritual teacher, pen name A. H. Almaas, www.ahalmaas.com, www.ridhwan.org) calls the inner chamber of my soul. A place so quiet and intimate and holy, that only I can enter this temple, the most sacred ground of my soul.
Sitting here, alone with my sorrowful loss, my heart swelled open; and I realized I had ALL the support I needed to stay with this and any difficulty. That, if I allow my belly center to rise up and become the foreground of my experience as needed, my head center will relax and allow the truth of the moment to unfold. I also realized, from this place in my embodied heart, I am completely at peace. Even if a part of me did not want to let go of something very precious, I could harmonize with the truth of my life and liberate what seemed impossible to release. Liberate myself really, by allowing my heart to grieve this layer of loss, riddled with early wounding that was still in the tissue of my present experience. Liberate my mind from its gerbil wheel thinking, unshackle this tension around my heart, by freeing my body to “do its thing”.
Our bodies are remarkable. Just the miracle of our physical form, with all of its systems and organs working harmoniously to keep us upright, is mind blowing. When we add in the resource of our tissue’s support, information, and wisdom to help us understand and move intelligently through life, we open up the possibility of truly being PRESENT for all life has to offer. When I say, “Presence of Mind grows out of Presence in the BODY,” this is what I’m talking about. When life throws a curve ball, when things don’t go as planned, when what we assumed would be a certain way ISN’T, our minds start racing on an endless track littered with speculation, fantasy, bitterness and overwhelm. That’s when, if we consciously bring it into the foreground, our BELLY center’s perception, insight, and innate INTELLIGENCE can become a pillar of support for the most difficult times of our lives. And the cool thing is, we always have access to it! It’s available in every moment. Imagine if you start tuning into your body, moment to moment. Wonder how it could guide you to be in the NOW of your life? Wonder how much more pleasure you would experience in everyday circumstances.
Take a breath right now into your body…what do you notice? When you see and feel that, how does that affect you? Your body is an untapped reservoir. Come and experience a Belly Intelligence Workshop and find out how to tune into this endless somatic intelligence in your everyday life.