Published on Dec 7, SlideShare Explore Search You. Submit Search. Successfully reported this slideshow. We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime. Upcoming SlideShare. While some places feel very hard and armored, others feel incredibly vulnerable, unprotected, shaky, and weak. One side feels shorter or smaller than the other.
One side feels alive, the other dead. Everything is out of kilter, and we are filled with distress of all kinds. We want to scream or run, or jump out of our bodies. This initial step involves getting to know a body that is in a lot of discomfort, holding a lot of claustrophobia and a lot of pain. At this point, the practitioner is instructed to receive the information of uncomfortable or even painful tension into his or her awareness without comment, judgment, or reaction.
When we do so, we begin to notice that a certain area of tension is coming forward, as it were, presenting itself with special insistence to us. It clearly wants to be known, above all other potential areas. In addition, it comes with a very specific calling card, a particular portrait of feeling and energy.
More than this, the area of tension comes as an invitation—it calls for release. But the invitation for release, to be discerned in the very tension itself, also brings critical information with it: it is actually us, our own conscious, intentional, focal awareness, that is responsible for the tension in the first place. It is our own overlay, so to speak, that is creating this feeling of freezing.
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As this becomes clear, we begin to discover that we have the capability to take responsibility for the tension, to enter into the soma, to feel how it is actually us that is holding on. At this point, we can, indeed, release.
We have to let go of ourselves, we have to feel that the unpleasant tension is our own paranoid holding on, and we have to open, relax, surrender, and let go. This represents a leap into the unknown. As we move through the process of discovery, it may begin to dawn on us that the body itself has an agenda that it wants us to follow.
The agenda begins with some region or part of the body coming forward to meet our awareness, presenting itself with a certain energy, texture, and demeanor, alerting us to our holding, and then inviting us into the process of release and relaxation. We are going to start with the arches of the feet. This is where we are going to start. In other words, the body itself actually gives us the routine. It gives us the protocols and it gives us the journey. In this work, we are called to let go of what we think we want or think we need, and listen deeply; we are invited to surrender to the invitations that come forward from the body to become aware and to open, relax, and let go.
Through that process there is a gradual shift from feeling that the body is an object or a tool of our ego, to realizing that the body is the source of something that constantly calls to us with a primal voice that commands our attention and engages us in a process that we find extraordinarily compelling, even though we cannot fully understand what is going on. When people do this bodywork thoroughly and deeply, whatever personal issues they may have turn up somatically.
They appear in a way that is according to the timetable of the body, not of our ego-consciousness. It is amazing how literal it can be. People who have difficulty with self-expression may feel at a certain point that they are being strangled because they sense the energy collecting at the throat and are unable to move. People who are unaware of their emotions may experience their heart as if in a vice.
Such extraordinarily literal somatic experiences can be very painful and difficult.
It is clear why people numb themselves because basically, who wants to feel that? We begin to have confidence in the pain that we run into, and the blockages, because we have tools that we feel have some hope of leading us through.
In each new experience, we bring awareness to our bodies, feel the blockage, find the invitation to release, surrender our hold, and experience the relaxation, sense of unknowing, and open space that result when we do. In this process, we become acquainted with our body in ever new ways. As we continue, we may feel almost as if each particular part of our body is opening like a flower. We find a sense of vitality and life and energy in each part of our body. We begin to realize that each part likewise has its own very specific and unique awareness-profile, if you will, its own personality, its own living truth.
With each part of the body there is a similar whole world that opens up and is available for discovery when we begin working with it. All of this unfolds from that first experience of numbness.
You live them right through until they have completed themselves. When we are blissful and happy, we go along to a certain point but then pull back because we are afraid—perhaps it is too much and we feel we are losing our sense of self, or perhaps we are afraid it will slip away. This is because true bliss and true happiness, perhaps even more so than pain, are a negation of the human ego. This understanding works well with modern psychological thinking. The process of the path to enlightenment, which can be demonstrated from the very earliest texts onward, is allowing the unconscious contents of our life to arrive in our awareness and to allow awareness to integrate what we find about ourselves and about the world.
According to Buddhism, the unconscious is the body. Through working with the body in the way that I am describing, we actually are able to unlock and unleash all of these experiences and all of these things that have been insufficiently experienced and are therefore held throughout the body. Until we are willing to live through some of the wealth of information and emotions that have been offered to us but rejected, our awareness remains tied up and restricted. The way they put it in the tradition is that the experience of working with the body unlocks memories and images and emotions that become fuel.
This fuel creates a fire in us, a fire of all the vivid and intense pain held by these previously rejected aspects of experience. That pain is a fire that gradually burns up the structure of our ego—it is a visceral inferno. It is said that this inferno purifies awareness and makes the field of awareness very, very bright.
The more we do the work, the more our awareness actually opens up. According to the early tradition, enlightenment itself is when the fuel is all used up. Awareness, no longer tied up in evasionary tactics, is set free and liberated to its full extent. Through the work, we begin to discover some fundamental shifts in the way we are. There is a rich interior life of the body that we feel and experience, but which also somehow remains shrouded in mystery. It begins to unfold. In this practice, we will explore how the body can be felt as an incarnation of the earth.
Earth breathing enables us to deepen our connection with the earth and to explore our identity with the earth itself. This practice also enables us to feel the support the earth offers us. The more we allow ourselves to feel supported by the earth, the more we are able to identify with the earth, the more room we allow ourselves for the inner journey. Take a good meditation posture and feel the earth under you. Even if you are on a cushion in a room on the sixth floor of a building, you are still supported by the earth.
You may initially want to keep your eyes closed. Begin breathing into the perineum, the region between the genital area and the anus. Bring your breath into the bottom of your pelvis at the perineum. Feel any tension you may have in the perineum. Breathe in through your sitz bones. Let the bottom of your pelvis sink into the earth.