The Body Knows

The body knows. Walking into a room of strangers, the body senses the situation directly. We don’t think, “I need to check this out.”  The body automatically scans the situation; and sensing the situation knows how it feels about it.

As it happens, we often don’t pay attention to the information our bodies relay to us. Perhaps this is so because the information comes in what we think is a messy way. The stomach feels queasy. There is a tightness in the throat. A pressure in the ears. Or perhaps we sigh, take a deep breath, or feel the heart beating faster or slower or feel our whole insides opening up!

The information comes about the situation and about what we feel about the situation. Walk into a room of strangers and what happens? The body scans the room noticing who is at the center and who is at the periphery. It notices who is at ease, who is tense, and who is shy; and who is smiling, laughing, or frowning. It senses who makes it feel uneasy, or worried, or scared. And, it senses who is welcoming. The body responds with a tightness in the chest, a queasiness in the stomach, or a jumping heart beat, or a turning in, a rolling, or a stammer and there is always something more, something that we can’t quite put into words but is there.

We may say, “I had a hunch about that situation,” or, “I had a feeling about that person.” Indeed, we did and our body let us know. We can’t say how we know. We just know.

When we are in touch with our bodies, we can respectfully connect with our bodily sensing and use the information it gives us to help us navigate situations, keep us safe and at ease, create new ideas, and even dive into new ventures. To gain benefit from the information, we notice what comes forth with interested curiosity. For example, suppose I walk into a room and notice everyone crowding around someone talking about her latest project. I can’t hear what she is saying but I notice that there is a little queasiness in my stomach and I notice that I don’t like that and that there is something about the person’s energy that doesn’t sit right but can’t be put into words. In this moment, something is coming with which I can have a relationship and which I can explore with interested curiosity. I can find out more about the person, the situation, and about myself by listening to what these somethings, this queasiness in my stomach AND this energy that doesn’t sit right, say or show me about the person, situation and myself.

Getting in touch with the body in this way can be enlightening, empowering, and freeing. Try this. The next time you enter a place full of people (it can at work, at the supermarket, or on the bus), take in the space around you and then bring your awareness inside to that middle space in your body–the throat, the chest, the diaphragm, the stomach, the belly. Allowing your awareness to rest there gently invite what wants your awareness now to come. Just sense what’s there. And when something comes, say” Hello, I see you are there.” And notice how it feels when you say that.

This is a first step of getting to know these fluid, life forward processes that have so much to share with us and help us in so many ways.

Crowd San Francisco

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