“Do nothing with the body but relax. Let the mind remain in its unformed state. Become like a hollow bamboo so that everything flows through.”
If you are seeking spiritual enlightenment, you may be searching in the wrong places.
Andrew Harvey, the Founder of the “Institute for Sacred Activism“, writes that most of us mistake spirituality with a subtle way of dissociating from hands-on realistic social, economic, and political engagement in the world. In ‘blissing out’ into one-ness, many spiritual seekers contribute to abandoning the world and its people in its hour of extreme need. Others might feel more drawn to envisioning what life / the world could be, but fail to take action in bringing these visions into material planes. Is it the ‘law of attraction’ failing on us?
One-ness is the creative tension
Jason Digges, author of the book “Conflict is energy” and Co-Founder of Authentic Relating International, writes that there is an immense creative tension between vision and embodiment. Our vision is our imagination: whatever we can dream up with our ideas and creativity. This is the realm of insight and possibilities.
Many activists, for example, have a strong vision of what the world ‘should’ be but are prone to complete exhaustion, burn out, and divisive rage. If we are cut off from the healing and transforming wisdom of the spiritual traditions and the simple techniques, prayers, and practices that could sustain, inspire, and nourish us, our visions never manifest in the way we dream it could be.
If we are embodied on the other hand, we are “here” in the present moment—more in touch with ourselves and more available to others. When we are embodied, we are in tune with our surroundings, active and aware, yet relaxed and responsive as well. There are many ways to phrase this concept: “being grounded,” “feeling ourselves ‘in’ our bodies,” or “centered,” to name a few.
The question is: How do we grow our visions into this sense of presence?
The answer is through embodiment
Embodiment is a path of awakening that views the body as the doorway, not the obstacle, to personal growth and spiritual transformation. Embodiment practices are tools that widen our awareness through our bodies; methods that use the unique sensations of our body as a tool to develop awareness, stay present, self-regulate, feel whole, find balance, feel connected, know ourself, love ourself and be empowered. Embodied work comes from different roots, including martial arts, body therapy, dance, mindfulness, spirituality, therapy and the arts.
Here is a list of embodiment practices (but there are many more):
- Yoga Postures
- Trauma work
- Authentic Relating & Circling
- Tantric practices
8 ways to embody spirituality today
The key to meditation is to relax your body first, and your mind will follow. Do not try to relax your mind. Your body and mind are in constant communication. If you can relax one, you will relax the other. But it is hard to relax your mind. Therefore, relax your body first, and you will be surprised at how your mind will follow. Here are some more tips on how to meditate.
2. Breath work
Breath-work has many benefits, such as getting in touch with our feelings and releasing any tension or numbness in our body, especially in our emotional centre: head and face, throat, chest, abdomen and pelvic areas. Relaxing our belly and feeling our entire torso expand with each breath is our first step to greater relaxation and body awareness.
3. Yoga & Postures
Yoga postures aim at brining the mind and body in union with each other. Yoga is more than just an ancient form of exercise that focuses on strength, flexibility and breathing to boost physical and mental wellbeing. Yoga postures are a series of movements designed to increase strength and flexibility in alignment with the breath. And thus, internal harmony through movement, mind, breath and a spiritual sense of connection and oneness. Both on and off the mat. Be yoga.
Nourishment means utilising internal and external sources to fill our life with love, support and guidance from ourselves and interactions with others. As we grow older we need different kinds of nourishments. Physical nourishment can be as simple as taking a conscious shower, it can also mean making changes in our diet, etc.
5. Trauma work
Working through trauma can be a gateway into previously unimagined levels of inner freedom, aliveness and appreciation for life. It is demanding, yet rewarding work. At each stage along the healing journey, one can appreciate the growth and progress as well as look back and see the alternative to doing this work: a life governed by inner pain and the strategies to manage or escape that pain.
On the other side lies a life of increasing possibility, vitality, and empowered choice. The depth of undigested collective pain is much bigger than we may realise; although we only have to look at the state of our world to observe its impact.
Modern de-armouring is a bodywork practice in which deep pressure is applied to different points in the body. Combined with staying conscious and aware of what is happening in the body, these techniques can bring up to the surface various memories and feelings. In some cases, these may not have been felt or remembered for a long time – even for decades.
7. Authentic Relating & Circling
Authentic Relating is the universal language of human connection that aims at bringing more truth into connection. It’s a practice of conscious relationships – including the relationship with ourselves. Authentic Relating consists of specific exercises, in pairs or small groups, which invite us to be more open and revealing than we might be in everyday life about our deeper feelings and desires, each exercise designed to shine a light on a particular way in which we present ourselves and relate with others. Circling is a related but distinct practice and is sometimes called Interpersonal Mindfulness or Relational Meditation. In contrast to Authentic Relating, Circling has some structure but it is minimal. Like meditation, we do it with complete acceptance, without trying make something happen or attain a particular state. There is no need to fix yourself or anyone else. The only aim is to be as true as possible to ourselves, to others and to the connection between us in each moment.
8. Tantric practices
One of the central techniques of Embodiment is an interactive gazing practice from the Sufi and Tantric traditions that you explore with a partner. Friends will sit down together, look into each other’s eyes, hold each other’s gaze, relax, and simply surrender to the parade of sensations and perceptions that spontaneously begins to occur.
The bottom line is that there is a balance point between vision and embodiment. It exists when we are connected to the sensations of this present moment, and to a possibility for the future, at the same time. There is a saying from Papua New Guinea that says: ‘Knowledge is just a rumour until it lives in the muscle.’
CALL TO EMBODIMENT
Journal and script answers to these questions, then choose to embody your knowledge and bring it into your day-to-day experience.
Choose one of the 8 embodiment practices above and introduce it into your everyday life starting today. To help you choose what is best for you right now, contemplate on the following questions:
– In which area of your life do you see the gap between your vision and your embodied, present experience the biggest?
– Which area of your life needs to most attention right now in order to help you move forward?
– Which practice would make all other practices obsolete or irrelevant because of the massive benefit you would get?
Want some accountability? Choose ONE practice and tag us when you are inspired and in motion doing it…
Instagram @selfcare.global >>> facebook @selfcare.global.official
Academic Flow Writer for Selfcare
Bibi is a flow writer that merges ancient wisdom with modern science; so that you too can embody the learnings into your own unique selfcare Journey. She too believes that “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” -, Richard Buckminster Fuller
Andrew Harvey – Founder of Institute for Sacred Activism
Jason W. Digges. “Conflict = Energy. The Transformative Practice of Authentic Relating.”