This is about contentment, pleasure and joy. About awakening to life. And the premise that we really can’t get to those things without going through the body. These things happen in our body. Our body is the experiencer of joy, contentment, and pleasure. Our body experiences life inside and out. This is the body in contentment. The body in pleasure. The body in joy. And also the body in unhappiness, in sadness, in pain. In the suffering of loss.
Yet looking at the bookshelves at the book store one would think you can read your way to happiness. That we can change the body through the mind. That we can think ourselves into pleasure. I’m not sure this is possible without including the body as an equal partner in that process, in the re-education. Bioenergetics says the body and mind are one. The mind is in the body; the body is in the mind.
We are a culture that wants to believe we can think and will ourselves into a better life. Positive thinking is so American. But here is an element of positive thinking that is a denial of feeling, of emotion, of the experience that is really there. We are a culture focused on the head, we live in our head. As my old zen teacher used to say, Westerners are “Energy up.” Energy up in the head, and by implication not grounded in the body. So in this culture most of us are up in our head.
One might say on the surface we are a nation of body worshipers. At the store, look at the glut of things to take care of our bodies: lotions, shampoos, scents, conditioners, moisturizers, defoliates. People work out at the fitness club, run, jog, swim, cycle. And I am one of them Surely this is a nation of body consciousness, body worshipper, isn’t it. But, generally we are working on that image,that wonderful beautiful lustrous healthy body image that we want to create. However, the experience of our bodies—we aren’t really looking for that. It may happen, but that is not what many are looking for. We want to make the external image of the body look good for some mental idea. People recognize that exercising can release tension, make them feel good, but it is an activity for a purpose and people return quickly to the busy life of the mind. Computers, ipads, iphones, apps, tvs, movie. And we are lost in a world of images and words.
So this blog is about living the life of the body—living as whole human beings in our bodies, so mind and body becomes one. As we become “at one” with ourselves we can become “at one” with our the life around us.