‘All our reactions to people, to situations, to thoughts in our mind – are actually reactions to the kind of sensations that are arising in our body.’
Tara Brach, ‘Radical Acceptance’
It’s easy for us all to forget that our bodies are finely-tuned towards wisdom. You can access the wise information of your body every day by paying greater attention.
These bodily sensations Tara Brach speaks about are constantly shifting.
For example, imagine you’ve been drawn into an argument with someone. Notice how you might feel unpleasant sensations of anger, dislike or impatience as you listen to them.
Your body indicates this through experiences of heat, increased heartbeat, dry mouth, etc. It might be a general gut feeling of dislike that you can’t place your finger on.
Tara Brach: ‘Our entire swirl of reactive thoughts, emotions and behaviours springs from this ground of reacting to sensations. When these sensations are unrecognised, our lives are lost in the waterfall of reactivity – we disconnect from living presence, from full awareness, from our heart.’
This is where being mindful is so important. We have sayings like, ‘My skin crawled’ or ‘I have a gut feeling’.
So this is not an unfamiliar idea. It’s just that we react so quickly in our daily lives that we barely notice the extraordinary links between our body and mind.
By becoming more attuned to your body’s sensations and responses, you are accessing your own personal wisdom! Be mindful of your body. Notice your reactions.
Try it today – listen in to the wise information of your body
Set your intention that today you will look out mindfully for your body’s reactions.
It can be particularly interesting to notice what is happening when you are in conversation with others.
Push down into your feet so you are fully grounded.
Listen! Listen to the other person.
And listen to your own body.
This will open up more space for the conversation. Instead of jumping in with advice or a swift retort – breathe! Notice. Be aware. You will be listening in more fully to your own body’s wisdom.
Acknowledge what you are feeling might not be something you wish to admit to – impatience, superiority, inferiority, envy, anger, fear …
As humans we feel a full spectrum yet with our quick trigger reactions we get caught up in the stories in our heads. Slow down today and notice the sensations of your body. Then notice where your mind heads off to aswell!
Other reminders from your wise body
Smile: even if you don’t feel especially smiley!
The brain still receives the information of a smile as a positive one and produces endorphins.
So smile and you end up feeling a little brighter and better!
When you feel upset you can place a hand gently over your heart or hold both hands together in your lap. These gestures of self-compassion send messages to your brain that you are willing to be tender and gentle towards yourself. Just as you might stroke the arm of a loved one, hug a friend or hold their hand.
Walk, dance, run!
The body produces endorphins (feel-good hormones like dopamine) during exercise. So it’s a classic example of letting the body lead the mind so you feel good!
The winner’s stance
Fling your arms high above your head and plant your feet wide.
Imagine you’ve just won a marathon! This winner’s stance sends messages to your brain that you are a winner.
It gives you the feeling of confidence and strength. It’s a winning stance you could try in the bathroom before you go and do that important talk at work!
The incredible mind-body link
So give yourself time to learn how you can access the wise information of your body and better utilise your mind. I offer mindfulness and meditation courses which is one way to approach this. Befriend yourself and you will find your best wisdom comes from yourself!
Has this post been helpful? Do share your thoughts or forward to someone who might find it useful.
Tara Brach, Author of ‘Radical Acceptance’ and ‘True Refuge’
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Yvette Jane – Mindfulness & Meditation Coach
Place of Serenity, Hants, Surrey, Sussex