As human beings we are embodied beings. We have a body with an intelligence of its own that goes beyond logical thought. Our whole life is experience through our body, through our senses. We are born, we grow, we live, we love, we die… and through it all we perceive through the medium of the body. Often the body is forgotten, relegated to the unconscious, because our identification with our mind and the realm of thought is so strong or because we are caught up in so many distractions. We may be anywhere, anywhere but present with our body, the fast pace of the urban habitat and technology-dependence only exasperates this tendency.
Our body stores our memories since before we were even born, since before we had a distinct cognitive identity. So the preverbal is present and the nonverbal is present in the bone and the tissue, in the vast network, the enormous de-centralized intelligent nervous-system.
Poetry seeks by its nature to capture something that goes beyond the linear logic of the brain, we feel poetry when it happens, it seems to bring something into focus that comes from the between, from the liminal spaces between waking and dream between body and mind between emotion and soul, it unifies differences that logic alone cannot.
All of our references to experience are through the body, through our sense of smell, taste, touch, sound, sight, motion (which is actually the sixth sense), these perceptions have an objective reality and then there is our subjective response, an emotional world, and an imaginal world which can layer on top of that. As a sentient being with the capacity for self-reflection this is a domain for great exploration.
There has been a long tradition in the West of distrust of the body. This is the legacy of the Judeo-Christian distrust of the feminine and Cartesian Mind-Body dualism. How we relate to our own bodies is how we relate to the world, it is our world and it is not separate from the world. The air of the atmosphere is not apart from us, but in us at every level, the water, all that ever was or will be passes through us, is us. The earth is covered by a two liquids, as Jean-Michele Cousteau said his father taught him, the atmosphere and the ocean. You cannot throw anything away, there is no away.
The world is a vast decentralized nervous system that is part of us, inseparably, inextricably so. We cannot conceive of saying I will drink this cyanide, my stomach isn’t me, so I will not feel it, it will not affect me. In a primitive way people understand that on some level, but in effect, that is just what people do in the world every day in the world, the world body and even within the close-in locus of their own bodies. So complete is the divorce between self and body and self and Earth that even the smartest of people can routine participate in poisoning planet and body without ever challenging the paradigm this arises from.
How we treat our selves, our bodies, is how we treat the world. The actions we partake in everyday are our rituals. Rituals hold great and hidden power in the psyche. One of the most powerful rituals is the ritual of eating. When you eat, you take it all in, the chemicals, and the suffering of the animals or of the people who produced the food. The process is not separate from us, we participate and consciously unconsciously participate and choose the reality evoked produced by the process. Our bodies are always taking part in the living and the dying of the world and the world we know is through our body, all we know of the world is inside of us. If we choose to be unconscious, and in denial, this unconsciousness is reflected in our bodies, occurs within our own bodies.
To open dialogue with the world is to open dialogue within ourselves, with the mystery of what is beyond what we know right now. This requires inward sensitivity, only through the inward sensitivity can we know more of what is here in us all the time consciously or not. The conscious use of awareness in the creative process us about using the tools of embodiment, knowing the breath, slowing down enough to listen to the sensation, the the flow, to the smallest of movements and to the sensation of the large movements and to how they are each different. To open to a realm of play with contrast and opposition. The senses work through contrast to, how is it this different from that?. Warm cannot exist without cold, long without short. A playful relationship of exploration with up and down, rise and fall, open and close, lengthen and shorten, exploring the basics like when we were children, discovering everything for the first time, is enlightening, a doorway to deep insight.
As we begin to explore the role of our own responses, and value our subjective sensibility, deepening our awareness into the field of consciousness, our choices begin to surface. When we get to the level of direct perception and awareness of our direct experience and play in this field, we then begin to have direct fresh experiences, primary experiences, which loosen the hold of conditioning and a limited sense of self. From here, the hold the conditioned identity which we hold tightly to and defend, can begin to relax. Using creative harvesting techniques such as repetition and change we can further deepen understanding into a more expansive realm and by giving this form through movement, writing and drawing and word awareness can begin to stabilize in a new more inclusive matrix.
Through attentive practice, we begin the retrieve the new information from the liminal spaces, places in the pre-conscious, unconscious, come into awareness, we can begin to retrieve significant meaningful insight from the new discovered land that is at first like a dream. In the process we make meaning, we weave our deep inner story, our sentient story, integrating different levels of awareness, no longer in the real of dualistic splitting, but moving towards wholeness. Personal will and personal choice is involved. When personal will becomes an active agent in the matrix of
consciousness, we can choose to be attentive to what we love, and that
which we love will grow and thrive.
Making meaning is key to any life journey and to healing. Healing which ultimately reaches beyond the personal confines that were never isolated or personal so much as they are and always have been part of the World, the world as we know it. Taking back the soul, the imagination, re-inhabiting the body and the re-acquainting ourselves with the Earth are complementary and even synonymous revolutionary acts.