INTRODUCTION TUNING IN to the Body WELCOME to the online course TUNING IN to the Body. Here’s Richard Heckler on the Mission of Somatics, and an Introduction on Conscious Embodiment and Intuition by Wendy Palmer that explains learning conscious embodiment under pressure. An Afterward by George Leonard teaches Aikido walking for daily living.
The course contains a collection of aiki-wisdom, photos, instructional videos and poetry. It’s a fun read, so have a good time. It’s also very good for you.
Disembodiment is a shift of awareness away from the body. When we remove ourselves from the bodily sensations, we distance ourselves from the situation to which those sensations are related. Disembodiment is a strategy that allows us to escape the pressure, feeling, or sensations of the present moment.
When I have an immobilizing experience, I try to find out where I am split. In searching for splits, we can use a map with three centers: head, heart and hara, or belly. Splits commonly occur at the neck, separating the head from the heart and the belly, or the solar plexus, separating the belly from the heart and the head.
I can identify the preferences of my head with the question, “What do I think I want?” I wait for a sensory response. Then I feel into my heart, “What does my heart feel like it really wants?” If we are not aware of the opposition within ourselves, we may find it difficult to understand why we cannot manifest something even when we have a clear idea of it.
Splits that occur at the solar plexus are more difficult to discover. In Western culture, we are not accustomed to viewing the belly as an intelligent power source. In relationships, we sometimes want to be closer to the other person, we crave more intimacy and more love. Yet, at the same time, we feel claustrophobic and want more distance. This ambivalence indicates a split at the solar plexus: our heart says “yes,” while our belly says “no.”
Conscious embodiment gives us a way to connect with our sensations, making it possible to find the path to the still place from which intuitive impressions arise. When we center ourselves, we enter into a moment of stability that is soft and open, like a cup waiting to be filled. In this state of not knowing, intuition can arise. With no agenda and no boundary, the wisdom of our intuition enters, and we see, hear, or feel the answer.
Not knowing has to do with depth, space, and stillness. Depth comes from confidence, and confidence is built from experience, which comes from the practice of training our attention. The more we develop ourselves, the more we can tolerate the sensations of the present. When we begin to tolerate the present, we start to experience space. If we are not crowded with thoughts of the past or the future, the present becomes very spacious. Once we are able to hold a sense of space — in front, behind us, to the left and right, above and below –we can begin to experience stillness. In this moment of anticipation, we are poised at the entrance to not-knowing, the place where intuition and the creative impulse spring forth.
From The Intuitive Body: Discovering the Wisdom of Conscious Embodiment and Aikido, Third Edition by Wendy Palmer, published by Blue Snake Books/North Atlantic Books, copyright © 2008 by Wendy Palmer. Reprinted by permission of publisher.