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Embodied Awareness

Embodied Awareness



Our culture has accepted thinking as the guide to who we are and rejected other aspects of our perception. Of the three expressions of being human our thinking is the easiest to see. Thinking creates crisp well defined pictures that in deep relation to what we really are, turn out to be illusion. Deeper than thinking our feeling gives a truer guide to what is really going on, yet here too we can be subject to the sloshing tides of emotion that lead us away from our essential, mutual humanity. In what we do, the actions we take we discover a whole new strength for understanding who we truly are as human beings. Yet this field of our actions is relatively closed to us, because it is extremely hard to be conscious of what we truly do.

Others see us by what we do. In the way people respond to our actions we can see ourselves in new ways. Sometimes our thinking rebels at what we see because it has arrived at explanations of who we are that are more comfortable to live with.  Aspects of ourselves show in actions that to our thinking remain in ‘shadowland.’  The judgementalism of our thinking finds it difficult to become flexible, yet expanding the boundaries of right and wrong, bringing love and forgiveness into our vision of who we presently are and who we would like to be creates a more creative relationship with ourselves and thus with others.  Meditative movement can be a way to see the full self more directly, through the bodily action, ‘the will’. Doing this can help our thinking and our feeling adjust to what is really going on, to a fuller view of who in truth we are.

All of our consciousness arrives through the inner boundary of the soul. The heart is in some ways like the sun, a portal to other dimensions and that which is truly ‘me’ flows in through this ‘inner boundary’ of the soul. This flow divides immediately in two: An upward, reflective stream that is our thinking and a downward warmth that is our actions. In its essence thinking is fear, it recoils from the world in order to reflect upon it and creates images that are our own individualised creations giving us a true source for individuality; In essence to act in the world is to love, refining this so that it is more and more helpful to others/True to the All is the course of human life, the un-knotting of karma, the deepest awakening to the true nature of being centre-aware human. (more)

Thinking and action (will) curve over towards each other again and blend in the middle creating our feeling/emotional life. Our essential self that flows into this moment through the inner boundary of the soul is to some extent perceptible through the transparency of our everyday feeling life, but sometimes it can be hard to see this clearly or to distinguish it from the everyday. When we sit in silence or take even a moment to consider what is truly going on in our feelings it can often happen that the thinking identifies something and, as thinking will do, fixes it into a belief, an image that is no longer a living truth. Another way to understand what is truly going on in one’s feeling/emotional life is to let it flow into action through taking space to move the body as an image of the feelings. Understanding our feelings through the will rather than through the thinking in this way gives us a complementary insight into the life of feeling that deepens our perception of self and broadens our ability to act fruitfully from our feelings with less crashing into those of others.

Meditative movement is a practice found in various streams of personal development work from Alexander Technique to Biodanza. While some of these practices take the path of elevating physical experience into spirit, others regard spirit as primary in harmony with Steiner’s emphasis on cultivating eternal aspects of ourselves. Allowing the mixed, dream-world of feelings to flow into bodily movement gives us a direct somatic experience of how consciousness is moving in us. Practicing this requires that we drop out of the crystallising of thinking and into the constant flow of change that is our moment to moment experience. As our movement, slight or wide, smooth or shaky begins to reflect the patterns that are flowing or raging through our chest we begin to get greater insight, more intimate relations and expanded awareness of how we are, indeed of who, in this moment we are. Movement of this sort can make a radical contribution to our ability to deal with our feelings, our ability to hold and not project onto others the struggles we face and a more flexible interface between the way we feel and who we like to think we are.

In effect this sort of attentive movement can become like a dance, varying from the wild to the passive, from the torpid to the dramatic but what really matters is not how it looks. This is why it is important to do it either alone or in the company of others who are not trying to relate to what your movement looks like. In dropping any interest in what our movement looks like we focus our interest on how it feels. Movement as an expansion of how we feel is like teasing out tangles in twine, pulling the knotted mass out till it is looser and the ends can be eased through, the loops can be diminished and slowly the full thread of consciousness can become clear.

There are two ways of relating to the clarity that arises. On the one hand one may simply note the change in the pattern of the feelings themselves and then of the expressions one’s movement is giving them.  On the other hand one can see into and name elements of the feelings that had previously been hidden in the turmoil. The first way retains the strength of the will in one’s awareness the second way allows the clarity of thinking to get involved, offering the thinking itself ways of change that deepen and strengthen the fabric of our concept of who we are.

Even just a little time spent giving some small physical expression to the feelings of the moment can loosen the knot a little, make relating to the moment easier and smooth ones relations with others through having expanded them with oneself. Unlike many traditional exercises for working with the feelings that can easily result in pushing things down below consciousness this is a method that allows consciousness itself to look deeper into our personal nature and assist in bringing our experiences and reactions into more of the light of individual spirit.


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