Embodied. What does that mean, anyway?
Here’s one explanation: Being present in our bodies from the inside out, as well as outside in.
This sounds pretty basic. Yet what I’ve been finding, in my own explorations, is that the conceptual often trumps the experiential. Unless I intentionally, mindfully, and slowly enliven a felt sense of my body.
The MBSR-style “body scan” begins with feeling your left foot. At first, I could get a really clear image of my left foot. I could visualize my left foot. I’ve studied yoga for years and even was quoted in Yoga Journal awhile ago about the wonders of feeling my feet on the mat… and yet.
As I consistently practice, my foot is totally popping out into 3-D, maybe even more dimensions — because I can really, really feel it. Not the idea of my foot, but the actual tingles, aches, pulses… all the different parts and areas of my foot are starting to appear (and disappear). Even as I focus on it to write this now, my foot comes alive. And this process of waking up is happening, bit by bit, all through my body.
The Embodied Anatomy course that I’ve written about in other posts offers a training in bone-deep, organ-deep, and cell-deep experiential knowing of ourselves. I mean really deep — I’ve just started this study and have many moments of feeling utterly lost, in myself! — to have a felt sense of the shape and position of your liver, for example. It’s not the concept of the liver, an imagined liver, or the picture of it in the anatomy textbook — although those help, too. But how my liver feels now.
Why would we want to feel our livers or left feet?
Today’s answer: To live fully in the wonder of being alive.
Also, it’s amazing. We’re amazing.
Awaken to the mystery of being here
and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence. (J. O’Donohue)
There are many people reading this blog who have opinions and experiences with this, and I would love to read your comments and stories about embodiment. (Hint, hint… you know who you are… click on “Comments” below….)