by Kelli Hansel
We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” ~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (Jesuit Priest, philosopher, and paleontologist)
Our culture is all about changing, subduing, or avoiding our physical bodies.
Extreme diets, pharmaceuticals, plastic surgery, consumer culture, social media, obsessions, and even our spiritual practices contribute.
What would happen though if we focused on radically being in our body instead of changing, subduing, or avoiding them?
What would it mean to live the language of our body?
There are signs all over the place that a great many people aren’t truly inhabiting this human form we’ve been given. Unconscious behavior runs rampant.
The abuse of food, drugs, alcohol, sex, and one another both emotionally and physically are just some of the ways this is true.
It’s true on the level of faith too.
In spiritual communities all over the globe, there’s a lot of encouragement to “transcend the body,” as it is imagined the Buddha and Jesus Christ did, either through meditation, other spiritual practices, or self-sacrifice.
Escapism is not the answer to the human struggle. It is the cause.
We find ourselves in the midst of struggle and instead of addressing it on the tangible, human level we choose to escape.
At different times of our lives we all are guilty of trying to experience something outside of our human form in various degrees.
Sometimes, this trying is a conscious effort. Other times, it is completely unconscious.
It isn’t always a bad thing. Everyone needs a vacation from time to time.
However, considering death is the only real way to escape the human form, if we don’t allow ourselves to consciously inhabit our bodies we are spending our entire lives avoiding living.
In my 20s my body felt like nothing more than a flesh prison. I had undiagnosed autoimmune disease and battled mental illness.
I spent years on end trying to get outside of my body and in turn made all my struggles worse.
I’ve spent my 30s trying to subdue my maladies.
A little over a year ago, I became a butisattva (practitioner and instructor of Buti Yoga).
Bizzie Gold, the founder of Buti Yoga, established as one of the core values for butisattvas – One can only be as spiritual as they are grounded.
We get nowhere in this human experience by ignoring the body that classifies us as human.
image by Tessa Colley
What’s the point of life if not to navigate it through the human form?
Whether we’re experiencing this active escapism as a result of mental, emotional, or physical trauma doesn’t matter.
What matters is that we make ourselves conscious to it so that we can address it.
Are you really letting yourself be in your body?
Are you opening yourself up to a fully impactful human experience?
Here’s some signs you might be in avoidance mode.
1. You don’t recognize yourself when you look in the mirror.
Every time you look in the mirror you feel like shit.
Even when you try to be positive about your physical appearance, you find yourself smoothing wrinkles in your shirt over your midsection.
So, you’ve started avoiding mirrors. Now, if you happen to catch a glimpse of yourself you’re shocked that what you see is you.
It doesn’t look like you. It doesn’t look like what you imagine when you’re feeling good about who you are and what you’re doing in life.
Our reflection in the looking glass and our reaction to it is a good gauge for whether or not we’re allowing our body to be our home.
Feeling alienated by your own body is not conducive to experiencing your personal power, focus, and will – your magick.
We gotta own these bodies.
Try some self-care to learn to connect with your body on a deeper level.
Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Ask your body some simple questions and trust the answers that your gut gives you:
- Do you need more sleep?
- Do you need to move more? How do you like to move?
- Do you like what I’m feeding you? How do I know if the food and drink I am nourishing you with is the right thing?
- Do I allow you to be primal enough? Fresh air, connecting to earth, clean water, play, etc…
- Do I make you feel beautiful? How can I help you feel beautiful?
- Do we need to go to the doctor or alternative health practitioner?
Listen and take action on the feedback your body gives. But…
2. You overthink everything.
You find it hard to trust your gut.
What is intuition anyway?
Isn’t part of being human our ability to approach things through logic, problem solving, and complex forms of expression?
What if that gut feeling is wrong?
Part of becoming disconnected from the body is that we lose the trust of the feedback it gives us.
We unlearn the language it uses to speak to us. As babies and young children, we are very good at communicating with our bodies.
Our bodies are how we learn to get around in the world and to obtain all that we need for survival.
Add to those basic instincts the ability to reason and discern, and we’re pure force!
Our bodies communicate in the form of sensations.
From emotions, to experiencing hot or cold our bodies provide us with endless data to inform our action.
What if we began with this feedback, then applied logic, and then assessed whether or not that fits with what we “thought” was true at first – intuition?
This is a step by step utilized by The Break Method, also developed by Bizzie Gold.
Using our body and mind for decision making is a game changer. It can save all kinds of anxiety and time second guessing yourself.
3. You ignore physical sensation or overindulge in sensation creating activity to feel alive.
You’ve found yourself saying – I feel dead inside. Everything is dull, mundane… unexciting.
Even down to not knowing when you’re hungry.
You look up from your computer screen and it’s two hours passed lunchtime and you suddenly realize your ravenous.
You couldn’t cry at your grandmother’s funeral even though you were very close.
During sex, you find yourself checking out and making to-do lists for the next day, or debating whether or not the giants mentioned in the Old Testament bible were actually aliens. Orgasm is overrated.
In this case, you’ve disconnected so completely from your body, if you don’t recover the connection, it will be a life altering event that finally provides you the impetus to get back in there… if it doesn’t kill you.
Your body can make life exciting.
What’s in there that you are avoiding? How might you address those things in order to find your way back in?
Or, perhaps you feel alive by being the life of the party. You take all the risks.
Excess is your middle name. Indulging makes you feel alive.
The hangover after is what feels like death. Moderation feels too boring.
Day to day living is not enough to make you feel alive, and it’s only by taking your body to extremes that you get enough sensation to feel present in life.
Otherwise, there’s a numbness to it all. A feeling of waiting that is nearly unbearable.
You too are disconnected from the body.
Even in exploring the limits of the body you are disconnected and ignoring it.
There’s not a balance. It is not sustainable. Therefore, you aren’t getting the totality of experience.
Image courtesy of spacedrone808 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
You are not present for life, but constantly trying to alter it.
How can you impact something for the positive if you aren’t aware of all that it currently is?
What too are you avoiding?
How might you address those things in order to find your way back in?
4. The way you dress yourself and present to the world doesn’t reflect you as an individual.
I have been both the “frumpy” mom and the bold, “out there” character.
It’s good to be both of those things from time to time.
Yet, if I hone in on what makes me both comfortable and feeling beautifully true to myself as unique person, it is neither of those things.
For some of us, wearing an actual costume every day feels really great.
Some of us feel free in a messy bun and sweats. We are all individuals.
However, it is also true that many of us hide behind “looks” when we could be giving ourselves freedom to express our individuality through how we present our bodies to the world.
The first impression we make is through our physical appearance.
What do you want to say? What will reflect your truest self to others? What do you look like when you honestly feel beautiful by your own definition?
Do you have your own definition of beauty?
5. Your spiritual practice focuses on transcending the body.
Has escapism become a dogma for you under a spiritual guise? Flesh as weakness.
Every major religion and most traditional spiritual practices have some form of this thought when taken out of context or to the extreme.
Is all your chakra work in the upper triangle? Is your biggest struggle in meditation to ignore the physical sensations in your body?
Do you spend hours praying your way out of struggles? Are you honing astral projection, but ignoring the stomach pains after you eat?
The truth is, looking at the chakra system and other psychological schools of thought, that most of our inner work should be around our connection to home/tribe, interpersonal relationships, and our expression of ourselves as an individual.
The lower triangle of chakras, if you are familiar with that system.
The things that illustrate our human experience.
Without roots a tree cannot reach the heavens.
Without the ability to ground into our bodies, how do we even know what we are transcending?
Maybe the lesson is to – be here now.
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About the Author:
Kelli Hansel finds safe and productive places darkness amidst a spiritual world feigning over white lights and positivity. She is a writer, intuitive guide, self empowerment teacher, and avid yoga witch. Making her home in the Appalachian mountains of Kentucky her witchery and approach is steeped in the mountain traditions. As a 200hr. RYT and 15+ year yogini and instructor, yoga and yogic philosophy deeply informs the magick. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and her website – www.kellihansel.com.
featured image courtesy of spacedrone808 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net