Rediscover the Felt Sense: Connecting with the Body’s Wisdom
May 07, 2019 01:53AM
By Victoria Shaw
Your body is an amazing reflection of your divinity—a sacred vessel to contain your spirit during your time here on Earth. Unfortunately, many of us have been taught to distrust our physical forms. We have learned to believe our bodies are not strong enough, pretty enough or hearty enough. The goal then becomes a battle with our bodies, to force them into submission to our egoic minds.
Journey to Disempowerment
From an early age, most of us are taught that our bodies are to be mastered rather than loved and respected. Instead of learning to attend to the body’s natural signals, as children we are taught to eat at certain meal times and not necessarily when hungry. We are taught that illness is something to be feared, and may even be our fault. A seemingly innocuous statement like “put your coat on or you’ll get sick” teaches children not only to disrespect their body’s signals of feeling warm or cold, but that if they do not do what they are told, they will become ill.
Many of us have been shamed by others because the size and/or shapes of our bodies do not align with cultural ideals.
We have internalized these judgments, blaming ourselves for not being pretty or fit enough, further distancing us from the wisdom of our bodies.
Even doctors in our society, who are heralded as the “experts” of our health and wellness, are often taught to discard their patients’ subjective experiences in favor of hard science and expert opinion.
Re-discovering the “Felt Sense”
Infants are born with a deep, kinesthetic awareness of their physical bodies. Over time, however, individuals are taught to identify more with the mind than this “felt sense”. An essential step to connecting with the wisdom of the physical body is tapping back into the felt sense of your physical form.
You can begin with this simple exercise introduced by Eckhart Tolle in The Power of Now: Hold your hand up in the air. Without looking at it or moving it, how do you know that it is there? You might feel a slight tingling in the area of the hand or a sense of aliveness. This is the felt sense—the experience of the body from the inside out.
Another exercise you can try to access the felt sense is by connecting with the energy of your abdomen. Try putting both hands on your belly, or if you prefer one hand on your belly and the other on the center of your chest. Close your eyes, deepen your breath and tune into the sensation of energy flowing between your two hands or your hand and your belly. Imagine dropping into the center of your body and experiencing the amazing wellspring of energy that exists there. Let go of your thoughts and tune into the sensations.
When you practice tapping into the felt sense on a regular basis, you deepen your connection with your physical body and the wisdom that lies therein. You may also experience a deeper level of peace and relaxation, not just when you are practicing this exercise but throughout the day. Over time you will learn to drop into your body at will, even in the most challenging situations, to experience her wisdom and guidance.
Look for Symbolism in Your Symptoms
Our bodies contain a vast repository of information regarding mental and emotional well-being. The Western medical paradigm is only just beginning to comprehend the important role of our mental and emotional lives on our physical health. Issues that begin on the mental/emotional planes and remain unaddressed, will eventually manifest as symptoms in our physical bodies. A pain in your foot may reflect a deeper fear or uncertainty about moving forward in your life. Tight shoulders or pain in the upper back may indicate that you are carrying a heavy burden.
To identify a mental/emotional physical connection, you can enter a meditative state and imagine having a dialogue with the injured or ailing part of your body. Ask what it is trying to tell you and the steps you can take to correct any imbalances and ease the discomfort. You can also ask before you go to sleep to have that information revealed to you in your dreams.
Awaken Your Intuition
As you deepen your relationship with your body, you will naturally strengthen your connection with your intuition. Intuition is the inner wisdom that connects us with our higher spiritual selves. Many people experience their intuition as bodily sensations like goosebumps when something feels right, and a tightening in the gut when something feels wrong. The more we listen to and follow these intuitive experiences, the more we strengthen our connection to this form of guidance.
A great way to access the intuitive wisdom is through the felt sense. Before you begin, you can identify a question or issue you would like guidance on. You may want to begin with a simple yes or no question that does not carry a strong emotional charge. You can also ask to be shown what you most need to know. Begin by following the directions above to find your felt sense. Eventually your mind will become still and you will feel a profound connection with your physical presence. Gently reflect on your question and notice the sensations of your body, letting them be your guide.
A constricted, heavy or tight feeling may indicate a “no”, whereas a warm, expansive feeling may be a “yes”. You may also “hear” your guidance in the form of a calm, clear inner voice and/or “see” images or symbols that will shed light on your query. The more you practice connecting with your intuition in this manner, the more you will come to understand the particular language of your sensory knowing.
Learning to listen to your body means learning to tap into your own internal wisdom. Treat your physical body with love and respect. Know that your body is doing its very best to support you through a sometimes challenging journey on this earth.