As a society, we spend decades filling our minds to the brim with all sorts of information. We see the mind as the ultimate tool of life, however the number of psychiatric disorders and mental disturbances is ever increasing. The more we engage with society, the more we realize the collective insanity at play, especially in the human media outlets. The fears, victim consciousness, entitlement and infinitesimal subject matters form a sticky web within our consciousness. Some people are so full of information that they are completely disconnected form their internal compass within their hearts. We have layers to our nervous system and the most primitive actually are the most reliable compass, yet we continue to worship the massive brain within our skulls. Just like a martial arts master must command peace as well as battle, we too have the responsibility to turn the noggin off in order to heal rejuvenate and find out how we really feel about a situation. By recognizing that the brain and the heart are polarities, we can see that western society encourages all of us to be extremists. We must have control over that faculty for if the brain is relied upon too heavily, we become an ungrounded ticking time bomb of confusion and conflict. This aspect is mostly overlooked by our society and we pour in too many resources (time and otherwise) into accumulating data and not enough erasing, weeding out the unnecessary and choosing carefully what goes in (that which resonates deeply with who we are). We think more is better, but are never taught how all these subjects are related to us as an individual or how to feel into them, so they connect, fully integrate with our paths and become useful in the long run.
After more than a decade of working in the field of bodywork and energy healing, I can attest to the correlation between and unruly mind and level of pain and disconnect from the body. I focus a great deal of attention just getting clients to breathe deeply and at regular intervals. It is as if we are afraid of what a full nourishing breath can do. I was too, at the start of my journey to health. It is no surprise that your breath brings you into the body and that is why so many traditions rely on this tool to reconnect the human being to their instincts and inner strength. We are on many levels suffocating the very life force that sustains us by depriving the body of this precious vital function. With some clients I can actually see them squinting their faces and struggling with the duality of life, not knowing what is right or wrong for their path and filled with "shoulds" and "need to"s from external sources. Internal misalignment can only lead to misaligned decisions and actions, so the conflict and problems compound upon themselves and inevitably bury them in despair, pain and sickness. As soon as I speak the words "you cannot think your way through life" my client usually takes a breath while I witness their mind take a back seat, their awareness drops into their heart, and their spirit becoming calm and still. It is as if I am giving them permission to enter a state they really want to be in. They descend into the body and start feeling through the rest of their sensory organs rather than from solely their eyes and web of thought from artificially imprinted/imposed data.
The question then comes up of how to tame the said imprinted input/reaction pathway that keeps us on the surface level. While there are many tools, educating your body through the experience of breath is the most fundamental and primal way. Quite often people try it for about 30 seconds and they say I'm bored and walk away. They do not give themselves a chance to fully feel the effect of the practice or enough time to actually produce a noticeable change. One of my teachers used to say “When you don’t go within, you go without.” In order to help people with their "boredom issue" I often recommend that they choose a practice that is complicated enough to keep them engaged, yet simple enough that they can actually accomplish the task. I recommend to start with a time and make sure to continue the practice no matter what until the timer goes off. It is like baking a cake, if you pull it out before the dough is cooked due to impatience, you will be disappointed with the result. Think of your mind as a massive dry erase board that you've been working your whole life to fill up. In order to erase the volume of data in the working memory (you wont actually delete useful knowledge in your brain), you need to set up a chunk of time undoing the confusion that leads to mental strain, insomnia, worry and anxiety. The fear or missing out on learning is a symptom of addiction to accumulation of information and is the first obstacle to be overcome. I want to assure you that you will be much more efficient at every task after defragmenting your brain, so there is no need to worry about missing time. You can actually think of breath work as a power boost to your efficiency which will help you get more done in the end. Try inhaling 5:5:5 breath - counting to 5 for the inhale, hold and exhale throughout your practice. Continue for 5 minutes by setting a timer on your phone. When it goes off, inhale one last time and hold slightly longer until you feel the natural need to exhale.
Another symptom of living in your head and trying to think your way through life is the disconnect from sources of nourishment and the ability to feel what the body needs, in essence disconnect from mother Earth. Every atom in your body is made of Mother Earth, so by nourishing your body, you actually honor her. It is not coincidence that eating in a nourishing way is actually more sustainable and more environmentally friendly. When you ask your body what it needs and listen with your heart, I guarantee you the message will likely be fresh squeezed juice and raw veggies, not Oreos and hot dogs. If you think about your body this way, you realize that we often worry about other peoples relationship to earth, what corporations are doing to the environment but ignore millions of our own daily choices and actions within our control. This manifests as the use of food for entertainment and overrides the natural intuitive drive for nourishment. Processed foods are costly to the environment, your health and inevitably your wallet. Not only are they lacking in essential nutrients, they are often filled with substances that impede health, or cost the body more resources to eliminate. In addition, the imbalance of vital substances prevents our neuroendocrine system from correctly relaying messages and has a direct impact on how we feel and our ability to respond to the environment. The most obvious example of this can be quickly observed in children. When they eat synthetic foods, hight fructose corn syrup, food coloring, they have a hard time making the right decisions, being patient, thoughtful or mindful. When kids eat for entertainment, you know there will be hell to pay and a tantrum down the road. Unfortunately adults are the same, but we are caught up in the drama and often blow up at others as though they are responsible for our inner state of being. Worse yet, when diet and breath are out of balance for long periods of time, we chalk it up to depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc. You cannot reason your way out of these emotional rollercoasters. They are a powerful force pushing us out of balance, mentally physically and emotionally. This force of misalignment can wreck lives and relationships, all the while clouding our vision and keeping us in a state from which we continually make wrong choices.
Modern day psychiatry insists that neurochemicals are out of balance in the body, causing us to feel or act a certain way. Of course when your body doesn't have the appropriate building blocks to create said neurochemicals, there is obvious deficiency, however it is not the root of the dis-ease. The easiest way to come into alignment is to honor Mother Earth as represented by our own physical system. We are completely inseparable from her. We can only live fully if we practice breathing deeply so when we are in need, this function turns on automatically. We can only live mindfully when we align the needs of the body with our action. This actually goes deeper than diet into the world of movement and activity. Sedentary lifestyles clog up the system as well and cause the skeleton to collapse on its self. People often come to me for bodywork and think they need to relax their muscles, when the pain actually comes from continual hypoxia and lack of movement. without definition in muscles through physical activity, vital fluids are incapable of traveling through the body. This turns into ischemia, and weighed down by weakness the joints start to compress nerves and blood vessels.
The greatest gift I have received through meditation is knowing how to listen to my heart. Now I know when and how to act in regards to maintaining my health or other big decisions. I am going to share the technique I was shown, so you can also utilize your birthright as a human being to make correct choices that are integral and aligned with who you are. First with your intention, open your heart. This means dropping all walls, judgement, turbulent emotions and settling into the peace within yourself. Drop your awareness into your heart and ask your question, then observe the field of energy. If your field begins sweeping side to side, it is a no answer or forward and back for a yes answer. Over time, your breath and calm awareness of your heart will be an automatic reflex arc you can rely upon for guidance. I encourage all to practice this method of listening and acting in accordance with the embodied Earth energy system that is yourself. Your heart always has the answers that you've been searching for in the external world. Your body is your soul mate so may you treat it well.