The bold links in this article are affiliate links. That means that if you click on a link that takes you to Amazon, and you buy from the site, I get a percentage of the sale.
Following on from last time’s video with Chris Earnshaw, the Spiritual CEO, about pendulums, today we talk about what your body, not your brain, knows as the truth, at a cellular level. If you are interested in cell biology but you are not brilliant with science, don’t panic, read Bruce Lipton’s book, The Biology of Belief. It’s accessible without being condescending or simplistic. In one chapter, he talks about two dishes of human cell growth; in dish A, cells were bunked up with a chemical that would kill them; in dish B, the cells were side-by-side with a substance that would sustain them. In dish A, the cells grew away from the poison. In dish B, the cells grew towards a cell food substance. So we see, cells have intrinsic intelligence, they know what’s good for them, even without being attached to a brain. But if that’s true, why do people smoke and eat doughnuts? Your brain says: “Nah, babe, it’ll cool. You deserve this. It’s all good. Go on…” and so on.
Candace Pert talked about bodymind connections. As a neural scientist and endocrinologist, she knew more than the average about how the body works. One of the points she makes in Molecules of Emotion is that our memories and emotions are stored in our cells. We have a physical, not a neural memory, and all the emotions that relate to those memories are also stored in our body. For example, if as a child someone grabbed you by the right forearm and shouted in your face, then your right forearm will always be sensitive to touch, and you won’t like it when people hold your arm, even though you might not have any memory of the event.
So, both Lipton and Pert agree: your body knows better than your brain what’s what. In fact, Asian people put their hands over their hearts when they say “my mind”, and it’s now known that there are more neural cells in your gut than in your head. So, how can we use that bodymind connection?
Eugene Gendlin studied how people’s emotions are stored in their bodies, and wrote about it in his book Focusing. In his therapy, he explored how we can access our body’s physical knowing to make a connection and ultimately, it’s hoped, to heal our minds. Your body knows the truth of what you mind tries to grasp but can’t. It’s fascinating how Gendlin arrived at his theory. He wanted to know how some people were able to make significant, lasting breakthroughs with talk therapy, while others experienced it as an expensive waste of time. What he and his researchers found was that it was the people who were at a loss for words, who didn’t consciously know and couldn’t articulate what they were feeling, but, and this is key – who searched for non-verbal answers – were the ones who succeeded in therapy. Talk about Zen inquiry, and your body as a koan.
As my A-Level Art teacher, Mr. Graves-Morris used to say: “Thinking is not doing”. Our minds, our egos are there for a reason, to tell us when to cross the road and when not to. But when the police take over the state, problems occur. Going back to Chris Earnshaw’s video, pendulums are a way of knowing of what is indeed best for us. Anne Weiser Cornell’s book, The Power Of Focusing is also really great, by the way, and I strongly suggest you read it. In fact I wish everyone would read it.
Maybe you don’t want to get your pendulum out in the supermarket to decide which brand of coffee to buy. And your focusing practice is not all it could be yet, plus which you don’t have a spare half hour to decide whether you should accept the job offer you’ve just been made. There is a way access your body’s intrinsic inner knowing, but some prepping needs to be done first:
- Find a quiet place, without any distractions, where you can be alone for half an hour.
- Sit down and get quiet. Dedicate this time to what you have to do. Turn your mobile phone off. Sit down. Sit still.
- When you feel like you are quiet enough, after about 10 minutes, tell yourself something you know is true, such as: “I love fluffy kittens.” How is that knowing, that truth, felt in your body? Is it a warm glow, are you involuntarily smiling? Do you feel a little tingly and light-headed? That’s your “yes” signal.
- Now get up from where you are sitting and put on some music and dance, sing and jump about. You could also hang up the laundry or go for a jog, anything that helps you to feel energised.
- Return to where you were before, sit down in quiet as before, get peaceful again. Now say to yourself: “I darn-well hate fluffy kittens”, or something you know to be untrue about yourself. How does that lie feel? Is it a tightness around your ears, or a slight headachy feeling? Register that as a “no” signal.
- You now have a “yes” and “no” signal. You can ask yourself any question about what is best for you, how to best navigate a situation, what to eat and so on. This works best if you only do it once or twice in a row, after which the signals seem to become fainter. Try it with predictions, too: “Will Jackman’s Ace win the 4:42 tomorrow at Chepstow?”
The technique above is from Sandra Ingerman’s Soul Retrieval, although not the racing tips.
You can also use your body exactly like a pendulum. Ask yourself a question you know the answer to is yes, such as: “Is my name ….?” and feel your body rock backwards and forwards saying yes. Then do the same with a question you know the answer to is no, such as: “Am I freakishly excellent at calculus?” and experience your body swinging from left to right, saying no. What is interesting is when you find yourself doing this involuntarily. The more you practice the technique, the better you become.
In a future blog post, we will discuss how the mind and the body came to be seen as separate not so very long ago, how that split benefited science and therefore has undoubtedly saved millions of lives, but at the same time how we need to close the bodymind loop once again.
Bye for now and have a great week.