I noticed form my own experience and experience of others that once we enter an active process of transformation, mind and body dichotomy becomes very apparent. Especially in the beginning, when internal unsettlement leads to change, the body is the first place we look for grounding. I must admit that for me bodily awareness is something that started to exist only very recently. I can vividly remember when I came back from my first 10-days mediation retreat, I got a sense of my whole body. Before that I had partial awareness to the point that I wouldn’t bother to dry my back after the shower. I didn’t feel that it was wet. There was not much positivity around my body when I was growing up. So, I kind of pushed it to the side until the moment when I felt close to total disconnection. I don’t mean ceasing to function physically, I never experienced anything of that kind, but I definitely didn’t take my bodily experiences into account in my everyday.
Looking back at the time when I wasn’t friends with my body, I have to say it wasn’t all that bad. Ignoring the signals my body was sending allowed me to push stronger towards my aspirations. I didn’t care about being tired I was just moving towards the direction this movement was taking me. It was great. Honestly speaking, I was rejecting thinking of it as something positive for a while. Once I started to notice my body, I thought it should take the main stage. I wanted to give it attention, calm myself down, be more in my body and not in my head. It also makes sense, I felt that becoming more in touch with my body will solve my unsettlement. And in some sense it was true, but not in the way I was expecting it. Finding grounding in the body is not a remedy on its own. Neither is going meta or going completely rational. None of these are relevant without the understanding of the greater goal that we have for ourselves. This goal can be anything, it can even be fully situated in the body or in the mind. The distinction between the two feels arbitrary if we look at it through the lens of intrinsic drive. It is a handy distinction to have especially when making a step from little body/mind to more body/mind. Learning to first notice, recognise bodily reactions, then align them with what is happening around and follow up with the question what do I have to do with what I feel at the moment. These steps allow to use body as signalling system to notice, but it can’t really tell you what to do. Without the complex processing that happens in our brain, sensations that are experiences in the body are empty of meaning. But without those sensations there is no connection with the world outside, thus, no thinking is possible. Even when in certain circumstances people are trapped in their bodies without an ability to sense, but thinking processes are preserved, thoughts are formed out of prior memories and experiences.
I feel that something I call embodied rationality can be a way to go. Body is a remarkable signalling, sensing and self-regulating entity which supports and enables thinking to occur. It is not about having a preference one over another, but about seeing them as one. We should forget that the body sometimes is driven by a very different set of motivations. Its main goal is to keep us safe and not take too many risks. But taking risks and exploring boundaries is what contributes to the feeling of aliveness. So even if the body sends a signal of doubt or excitement it is not always necessary to respond to it. We need to listen to it, acknowledge the reaction, look around, evaluate the situation and then act accordingly. There is a lot of wisdom within us, and it is coming from the unity between the body and the mind and not their separateness.