Mindbody, an Integrated Whole
This part, that part. What parts am I afraid of or excited for? Myself at 3, 12, 18 and now. My body, health, and life circumstances. Thoughts about my body, health, and life circumstances. Feelings and sensations in my body when I think about it all. Whew! It’s complicated.
Explore different ways you express yourself when you’re with friends who adore you, family (some of who may be friendly and some not), in a competitive workplace, safe at home, or on an adventure that has you on your toes. What is safe to reveal and when? What will people be interested in knowing about you? What can you afford to share, and with whom?
How much we reveal about ourself in different settings with different people can be genuine as well as strategic. At band practice, we’re more likely to talk about jazz than about trauma stored in the body. We learn from experience. We know to stay away from certain topics with certain people, because we don’t trust them to be kind or to keep our confidences. Our nervous system lets us know. We can’t think our way out of it. We experience safety and that opens up more freedom.
I know myself. I love the person I am now and the person I am becoming. All of these parts and ages and body/breath/thought are part of an integrated whole. I am more than my experiences, my body and the circumstances of my life. I also know myself as Being.
There is no right or wrong answer in these explorations. Our primary relationship is with ourselves and then we branch out from there. When we have trauma and core deficiency beliefs, we are hypervigilant and may over-protect, both from knowing ourselves, and from authentic deep connection and sharing with others.
We reduce obstacles to knowing our mindbody as an integrated whole through these practical ways of understanding and working with our lives.
We also do spiritual practice to directly experience Being. In the yoga meditation tradition there are 5 layers or sheaths called koshas that surround our Being. Just as a lamp may be covered with layers of scarves that shade the light, this practice in the 5 koshas helps us to unify these many levels and layers and to experience Being more directly.
The annamaya kosha, the most manifest and solid, is the body made of food — our bones, muscles, tissues etc. As we relax our physical body, we become aware of:
The pranamaya kosha, the body made of energy and breath, that is more subtle than the physical body. As we relax our physical body and breath, we become aware of:
The manomaya kosha, the lower level of the mind, our thought stream. As our body, breath and thoughts become unified and settled, we have access to:
The vijnanamaya kosha, the higher level of the mind, our wisdom and intuition then even more subtle isL
The anandamaya kosha, more subtle still, is the layer of bliss and joy that covers our Being.
Integrating the layers through a practice like this is one way to open into directly experiencing what is always here: ever pure, ever wise, ever free.