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The body is where the subconscious dwells.
The place where all is remembered. Where those information that are filtered by our brains still exist. It’s a magical place that speaks to us all the time, if we’d just listen.
In this piece, I’ll write about our bodies’ wisdom, but also about why we’re rarely listening.
Why do we know so little about the language our bodies speak? We’re embodied beings, and after a while in this existence, we all know that it is communicating in its own ways, don’t we?
Here’s what I think.
We’re collectively perpetuating a paradigm of separation, in which we’re stuck in rigid opposites. There are not so many in-between spaces, even though life is happening there, where opposites dance not fight.
As Allen Watts quotes Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching), “When people see some things as beautiful, other things become ugly. When people see some things as good, other things become bad. Being and non-being create each other. Difficult and easy support each other. Long and short define each other.”
The very scaffold of our societal system is built on the idea that we’re separated beings that can self-create and achieve anything if we want to. The idea that we’re in control.
To be more precise: the ego creates the illusion that it’s in charge.
And at the same time, we all know in our bones that we’re not in control.
Yes, we can control our minds, have some influence, and can mainly be in charge of our reaction, but we can’t have all that our mind wants. And that’s good. Our egos are children; they shouldn’t be in charge.
Disease stops us. Nature takes what we’ve stolen from it.
The individual and collective subconsciousness will sabotage what is going against our truth.
We have normalized a bunch of things that aren’t nature at all, and we hold onto them as collective, for all costs. Hence, we’re manipulating our bodies and minds, spoiling the food we eat, polluting the air we breath, handing on our traumas to future generations, and functioning reactively instead of creating actively.
Descartes’ “I think therefore I am” was so easily accepted because it claimed exactly what our ego wants: control over what is obviously uncontrollable and ever-changing.
Life. Being aligned with life and embodying all that it is. It was the perfect philosophy to bypass the confrontation with impermanence and interconnections on all layers.
To shed light on it from a slightly different angle: the Feminine and Masculine were separated and hierarchized. The mind was valued over the body–logic over intuition, structure over chaos.
And what was categorized inferior was created as feminine. We’re living in a culture in which success is seen as mastering the masculine aspects of life, while suppressing the feminine and all the wisdom that dwells there stays undiscovered.
It is a modern illusion to think that we’ll be economically successful and happy if we just try hard enough. It’s not just the individual who is responsible for his or her luck/success. This is a false promise of happiness, as Sarah Ahmed calls it.
Claiming that we’re the independent agents of our lives makes the collective personal.
It ignores not just oppressive power relations, but also a social responsibility.
We’re systemic beings. We live in systems; we are an embodied system ourselves and the extent of our interconnectedness isn’t graspable for our mind. Period.
And that’s why the mind desperately tries to make itself believe it’s in control and has created empires around it. What has been orchestrated since decades is claimed as nature and inescapable, when, in fact, it’s not.
But we silently agree to maintain it. It’s violent, but at least it is familiar.
Our bodies though can tap into an interconnected intelligence.
Our organisms carry social rules in their cells, and they’re the place of something that can feel beyond the programming.
As the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu has elaborated, social rules are written in our cells: with every look and word of our primal caregivers, with every role model we observe and rules we subconsciously internalize, our muscles, our nervous system, our psyche, and therewith brain form.
Our organism knows how to behave in order to fit in, in order to get attention and affection, according to our social role, appearance, gender, sexuality…
We built an identity by nourishing what is valued and by hiding what is not. And if we don’t reflect it, our ego even thinks that’s who we are, that’s how it is, that is nature.
But it’s not!
Do you know the feeling when you automatically morph into what is expected from you and later wonder why you couldn’t speak or did something you didn’t want to do?
But do you also know the feeling of resistance in your body?
The moments when you just know something is off, and your mind has no explanation?
When your body or psyche stops you from doing something with developing symptoms?
When you’re suddenly acting out and something inside you says: oh, that wasn’t me.
But it was.
There are two aspects I want to emphasize here:
>> The subconsciousness lives in our body, and it is connected to the collective consciousness (according Carl Gustav Jung). And it is the subconsciousness that is in control, according to a psychoanalytic understanding of the psyche. Believing that, with listening to our bodies and recognizing the voice of our intuition, we can tap in a much wider field. We can connect to a felt sense of knowledge about what is needed for the collective—what our place is and how we can align.
>> This intuition is rebellious and willful, and therefore, sacred. There’s something that is out of control, and we can sense it every day. We can’t lie to this inner wisdom. It basks the wisdom of our entire lives, our ancestors, and the collective. One might even say it is a drop in the ocean of a higher intelligence. It is present and inherently linked to all that exists now and ever has.
If we’re truly present and grounded in the Now, something new that is tremendously alive evolves.
Like the state of nothingness in Daoism, that is the birthplace of everything if we don’t resist. We can access this state in a conversation, in meditation, in movement, in touch, and all form of creation.
In this inner place, which is rather a state of being, we can see the illusions of our lives clearly. Those many aspects in which opposites are not dancing, but cut off from each other. In which, parts of the whole are suppressed and masked.
That’s where we’re able to rebel for something that is more whole, more authentic, more immanently connected.
Something that honors the mystic of life.
I’ve written this for us to understand why most of us haven’t learned to listen to the languages of our bodies and experience profound interconnectedness, and as a call to build this relationship, to rebel, to embrace, and to make the personal collective again.
Let’s link to this ocean of wisdom and act out of it.