What would it mean if I really understood (in my bones as they say) that my body is supporting me? If I really got that my body is here in exactly the way it is meant to be? This it is reflecting to me the support that I need by showing me the support that it needs? What if I really treated my body as the vessel of my soul, the house of my spirit; and followed its lead when it is communicating to me?
I have a place in the back of my spine, mid back, that, in yoga, screams out when I push it too hard in plough pose. This morning I could feel an empty space in that part of my back. After sitting 30 minutes in meditation I could feel the way that it felt like there was no support at that part of my back. That it seemed to be lacking somehow. That it was not up to par or pulling its weight. So I decided to investigate. I sat quietly with myself, setting my timer for another 20 minutes, and I brought my meditative stillness to this area of my body. I let go of all of my suppositions about what it was and how I could “fix it”. Well, maybe I didn’t let them go, but I at least let this scurry in my mind move to the background and I held it more lightly. I let my breath fill my belly, carefully noticing the effect of this expansion, and contraction; fill, and empty itself. My spine began to feel like a zipper of sorts, and I initially thought that it needed to be zipped up.
Instead of acting on this notion, I placed the back of my left hand on my mid back and continued to breathe gently into this area. I was lead, by my body, to place my other hand in the front of my torso, and I noticed that my arms created a band of support for this part of my spine, this part that needed extra support. This simple gesture allowed my breath to expand more fully into my rib cage (with absolutely no effort on my part); and I could feel myself begin to inhabit a deeper part of my belly. I cannot tell you exactly what deeper means here. I only know that it felt like a narrow passageway into deeper physical presence. As I continue to follow this I began to feel a sensation in my inner legs and arms, and their connection to and support of my torso. As I follow this, right now in this moment, an understanding of the flow and movement of support in my body is arising. There is some kind of inner channel that runs vertically up my entire body. I feel it in my inner thighs through my pelvis and torso and also in my inner arms. It has an intensity and force that terrifies me, on a visceral level. It feels like a vitality and movement exponentially greater than me. I know I could read and find out more about what it is, theoretically or from another’s experience; and perhaps eventually I will do this. But this feels personal to me, a discovery opening and revealing itself through my body. There is a deep sense of intimacy with my body.
As I breathe into it now, I understand that the zipper of my spine is UNzipping. I am releasing some body tension that I have needed for many years to give me a sense of support in life. It seems to be “stuck” in the middle, left side of my spine. It seems to be related to the way my torso connects (or forgets the connection) with my limbs; and a belief that my back has to “shoulder” all the weight of my living. That my back is “on its own”, much the way I seem to feel and believe – sometimes in my life. My body is reflecting to me deep-seated (mistaken?) beliefs about who I am and how I receive support. This zipper is unwinding itself in its own time and fashion – and this place in my back calls forth an inner attunement to my body that I have a developing capacity to bring. I feel the support of my hips and strong thighs; and my shoulders and arms join in this somatic crusade to inhabit my body in a purely animal way. I feel a coming together of my body at the joints that connect my limbs to my torso. This inquiry leaves me further attuned to the implicit support of my body – as long as I devote the time, attention, and energy to following its subtle lead on its terms, I can understand that the body is showing up to support me. In this instance helping me see a physical disconnection that points to a deeper psychological gap.
This, I get, is what the mind-body conversation is truly about: an interrelationship built on collaboration and trust. Like the growing relationship between my arms and legs and my torso, it happens by bringing all of my faculties to bear in the present moment. As I finish this writing, my heart feels touched and opened. I experience a wonder and beauty that I know is the grace of God, leading my soul home to the truth of my existence.