I am being called to something new, to opening up to inner states that are beyond me yet are also already deep inside. The mystics are pointing the way into the great unknown, and yet there is familiarity here too. It is hard to describe at the level of words. I simply listen and know truth when I feel it.
“The body never lies. The mind often does.” As a yogi and yoga teacher, I learned this truth firsthand and have said it multiple times to students over the years. With every fiber of my being, I know it is truth. I believe it is the truth that led me to embodiment studies and practice several years ago, as well as other disciplines I couldn’t have ‘thunk up’ on my own. Life is funny that way. We are somehow led to where we need to go.
Let’s start with the term ’embodiment’ because it is elusive at best. While it starts with studying, visualization and somatization, it becomes a recognized felt sense in the body. Ultimately this sense leads to fully living through the body’s direct experience without the filter of the mind … but it takes work and practice. And as I write this, I know I’ve only caught glimpses. I don’t live in an embodied way 24/7.
We’ve been taught, especially in the West, that the mind is superior to all. Our culture honors more separation than connectedness, and consequently most of us live through our minds and intellect with little thought of the body. The practice of embodiment is a new way of knowing. Fully embodying oneself is beyond the mind yet encompasses the whole beautifully.
Where I find myself today is at the intersection of multiple disciplines and practices, all which seem completely unrelated and incongruent on the outside but which resonate deeply at the level of the body. It is something I’ve been feeling for a while but couldn’t put words to, then I read this:
“If it is truth, it has to be true everywhere or it is not true at all.” ~ St. Vincent of Lerin, from Fr. Richard Rohr’s book, Immortal Diamond
Fr. Rohr writes further: ‘If it is true, then science, psychology, poetry and philosophy will also be seeing the same thing, but from different angles, at different levels, and with different vocabularies.‘ My body vibrates as I read these words. I feel the truth of it deeply.
As a lifelong spiritual seeker, my road has been long and winding, with interests and callings that have taken me deeply into Christianity (and several church denominations along the way), yoga teacher trainings, deep immersion in yogic philosophy, somatics, embodiment, writing, journaling, a longstanding gratitude practice and most recently Christian mysticism. All of these disciplines and practices hold deep truths for me; they are lenses in which I see myself. To most they would seem incongruent and incompatible, but I find the opposite to be true.
My life’s work is that of truth seeking, following the paths I’m led down and discerning truths and untruths, for me, along the journey. Words fail. Perhaps that is why I recognize truths in an embodied way. There is a knowing beyond knowing.
I have a pretty good idea of where I’m heading next, but I’m also honoring the mystery that is here because in that mystery I know I’ll be led to the exact right place at the exact right time. As Rumi writes: ‘what you seek is seeking you.’ That too is beyond full mind comprehension but directly in line with what feels right.