Here’s a warning to all the great spellers out there, I’ve created a new word: Mindbody. One word. Yes, I have an irritated spellchecker, too.
This word is my intentional attempt to re-frame the idea that our minds and bodies are separate. They are not, we just think of them that way and sometimes treat them that way. The fact that we’ve given them separate names is not helpful, either. Perhaps worst of all is that they are rarely treated as equals.
We live in a mind-dominated world where thoughts, education, elitism, and the Ivy League are synonymous with money, power, and happiness. As someone who spent five years on the MIT campus, I can assure you that many in the pursuit of an elite intellect often put the messages of their body a distant second. That was years ago, yet not much has changed.
In 2016, we are still speaking of and treating our bodies as objects we need to control, train, or fix, as if they are not a part of us that is necessarily alive – we objectify them.
The objectification of the body is, tragically, a common global phenomenon. We all do it, we’ve been raised to.
In spiritual terms, the body represents the feminine. The body represents the sacred female, earth, mother, intuition, irrationality, nurturing strength, and beauty.
Globally, the feminine aspects within each of us (male and female) are typically diminished in favor of the sacred male, the sun, father, mind, thought, manifestations of physical strength, and logic.
Simply observe the state of the Earth and the females that inhabit it, and we can easily understand how we feel about and treat our bodies.
Thousands of blog posts could be written about the destruction of earth, and the abuse and objectification of women (by men and women alike). Yet there’s no need, you witness this every day on television and your own personal lives as “normal.”
Men and women alike hate our bodies, starve them, train them, and trash them. Then, we medicate and lop off some parts completely when our attempts at hypercontrol fail.
This is subtle, but here are some examples of the many tricky ways the mind-dominated ego tries to control our bodies instead of integrating all messages as ones to be honored.
- We deny the body to for money, power, and perceived safety. We have all been, or seen, people at work who are chronically tired, ill, and “pushing through” in favor of productivity and achievement – a common buzz-word of the mind-dominated. “Employees with jobs don’t get to be tired.” They “achieve” through self-destruction, taking in more food, more caffeine, getting less sleep, taking pills, or whatever else is needed. We train ourselves to deny any message of self-care, intuition, or weakness.
- We deny our body to parent. Mind-dominated moms and dads are the ones waiting for the martyr committee to show up and give them their awards for self-sacrifice in the line of duty. Despite our own exhaustion and illnesses, we will “produce perfect children who will be productive members of society” while sacrificing all forms of self-care, happiness, and purpose. We use our martyrdom as a weapon of resentment and control among our families. The “push through it” and “be productive” attitudes are chronic mind-dominated responses created by our egos to fulfill the most challenging role in society, that of a parent. We self-destruct for our children, but call it sacrifice. Potato, potahto.
- We self-deny, normalizing pain as “healthy.” Last, for today anyway, there’s another sneaky end of this spectrum, the people who are “training” their bodies. What most people actually mean when you ask them what “training” means is that they are training their bodies to do something their minds have decided they should do to be healthy. This is completely ironic. We treat the body as separate from the mind, and as a lesser object in fact, and believe that it needs to submit to pushing past its inherent limits to be healthy. We accept the natural pain from training as a healthy message. “No pain, no gain.” Pain is fine. Let’s ignore it. The more all of us look like strongmen, regardless of sex, the better. No weak bodies allowed. No softness or nurturing either.
Do you see it yet? We all do this stuff. It feels hard to figure out how to accept and not control the body. We must work, parent, and exercise. We even like to. Strong feels good.
It’s also uncomfortable to learn to about ourselves and heal our global and cultural biases. We would much rather call a surgeon and nip and tuck, or push through, yet these are ways to control the body instead of hearing its messages.
Would it help if I told you what the messages were about? What is behind the chronic tired and pain? Everything you ever wanted to know is what your are denying and hypercontrolling.
The journey into the pain is a pilgrimage to a holy place within ourselves. Our bodies contain all the wisdom of the universe. It’s all we get and all we need. We simply need to honor our bodies’ messages, all of them.
If you are objectifying your body, it means you have created a control-freak, called the ego, to manage which information makes it to the mind. The control freak is not male or female, it is simply a false persona you’ve created that fulfills the role we play in society when we feel as if we cannot be ourselves.
By definition, the ego is a fragile, mind-dominated construct created to deny many important ideas of the authentic self.
The road to bliss and the effortless manifestation of one’s destiny runs through the body.
When we allow all the thoughts of the body to be heard in the mind, it is astounding. Just as pain is a symptom of the mind-dominated ego denying the true self, your mindbody will heal quickly as you do this work. Pain simply means the system is unbalanced. It is a benevolent gift of longevity.
This week’s assignment is to ask yourself, “In what ways am I objectifying my body to play a role, or to manifest a desire?”
Your body will begin to responds as you answer this question. If we allow them, bodies talk through feelings first that ultimately manifest as ideas. It may feel tingly, or emotional, or like you need food and drink. As you continue to ask yourself through the week, the feelings will eventually become information, a thought that feels like an answer. The pain will leave. AHA! This is how we awaken and enlighten.
Have a good week!