We spend a lot of our time thinking and doing stuff, but how often do we recognize the need for feeding the soul? Our Body Being is apportioned a certain amount of energy with which to live the life we have been given. But to do that it needs more fuel than the food we eat.
Gurdjieff tells us there are three kinds of food, physical food, air, and impressions. Without what he calls our “first-being food” we can only live a few weeks. Without air, only a few minutes. But without any impressions coming from outside or inside us, we would be dead in seconds. Maybe even instantly.
Impressions are soul food, or in his words “third-being food.” On the simplest level, they tell us that we are alive, and where we are in space. The more we turn our attention deeply toward ourselves as we go about the movements of daily living, the more food we provide for our Beingness—for Being Here Now.
If we are here to serve a larger purpose, such a practice is indispensable. It will help us live a long and fruitful life. Then how to begin? In my new book, Awakening Body Consciousness, many clues are given, from recognizing the simple sensations that tell us our feet are on the ground, to accessing a deeper awareness of the universal energies that move through us, energies that keep us and our ‘machinery’ going.
For example, how often have you pressured yourself to work too long to finish a task, and suddenly felt you just didn’t have the wherewithal to finish it? A short rest—an acknowledgement of your own existence as you turn toward awareness of the sensations of your Body Being—can change your state and allow you to finish the job.
No surprise here. Jesus said, “I am a movement and a rest.” Both are necessary, both take part in our Being in the form of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. After a night’s rest, fresh energy fills you as you go to work to earn a living, care for your family, maintain food on the table and a roof overhead.
That’s enough of a challenge when we are young and struggling to find ourselves in the world, but sooner or later we want something else. “What am I here for?” we might wonder. Or “what wants to come into the world through me?” as Jungian analyst James Hollis often asks his students. In other words, we look for meaning beyond just ‘getting on with it.’ And without meaning, what is life?
I have found that Body Consciousness is the necessary ingredient in my work toward the growth of Being, toward becoming more pervious to truth, more wholly myself. The body contains its own awareness and intuition, its sense of belonging to a Self, plus the functions we require in order to experience ourselves in action and repose. Our DNA, our psyche, the hands that create and the minds that invent—all are aspects of the living body, and dependent upon it.
In The Reality of Being Jeanne de Salzmann offers an appropriate prayer to open an investigation into Body Consciousness:
I wish to be conscious of this unknown energy that is in me. For this I need to get rid of the idea that I know my body. I must see that the memory of my body, of the known sensation of my body, imposes itself as an answer at the moment of questioning who I am, the moment of incomprehension. And because this answer appears spontaneously, I remain passive and do not wake up and look. I must see this constant tendency to let the memory of sensation preempt the direct perception. I need to see that my body is also unknown.
Like me, you have probably spent much of your life collecting aches and pains as well as emotional repercussions. But who is this Self, this somebody-who-has-been-here-all-the-time, and lives in another room of our inner mansion? My hope is that my new book, Awakening Body Consciousness, will help others discover a deeper sense of their own presence during daily activities as they strive for a full-bodied awareness of Self and World. If this sounds worth exploring, I hope you will consider reading it. If this sounds worth exploring, please read the reviews. I will continue to blog here in the future.
We are assured that in our house are many rooms, some never discovered, some never even dreamed of. So as we go forward to meet the demands of life, may new doors and windows let light and fresh air stream in as we open to the Greater Being that lies within.