On Being Human…learning to feel again.
I have always questioned my place in the world. It’s been a personal journey of mine; how we move, how we navigate our inner and outer lives, how we relate to others and how we inhabit the space of our own bodies.
Growing up, I could see how others were enjoying being human by connecting through relationship, but I felt like an outsider. Now I can see the link between my lack of connection to others and my lack of felt emotion. I lived as a kind of robot, unaware of my inner world. I didn’t think I even had emotions! On the rare occasions where I did feel, it felt alien or painful and I was unable to navigate myself with any skill. As humans we have learned to suppress and fear our inner world. Or we just don’t know how to be with our emotional landscape in a way that is healthy or vital.
Encountering your emotions in a healthy way means being able to be with and observe your inner landscape, along with the mental chatter and physical sensations that arise. This is important because the extent to which you can feel your pain is the extent to which you can feel pleasure. Or another way of saying this is the more you can withstand what it means to be human in your body, the more expansive, expressive and rich your life experience becomes.
In our culture, the general relationship most have with their body is very narrow. The body is a burden, a machine that needs to be maintained as it ages. Perhaps we glean brief pleasures from them when we eat or have sex, but we continue to punish them or wish they were different in some way. This isn’t just wrong headed and damaging, it is also sad, because our bodies have an innate capacity for healing that we are only just starting to wake up to.
To access this potential requires us to not be fearful of being the human animal that we essentially are. No longer prioritising the mind over the body, allowing ideas from our culture to override our innate bodily wisdom. It means widening our perception of what the body could be, namely a portal to deepen into who we are and to experience beautifully open and honest connection with one another as a result.
Embodiment is a rather unsexy word for the fascinating journey that I am describing. We are only accessing a tiny proportion of our human potential because we continue to deny our body’s voice. If you feel that you would like to explore the potential that resides inside of you, learning to feel in a healthy way is an essential, high level skill that is sorely needed in these times of profound disconnection. We are all craving to be deeply seen, heard and felt, and Embodiment is a sublime pathway towards that future.
This piece was first published in Village Raw Magazine.