Consciousness and Somatic Therapy
Let’s explore how somatic therapy with conscious aware presence offers an opportunity for profound healing and freedom. For if we want to create a healthier world for our children, waking up and living as consciousness being human is imperative. Body consiousness has a key role somatic work I share, being TRE trauma and tension release exercises and Yoga Therapy.
What is Consciousness
The wikipedia defines “Consciousness, at its simplest, is sentience or awareness of internal and external existence. Despite millennia of analyses, definitions, explanations and debates by philosophers and scientists, consciousness remains puzzling and controversial”. ‘Being’, being the most familiar and also the most mysterious aspect of our lives expressing as ‘I’. Somatic healing is a bottom up therapy working with awareness of bodily sensations rather than working with the tricky, all too clever mental realm as in top down or talk therapy.
Nondual Understanding of Consciousness
Let’s go deeper with the nondual understanding of consciousness by spiritual teacher Rupert Spira:
“It is Consciousness that knows itself to be Consciousness. It does not know itself through any other agency, such as a mind or a body. Therefore Consciousness is said to be self-luminous, because it is the light by which it knows itself (It is also the light be which everything else is known). Consciousness is said to be self-knowing because in the simple being of itself is the knowing of itself. And Consciousness is said to be self-evident, because it is through itself, by itself, in itself and as itself, that it knows itself. It is its own evidence.”
Somatic Healing and Body Consciousness
Consciousness is one as opposed to two. It is expressed as multiplicity and diversity in the apparent and unapparent worlds. And this includes our body. Through our amazing bodily nervous system and complex dynamic of muscles, organs and sensitive tissues this body is alive energy-consciousness expressing itself as an object. This object is infused with the one consciousness we know as ‘I’. But what is our conscious experience of this body we inhabit? Are we directing awareness to mind-stuff or to consciousness itself?
Body Held Tension and Trauma
Is our felt sense of bodily experience here one of happiness or peaceful presence or perhaps pain and torture. If awareness is identified as the mental realm, we may be driven by hidden unconscious patterns or programs. Programs arising from our nervous system response to past painful or traumatic experiences. These programs may be manifesting in the mental realm as self-destructive mental banter causing illogical overreactivity: I’m too tall, short, hopeless, slow, unlovable etc. What body held tensions or traumas
are behind the less than loving actions and mental patterns playing out here? Can we become more aware-conscious and take heed of and allow these feelings a voice.
For as we know what we resist persists. And when we shove it all back down and tense against our uncomfortable bodily sensations and feelings we can cause a pressure cooker situation.
This may spill over as rage, fear, anxiety, shame etc.
Dropping the Veils of Illusion
Can we develop greater sensitivity or aware-consciousness so as to recognise the filters through which consciousness is coloured and tainted here – the patterns or programs running. And furthermore realise that ‘we are not that’. What messages is our body directing us towards? What veils of illusion has Maya cast over consciousness here?
Can we see through or drop the veils of illusion so that the natural luminosity of consciousness may be experienced?
Can we see through or drop the veils of illusion so that the natural luminosity of consciousness may be experienced? …Soraya
Body as the Barometer of The Soul
Our body is like the barometer of the soul. It cannot lie. The body is constantly responding to the world around us based on conscious and unconscious beliefs, patterns related to past experience. On old incomplete traumatic and/or pleasurable experiences. These patterns whisper to us through sensations and feelings via complex and sensitive physical and energetic systems. By ignoring body messages mental patterns and programs are activated. And many of these patterns, based on past unresolved experiences, undermine our ability to experience love and peace in the now moment. Whether a somatic experience manifests as tremoring, shaking, a nervous cough, a jelly belly, going wobbly at the knees, a change in the pitch of our voice, a sudden headache, incontinence or a hot head. How often do we ignore what our body is trying so hard to tell us?
Kindness and Courage
90 percent of our behaviour is driven by hidden unconscious patterns. When activated these patterns trigger feelings, sensations then often powerful and difficult emotions which activate mental responses as torturous thoughts. Allowing ourselves to feel the bodily sensations in present time, simply as sensations passing through is powerful. Feeling or allowing the feelings to be felt and to pass through without going into the ‘story of me the victim’ or ‘reacting in a way we may regret’ is extremely freeing. It takes courage for us to allow ourselves to feel the feelings as sensations without an outward re-action, or inner re-action such as judgment, shame or self-criticism. Courage together with aware-self-compassion, with aware-self-kindness is paramount. Once we begin to recognise the patterns and our triggers and realise that we are not these patterns or the story we tell ourselves about them…freedom begins to arise.
Seeing through the patterns
Slowly we see through and therefore drop the old stuck beliefs, reactive behaviours and pain associated with this body held tension. We may simply begin to notice we are no longer triggered by things we used to be triggered by.
In somatic or body based therapy or work such as TRE
and Yoga Therapy we allow feelings to arise as bodily sensations. We allow them to be there without fear, without grasping, without clinging and without aversion. Without judgement, but by simply allowing them to be seen, felt and released.
There is no need to go into the story attached to these sensations. Slowly the power these body held patterns of tension begin to loosen their hold over our experience. We may still fall in the do-do or go down the rabbit hole of mental anguish again but we begin to more quickly recognise this old habit, stop and drop it. Learning to drop it is powerful. It is a the ego or sense of separate-self made up of beliefs, patterns, programs and mental-stuff who is attached to itself. However these patterns are not who we truly are. We are in truth luminous consciousness expressing through our unique personas.
“When you activate your gut feelings and listen to your heartbreak—when you follow the interoceptive pathways to your innermost recesses—things begin to change.”
― Bessel A. van der Kolk
Clinging to the Story I Tell Myself
Part of our clinging is holding on to the story we tell ourselves around a trauma. And when we take responsibility for this we have the power to drop it. I am not good enough and I don’t deserve to be loved, I’m bad and deserve to suffer are some examples. To experience freedom we must be ready to let go of these old outdated stories. So listen to the whisperings of your body. Your gut feelings, your inner promptings. Developing body consciousness is an important way of healing on a deep and profound level. As we begin to see through the veils of illusory stories and patterns the way opens and clears allowing for profound shifts and ultimately awakening to greater and greater clarity.
When our patterns are seen through and the nervous system is no longer hyper-reactive the mind becomes quieter and more transparent. Then the light of presence can shine more brightly….Soraya
The Golden Key is present time awareness or Sakshi Bhav. Sakshi is a sanskrit word for awareness. Bhav means an attitude or intent. Sakshi Bhav is when we are fully immersed in present moment awareness, as the silent undisturbed, non-reactive witness. We are not drawn into the drama playing out, but witness it dispassionately with equanimity. We allow the sensations to be felt and pass through, thoughts to arise and pass, but they no longer disturb our sense of aware-conscious-peace. We are connected to a deep sense of being-ness without being limited by sense objects or the subject – who we call me.
In the Silence of Our Being
In the silence of our being-ness a deep sense of peace resides… Even in the midst of worldly chaos this sense of santosha or inner-contentment may remain.
Developing Sakshi Bhav
and TRE-Yoga Nidra ‘Shake it off’ classes
at Mangalam Meditation Retreat we are consciously working towards developing Sakshi Bhav – present awareness as the silent witness
. The continual attitude of awareness of the present moment as it is.. without resistance.. ultimately leads to the experience of equanimity, and this is freedom. It does not mean there won’t be challenges, there will be, but ultimately we remain undisturbed. We may act or not act but that action or restraint will then become clean and clear.