Archives for category: Bodywork

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David Brooks published an op-ed piece in The New York Times today entitled “The New Humanism.” He starts from a platform of political policy and quickly ties decision making on a large scale in with our changing knowledge of how human beings encounter the world within their own bodies and minds.

Massage, bodywork, somatic therapies, art, dance, music, good conversations–these all speak to healing the rift between reason and emotion that David Brooks describes. Body based therapies engage so much of the unconscious mind that is below the surface of our conscious awareness.

An excerpt follows. The article is short and worth the read.

“Over the past few decades, we have tended to define human capital in the narrow way, emphasizing I.Q., degrees, and professional skills. Those are all important, obviously, but this research illuminates a range of deeper talents, which span reason and emotion and make a hash of both categories:

Attunement: the ability to enter other minds and learn what they have to offer.

Equipoise: the ability to serenely monitor the movements of one’s own mind and correct for biases and shortcomings.

Metis: the ability to see patterns in the world and derive a gist from complex situations.

Sympathy: the ability to fall into a rhythm with those around you and thrive in groups.

Limerence: This isn’t a talent as much as a motivation. The conscious mind hungers for money and success, but the unconscious mind hungers for those moments of transcendence when the skull line falls away and we are lost in love for another, the challenge of a task or the love of God. Some people seem to experience this drive more powerfully than others.

When Sigmund Freud came up with his view of the unconscious, it had a huge effect on society and literature. Now hundreds of thousands of researchers are coming up with a more accurate view of who we are. Their work is scientific, but it directs our attention toward a new humanism. It’s beginning to show how the emotional and the rational are intertwined.

I suspect their work will have a giant effect on the culture. It’ll change how we see ourselves. Who knows, it may even someday transform the way our policy makers see the world.”

I am most fascinated by how humans behave and operate both as personal beings and as containers of God, and how these roles coexist, clash, and exert opposing needs on each of us as a person. How can the strain of those opposing callings express itself in our body, our musculature, our nervous system?

I am curious about how to live a life that honors both the needs of the personal and the universal, the body and the soul. Of course no such division exists. We live as a whole in a state of dynamic tension, with many opposites coexisting simultaneously.  Our resistance to this can manifest as pain on many fronts–physical, mental, emotional, spiritual.

Our bodies provide a simple way to check in with where we are. Our bodies seldom lie as easily as our minds and faces. We feel the inner strains that our smiling face may never admit. Our body can serve as our conscience.

When we live in our body as a vehicle of consciousness, we open ourselves to many things we would rather leave behind. The need to breathe deeply and stay present within ourselves.. The need to endure a few moments of discomfort in order to experience a renewed sense of physical freedom and clarity. Our resources arise as they are called upon. The trick is remembering to call.