“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and
the rational mind is a faithful servant.
We have created a society that honors
the servant and has forgotten the gift”.
– Albert Einstein
Having a strong mind-body connection can help you improve your health. The body and mind “message” each other constantly about what to eat or when to rest, what to do. It’s like, “hi can i get an orange juice? not milk this time” or “it’s getting kinda sluggish in here can we move around some more, go outside maybe? Thanks.” It’s all about getting one’s needs met. When we are living in the “information age” as it’s called, our logical minds are so strung out on projects, ideas and the to-do list that we forget the body and stop responding accurately to its’ signals. But the body doesn’t stop messaging. The phone is ringing but no one is picking up. Eventually the signals start getting louder as the needs are not responded to. This is when simple discomfort builds into more serious pain and dis-ease. Simple nourishing touch is an easy and enjoyable way to bring our response-ability back.
Michael Gershon, M.D. wrote the book The Second Brain. After studying the human bowels for 30 years he realized that there are nerve cells in your gut that act as a second brain. It is further explained that as the embryo develops in the womb, neural cells first begin in the gut then divide out to form the spinal cord, split again to form the heart (where there are also neural cells) and split again to form the brain. So when we have a “gut feeling” there’s science in that expression.
Think of the mind-body as a storage house of loads and loads of information on all levels. We absorb more data than we are consciously aware of. We have something of a psychic satellite picking up energies and information from the world in and around us through our eyes and ears (our two more predominant senses) as well as our skin, nose, mouth and just the mind itself as it filters through dream awarenesses, memories, and the akashic record of all we’ve ever known. There’s so much there. The key thing for us at any given moment is filtering it so we know what to focus on. Clarity brings peace.
In this “Infornation Age” as it is often called, we are carrying around too much information. There’s a lot of excess information that doesn’t have much relevance to our lives, to what actually matters to us and our goals or spiritual work for this lifetime. Some of this information needs to be digested and sorted so we can make use of it and some of it just needs to be tossed. Some of this mental processing is actually taking place in our gut or second brain. We are literally digesting our experiences and emotions.
When we’re thinking, reading, or working things over in our minds, this takes energy. In TCM this energy of concentration is governed by the Spleen organ system. Interestingly, the Spleen is also responsible for digestion. Although there are many organs involved in digestion, they are all principally governed by and fed by the energy of the Spleen system. The Spleen is also connected with sense of touch in TCM and so people with Spleen deficiencies (often seen in students and people who do a lot of reading or worrying) are often helped by forms of body work such as shiatsu, tui na, cranio-sacral, ect.
I think of shiatsu as decluttering for my energy system. It gives me a quiet space away from the business of my world and the logic side of the mind. It allows me to “digest” life’s journey and access my gut-level intuition. Zen Shiatsu can strengthen one’s sense of self as touch develops awareness of our skin, our personal boundary of who we are and who we are not. This will bring out an intuitive self-awareness, in a completely organic way.
It’s like Feng Shui for the mind. Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese system of arrangement, is about creating a smooth flow of energy. Intuitively we feel the energy of the space we’re in. A cluttered dirty room gives us some bit of discomfort – if only a subtle mental discomfort – and drags our spirit down or makes us feel a bit anxious to get away soon. On the other hand a very beautiful space, think a garden or a national art gallery tends to be very uncluttered, carefully arranged and lends to feelings of peace and serenity. The relief from visual chaos allows us to remember the simplicity and beauty of life.
We can create a Zen garden in our mind by clearing away some of mental clutter, digesting, sorting and tossing the feelings, attitudes, beliefs that are no longer useful to us now. We can digest and release these thoughts by connecting to our gut brain, feeling it out through body work.
Do you feel more calm when you connect to your body? Love to hear your comments and questions.