Reclaiming the Body

"The human body is the best picture of the human soul." —Ludwig Wittgenstein

“The human body is the best picture of the human soul.”
—Ludwig Wittgenstein

The body is the manifested root of our experience in the physical world. It is not a static object that is simply one way or another. We have been trained to project our descriptions onto our bodies, but these are never actually true (though the body will try and morph itself to what you insist is true about it). The body is an endless flowing of energies, all wrapping around each other and collaborating to manifest themselves as a living, breathing dream. The actual body is a dreaming body.

If you’ve grown up in the modern world, you have received a near-constant bombardment, since birth at least, of ideas about your body. The media, authorities, and peer groups provide a ceaseless flow of covert and overt messages about your body, how it should look and feel, and what you should do with it. While each general type of body has received different messages about it based on age, gender, race, culture, and so on, all of these communications amount to one simple message: your body is wrong.

To liberate our bodies from such tangled webs of misunderstanding, free ourselves from this self-loathing indoctrination, and regain access to the subtle dreaming and extremely effective collaborative psychic forces that the body provides, we must reclaim and heal them.

The simplest thing we can do to encourage this reclaiming is to engender positive communication with the body. By “positive,” I don’t mean spouting affirmations or optimistic self-image mantras at your mirror. Those can have an effect when used sincerely, but they tend to be little more than further attempts to tell the body what it should be. Such approaches will have few beneficial results for most people as they trigger and add to the accumulating invalidations.

Instead, we must move to befriend the body as it is: a flowing coalescence of cosmic/terrestrial energy. We must invite it to participate and ask it to communicate. We must move to reestablish a collaborative alliance. We mustn’t require that it speak our language but instead listen deeply to it speaking its own. We must undertake to create a safe, nurturing relationship of mutual receptivity. When we do this, our body will not only find the path to recovering its missing vitality but also begin to reveal its most valuable secret: that it is an image of the soul.