• To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.

    - Buddha
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Give Up Being Safe

Safety Is An Illusion



Today’s post is somewhat different than my usual ramblings on Shiatsu and Mind-Body-Spirit healing because it includes an oath that I wrote a month or so ago. The oath honors the tradition of Hara as it has been cultivated in the Eastern healing and martial arts.

You might be wondering what Giving Up Being Safe has to do with the philosophy of Hara?

To have Hara translates into the ability to get things done; to not shy away from the difficult and to overcome setbacks. These are noble qualities that show strength of will. The challenge here is when one is operating purely on personal power in pursuit of a goal because it is common to force our will onto the environment and onto other people. It is so easy to fall under the spell of our attachment to an expectation, which then fosters the need to control others for our own assurance and safety. To avert this end requires personal standards for accountability combined with integrity.

However, one can access the will of the Spirit-Mind, which comes from an ego-free understanding and use of Hara. In this context Hara is a thought in action, manifest, and it is connected with all that is, as all things are a manifestation of the Tao. One realizes that the will of the Spirit-Mind integrates with the will of others to assure the best path for us. Herein there is no need to cling to safety, which is only an illusion.

In Shiatsu, we are taught how to use our Hara to access the total power of our whole body while giving a healing session. We are also taught that a person with a healthy Hara acknowledges that it is in facing challenges and trying new things that we develop self-esteem and confidence.

For me the greatest aspiration of a developed Hara is for a level of acuity where you are always calm and sensitive to the developments around you. Engagement at this level is when one can “see what cannot be seen,” and responds in accord with the Spirit-Mind to coming events.

I find it fascinating that the final element of training for indigenous healers and shamans in some parts of the world is to personally face death. This spiritual calling is survived by very few since the path is meant to challenge their faith and to compromise their integrity.

Initiates from some of the older traditions will be taken to a cave, temple or remote area where danger exists in the form of venomous cobras, scorpions or other deadly threats. Sitting still in meditation for an extended period while surrounded by imminent danger crawling, or, slithering over your defenseless body is not an easy test to pass.

Focus and compassion and the willingness to renounce safety are the qualities that keep these people alive and sane. Those who pass this deadly challenge become praised as mystics carrying with them the knowledge of death and rebirth and often return bringing to their tribes and communities new approaches to harmony and peace.

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I wrote the oath below after I meditated on renewing the emotional and spiritual energies associated with my navel and with my solar plexus. Both of which are anatomically housed within the physical Hara.

Perhaps you may feel inspired to awaken the will of your Spirit-Mind with this simple oath:

In honoring the fact that the world is not safe, I willingly give up my need for safety and assurance.

I have to let go of wanting everything known ahead of time in order to overcome criticism, misunderstanding, rejection, and the possibility of failure in my future.

While it is important for survival, I realize that there is no challenge to actualizing my dreams if everything I do is already removed from any real risk. It is okay for a child to cling to safety and security, powerlessly needing the world to be shaped for them. However integrity challenges me to mature, accept responsibility, and carve the shape of my future.

My personal power increases through meeting challenges and by resolving them with integrity. I am willing to take risks, be courageous, venture into the unknown, and release the familiar in order to expand upward and outward in my life’s story.

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The Heart of Summer

Summer Is In Full Gear, So Let’s Take Advantage of What Chinese Medicine Has To Say About These Long Summer Days!

For me, six words come to mind when thinking of the invigorating and enlivening experiences of summertime, they are: The Sheer Joy Of Being Alive!

summer joy by Dmitry Kichenko.

I feel totally imbued with the human spirit on a long, hot summer day. The farmers market abounds with juicy fruits and delicious veggies amidst the perfume of brightly hued blossoms. Activity is effortless and life feels full, transformed and somehow complete.

Needless to say, there is no complaining here about the heat because it won’t be long before we reach the dynamic height of summer’s inspiration and settle into a cooler, calmer and more collected fall.

So what does this mean for you in terms of body, mind and spirit?

Chinese Medicine teaches us to observe ourselves as an expression of Nature’s observable elements, depending on the cycle of the season and changes in the environment.  Just as Nature goes through a process of change, the Nature inside of you also undergoes a transformation.

If you are in harmony with the fresh green shoots appearing in spring then you will feel reborn, bursting with springtime activity. And when the trees are full of mouthwatering fruits and the plants are blossoming around you, then you will feel the joys of abundance coupled with the passion of the creative spirit.

Hmmm, an abundance of energy, stamina and passion!? Yes, clearly this is why I Love summer!

In the Five Element Theory, summer is ruled by the Fire element and is expressed through growth, joy, spiritual awareness and Love.  This is the Yang-est time of the year, which translates into a surge of physical, mental and emotional activity.

To be in sync with the long days, I wake up as early as 6:00am and stay up until at least midnight (it’s actually 1:48am while I write this post). Don’t worry to balance the work and play, I schedule a midday nap. Without my regular siestas I would be totally exhausted before summer’s end.

Anatomically, the Fire element corresponds with the heart which pumps oxygen-rich blood throughout our bodies. Emotionally, we’ve been warming up, going out and connecting with others. The heat of summer flows into our deeper relationships while our bodies relax around a more open heart.

In the Elemental theory, the heart houses the Spirit, also called the Spirit-Mind. A harmonious Spirit-Mind can be felt as a heart-connection with others and, for many of us, as a spiritual connection with Nature. This is a time that ushers in sensitivity and expression with the true contentment only known by a unified heart and mind. I view summer as an opportunity to transform negative experiences into feelings of Love.

Love is an extraordinary thing; it arouses the realization that the self and others are one. Love inspires what I call altruistic intimacy and the knowledge that what you cause and affect are one. Experiencing your heart’s purity reveals the responsibility we have for every action that occurs on our planet because we are one. Love between two people is a holy sharing when each have experienced their own depths and see their mutual identity and mutual causality through the starry-eyed gaze of eros.

Ahh, it’s easy to get swept away reflecting on the Fire element and Love, but let’s look at our original query: What does the long, hot days of summer mean for you in terms of body, mind and spirit?

Simple answer. The heart-felt enjoyment of family, friendship, perhaps even summer Love, but more importantly the exalting experience of the sheer joy of being alive!

Understanding The Messages of Your Body

It is a common joke that the body’s messages, in the form of physical aches and anxieties, are often ignored, or go unnoticed, by the average man.

Can you imagine having to learn to operate based on feedback from your body if the dialogue between the mind and the body was muted? Why was the sound turned off? Probably to enable more risk-taking, hunting behavior.

Early man’s survival depended on fearless action in the face of danger, on the courage to explore unknown territories and on the willingness to fight to the death and to protect his community.

Traditionally, masculine mindfulness relied on quickly understanding details and organizing strategy, for action to occur, in spite of physical pain or an internal alarm. It arises from overriding the body’s various alarms and turning on the intellect for planning and action.

The modern caveman, male or female, created football games and reality TV shows like Man vs. Wild. It’s all about actively taking extreme risks. Perhaps you know someone modeling their business accomplishments after real life conquerors like Genghis Khan? This is masculine consciousness at its best, and it has become the predominant intelligence-model for the developed world.

However masculine consciousness, in its development, was successful because it was supported by a complementary survival intelligence to deal with being corralled by the forces of Nature, which includes natural disasters, the changing of the seasons, creating shelter, finding food and recovering from injury and disease.

The forces of Nature gave rise to the development of this other survival intelligence; feminine consciousness, which relied on information felt in the body to prevent, protect and to heal individuals in her care for the survival of her community. Basically, instead of the volume being muted between the mind and body the sound was turned way, way up.

Women Are Environmentally Reactive

According to Mona Lisa Schulz, MD, women have neurocircuitry from deserted primitive brain pathways that function solely to connect us to changes in our immediate environment.

Just think how useful it is to know a blizzard is on its way, to know that rubbing a particular plant on your skin will repel mosquitoes or to know when to warn against the outcome of an extreme risk.

Leading neuroscientists agree that women have evolved with the stronger neurochemical connection to the cycles of our planet.  As a woman, I can experientially say that we do not become the cycles; we simply are the cycles. Perhaps you too can feel this physical attunement that is our connection to the planetary body?

As a vibrational healer, it is important for me to celebrate my ancestor’s ancient role in the survival of her community. This great-great grandmother from our past could comprehend specific instances in which her physical body’s pleasures and/or depressions were actually non-verbal dialogues with her environment. It would be like the translation of a sound, or, vibration heard from a tree, a plant or even the earth. However you’re translating this vibration through your body and allowing your body to interpret instead of analyzing and rationalizing it.

Your Body Is Your Subconscious Mind

In the words of renowned neuroscientist Candace Pert, PhD, “Your body is your subconscious mind.” Perhaps this statement also explains how the mysterious subconscious can know before an event has occurred, because our ancestral neruocircuitry is earthly Wi-Fi. We all know, first-hand, that the state of our bodies conditions our psyche. So imagine how some of what you’re feeling in your body as moods is actually guidance that is meant to alert you to either a problem within your own body or in the body of those around you, including the earth’s body.

Ideally you want to be able to receive information from either masculine or feminine processes according to any perceived stress. A long time has elapsed since man was living in caves, and to navigate modern stress you want to be skilled in both the masculine and the feminine mind allowing yourself to benefit from their balanced partnership.

Are you wondering how this balanced partnership between the masculine and the feminine mind works within you?  The best answer is to actively develop a conscious awareness of and an understanding of the messages from your body.

The first step is to recognize your body as a type of intelligence. Intelligence is not limited to thoughtful analysis, logic and critical thinking even though this is what is emphasized by our society. Intelligence is also body-kinesthetic, which is the natural sense of how your body should act and react in a demanding physical situation where there is no time for thinking. Demanding circumstances were at the forefront of our evolution. I believe that body-kinesthetic intelligence is the foundation for all human intelligence just like the roots that anchor and nourish the branches of a tree. And yet this foundational intelligence is dismissed and rarely utilized except for athletics, dance, bodywork or physical therapy.

Are you thinking of your favorite sport or pro-athlete right now? Then you’re on the right track. But this intelligence is not limited to the Olympics or the above vocations. I can only describe my experience, that for me, the core of being body smart is the ability to read my internal and external environment through feeling sensations in my body — just as through reading the words in this post you can read subtle movements inside your body. These subtle movements have correspondences to your internal organs, other people and the larger world because you are inextricably linked, neurochemically and cellularly, to your immediate environment.

Body sensations are incredibly accurate and reliable, but modern people are mostly disembodied by the time they are in the third grade. Conventional education focuses on developing one form of intelligence, analytical thinking, and ignores the nourishing intelligence that was used for millennia, your whole body.

Developing the ability to intellectually understand the messages of our bodies is the second step in how the masculine and feminine mind works in tandem. Dr. Schulz also points out that neuroanatomical mapping shows us that the atypical wiring of the brain of our female ancestors processed an adaptive unconscious; women today have very different brain functions than that of their great-great-grandmothers but the original pathways are still in place allowing us to awaken the ability to interpret, or, intuit what we feel as reliable information.

An expanded consciousness allows for information from your subconscious to filter into your mind’s intellect affirming that there are no separations in the mind-body, only two of many ways to experience your intelligence. I believe that it is every human being’s birthright to utilize the knowledge in our ancestral neural network as the pure expression of intuitive knowledge.

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart… Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens. – Carl Jung