Healing and spirituality permeate the pop culture today- For large and growing numbers of people, meditation, yoga, recovery programs, body and breath work, spiritual readings and holistic lifestyles are as much a part of modern life as credit cards, cell phones and the Internet. Just beneath the surface, a new wisdom (actually a very old wisdom) offers universal wellness and peace. Yet, to hear and embrace that wisdom, we must find a way to dive beneath the din of modern life. Body-Centered Spirituality offers us that pathway. Sensory experience and Body Awareness promote mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well being. Bernard Gunther says,”Sensory awakening, like true meditation, can be an integral part of each rich life moment…sensory meditation is active meditation.” Through a more body-centered spirituality, we gain a sense of being in charge of our lives. We move through our day feeling full of GRACE, that is, Grounded, Relaxed, Aware, Centered and Energized. A Body-Centered Spirituality encourages us to tend to our physical, emotional, mental and soulful needs. This approach to spirituality praises sensory awareness, blesses sensory experience and celebrates our embodiment as gift for expression of our soul.
To hear the deeper healing wisdom of our bodies, we begin by quieting ourselves down, going beneath the stressful din of modern life & the noise of self-abusive or addictive behaviors. Meditation, body-mind therapies, paying attention to our breath and noticing the present moment are tools that take us below the noise. When we do this, we begin to hear messages from our Body-Mind such as: ‘slow down,’ ‘eat healthful foods,’ ‘tend to your feelings,’ ‘what is it you need right now?,’ ‘take care of yourself,’ ‘exercise.’ In order to listen, we need to relax. When we do begin to relax and listen, we may need to let go of other messages that come from our ‘critical voice’. The messages that come from this voice in our internal landscape are often the result of need deprivation in our childhood. With the help of a trained therapist or guide, our body-mind can remember and give up negative experiences as part of a body-centered healing process.
Our body has consciousness as does the earth have consciousness. By tuning into both those landscapes with eyes that see, ears that hear, nose that smells, mouth that tastes and body that touches and is touched, we come to know the incredible beauty, mystery and wholesome holiness of our created embodiment and its intimate relationship with all of creation. Then, we can begin to experience the pleasure, satisfaction, meaning and sense of belonging that is our birthright because we will be experiencing our body as the soul in its richest and most expressive form.
It seems fitting to close with “A Blessing for the Senses” taken from Anam Cara by John O’Donohue
May your Body be blessed.
May you realize that your body is a faithful and beautiful friend of your soul.
And may you be peaceful and joyful and recognize that your senses are sacred thresholds.
May you realize that holiness is mindful gazing, feeling, hearing and touching.
May your senses gather you and bring you home.
May your senses always enable you to celebrate the universe and the mystery and possibilities in your presence here.
May the Eros of the Earth bless you.
Kathryn Power-O’Brien M.A., MTh. has 18 years experience as a body-centered psychospiritual therapist, body worker and therapeutic educator promoting integrative approaches to health and well-being, earth-centered shamanic approaches to spirituality and the creative arts of therapeutic movement, drama and ritual. She is a certified Psychomotor Therapist, Trager Practitioner and Esalen Massage Therapist. Along with her advanced degrees in the Social Sciences, Theology/Pastoral Counseling, she has a certificate in Spirituality and Ritual from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, California. She is a staff person at the Franciscan Center for Holistic Living in St.Paul teaching the integrative seminar in Body-Centered Spirituality.