Secrets of Magic No 44: Mind and body are one

We have all heard the phrase “mind over matter.” We think of ourselves as being minds which have bodies, two separate things, with mind ruling the body. In fact mind and body could not exist without each other. Cartoons and movies show heads talking without bodies, but in real life, none of us has seen a mind without a body. Similarly, a body without a mind could not feed itself or keep itself safe from harm. Both mind and body are necessary for human survival.

We view the body as suspect. We fear that if we pay attention to the needs of the body that they will rule us, so we deny the body, and ignore its needs. We are uncomfortable with the scents of our bodies, with body function, and with normal life processes like death and birth. We retreat from awareness of our physical natures, living inside our heads, literally!

Rejecting our bodies is the source of much unhappiness. When we do this, we lose touch with the signals our body gives us to let us know what it needs. We do not recognize when we are hungry, tired, or in pain. We allow our minds to drive us in physically and emotionally harmful ways.

When we allow ourselves to be fully aware of our bodies, inhabiting our skins, we tune into its marvelously sensitive feedback system. We eat when we are hungry, sleep when we are tired, permit ourselves to heal when we are hurt. We move our bodies through space, running and dancing, riding the wave of sheer joy in being alive.

I know my body.
Practice: Moving awareness
Most of us think of ourselves as living behind our eyes. This is where we place our conscious awareness. Try placing your conscious awareness in other parts of your body.

• Move your awareness to the center of your body. Are you balanced?
• Bring your attention to your hands. Pick something up. What do you notice?
• Place your awareness in your feet. Can you feel the floor beneath you?

Do this practice every day for a week, moving your awareness to different places in your body.

Re-read the journal entries you have made about the state of your body. Do you see any patterns? Do you need to get more sleep or avoid eating a certain food? Is there a specific problem, a pain or stiffness, that you have been noting that you should investigate?

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