Reconnection with the Physical Body as a Spiritual Practice

My Self at the summit of the Bosnian “Pyramid of the Sun”

When I first started out exploring a spiritual path I was overwhelmed with a sense of wanting to escape physical reality. I was in my late teens and the world did not seem like a place I would ever adapt to.

Like most of us in that age I did not feel comfortable in my own skin and I was constantly questioning whether or not I measured up to the standards of what a physical body should look like.

I came to the conclusion that the physical body was a bit of a nuisance. It restricted me from being truly free and it would always be subjected to scrutiny and judgement from others but mostly from myself.

I could not help but feel that this confinement of flesh and bone stood in the way of me being able to express to others who I truly was.

I observed how some people seemed so adjusted to their bodies, they had control over how it moved whilst I struggled to put one foot in front of the other or correctly assess the distance between my mouth and a cup of tea.

I never knew that the body could be used as a tool to create greater awareness and enlightenment so for many years I failed to include it in my spiritual practice. When I discovered the ancient teachings of Ayurveda, I started to see how taking care of the body and treating it like a temple instead of a burden gave me a greater sense of clarity that helped me connect to my higher self.

So many of us punish our bodies because of stuck and unresolved emotional traumas. We don’t know how to transmute so we take it out on ourselves, or should I say what we perceive to be ourselves, our physical body. It makes sense that we struggle in giving love to our physical body when we live under the belief that we are the body and that we don’t deserve love.

Most people today take better care of their cars than their bodies even though there will never be a more important vehicle than the one we use to experience physical existence.

If we would spend just a few minutes every day thinking about the complexity that is our physical make up, and how it works tirelessly every second of every day to keep us alive we would give it the love it deserves.

You body will actually store traumas if your conscious mind is unaware of, unwilling or ready to handle them, so that you can function in day-to-day life.

A lot of us have lost or never had a connection with our body so we don’t realise that it can hold the key to resolving psychological issues that the mind is not capable of healing through conventional therapy for example.

In many ways the body is a gateway to our subconscious mind. Our ego has the ability to ignore and deny but our bodies cannot lie and they manifest the beliefs we hold about ourselves.

All physical disease stem from being out of harmony with nature and with one’s true self. It’s important to state that it is never a persons fault that they fall ill. No one seeks out illness and disease consciously but when we are not true to our selves and allow our selves to truly express who we are, we create a discord within in us that creates stagnation and energy blocks in the physical body.

One of the biggest, if not the biggest threats to our physical well-being is stress. There are three types of stress that can affect our system, physical stress, emotional stress or chemical stress. Our body treats all of them in pretty much the same way. We experience what’s known as the “fight or flight” reaction. This primal part of us is activated through our sympathetic nervous system and is what helps us to take action when faced with a physical threat like being attacked by a wild animal (or human).

In today’s society most people no longer live under imminent physical threat on a daily basis but we can still activate our fight or flight response through perceived stressors such as an argument with a loved one or issues at our work place. None of these situations are a direct threat to our lives but they still create the same reaction in our bodies as if we were in real danger. At this point stress hormones are released in the body, our heart rate speeds up and blood flow goes to our muscles instead of our digestive system.

When we live under chronic stress, constantly worrying about what’s to come or what happened in the past our body’s become depleted from the constant production of stress hormones and we might risk developing adrenal fatigue, depression, skin disorder, addictions and more.

This is where it becomes crucial that we learn to tune into our parasympathetic nervous system that governs our ability to “rest and digest”. This is where homeostasis happens and your body is able to relax and repair. Often when we are under stress we are stuck in our minds and stop paying attention to our bodies, we leave them to fend for them selves in the now whilst we are busy living in the past or future. Pulling our attention and awareness back into the body can be incredibly healing. Being with the body and observing it without judgements of good or bad helps us reconnect with our physical selves and by doing so we pull our attention back into the now.

Re-connecting with the body is different from clinging to it. As with all things affected by linear time the body will change and at one point or another you will leave it to explore new adventures else where. Anything that can be taken away from you is not you, but it can work as a manifestation of you if you wish. We come in to this reality to experience contrast and we do this through physical sensations like taste, touch, sight and smell. Just as we can create lightness of mind and spirit through high vibrational practises like meditation we can create lightness in the physical body through high vibrational foods and cleansing practises for example.

Most of us are conditioned to view certain things as good and bad when it comes to the health of our bodies and minds. There is food that is “good” for you and food that is “bad” for you. Some lifestyle choices are beneficial while others are deemed detrimental. I personally find that it all comes down to belief. If you believe something will be harmful to your health it probably will, if you believe there is nothing that can hurt you then nothing will.

It’s important to note that these beliefs include you subconscious beliefs as well as your conscious ones. Many people at the conscious level have beliefs of what is healthy for them to eat, but due to the beliefs within them at a sub/unconscious level, eating those things is actually harming their body. If on the other hand you have no sub/unconscious resistance to what you eat, then you will have no resistance or reaction within the body and so no dis-ease, such as how many advanced Yogi’s can drink poisons without ill effect. This is why Grant teaches that beliefs are something that you BE and so what you hold onto, rather than just what you think.

In my case, I know that I have a lot of subconscious beliefs about food needing to be healthy such as organic versus non-organic. When it comes to my body, I practice the path of least resistance and as such, I honor those beliefs, knowing that they will change as I continue on the awakening path. I tune it to what my body resonates with and I go there. Most of the time this means eating a plant-based diet and supplementing with herbs, spices and nutritional products but every now and then it means having a chocolate brownie. The important thing to remember is that it’s not about what you do or what you eat but if it is love guiding you in that direction.

For example, physical exercise will not yield you true health if you find no enjoyment in it but only do it as a means to an end. Likewise, having an ice cream now and then wont be unhealthy if you are able to eat them without any negative beliefs or judgements of what they are. It’s not about forcing yourself to make a healthy choice, in most cases when we start to detox from toxic emotions we will automatically navigate towards healthier choices anyway, though in the short-term before much of it is cleared we do crave what will keep the body in its unhealthy state!

Your body is guided by the higher intelligence that is your true self. When you practise negative self talk and self observation your body suffers because you are not living in the truth. The more toxic beliefs you are able to let go of the more your physical body will thrive. That is why it’s so important that we practise being present with our thoughts and emotions instead of letting them latch on to us and create blocks in our physical selves as well as our energetic self.

There can be no doubt that the physical body is a useful tool for helping you see what you believe in as it will change as your consciousness changes. As you become more aware so too will you become more aware of and have greater ease with your body. It is a useful yard-stick in measuring how much you have been able to let go of what doesn’t serve you. Of course the more you look after your body, the longer you can experience and grow in this reality and use it as a vessel for change. This is why we often give practical advice (such as diet, exercise, cleansing etc) rather than just use energetic methods for creating the change you desire. So why not start to connect and look after your body as a part of your spiritual practice and see what happens.

During the coming months I will be writing about various ways of creating health and awareness in the body, as well as the mind, that I have found helpful on my journey so far. I will give examples of different nutritional products, healing foods, supplements and cleansing therapies, my experiences of them and how they may benefit the health of your body as well as your spiritual development.

Looking forwards to sharing this with you all 😉

Åsa-Maria