Locate! Locate! Locate!
DID YOU KNOW? The brain produces energy in the body to act upon each thought. The average person has more than 6,000 thoughts per day, according to a study at Queen’s University in Canada. The National Science Foundation estimates 12,000 to 60,000 per day. That is a lot of energy!
I have been amazed over the past several weeks about how much time we spend in our heads or as some might say, "outside our bodies," thinking ... thinking about worse case scenarios or speculating about events that haven’t happened. Philosophers lead us to belief that the body is a vehicle for the soul and is not valuable in and of itself. Some religious doctrines profess a hierarchical structure that the body is bad and the spirit is good … that the body is an illusion and not real.
I believe that the body is the place wherein God resides … where the Spirit dwells. The body is the envelope in which we live and move and have our being. If the body is the envelope, then the Spirit is writing a love-letter as we experience life moment to moment on this planet. Teilhard d’Chardin says that all matter is becoming spiritual and all spirit is becoming matter. What an amazing transformation into the fullness of being when we grasp the mystery of this paradox.
Such I think is the mystery of the relationship between the brain and the mind. Each functions to inform the other, sending information back and forth. The mind seeks to make meaning out of experience. It thinks. As it does we locate ourselves in our heads … head knowledge. The brain seeks to make sense of our experience. It feels. As it does we locate ourselves in our bodies … body wisdom. Both are needed to grasp the reality of being human … to accept the fact that we are embodied people. The body is the ground … the land in which we dwell. The body is the landing pad for our locator brain/mind as it travels in space and time.
The Locator Brain orienates you in space and time.
ABC Tool #11: Landing Pad
A – Alert – Be Aware! Both thinking and feeling are needed to live life to its fullest.
Ask yourself, “Am I in my mind … thinking? Am I located in my head … judging? Can I give a rational or logical explanation of this relationship, experience or event? What does my mind or “should-authority” tell me?
Ask yourself, “Am I in my body … feeling?” Am I located in my heart … sensing? Can I make sense out of this relationship, experience or event? What does my gut or intuition tell me?
B – Blink – Be Present! “Don’t think … feel!”
Connect your mind and body. Take a momentary pause by closing your eyelids. Exhale. Blow out your air as if you are heaving a great sigh of relief. Follow your breath as it goes deep into your diaphragm. Repeat this three times.
Locate yourself. Tune into your body. Describe the physical sensations you feel. For example, “I am aware of tingling in my toes…a ringing in my ears.” Ask these signals to decrease in their intensity. Thank your brain. It has been working hard on your behalf to process information and to energize you for action while you think. Give your brain a break. Take a momentary pause. Breathe deeply three times. Get out of your head and into your body.
C – Change – Be Located! Land in your body!
Find Your Ground – The physical body is the ground of your being. Some of us live in it … in our feelings. Others of us live out of it … in our minds. The key is to connect the thinking head-brain with the feeling gut-brain by honoring the vitality of both.
Look at your feet. Sitting or standing, place them firmly on the floor shoulder width apart. Wiggle your toes. Let your feet rock from the balls of the feet to the heels.
Imagine a circle on the floor in front of you. Choose your favorite color … a color that represents abundant life. Fill the circle in with this color.
Now, step into the circle or let the circle slide under you. Pay attention to your breath and your body posture. What happens when you physically ground yourself in your life-circle? Play with it. Let it become a column or a sphere. Move within it. Take a few steps and take it with you. If you have ever been in the shade and moved into the sun or felt the heat of the sun and moved into the shade, then you know the subtle changes your body makes as you live in your body.
Find You Landing Pad – The physical body is the land in which you live. It houses all that you are and all that you experience. Since the brain travels in space and time, it can become dislocated. The body serves as a locational landing pad. If you have felt the jarring rush of landing in your body from a dream-state or have thought, “How did I get here” after arriving at your destination, then you know that the body is a landing pad. At one level, you can physically wiggle your toes and locate yourself in your body. At another level, you can mentally construct an image of your landing pad. The picture above gives you an example. Now, let’s discover yours by drawing a mandala.
Gather the materials. You will need blank paper either white or black and a selection of markers, pens, crayons or chalk.
Pick your favorite color. Draw a circle in the center of the paper. You are welcome to do this free-hand or trace around a bowl.
Let your creative imagination flow. Be curious. Start at the center and work out. Feel free to start at the edge and work into the center. Decide which way you want to move … from the inside out or from the outside in. Perhaps you want to make one of each. Both with give you a different experience. Either way you will find a mental-image or symbol of your landing pad.
Embrace the Vitality of Your Brain!
May the Fullness of Life Flow through You!