Sunday, August 22, 2010

Location of spirit in body

Sitting here, writing this, I am trying to work out where to place that area of my being which is at this moment concentrating on understanding my own feelings and trying to express them in words, in other words my mind and spirit. I can see my physical body in front of me, feel the chair beneath me, my feet touching the ground, and my fingers holding this pen (yes, I still write everything first with a pen!), but I cannot pin down where exactly these thoughts that these fingers of mine are writing down are emerging from within me. They must be coming from this body, because when I get up to make a cup of tea they follow me into the kitchen, and yet they seem to have no actual physical abode inside me. It is as though they are within each cell of my body, but also float free of it so that, when I am thinking or feeling, my physical body disappears. I am in a very real sense disembodied for the period of these thoughts and feelings, and will only be brought back to this body if I consciously direct my attention, as I am doing now, to think of its actions, in this case my fingers holding my pen and directing its movements into forming words, or if some pain or discomfort interrupts the flow of my thoughts, and forces some part of my body to my attention.

We rarely think how odd this all is, and how strange are the hidden workings of our inner life as compared to the much more visible, because physically palpable, workings of our body, but the inner dominates the outer in ways we remain largely unaware of. The life of our emotions has so strong a pull upon us that it has the power to shape our body, forcing it into all kinds of distortions and convolutions as it presses upon us from within. Our hunched shoulders, tightened lips, frowning foreheads and bent knees can often be an expression of an inner life hunched, taut, frowning or bowed.

And each element will express these tensions in different ways, depending on how it reflects its vulnerabilities or its aggressions.

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