To understand embodiment, it is helpful to look at its opposite, being un-embodied. It is easy to fall into an un-embodied state; it's easy to lose yourself and to not be aware that you have become un-embodied, and not notice until the signs are screaming at you from every direction. Our culture supports and encourages its citizens to be un-embodied. In this culture of enslavement to socially dysfunctional norms, becoming embodied is a revolutionary act.
Our modern American culture supports people becoming stuck in mental quagmires of drama, rules, stress, meetings, obligations, and the regurgitation of socially enforced programming. Whether we are driving our car or working on our computer or shopping, our minds are frequently attuned to the "what to do" dial on the radio. In a society that encourages us to do so much, accomplish so much, to be driven to take care of all the myriad tasks at hand, where our minds are frequently overwhelmed and scattered by the stimuli coming into our field, our sympathetic nervous system is in control, and it is regulated by the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, otherwise known as adrenaline.
How many people do you know who have said, "I don't know how to relax. I can only relax when I'm doing something. I'm an adrenaline junkie!"
Having been a bodyworker for several years, I have seen innumerable men who are completely disconnected from their bodies. In fact, it was that realization that made me want to delve into offering tantric bodywork as a healing modality, to offer compassion to the masses of men whose bodies, minds, and energy bodies were all completely disconnected and un-integrated. In my tantric work, I have sought to teach men how to become present and attuned to their bodies, to direct their awareness into their bodies in order to become energetically aware, to be able to move and circulate energy internally.
My study of the parasympathetic nervous system versus the sympathetic nervous system made me realize that our society conditions men and women to become un-tantric and sexually dysfunctional by promoting belief systems that encourage the sympathetic nervous system to be in an adrenaline-dominance state, which depletes the ability to be relaxed, sensual, and well-rested, and which creates dysfunction in the sexual organs and the intestines. Adrenaline dominance -- the lifestyle of stress, overactive thoughts, do-do-do, go-go-go rat race, and "I can't seem to sleep at night," the fight-or-flight system in full bloom -- conditions one to become un-embodied.
My way of becoming un-embodied is to become depressed, deeply depressed, so depressed that I cannot talk; I become a frostbitten statue of tears -- unable to break out of an ice-grip that has taken over my numbed soul. The sadness is overwhelming and I feel powerless in its captivity, unable to move, to look anyone in the eye or let go. This is most decidedly a very un-enjoyable experience that completely disempowers me and makes me feel drained of all life force, energy, motivation and power. To be seen in a moment of this experience is to be seen in a deeply vulnerable moment, the kind of vulnerability that is uncomfortable and difficult to face and share with others. And who would accept someone like me, someone so sad, someone so unempowered? My thoughts tell me I'm not good enough.
I share this with you because having gone through a wave of this sadness and depression recently, then receiving loving openness from a beautiful healer who helped me to become more in my body, I realized the link between depression and being un-embodied, and why being embodied is one of the most important spiritual practices to cultivate for energetic and emotional well-being.
Whether your pattern for being un-embodied is to become overwhelmed and stressful -- prone to anxiety attacks and the mind running in a state of overwhelm -- or if your pattern is to fall into a frozen state of depression, possibly even using substances to assist in your numbing process, I believe both forms of un-embodiment are a result of the "fight or flight" / sympathetic nervous system response.
In depression, the mind has taken flight into a spiralling out-of-control confusion state, wherein the mind is not in the body; the self is fighting against its better self, the wisdom self -- the higher mind. In the other form -- the overactive, doing state, people are ignoring their body signals, and going and doing, not listening to their feelings and their body, despite all its attempts to make its intelligence wildly known. Both forms of un-embodiment are draining energetically, and leave people exhausted and unhappy. And folks, I'm sick of being unhappy, and I'm sure you are too! I want to be happy, and I want you to be happy too! Everybody deserves to be happy, even if you think you don't. And it's not until we are motivated to make the life-affirming transformational choices that make us feel empowered that we will be happy, and that requires listening to ones heart's wisdom -- the intuition, the most deeply personal, subtle language of the soul.
But running away from your problems isn't really the answer either; that isn't going to solve the unhappiness in the long term. Running away is another form of being un-embodied; it's a form of denial, pushing aside what we're feeling. Problems don't go anywhere, they're still there waiting to be worked on.
When I was with my ex-boyfriend four years ago, things were highly explosive at times and I was traumatized by the experience, and in my traumatized state I discovered that I didn't love myself and that I wanted to die because I felt hopeless and worthless, and I often found myself on a park bench for hours in a frostbitten trance of numbness and sadness, or wandering aimlessly through sidewalks and stores with a vacant, lifeless expression on my face -- unable to look anyone in the eye, and if someone did, I'd just start bawling. Finally, after some time of going through such an emotionally intense ordeal, I found a way out and escaped the relationship long enough for to do a little bit of work on myself.
I ended up at Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, one of those magical "heaven on earth" places -- a warm, sunny paradise filled with bougainvilleas, and foot-paths through a small Mayan village where everyone embraced each other with a kiss on each cheek as a greeting, totally disconnected from everything in the United States. It was there that I went into the deepest journey of self-examination and self-healing that I could muster. Inspired by the wisdom of Caroline Myss and her book, Anatomy of the Spirit, I began processing my physical symptoms on an energetic level and discovered that I was still really sad and depressed in Guatemala. Despite the fact that there was no boyfriend triggering me that I could point my fingers towards, I discovered that the emotional and energetic symptoms were exactly the same whether I was in Oregon or in Guatemala. I began owning and taking responsibility for my feelings, and realized I had to stop running away from myself and had to stop blaming others for my experience. This was a pivotal moment in my life process of empowerment.
I think we all have to learn our own tools for embodiment that work for us -- those tools that help us to become present, to listen to what we are feeling in all layers of ourcellves. Whether your embodiment practice is hula-hooping or yoga or chanting or offering someone a massage, in my opinion, it matters not which practice -- what matters is that it is practiced with mindfulness, bringing our full awareness into our bodies -- listening, feeling, intuitively responding to our body's language of speaking to us through felt impressions.
Body-centered sensations are crucial to the process in that they elicit our full awareness of the here and now, the magic of the moment. It's easy to ignore and walk right by the magical present moment when we are in our not-self, our unconscious, un-embodied self. It is important that we give our attention to delicious smells, beauty and pleasurable sensations in the body that help to elicit opening, surrender, and relaxation and allow the fight or flight response to relax and surrender to the parasympathetic nervous system, where we receive nurturing, restorative healing energies.
It is in these moments of relaxation and nurturing restoration that our minds are able to begin to see more clearly, and know intuitively what is truth, and what our direction is -- rather than our spinning, confused mind and its chaotic attempts to discern direction. Our embodiment practices are tools to help train us to be able to process and receive these moments where intuitive guidance wants to be in service to our uplifting. These are tools and practices we have to learn how to use, so that when we find ourselves or others whom we wish to serve out of balance, we can help transform the unconscious patterns of resistance to healing and embodiment.
When I was in Guatemala, I discovered the core of my personal embodiment practice and I spent as much time every day as possible practicing it. In the village of San Marcos, along the coast of Lake Atitlan, there is an area just a few minutes walk away from the center of the village, a place known simply as "the Rocks," where white boulders meet the clear blue waters of Lake Atitlan. Every day I would find nomadic global gypsies perched on any number of the rocks, hanging out -- usually bathing in the nude, sometimes smoking spliffs, sometimes jumping off of 30 foot high cliffs into the waters, sometimes doing yoga.
It was there that we would watch as elder Mayan men would boat around the lake in their hand carved wooden canoes, fishing. It was there that sometimes we would find the women washing their clothes, scrubbing them on the rocks. It was there that as my time in Atitlan progressed, I spent my days doing my own form of embodiment practice -- my own, intuitive fusion of sounding / toning, combined with yogic stretching and practicing what I'd learned from my QiGong teachers, and praying. Essentially, it was a combination of sound healing and doing yogic meditative movements and focusing my intention and breath; moving on the boulders, balancing my feet on pressure points on the rocks, and intermittently bathing in the waters and drying off on the rocks in the sunlight as I did my movements and toning. It was pretty much the most blissful experience ever. And after some time of doing that, I would feel deeply at peace, simultaneously relaxed and blissed out and yet filled with heightened vitality and energy.
There is something about bathing and doing embodiment practices on boulders next to clean bodies of water that is pretty much my most treasured spiritual practice ever; it initiates a most desirable state of transcendence and happiness. Since that time, I have done those practices on boulders alongside waterfalls in Puerto Rico, creeks in Southern Oregon, and from the Rio Urubamba in the Sacred Valley in Peru to the Cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula. But it's important to bring our spiritual practices home to the places without crystal clear bodies of water, to the cold, grey lands up North where this energy is rare and most needed -- where most of the people have no embodiment practices and are trapped in the maze of energetic disconnect and stress.
It's hard to stay replenished and not get devoured by the energy in our American culture, where the global corporate economy reality has stamped its claw into seemingly every soul and region.
With the economy in our society at the heart of everything, and given its current state of recession, it is no surprise that it is so hard to stay grounded and embodied. We're all scrambling in some fear-based, survival mode to pay rent, afford our bills and make sure we are fed. This has been a transformational, traumatizing year for many, including myself -- this has been the year that food stamps saved my life. Transformations and traumas have come in the form of health-related challenges, deaths, financial devastations, losing thousands of dollars along the way to thieves or banks, divorces and separations -- I have seen almost no one pass through the eye of this year unscathed.
But not everybody has been as traumatized in the process, which would seem to indicate that it is our way of responding to such situations that determines the outcome, inasmuch as the external circumstances allow.
When $4,000 in cash was stolen from my suitcase in October, everyone reminded me that it was how I responded to the situation that determined its affect on me. I came to realize that I could not push aside my emotions and be in denial of the powerful feelings of anger and devastating sadness that overwhelmed me as I grieved my loss, but I could not let it destroy me; I had to be in surrendering acceptance of it and let it go. I have wept more this year than perhaps any other year of my life, I've felt powerless and hopeless to the circumstances. I eventually backslid, further and further down a slippery slope, just trying to survive and pay debts off, shirking my happiness in the process. I just gave in to the pressure to dig myself out of the financially devastating circumstances, which has felt empowering in some way to not run away from my debts, but has left me ungrounded, drained, depressed and in survival mode .
It's easy to lose oneself in response to the onslaught of such traumas and circumstances -- and to let go of the self-healing tools one has developed -- because one feels overwhelmed by the experience. Such traumas work to dislodge our embodiment, and we have to work against a powerful upstream current, starting again from what seems like scratch, to find the power to re-regulate our empowerment through the re-awakening of our embodiment practices, otherwise we could be lost to the overpowering tide of depression, addiction, frustration, anger and survival-based tactics -- never getting ahead and never being happy.
There is another level of Being Embodied beyond just being body-centric. There is a level to which we learn how to embody our energetic body -- that which we could call our Divine Essence, the goal of which is to collectively embody the Divine on Earth, meaning we are in the process of working to embody Heaven on Earth.
I discovered this by being led to the study of Tantra. Everyone in our culture has learned to equate Tantra with techniques for better sex. But at the essence of the truth of my knowing, I know Tantra to be beyond the improvement of sex; it is a powerful and ancient practice of devotion to the Divine Mother, a practice which seeks to awaken the Kundalini, a practice which aims at the total liberation of the practitioner, and which seeks to awaken one to the core essence of truth: (y)our divinity. It's easy enough to formulate the thought, but to know it through every channel of your awakened energy body, to know the essential truth and to feel it as simply as to feel the chair one is sitting in -- this is what Tantra seeks to awaken in each being. It has not taught me how to have better sex, but in fact what it has impressed upon me is the importance of understanding how to circulate internal sexual energy in the body with conscious awareness.
Your mind may have a skeptical response to these concepts, you may respond sarcastically -- rolling your eyes, or mockingly degrading the entire idea. You may have a hard time believing that there is anything beyond this surface level, body / matter reality, you may think that the idea of God is rolled up into the Christian mythos, you may not believe that there is a God, let alone that you could be an embodiment of such wisdom. But would you really want to give all your power away to thoughts that would serve to limit you and keep you from knowing yourself at the deepest level possible? The goal of this path is to re-orient your mind's attention to your body and to your heart, and to listen intuitively to the wisdom emanating from the deepest level possible, from the bliss of the compassion and love pouring forth from your heart.
It is not possible to know yourself as Divine through mental constructs, it is only possible to know when you tune your attention to a frequency just beyond the mundane, the still point of meditation, the clarity of intuitive, listening consciousness. This is why it is so important Now to begin learning conscious embodiment practices.
This society, this economy, all the concrete and banks and sidewalks serve to keep us enslaved to an energetically rigid, externally enforced belief structure of reality. When we attune to the wisdom of the Earth, when we listen with our bodies, when we allow ourselves to be permeated by the mystery and the beauty of the Divine manifested as the Earth, we can begin to re-attune our energetic frequency to our embodiment of Divinity.
I have only sat with Grandmother Peyote once, and she shared with me a very important message of our current times. After having gained witness of an enormous altar in front of this massive Grandmother peyote cactus upon which thousands of offerings had been placed, I was taken into what seemed like a subway train made of pure light. It was a sort of Celestial, Galactic Public Transportation system. This vision was like a movie trailer of a Cosmic Opportunity coming soon to a planet near us.
The Galactic Public Transportation system has a regular route, just like a subway train, but it circulates energy throughout the galaxy, on a multidimensional, energetic level. It was coming to Earth soon; it only makes its visitation to Earth approximately every 26,000 years. It said this is why so many people chose to be incarnated at this time on this planet; so many souls subconsciously want the opportunity to awaken and co-create the divine transformation on Earth. But it's not just the humans who have this opportunity to ascend energetically with the approaching of this celestial subway; all plants & animals & waters & stones do too, but primarily the Earth herself is preparing to make the jump on an energetic level, which will require a release of Kundalini Energy from the Earth's core. Thus, the vision informed me, it is absolutely crucial that all beings on the planet learn immediately how to be sensitive to their energy body, and how to move and circulate internal energy consciously through their bodies.
Is it any wonder that there is such an intense enslavement and repression upon the planet, by way of the global financial industry conjoined with the pharmaceutical companies, the shadow governments, etc? There is a great fear that they will lose their enslaving power over so many souls simultaneously. They are consciously and unconsciously programmed to keep as many people trapped and stuck as possible, by creating great discord in the bodies of every person through creating obstacles for well-being, through unhealthy, toxic, GMO laden food, pharmaceutical drugs, through stressful environments in the work-world, through diseases, through toxicities in our environments. It is through these toxicities that we block flows of energy in our bodies, and create diseases which can keep us stuck in a karmic rut. But it is through our bodies that we can gain freedom, learn how to access our divinity, learn how to be attuned to the energy and intelligence emanating from the Earth.
This is why it is absolutely crucial that we learn how to become embodied and cultivate embodiment practices now, so that we can learn how to listen to the Earth as she speaks to us, liberating our energy bodies with the subtle and intense pulsations of her awakening vibrational shift. There are a great many people who will not take the opportunity to be liberated as the Earth shakes off her denser-energy body and aligns to a heightened vibration; there are a great many people who will remain stuck or become devastated by disasters because they don't know how to feel, don't know how to be attuned, don't know how to listen to their bodies, don't know how to let go, and will remain ensnared and enslaved until the next cosmic subway arrives in another 26,000 years.
Maybe it's all an illusion, but it was the essence of the download I received from Peyote, and it seems that its message has continually been corroborated by all the stories, intuitions and news emerging from a multiplicity of sources over the last six years.
Once, while I was contemplating the Earth's unique opportunity for Kundalini Awakening and vibrational shift, the realization came to me that in order for the Earth's kundalini to be stirred and awakened, she must be reveling in an orgasmic vibration of pleasure and release. What would cause the Earth to experience an orgasmic release of energy but penetration? But what would penetrate her, and how, and where? Then it came to me; the Earth Mother, aka Pachamama, is feminine & receptive; and historically and archetypally, the Sun has always been masculine, "penetrating." The Sun has always been equated to masculine force, and an increase in solar flares would provide a proper amount of penetrative energy to trigger the receptive, yoni-like qualities of the Earth. Thus, I feel that the rise in penetrating solar flares is going to cause an increase in seismic releases from the Earth's core, which I perceive to be akin to the Earth experiencing a rippling, pulsating orgasmic release. And who wouldn't want to live on a planet that is experiencing an increase in blissful vibrations? Thus, being attuned to the heightened, kundalini-activated energy arising from the Earth is at a deeper level the ultimate goal of Being Embodied in these times. Because if you aren't an Embodied Being, you will be unaware of the vibrational shift approaching and occurring.
This is the very essence of my soul's purpose; to provide conscious Embodiment Practices to maintain embodied awareness, learning how to intuitively discern our body's wisdom, thus staying magnetically attuned to the information being emitted from the core of the Earth during times of transformational Earth changes. Because it is precisely at the moment of transformation and chaotic nodes that we need to be committed to staying Embodied and Grounded, rather than swept into the swirl of confusion and devastation that the chaos could allow.
It is very much like Jesus' parable of being on the ship during a storm, and remaining a pillar of light and calm. Thus, we are able to stay centered and in service to the embodiment and grounding of those around us during times when others are swept into the chaotic swirl. For the central spiritual truth I have always received is, "Trust: there is nothing to fear, you are surrounded by a supportive conscious universe, you are always supported. Relax and stay centered."
Image by Bruno Girin, courtesy of Creative Commons license.