Embodied Spirituality

“Embodied spirituality regards the body … as the home of the complete human being, as a source of spiritual insight, as a microcosm of the universe and the Mystery, and as pivotal for enduring spiritual transformation.”
– Jorge Ferrer, Author and Professor of Comparative Religions

An embodied spirituality is an integrated spirituality, one that includes all of our humanness and doesn’t reinforce a split between spirit and matter.  Spirit is not separate from the body and the world.  The All is experienced as sacred and we discover that our body is a temple that houses our divinity.

As a thinking-dominated culture, we’ve been conditioned to be head-centered, which greatly increases the likelihood that we’ll be dissociated from our body.  In addition, we avoid deep, embodied presence because repressed emotion is stored in the body.  An unconscious strategy to disconnect from feelings is to split off from the body.  As we move into embodying our experience and become willing to feel what the body holds, we become relaxed, less constricted, and open to greater fullness and aliveness. Yes, we do encounter painful feelings in the process of embodiment but we also gain access to the joy, love, and vibrancy that has been stored in the body, as well.

As we inhabit our body, we become more connected to the earth and to all living things.  We become aligned with the natural cycles and rhythms of life.  We discover our non-separateness, that we were never the isolated beings we imagined ourselves to be.  The walls that we created to protect ourselves begin to soften and dissolve.  No longer attempting to flee the world, we join it more fully.  We see that IT is us.  This is liberating, and it can also engender in us a sense of responsible stewardship to our bodies, to each other and to this planet that is our home.

Try This:  Embodied Presence

At various moments throughout the day, turn your awareness toward your body.  Let your attention shift from thinking to sensing.  Become aware of sensations and feelings that you’re experiencing in the moment.

Pause.  Take one or two deep breaths and let yourself come down and in: out of your head and into your body.  Let go of control, allowing your experience to be what it is, not what you think it should be.  Open up to the NOW of your embodied experience, and relax into what is so