We are born from a body, into a body, and it is through the body that we come to know ourselves. The body is the foundation for the physical manifestation of our life force (also called Ground of Being, Presence, or Universal Intelligence). This life force supports all of creation. It is one energy flow that is constantly infusing and replenishing our tissues. Our body transforms this energy flow into blood, bone, and muscle that take action in the world. It is only through this lived experience of the body–through Embodied Presence–that we can be in direct experience with others, our world, and the universe. Embodied Presence is such an unwavering ground of support that we can easily lose touch with it. But it never loses touch with us. We need only open ourselves–our bodies–to the experience.
We have been taught to marginalize and mistrust the body by a cultural viewpoint that places our thinking mind in control of the body. This viewpoint separates mind from body and spirit, denying the body as the focal point for the unfolding of human experience. But the living body contains a wisdom that offers us a road back to our embodied selves through our sensory experience.
Our embodiment journey begins inside the dark cave of the body, when a spark of energy infuses a collection of cells which miraculously hold the DNA blueprint for creating a human being. This dance of opposites, between dark and light, is generated by stillness, movement, and sensation. These three elements form a sensory relationship with one another, stimulating the development of our central nervous system and all of our tissues. Through this process we embody the Ground of Being and participate in our unfolding human experience.
Stillness is dynamic, dynamic in that it is paradoxically filled with movement, the movement of a magnetic pull between opposites in a dance of coming together, then moving apart. It is like the moment of stillness between ocean waves before one wave rolls out and the next rolls into shore. That moment of stillness is filled with small ripples of ocean current that gradually shift the course of the wave, creating a new movement and direction.
Movement organizes out of stillness in nature and in our body. Our body is 90% fluid, in constant internal motion, and influenced by the same environmental principles as the ocean. Like the stillness between ocean waves, new movement in our tissues organizes out of the stillness between breath cycles. The movement of our tissues gliding against one another creates sensation, stimulating nerve growth which increases our capacity for more sensation. This increased sensation stimulates the growth of our central nervous system (which consists of our brain and spinal cord). Sensory feedback from our body grows our brain’s capacity to perceive and relate to the world.
We become more present in each moment through awareness of our senses arising from our body. When we touch, hear, see, taste, and smell, we are in direct experiential relationship with others and our environment. Our language and thinking develop out of the sensations generated by the earliest sounds and gestures emanating from our body. Our emotional history is held in the tissue sensations of our body and only later interpreted cognitively. Our ability to be intuitive, imagine future possibilities, and act is dependent on our Embodied Presence. Embodied Presence is our sensory awareness of the Ground of Being as it infuses the tissues in each moment.
The Ground of Being is not a state of mind or place. It cannot be accessed through the thinking mind. It is not separate from our body. It is one with our body. It grows itself into the tapestry of our tissues as they are forming. It transforms them and is forever transformed by them through the lived experience of the body. The Ground of Being learns, grows, knows itself, and evolves through our Embodied Presence, and it needs us to awaken to our full capacity.
The way to awaken our Embodied Presence is as simple as breathing. I invite you to try this: On your next exhale, let your body re-mind your mind that it is part of the living experience of the body. Drop your awareness into your body, sensing each movement of the breath. Allow your tissues to respond to your breath like trees respond to the wind. When the wind blows through trees they bend, shimmer, and shift to their roots, creating a movement that draws nutrients in from the earth. Similarly, our breath moves through our tissues, opening them to drink in a deeply nurturing infusion of the Ground of Being.
Rest in the stillness between your exhale and the next inhale. Wait there, until it is time to breathe in again. Your body will know the time. Simply breathe in, follow the sensations, and allow your next movement to organize itself out of the stillness.
The Ground of Being waits in the stillness for you to embody its presence by sensing how it ripples through your tissues, awakening them into the next movement of your full capacity in the world.