Do I listen to the mind or the body?
Do I listen to the mind or the body?
Have you ever had what felt like a tug of war between the mind and the body – your mind saying one thing and your body something else?
Well, you are not alone, as it seems many share they often experience this dilemma.
Having a commitment to listen to the honesty of the body, as well as understanding and honouring what the body feels, is a supportive and nourishing way to live. We are constantly receiving messages from our body that either confirm our loving choices or alert us when a choice doesn’t feel great in our body.
There is a difference between allowing the body to lead the way or allowing the mind to lead the way. When the two align – body and mind – we have a synergy that has the potential to truly serve our whole being.
When we realize (or if we are open to consider) that nothing occurs by accident, or at random, and that everything that is unfolding in our body is happening for a reason, then we can be open to self-enquiry. This can bring more understanding and true healing as we start to connect the dots of our daily choices and how these choices impact our body.
- When your stomach bloats you may ask: why is that happening?
- When you feel a tightness in your body you may question: why is this occurring and why in that specific area of the body?
If we make a commitment to our own self-enquiry and not brush off what we are feeling and noticing, then we can take this deeper level of honesty to get to a greater understanding about what is happening in our body. This deeper commitment to understanding ourselves and what is happening in our body offers us an opportunity to make the changes needed in order to take better care of ourselves.
It is key to develop more trust towards what the body is communicating and not to judge what and how we are feeling. If we don’t have that judgment then we can just be with whatever is there to feel, with a loving acceptance to allow things to be as they are in each moment. Judgment is often what gets in the way of allowing oneself to feel the deeper levels of honesty in the body.
Lets look at a common area of our life where we can override the body with the mind.
There are so many ideals and beliefs about exercise that we are fed, such as how to exercise and how long to exercise. Many people are caught in the belief that they need to do a minimum amount of exercise each day to manage their weight and body image. But if you stay fixed on the beliefs that the fitness industry feeds you, then you are not going to be listening to your body because you are focussed on reaching the goal you have set yourself.
For example, lets say you have set yourself a goal to walk on the treadmill for 45 minutes each day, but at the 20 or 30 minute mark your body says “that’s enough”; in your mind however you need to go to 45 mins. so you push yourself and justify in your mind why that’s okay. This is a classic example of NOT listening to your body and allowing it to lead the way.
This is something I was caught in – I had the belief that I would get fat if I didn’t walk for 45 mins, which kept me in the cycle of not listening to or honouring my body. Ironically when I eventually let the belief go and listened to how long my body felt to walk each day, I actually lost weight!
Beliefs of how things ‘should’ be are fed to us by others and society every day. When we are fed beliefs that we say yes to they grab us and take us away from the absolute wisdom that the body is delivering to us every moment of every day.
How long we exercise for does not need to be prescribed or rigid, because we can connect to this from the wisdom of our very own body, which may change from day to day.
For example, lets say you go for a walk and you set out to walk for 45 mins, but at the 30 min. mark you can feel that’s enough and then you feel in your day how honouring that was for you and you didn’t feel depleted. When we listen to our body we support our vitality and energy as opposed to feeling depleted from pushing the body.
The choice is ours to make – to override the body with what our mind says or listen to the wisdom that our body is sharing. Our body is precious, wise and something to be deeply appreciated.
When we realize that the body is the ‘boss’, we also realise that how we feel is very much in our own hands.