This is the third of a series of posts on how to approach somatic practices. The following ideas are foundations that support our continued unfolding, and our experience of our selves. They are valid no matter where we find ourselves, from the very beginning of our journey into the world of somatics, to our ongoing explorations of the territory years later.
to other ways of knowing. The world of thought is not the only world that you live in. There is another world, underneath the level of your skin, that is known through sensing, feeling, imagination, memory, touch, sound…Remember that these are valid ways of knowing and experiencing. Not everything exists, or can be communicated, in words.
Open to your experience. There are no certainties or predictabilities with the body. It is a process, constantly in motion, changing, living. Nothing to hold on to, or to expect.
The Body First
Whatever you experience in your body comes first. Thoughts and evaluations come later. While you are practising, put your body first. You can untangle your thinking later, once you’re done.
Try not to second-guess yourself afterwards. What you feel, and felt, is real, even when you can’t explain or understand it consciously.
Somatic practice is about sensitivity, subtlety—the things that normally pass under the radar. They are the important ones now. Your skill at detecting these nuances will improve over time, and with practice.
There is a great deal of precision and clarity available in somatics—but nothing is objectively or universally exact. Precision will come from your own closeness, and, over time, repeated familiarity, with your experience.
The body functions as a unified whole, a field without internal or external boundaries. In experience, this means each part affects all the other parts, and the whole. You do not have to experience the effects of a practice in the same way, or in the same part, as anyone else.
When you practice, move between focusing on the part in question, and its relationships or place in the whole. This can occasionally help clarify things. Sometimes connections that seem illogical or contradictory can bubble up to the surface of our awareness—take them as they are.
Doing less is usually the way, especially when in doubt or distress. Letting go of doing is the idea. So mostly we are being, with very little doing.
At the end of a practice, let it go. You do not have to carry it with you, heavy into your life. It is already in your bones and your cells, and will be with you as you go on.