Body consciousness

Tantrists and Taoists believe that our physical bodies are intelligent and conscious right down to the cellular level. Consequently, the body is seen to be much more than a set of mechanistic organs and interconnecting physiological systems, which is the standard attitude adopted by Western allopathic medicine. The tantric viewpoint is that: “…the human body is, in the final analysis, not merely unconscious matter but a stepped-down version of superconscious Energy. […] if the body is not merely the sarcophagus of an immaterial soul but a vibrant, living reality suffused with the same Consciousness that also animates the mind, then we must cease to regard the body as an external object radically distinct from our conscious selves.[1]

Let’s take a really basic dictionary definition of the word consciousness. Merriam-Webster defines consciousness as: “the quality or state of being aware especially of something within oneself” and “the state of being characterized by sensation, emotion, volition, and thought”.[2] With these definitions in mind, we could say that if our cells are imbued with consciousness, it follows that they’ll be capable of responding to our emotions and mental inputs, for example our words, intentions and visualisations. Consequently, communicating, or communing, in some way with our body consciousness is an important and empowering practice to engage in whenever we’re undergoing health treatments (allopathic or natural) or taking medication (pharmaceuticals or natural remedies) as it can increase our chances of responding well to our health regime.

In my view, we give our power away too easily nowadays to physicians who focus solely on physical symptoms and consider the body to be some sort of machine that can be sawed apart, dismantled and put together again without any negative repercussions on its capacity to function harmoniously. In contrast, naturopathic practitioners treat the patient as a whole – not solely the visible symptoms of his/her illness. Nature’s treasure trove – plants, minerals, flowers, etc. – and/or energy-based therapies are used to help the sick person in his/her journey to renewed health by strengthening the body’s innate healing capabilities on the physical plane whilst, in parallel, facilitating the transmutation of any emotional or mental causal factors.

Excerpt from “Looking for Tantra”, due out September/October 2015

[1] Feuerstein, G. (1998) Tantra: the Path to Ecstasy. Shamballa Publications: Boston & London, p.185.

[2] Merriam-Webster: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/consciousness Accessed 18 May 2015.

15 thoughts on “Body consciousness

  1. It takes time, patience and immense concentration to focus on the self. The body, as you have described here, is directed or misdirected by the conscious and the sub-conscious. To evoke such level of consciousness, one needs to be aware of the subliminal impulses. For this to happen one has to attain a higher understanding of the body and mind and be aware of the system in entirety. It’s a complex system, just like the universe and celestial systems. With time and meditation, one can achieve a deeper level of comprehension about the self. Natural healing is a reality, as yogis have practised them for ages. They knew the anatomy of the human body thoroughly and also the functioning of the CNS (central nervous system). Probably, they knew more about the cerebral system, more than we know. Wishing you all the best for your new book, dear Sam. Warm greetings, Amitav.

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    • Thanks so much, Amitav, for adding these valuable and important insights, which offer lots of food for thought. In addition, I think Deborah’s comment about teaching children from an early age to be aware of the body’s innate consciousness is a crucial key. The Western style of education is totally focused on exercising the rational mind. It is lop-sided as it avoids everything else about being human. This produces people who give exaggerated importance to their professional lives at the expense of other things like family and health. And once illness strikes Westerns are looking for a quick fix as they have been told to be strong and get over their ailments quickly or risk looking like they can’t cope. And yet illness can be such a deeply important and enriching learning experience. It can be so empowering to take the time to heal. The natural route back to health tends to take more time than the allopathic route because it is dealing with the root causes of the illness. Dealing with the deeper levels of ill health is critically important to ensure that the illness doesn’t reappear once more in the same or a different guise. Thanks for your good wishes for the book 🙂 Warm greetings, always, Sam 🙂

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      • Sam, you are right, I love the wonderful and meaningful perspectives from you. Exchange of thoughts with you helps me ponder over many aspects of life. Well, in order to to teach our children the parents have to be well informed and know the progressive art of parenting. Parents have an immense responsibility toward their children, which in many cases I find missing. To be aware of the mind and the intricate ecosystem of life, a parallel education, other than the regular education for degrees. Yes, it’s true in this fast-paced world, everyone is looking for a quick-fix solution, be it health or relationships. Natural healing takes time, yes, but with healthy diet and exercise and maintaining a balanced approach toward life (mental-health) is also necessary. All I can see is excesses and indulgence for few minutes of pleasure. So, it has to be a holistic approach toward life. A constantly agitated mind and the innate urge to be aggressively competitive is taking its toll. Life is not simple anymore. Lifestyle changes create an imbalance in the functioning of the body and results in maladies. Due to indiscriminate prescription drugs and antibiotics, viruses are becoming drug resistant, which is a cause of concern. Now, many antibiotic drugs of a higher variety are not effective for more than 4-5 yrs. So their chemical compositions are altered and new drugs are introduced. So, it all starts with choices, how one wants to lead their life. Thank you, Sam, and best wishes to you, always. 🙂

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  2. I found myself nodding throughout your writing Sam, and agree wholeheartedly. We often give our power away and lack faith in our bodies that remember ‘everything’ that has occurred to them. Louise Hay comes to mind who wrote a truly liberating a-z of illness and physical conditions book and how they are created by negative and fearful thoughts alone… Jung talked extensively about this more than a hundred years ago, yet as Amitav rightly points out, the yogis practiced this natural healing thousands of years ago.

    What I find interesting is that despite all of this, our collective (conscious) knowledge, we still struggle to see natural healing as a reality, still we do not trust natural remedies or alternative therapies, including energy healing, still we give our power and bodies away to doctors and surgeons because we still believe that ‘they’ know best.

    So what’s the answer … for me it begins with teaching children (in particular) that their bodies are not the enemy and that instead of focussing solely on ‘mind’ consciousness we need to set aside time to talk about body consciousness and explore those ancient beliefs and practices, other all we’re hardly re-inventing the wheel … all the work has been done, it’s just been sitting on a dark, dusty shelf for centuries. Excellent writing Sam! Looking forward to reading more. 🙂

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    • Thanks so much, Deborah, for sharing this important feedback and for your kind words. I find a lot of the reason why people hand over their health to allopathic doctors and surgeons is because of the fear that is put into them. Unless they have enlightened persons around them, they will likely be told by their families, friends and even the doctors/surgeons themselves that allopathic intervention is “the only” way forwards and if they don’t have the surgery (or other intervention) “quickly” they are putting their health at risk. I experienced this myself over the last 18 months. The fear tactics on the part of a doctor I consulted when I first became aware of my condition were totally unethical, as far as I’m concerned. In addition, I had to distance myself from friends who couldn’t understand my choice to follow a natural route back to health. I didn’t have the energy or will to discuss the situation with them as it was clear how adamant they were that allopathy was the only route forward. Fortunately, my family is very supportive of natural therapies and so they were/are totally behind me. And, moreover, it’s amazing what the health insurance will pay for, nowadays e.g. anthroposophical treatments as long as they are given by a qualified medical doctor.
      As I wrote to Amitav, I totally agree with you that a fundamental step involves educating our children to look at their bodies in a different, more enlightened way.
      Warm greetings, always, Sam 🙂

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      • I’m very interested in your existential and spiritual ponderings Sam and am most happy to have found you here in the Blogosphere … I really appreciate your richly detailed response to my comment. Blessings, Deborah. 🙂

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  3. I completely agree – from my, our, experience. My husband is much better in working with the energies when it comes to the body, helping it heal. And, as Amitav pointed out, it is a very complex endeavour to work with and on…
    What is new to me is the tantric view. Thanks for elucidating that, I had NO idea – suppose I need to learn more about that 😉 Looking ofrward to your book.
    PS: how come your other book was also available at a store in Basel? DO you live there?

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    • Thanks for sharing your feedback both on the body’s energies and on the tantric view 🙂 Yes, I live in Basel – though I’m not Swiss. “Life” has brought me here “by chance” – for the second time round, in fact. Warm greetings, Sam 🙂

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  4. It is interesting to look at the body as an extension of the internal conciousness of mind. Maybe that’s why sometimes it is seen that energy radiates through the face of some people when they speak from a higher level of consciousness.
    Best wishes for your book Sam.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for adding your perspective and for your kind good wishes. All much appreciated. And yes, the face and eyes are often a good indicator of a person’s state of mind and being. I also believe the energy (aura) a person radiates changes according to their state of consciousness. There is something very calming and centring about being with a person who has achieved some integration of the transrational aspect of their being. Warm greetings, Sam 🙂

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  5. I agree with the context and great thoughts. The body’s healing abilities are mostly undermined by the modern medicine as they are more like point and shoot or suppress the symptoms, whereas the treatments for any ailments must be holistic, they should abet and aid our body by reinforcing it’s natural defense and healing abilities rather than destroying in the process of treatment

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