Embodiment is a term that is used quite liberally within certain spiritual communities and until there is experiential knowledge of what it means – it remains on the surface as a word that can be passed along without tapping into the roots of how it actually feels and this is at the crux of the word itself.
It is akin to the difference between meditating through direct perception and meditating with the mind alone. Direct perception completely transforms the meditative experience – so what is it?
There are so many visualisation techniques in meditation but they only really have power and clarity of purpose once we have established a deep inner experience of embodiment within the body first. It is paramount if one is to progress in meditation effectively to first learn direct perception because it opens up a sense door within us that allows us to witness energy and awareness running through our channels firstly with impedance and later with less and less of it. If we do not have direct perception there is no grounded experiential knowledge of the process – certainty comes through the body – not the mind. Without it we spend our time distracted by how those impedances are rendered through our minds and create wonderful stories out of them but it takes us in circles – not spirals. If we grow our meditation through using those impedances effectively as our fuel through direct perception we clear them as we progress and find ourselves opening from the inside and deepening into the life experience coming to meditate through the body – with the body as our filter of experience the mind effectively becomes a printer at the end of the experience – it does not interfere – the printer does not create the content – it simply relays it in some way at the end.
For example – if someone coming to meditation is asked to feel their liver – it is more than likely that they will attempt to visualise the liver and start from there. I know this to be true as that was my experience. My teacher taught a very simple exercise to establish the feeling of direct perception that was to leave your eyes open and place your hand behind your back and to simply feel your hand.
We have a naturally strong awareness within our hands because they are so useful in our day to day life. Once you can feel your hand (not visualising it) – just feeling what it feels like – the form and the space that it occupies – just feeling what it feels like to have a hand. You can then go further and perhaps and just feel your index finger – and place your awareness there without doing anything – just feeling the existential feeling of what it feels like to have an index finger at this very moment in form. Once you have established a semblance of the feeling of that index finger you can rest upon it for longer periods of time until you begin to feel it more clearly – then you might move to the next finger and continue in this fashion – simply moving your attention – that is what the mind can do – it can direct attention – but that is all it needs to do – hold the attention – but actually you may find that it wants to do more than that and that is the interference… concentration comes from holding the pattern of what you are feeling – distraction is part of the same continuum of that feeling that does not want to feel because of an innate aversion or greed: the positive and negative forces of magnetism and electricity at play within us – and the charge that it carries plays out as interference and can lead to psychosis in the mind if the body is not used to ground the experience.
One of the hardest elements of meditation to master is concentration. Concentration unfolds and reveals deeper and deeper patterns of the object being observed by simply holding one’s attention in the same place. Sounds easy but it brings into focus the unconscious aspects of our reality and if they are riddled with charges of experience that we never resolved within the body – they can flare up within us with and sometimes with a raging ferocity – and yet all we are doing is sitting on a cushion focussing inside the body – this is the fundamental principle of vipassana meditation – it is about clearing out these charges.
There comes a point if we sustain our practice when we are able to sit through them and allow the body to resolve them – and each time we do – those charges are grounded into concentration within the body. As we progress we build a foundational level of concentration that supports our natural ability to work with future distractions turning them into bodily wisdom when we don’t become identified with them – they simply pass through without any need to control them – we can come to feel great joy from simply being there witnessing the experience as formations come and go. Concentration builds through practice and our awareness grows from sipping from the experience as a non-interfering witness but it dissipates as soon as we get pulled into identifying with the process – turning the experience into a story about ourselves rather than revealing the deeper and deeper patterns behind the experience itself – the thusness of life.
The distractions and the stories could be compared to the crud and crust of conditioning that we have picked up through life – the charges that remain unresolved – being led into making choices with our minds to try and fit into something that we are not. They are also what provide life with its richness of experience when drunk deeply into the body but only when we learn to accept them without any need to own them or control them because embodiment is not about achieving anything other than receiving life itself – it is primarily a passive process – as soon as we have an agenda – we interfere with the revelatory process – this is the essence of zen – life will unfold with or without us – but if we can relax into the process of whatever it is that is occurring – we are placed into a frequency that simply unfolds with life as it is unfolding – and there is no need to try and record or hold onto those revelations – if we let them pass through us there will come a point when they have resolved completely – then we have essentially embodied the experience – we have experienced the process with our inner experience – the body has been enriched through the fertilisation of the existential process of being – that’s it.
Life will bring back the embodiment of that process in some way without our need to control it in any way – and it will happen through our aura – it will come through our authenticity – you see what we are actually doing when we practise direct perception is we are practising authenticity. We are being open and authentic with ourselves and we are reducing the need for the habit of the mind to control our experience.
Embodiment is exactly that – it comes from allowing our experiences to touch our body without the mind’s interference allowing our body to receive the experience and respond to it naturally with its innate intelligence. This process builds trust in the innate intelligence of the form – the form that allows us to experience the filtered quantum perception of life that we swim in every day and night.
Until we truly come to know embodiment within our cells – that is, we have allowed the body to resolve whatever it is within our conditioning that we are meeting – we remain on the surface of life – unable to truly accept the magic that animates life – because the real magic takes place through the form principle – beneath the line. Once we have truly established this sense of embodiment – it becomes a natural process and in fact – it becomes harder to make decisions with the mind without running them through the body first. We begin to speak from that naturally embodied place – we begin to speak from an authenticity that cannot be challenged and need not be challenged and if it is challenged – any doubt that arises from it is simply the food for further embodiment.
The body holds the magic to bring us to the place we can truly prosper – the more we embody our experiences the richer life becomes and the more authentic we become – and we truly begin to understand what uniqueness is. It is not a mental thing – the mental realm is a playground that allows us to experience a self-reflected reality and although it has the power to direct our lives and to bring into being certain manifestations – the most fulfilling manifestations come without our interference – rather when the mind becomes aligned with the body – our outer authority is deeply enriching for others and our inner world becomes deeply enriched by the outer authority of others – because we begin to experience the other within us. The intelligence within their outer authority is the same intelligence within our body – and this is why the apparent coincidences in our life begin to rise the more embodied we become and the synchronicities of life begin to simply line up before us – into such a flow that decisions lose their significance because we don’t identify with them any more with our mind – rather we are being carried through life by our inner authenticity.
In many of the spiritual traditions – there are usually establishing practices and then there are more advanced practices. In Buddhism the sutra teachings create a foundation before embarking upon the tantric teachings as I understand it. It is my learning that the need for this foundation is so that the practitioner can arrive at what embodiment is for themselves first and until this has been established the nuances of the inner teachings will simply not fertilise. And this is the case for any advanced teachings – there first needs to be a grounding in the initial pattern within the body’s intelligence before variations of that pattern can be played with otherwise confusion is sure to follow – and to get lost in the mind without the body’s anchor ultimately leads to despair.
Another offshoot of embodiment is that it allows you to sense the embodiment and authenticity within others which is the foundation for true compassion. We can attempt to resolve issues with our mind alone but if it has not been embodied – if it has not been resolved in the form itself – then whatever is behind that unresolved part will always be there in your aura and it will interfere with your interactions with others and all circumstances of your life are always a reflection of your frequency. The lower frequencies carry this sense of interference: lower here could simply be translated as unresolved charges within the electromagnetic pathways within our body. This is in fact how wounds are passed on through generations – if they are not resolved internally they are passed on.
When you have established enough embodiment, life becomes your teacher and you learn to interact with it internally waiting for resolutions to come naturally and those particular interferences effectively become instinct and intuition without the mess of charge from past unresolved experiences getting in the way. When we learn to drive or when we learn the alphabet – or when we learn anything really – when we have embodied the experience it becomes natural for us to enact without the need to think about it – in fact thinking becomes an impediment at a certain stage of learning.
So, embodiment is all about learning to implicitly trust the body to drive the vehicle and our lives forward in life – through applying it to all aspects of our life – we come into situations whereby what once seemed impossible becomes possible – even though it used to be impossible – but it requires a surrender of the current pattern that we are fixedly holding that isn’t actually authentic for us. If our behaviour is driven by trying to be something that we are not – living up to a principle that has not been embodied directly then we are being inauthentic – this is why it is best in anything to always always always start from where you are – when you come to sit on the cushion in meditation – every meditation is unique and it may bring up past patterns that still have not been resolved – the more we resolve and embody – the cleaner our link with spirit to guide us. The spirit is like a fruit and will always flower when the conditions are present for it to flower after all the same laws that produce gravity and lightning produce flowers and fruit: the conditions simply require us to embody our life experiences as they happen without interference – without the need to control and without a need to be in charge all the time. Life naturally springs out of surrender!