Your body responds to your thoughts, emotions and the inner spirit. All that you do take place in and through your body. Without the body you are not. In fact, within each one of us there is a reservoir of information. We can speak of the “wisdom of the body”. If we listen to the body’s language, we may know that a stiff shoulder carries the weight of our stress, a locked jaw holds unspoken words. Hearing and appreciating the body’s own knowledge base is essential to healthy relationship with our bodies.
Your “body” includes the physical body with its organs and members, your health or ill health, your contact experience with nature, all sensations, pleasure and pain, sensibility to music, dance, art, sexuality… In a certain sense you are your body. Your body has a history; it is a quasi-person with whom you can have dialogue in a similar way that you have done with real persons. Here is an exercise to enter into dialogue with your body.
You may take a comfortable posture and prepare yourself to be in contact with your inner world. You may keep your notebook ready for writing. Close your eyes and observe your breathing to concentrate. Become aware of the presence of the Lord in whom you live, move and have your being (Acts 17.28).
1. Become aware of your head from the top… hair, brain. Eyes, face, ears… Allow each part of your body to share how it is for it to take part in your project of life. Imagine how your brain would communicate to you, if it could speak. For example: your brain may be happy to store lot of information that serves your mission… the delight of having the word of God in memory… deprivation of updating if you are not a reader; your eyes may enjoy the service it does for you and may complain of overstraining it before the computer…listen to any . Now write down the dialogue as it comes to you spontaneously.
2. Move your awareness to your neck and backbone and keep listening. Write down again.
3. Now to your shoulders and both hands, chest, stomach region, pelvic region, legs up to the toe. Write down your dialogue. Take a pause and relax the whole body with a sense of gratitude. 4. Now calmly read the entire text you have written. Become aware of the experiences that the reading brings up in you.
5. Now describe in writing your part of the dialogue. What would you say about how you relate with your body? Describe your attitudes and feelings towards your body parts and body as a whole. 6. In the light of your dialogue with your body what would you like to modify in your relation with your body? Write down your insights. Before you conclude spend some time to take the fruits of your dialogue to the Lord in prayer.
A variation of this exercise could be to reconstruct the history of your body in a narrative way. Write all the deeds and experiences relating to your body that you can remember: pleasurable sensations, pains, sicknesses, accidents, outings, swimming exercises, sexual experiences, dawns and twilights, torments, etc. Think of your distinct stages of life: infancy, adolescence, youth, mature age, etc…Think of them in the order that they occur to you. Later you may try to give them dates and place them in chronological order. Then take a pause…read the narrative…take note of the experiences that the reading brings up in you.