Embodying a more extended concept of mind and self. Why is it important? How can be done?

Today I write inspired and energised by a recent training I co-facilitated and where we all had the opportunity to explore a powerful cognitive process that comes from deepening our connection with our bodies. The purpose is to expand our notion of mind and create space for subliminal-perception, i.e. before our selfs start to label our experiences. This brought an invitation to work with the process of emergence.

All my workshops and trainings have some kind of practice that evokes this field of knowledge. But this time, being part of a larger team of trainers I was offered the opportunity to focus mostly in helping strength people’s ability to talk and listen to their bodies. Using the body as a instrument of our intuitive mind, that help us create new knowledge about us.  How do we impact the world and how the world hits us, its a good definition of what we can get from exploring the process of embodying a more extended concept of mind and self.

My rational mind and my intuitive mind have a healthy relationship, there is room for improvement but they collaborate quite fine. And I use both when I bring the hypothesis that our actual way of relating to our bodies may also be one of the sources of the huge disruptions we see in the world. And by being the source is may also hold the solution.
So, learning more about how to use the mind-body connection may be worth to practice, in face of the actual levels of tension and increasing polarisation. We really are in need of some fresh new solutions.

I’ve just return from co-design and facilitating at the ’15 Healthcare Leadership School training program in Portugal, Gerês. HLS is a personal development training program from Humans of Health. And last week, with a group of passion-driven human beings, we created a powerful and deep exploratory learning journey.
I’m still integrating these 9 intense days working with a fabulous group of trainers and more than 50 medical students and young doctors, all inspired by the vision of more human and compassionated healthcare systems.
Together we created a safe space to learn how to learn from the emergence of what we want to see in the world. We had a few sessions working with emergence and exploring it with the help of our bodies, open to learn from what its not tangible yet.

My contribution as as trainer and facilitator was to invite the willingness to work with what we feel is need in the world, connect with this vision within us and spot it in others. Build a field of possibilities by accessing the physical and emotional body of our dreams, visions, hopes and fears. A very intangible field to operate, that brings uncertainty and demands us to strength our ability to listen better and carefully watched for the many ways our body communicates with the world.
I’m deeply grateful to all participants for having the chance to present a very personal invitation on how I feel we should observe, perceive and interact with our world, our communities and our many relationships with other sentient beings. I’m grateful for having seen and felt more human beings constructively embracing the possibility of being much more resourceful than they thought they could be.

As a facilitator and trainer I offered the processes and tools, and as an individual I offered my way of living and relating with Life.

At its core, my practice or the quality of presence that I invite, is essentially about using our body and its vibrational silent language to perceive more of our world. Embodying our whole body as a point of consciousness, noticing our feelings and emotions, inside the womb of our body, and allow them to reveal us information about our surrounding work and ourselves. Strengthen this practice as a way of being present in the world and not only as brief isolated mindful moment.

The main purpose of my work is to support space and time to lift our collective thinking and action towards a more inclusive and balanced version. I bring no certainties about any final better version, life is organic in all aspects. But I bring my felt certainty and of many other change agents, that any better version would come from us collectively respecting our many differences and honouring the balance need for coexistence.
I draw experimental learning journeys relating Authenticity and Collaboration. The practices and tools are chosen under my felt belief that individual and collective are not separated entities, rather are perceive as two movements in one single ‘entity’.

Here are some examples of what I repeatedly experience as a social being and facilitator:

  • Each person carries stories that mirror stages and/or events in other individual personal journeys. Much often the all personal journey is mirrored.

  • Self-awareness rises as people tell their stories. As we uncover hidden pieces of our self to others it triggers emotional memories that where forgotten or deliberately suppressed, and hold critical information about us and the context where those memories were formed.

  • By opening ourselves to other we discover we are not so unnatural in our thoughts, feelings or perceptions of the world.

  • As we see ourselves in others, our fears and hopes, we develop compassion towards others and this invites the same toward us.

  • At one’s own rhythm, people slowly open to the emerging collective field and start to sense new connections and spot patterns that unify them with the other participants. The social field that links everyone starts to be perceived.

  • The sense of being connected with others builds courage and offers support to each individual to act loyal to its inner-self. Trust is build by the alignment between individual self and collective identity.

  • Feeling confident to act from a authentic position we transform the tension, between what we are and what we sense we can be, into creative energy. Its the moment we move from fear to love.

  • The creative energy that is released embraces all our polarities and mirrors this quality when put into action. If we are capable of hold and use tension in creative ways within self, we can also apply that skill when differentiating self and others

As a facilitator I guide participants through the process of embracing all that emerges, holding safe space for what exists, what is known and also for what is unknown, something that usually produces a fearful sense of chaos.
Welcoming the storm between what exists and the new things that want to be brought to life, demands doing a preparatory work in creating this safe space within each individual. A space which the Japanese word ‘Ma’ so well describes: a experiential space where we simultaneous experience awareness of form and non-form – see more wikipédia. As a facilitator it demands us to strength this practice in our every day life, cause we need to lead by example. There is a vast theoretical body that supports this way of knowing, but to find proper multi-disciplinary language (verbal) is often a challenging task, mostly when we only have a few hours or days. So we must practice it.

I drive to dynamically built this understanding – individual and collective as one single entity -, through my personal and professional journey, and along the way it becomes more clear that when each one of us offers their true stories, all emotions allowed, and other people follow us, it is inevitable to see the emergence of patterns and connections that show us that there is no such thing as separateness.
When this kind of social field is created we can observe an intense exchange of strengths, weaknesses, hopes and fears that build a sense of belonging to one single entity.

The main obstacle I sense in our way towards this experience of wholeness is our disconnection with our own emotional and physical body. And therefore I feel the need to pay particular attention to the reasons why we choose to disconnect, cause I have to me that from being disconnected from our bodies comes the reason of our disconnectedness with the world.

Lets try to explore our collective disconnection by connecting with our whole-self.

Connecting the micro and macro levels of existence.

There is one pattern that helps me to connect our inner and outer world. And it comes from sensing that our greatest collective challenges have much to do with our inability to hold space for the experience of strong diference and coexistence of polarities.We create tension by trying to suppress one of the sides. And this tension can take very destructive shapes.
And this same pattern can be found deep inside of us. If we can be brutally honest with ourselves we can spot many polarities we hold that, in face of our inability to harmonize them, have the potencial to produce inside of us similar destructive action. It reveals it self in the way we impact the world, through our relations, and in our own health.
A quick look at my inner world and I’m able to identify many potential spots of tension. Inner dialogues between ‘what I Am’, ‘what I can be’ and ‘what I should be’. Yes, I also bring the invitation to notice those parts of us that still search for acceptance, the tension between what I feel its my own personal rhythm and priorities and the rhythms and priorities of our global society.

This sense of not fitting can often create very unpleasant feelings and thoughts. And to often we be believe that by learning to deal with them at a conscious level we no longer are impacted by them. But maybe, what we do its only to disconnect and not really solve the tension. We do it probably to avoid feeling such disharmony, and this takes again to our body

What if by choosing to disconnect from our bodies we are also deepening, at fast pace, our disconnection with what surround us?

If all this makes any sense within you – connection with self leading to individual and collective as one entity -,  maybe you are open, to the possibility that by re-establishing our connection with our wholeness (mind, body and heart-spirit) and harmonising our inner polarities, we can support the same movement at a collective level.

This strong belief was once more strengthened in me, in this leadership program, organised around 3 pillars: Who Am I | Holistic Health | Making the Change.
Along the journey we collectively experience how change begins in the movement of opening to ourselves and connecting to the many aspects that make our identity; how from this movement we start to experience the connectedness of all Life; and finally how embracing all our hopes and fears builds a meaningful vision of what we want to contribute and how to help create a more balance world.

Be the change that you wish to see in the world. – Mahatma Ghandi

I Am The Way

We really must be the change we want to see in the world. The creative power starts manifesting inside each one of us.
I know the idea sometimes may seem overwhelming, powerful and many times feel heavy. But let me offer a less overwhelming picture. ‘Do you come to know any human creation that was brought to life before it was dreamed or envisioned?’. Did you ever spoke about a dream or vision without first being fired by emotions? If new means ‘never ever seen’, where do you think things first emerge? Depending on your answers you may agree or not with this statement: The intangible (consciousness) precedes matter.

It is this understanding that drives my option to learn and apply approaches that expand our senses to deal with this more subtle source of knowledge. This understanding and also the notion that we are repeatedly using sources of knowledge based on what already exists. And what already exists has its flaws. We need to learn how to learn from the emergence of the future, using the model and language I’ve integrated from Theory U.

And this learning journey starts at an individual level.

We individually are points of consciousness, and what I bring you here is an overview on how I invite the process to incorporate in our bodies the creative power brought by higher levels of consciousness.

To start the journey towards better mastering of such creative power, we need to review our relationship with our body, pay it more attention, be present with awareness and listen to the inner language of the body. We must take our body as mean to perceive our true self, our whole experiences, with all polarities.

What do I mean with our true self?
I refer to all life energy inside us, all that we perceive, be it thoughts, feelings or sensation. Noticing all, and suspend the labelling into positive or negative, suspending thinking about what is acceptable or suitable. Becoming authentic as we embrace all we are, even in the presence of disharmony between parts of us. That’s being truly human.

What do I mean with embodying?
Its about focusing on your body with the intent to see, listen and feel whats happening in the moment. Using attention in our body signs to actualize and/or complete our mental. Use attention at its highest potential, by aligning mental and body perception.

Embodying our whole-self is here presented as a process that brings mind, heart and body together, and by doing this it expands our levels of consciousness (being aware).

There are many different processes we can take, and in all we are offered the opportunity to suspend our standard way of thinking. Any practice that incorporates mindfulness is suitable to start. They bring an automatic process that shift our attention into a sate of ‘wanting to listen’, and it creates ‘free space’ in our minds.
For those less comfortable in operating from ‘not knowing’ I often remember them that in the end, after allowing one self to experiencing a different level of connectedness with the collective field, we can always choose to keep or update what we already knew. What we already knew, before hearing one’s own silent language. It is each one own choice to decide what needs to be released and what its allowed to come in.

A process of embodying our whole-self

There are many structures that offer us the opportunity to design and experience this process of embodying the whole-self. As a facilitator I’m particularly fan of Theory U, Art of Hosting Practices, both models and tools, as well for many other embodied approaches that call for the intuitive mind (phenomenology, constellations methodology, social theatre as experimental structure, arts and craft practices). In the end, the processes I combine are much about noticing, following and observing the body that host our consciousness.

I like to look at this work as a process of inquiring the body. A process that should be added to our usual ways of thinking, mostly previous to decision-making. It aligns us with what is emerging in our collectives. But it also implies we should learn to use our full language potential, where the body takes a critical role.

Taking a quick and superficial look at the major stages of the process I highlight this main steps:

  1. Focusing our attention in the present moment
  2. Surrender and accept what we are in the now.
  3. Open to what calls us to become, connect to what moves us inside.
  4. Hold any tension within our body with a loving heart and open mind.
  5. Be present with honesty towards self, observe metaphors, look at mental images, spot movement, pay attention to any body sensations. Avoid labelling what is perceived, it bring us to what we already know.
  6. And lastly, don’t rush to make meaning of the experience and fit it into words. Let it linger inside, observe and allow the unconscious mind to translate by it self into a clearer image. Pick the image or sense of motion and express it in a open and fluid language. Use creative ways to crystalize this new information. From my experience the unfolding of new insights is a self-organised process between our conscious and unconscious mind. It can take a few minutes, hours, days, or even weeks, but believe me, the insight, revelation or ‘ahahah moment’ will be brought to you.

Exploring our inner world can be both a very empowering and also a very uncomfortable and emotional experience, as a facilitator I never know what will emerge. But this is precisely what I believe we should stop doing, avoiding the unknown, the uncomfortable and its sense of vulnerability. Stop ignoring and start to listening to the truth stored in our bodies, in all its colours. It has a lot of useful information about our collective experience.

Wow! Its absolutely magic and powerful this possibility of reaching a more balanced world by deepening our connection with our inner world. And its more overwhelming as we start to walk along this possibility and evidences start to show up.
Slowly integrating this process into our daily life, and listening to the language we get from our body, starts to strength our self-esteem and trust more in the quality of our thinking. And our ability to trust our intuition, aligned with rational thinking, gets more and more natural along the way. Intuition becomes our process to listen to the silent language of emergence – what we deeply feel is needed, but isn’t tangible yet.

Maybe our next collective learning journey is much about becoming comfortable in embodying the power of a more close relationship with our body and the use of its full language potential.

Thank you for listening.

If you wanna know more about shaping a better collective future by creating healthier relationships with ourselves, please feel free to contact.

Njiza Rodrigo da Costa