Get back. Get back to the sensation that arises before you label it. We say we are angry or sad. If I ask you if you have a head, you will tell me that yes, of course. We got used to putting labels on things. We are trained to do that as we save time doing so. As a result, we never experience things anymore. But is there another way to experience the world?
Get back to before you named it anger
Have you ever wondered what anger is? I mean yes, you know when you are angry because you’ve leanrt through years how to label the phenomenom as anger. But have you ever felt angry?
Maybe one could try to forget the label for once, maybe not even using the word “angry” and start to explore anger from a tactile perception. Where is the anger? Is it in the knee or in the chest? Does it feel sharp? Does it feel like mercury? Can you say if it is cold or warm? Are you able to describe the texture maybe? Does it feel like the space is shrinking around an area of your body? Is the sensation bigger than your body?
I know! I know that many people wrote books to tell people that if they feel pain in their knee, it is due to a specific emotion, and another are is linked to another emotion. But I am not talking about what you might have read in those book. I am talking about what you feel. Don’t try to escape. Become independent and don’t listen to what people wrote for you. Slow down, and get back to the sensation. And stay there, with the sensation. Well done, you are meditating. Who said meditation is for the mind?
What’s a head?
If you read another book, let say about anatomy, they might mention that human beings have a head. I am pretty sure the people who wrote this book are right. But I kind of doubt everything I am told. So maybe I can explore that too.
Maybe I can explore tactilely what a head is. Maybe I can listen to how a head feels? Is it round? Can I feel the limits? Is it more like a space? What about my eyes? Can I feel my eyes? And can I feel the back of my eyes? And my jaw? How does my jaw feel? What is a jaw when I don’t put labels on it? Can I get back to the sensation? Yes you can, you need to slow down.
Get back to where you once belonged
And what about raising your arm? You learned how to raise your arm when you were a baby, so you don’t need to think about it anymore, unless you are in pain. That’s actually what you do when you learn a sport. You practice a gesture so often that you end up not having to do it consciously. And I invite you to do the opposite. I invite you to open the box and to look at, to listen to and to experience the mechanism.
Start with raising your arm slowly and feel. Feel the reactions in the body, the protections, the defences and all the scories that you accumulated along the years. All of your beliefs about how your arm should move, all the compensations that you created along the years based on your culture, your education, the events of your life.
Maybe we can let a bit of those defences disappear. How? Starting from before we feel them, start from the silence, getting back to where you once belong. Then lift up your arm slowly. Feel the tension. Do not try to stretch it, as it is a defence. Instead, maybe we can get back again, feel the silence that is always present, and raise the arm again. Something disappeared. Congrats, you are doing yoga. You are doing shadow work. Your meditation is now a body work. And I answered if I think that you should start your yoga with meditation or end it with meditation.
Get back, Jojo
Here lies the intensity of life. Here lies one of the best kept secret by people who are fine with having a simple life. Life is intense, because the intensity lies in the listening, not in what you listen to. This is how you do the work. You get back to the silence and operate from there.
And here lies a whole different way to work with people if you are an osteopath, a craniosacral therapist or any kind of manual therapist. That’s my main tool when I work with people, I call it holding space for people. But first we need to hold space for us. And I teach it through private mentoring.
PS: I definitely love this interview of Resmaa Menakem by Krista Tippett for On Being, ‘Notice the Rage; Notice the Silence’. This is what I invite you to do. Notice what is happening, in your body.
About Jules RampalMeditation teacher and osteopath
I am an online meditation teacher and an osteopath currently working in Cavan, Ireland. My courses are for people who want to learn meditation with guided sessions, and for therapists who want to delve into the way they feel and the knowledge they can gather for their clients.
Learn more about me here