Monday, April 7, 2008

Your Body Knows How To Grieve

Early on in the grieving process, we often find the very prospect of grieving overwhelming. It is true that we are goal-seeking machines, but somehow verbalizing "grieve well" or "heal from this pain" seems to bung up the gears. In my case, it took a number of months before I was even able to verbalize my first main goal: to be at peace with Deb's death.

Yet what a prospect! I had no idea where to begin. Reading books on grieving didn't seem to help much as they all seemed to say that grief was different for everyone and that we all grieve in our own way. I was looking for a book by someone who had fully healed within a year who laid it all out, step by step. Then all I needed to do was follow the steps and I would be cured. But I couldn't find such a book. I would have to figure this thing out on my own.

I have written a few articles (learning from grief, focusing to heal) about a technique called Focusing. It essentially teaches one how to listen to one's body, to make use of the wisdom of the entire body, not just the mind. I was glad that I had learned a bit about focusing in the years prior to Deb's death. Once the widower fog cleared up a bit and I started serious grieving, I was glad to know that I was feeling all this pain and disorientation for a reason, and that my body knew what that reason was, even if I didn't.

I was reminded of the importance of Focusing on grief recovery when I was reading an article called Pre-verbal Knowing. Instead of using the word "body," the article uses the word "somatic," but the essence of the article highlights the fact that our bodies know how to make sense of overwhelming data, if we will only learn to listen to its knowledge. The idea in this article is that we used to naturally rely on the wisdom of the body, but we have forgotten how to do this. Re-learning this skill proved to be an important part of my grief recovery. As you read the article, imagine how much easier it will be to grieve successfully without having to figure it all out. For me, it was a weird kind of faith. I knew I would grieve successfully, even if I didn't understand how to grieve or how long it would take. Listening to my body was an important skill, and I think the benefits are there for any bereaved person. Enjoy the article:

Pre-verbal Knowing

As we move from a pre-verbal somatic experience in very early childhood to a verbal rational experience as we grow older, we often tend to disassociate from our earlier and more intuitive form of "pre-verbal knowing". As we grow up in an industrialized world, we get taught to disconnect from the animal/intuitive/somatic world as well as the world of nature, and in the process our bodies, feelings, and connections to self and other suffer immeasurably.

When you experience something directly, then you can sense there is a way of knowing that precedes language and cognition. Usually, this form of "knowing" cannot be fully articulated, understood, or sensed, by the cognitive self, but is "valid" nonetheless. This pre-verbal somatic knowing is what we strive to learn more about in the study of Seishindo.

One of the main ideas in Seishindo is to melt the thinking mind, so that one can reenter into a relationship with the pre-verbal somatic part of our self, which is indeed intelligent. The purpose of our study in Seishindo is not to change a behavior or to change one's self via one's practice, but rather to come to a deeper understanding of one's true self. The "truth" of what you want to understand is found in the realization of who you truly are. This is a knowledge that comes prior to the need for verbal language. This is a knowledge that comes prior to the need to think.

The world is much too complex and fertile to be fully understood and adapted to by use of the rational mind alone. The more time you spend focusing on trying to find the “correct” answer or method, the less open you will be to sensing the wisdom of your pre-verbal somatic self. When you don't know the answer, focus on the fact that currently indeed you do not know, and rest easy with this knowledge, rather than attempting to grasp a solution. Give your thinking mind a rest, so that the intuitive somatic mind can come to the forefront and more fully assist you in the creation of solutions. When the somatic mind is used more fully, our fundamental perception of self and the world changes, and our awareness and our ability to be solution oriented increases. When we enter into such a state, the intelligence of the entire system will create the changes that are necessary for our health and well being, as well as for our business success. Easier said than done perhaps, but well worth the effort.

In reading about world renowned stock traders, venture capital business people and futurists, I have found that they consistently make the same basic statement in regard to how they work: "With a good deal of background and experience one can predict long term trends of the future, but it is impossible to predict what will occur tomorrow. When it is all said and done, there is way too much information to sort through prior to making a decision, and much of the information that you do receive is contradictory in nature. In the long run you are only left with your intuitive sense of what to do and not do. Correct action or theory is not based on an absolute. My decisions come from a hunch. An intuitive sense of what has been, what is, and what will be." This intuitive pre-verbal form of knowing is what we will be exploring in the articles available on this site. Which is not to suggest that we will help you to better play the stock market!

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