“Listening to oneself” is a popular idiomatic phrase, typical of the “New Age” arena. Many spiritual, healing and transformational approaches perpetuate the need to “listen to ourselves” without necessarily explaining what that means or how it’s done.
When asked to listen, most people expect to hear voices. You sit down to meditate, pulling your full focus inward and expecting to hear voices giving you guidance. All you hear is the mumbling of your abdomen digesting lunch. How disappointing.
“Listening to oneself” is actually very important for people who wish to grow or heal. Following is my attempt to clarify this term and give you guidelines for getting the guidance you seek.
Before we can listen to the Self, we need to understand who or what the Self is and where to find it.
The Self is an immaterial aspect. You can’t see the Self on X-ray, ultra-sound or MRI imaging. The self does not reside in one specific place in the body and can’t be detected using technology. The Self is an energy entity that resides parallel to the physical body but not in one specific location. The Self is in every cell.
Different traditions associate the Self with different body areas such as the heart, the abdomen or the third eye but these are only symbolic reference points. The Self is actually everywhere.
Considering that the Self is energy, connecting to the Self requires that we understand the principles that govern energy and how to apply them in every day life. Most relevant to this discussion is the law of resonance and dissonance.
Energy responds to other energies as compatible or incompatible. Energies that are compatible synchronize. They work together well and are suitable to each other. Energies that are incompatible do not work well together and are unsuitable to each other.
Learning the language of the Self.
The energy body is held within the physical body. The nervous system is responsible for transmitting physiological information and is also the carrier of the energy system. Energy information is therefore conveyed through the physical body.
When the Self interacts with energies that are compatible to it, the body relaxes. When the Self interacts with energies that are incompatible to it, the body contracts. This means that if people or situations cause us to contract, they’re probably not suitable for us. If people or events cause us to relax, it’s most likely that they serve and support us.
Following is an exercise for articulating the sensation of relaxation verses contraction.
Sit quietly, close your eyes and allow your body to relax. Focus on the center of your diaphragm and notice how it feels at the beginning of the exercise. Be with this sensation for a few minutes.
Now think about someone who significantly upsets you and use your imagination to bring his or her image into the center of your diaphragm. Notice how this image affects your body.
Once you have noticed the affect, allow the image to disperse and re-focus your breathing as at the beginning of the exercise.
Once the diaphragm area has returned to the initial sensation, think about someone you love dearly. Use your imagination to bring his or her image into the center of your diaphragm and notice how this image affects your body.
Once you have noticed the affect, allow the image to disperse and re-focus your breathing. Continue to sit quietly allowing your body to relax for a few more minutes and then end the exercise and open your eyes.
Most likely you will have noticed that the upsetting image caused contraction and the loving image caused relaxation. If you didn’t feel this difference you may need to keep practicing in order to articulate your ability to notice sensations.
“Listening to the Self” means listening to the way the people and events of our life affect us physically. Using physiological contraction and relaxation, the Self tells us what is suitable for us and what is not. However, the information is conveyed via the body as sensations not as voices.
For the most part, everyday life causes distractions that prevent us from noticing these fine sensations. The all too many stressors of our modern life-style cause many people to be contracted most of the time, which makes it difficult to notice the fine differences in body sensations. In these cases I recommend you practice as described above. As you master the ability to notice your body’s sensations you will be able to use these sensations as valuable guidelines for what suits you and what doesn’t.
Noticing body sensations and using them as inner guidelines is the true meaning of “listening to our-self”. “Listening to Yourself” can have a huge impact on your health. Awareness to what suits you and what doesn’t, allows you to make choices that support you and your truth creating inner harmony and better alignment between mind and body. Given the inter-connectedness between mind and body, when our mind is in harmony, so is our body.
I am Author of “Messages From The Soul – A Holistic Approach To Healing”, “10 Critical Questions Your Doctor Will (Probably) Not Ask You”, “Beyond Doubt – Unleashing The Healing Power of Self-Esteem”, “Get Your Heart Out of Your Plate – Beat Emotional Eating in 21 Days!” and founder of Unleashing The Healthy-Self Online Program.
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My website is: www.jjacobshealth.com