The body. The human form, the closest thing that we have to understanding ourselves, nature, each other.
When we see someone suffering – stranger or not – we feel it in our bodies. Our heart drops, we mirror their body language; our shoulders stoop as do theirs, and we are weighed down by a heaviness. When someone smiles at us, we smile back, our bodies feel lighter; their happiness is projected and experienced by our bodies. Our bodies do not exist independently of one another: others’ emotion, expressed in their bodies, changes our experience. The way in which we walk, or position our head, arms and legs, is encapsulated by the surrounding environment.
The body, a part of the Earth and the Earth a part of it, can epitomise the existence of the world around us. Everything within our bodies are intrinsically interconnected. One need not be an expert in physiology to understand how the food that we eat affects us, or the way in which an injury to a specific body part can change the way in which the rest of our body operates. By tuning into our bodies, we tune in to the dynamics of interconnection. Factors such as a lack of rest, or deep intimacy, or nutrient dense food, are absorbed by the body. In turn, they are expressed by the body internally and externally. Sickness is held by the body, when the equilibrium is pushed out of balance. One can normally tell if another person is sick: thus, whilst it is the internal organs that suffer on account of a virus, we express it in the way that we position ourselves. When the body thrives, we externally express such flourishing.
An examination of one’s own body, then, can be used to understand not only the connection between self and the Earth, but as an example of how the Earth operates. When we pollute the Earth, or consume unnecessarily, or dry its resources, it becomes sick. Sickness in one part of the Earth, not only implicates that specific part. Additionally, it changes the way in which other elements of the Earth operate. When a specific eco-system, or species, thrives in a way that is balanced, it benefits its surrounding area and the whole Earth. Through awareness of our bodies, we can understand and feel out the importance in looking after ourselves, and the Earth, for the good of everything else that exists.
So, understanding the body can be a good starting point in which to explore the nature of existence.
Within us, within our bodies, is knowledge that reflects the nature of existence. Understanding the body, then, can be a good starting point through which we can understand how things really are. Many questions can be answered and explored through assessing how our bodies exist in relation to others, and the Earth. For instance, what does the way in which we move say about power? What does it say about gender? Does our body tell us what kinds of things we should be consuming – eating, watching, doing? What does our body say about the ‘self’ and existence? It is worthwhile, in thinking about these questions, to check-in with our body, and listen to how it feels. By doing so, we avoid over-intellectualising answers to such questions.