What the Body Knows
Tara Brach: We spend a lot of time evaluating, judging, commenting on, and making plans for our bodies—all of which, paradoxically, takes us away from the body. Look at your hand: Turn it, see where the skin is creased or wrinkled, think of what that hand has been through in your life. Then close your eyes and feel the hand from the inside out—the tingling or vibrating. There's a difference between any notion of the hand and the actual living hand—that's what most of us are missing.
Tara Brach: Say we're thinking about how to get skinnier. When we do that, we're on our way somewhere else; we're not experiencing life right here. In the moments that we're trying to make things different, we're not spontaneous, we're not accessing our creativity or intuition, and, most important—because living in our minds keeps us separate from each other—we can't really feel love. It's the difference between being locked in our heads and being awake in our bodies, which is what I call embodied presence. You can't achieve that if you're always on your way to the next thing.
Tara Brach: The body is a wonderful instrument, but it's also aliveness itself. If you're having sex, you don't want to be thinking of the purpose; you want to be right there, tuned into sensation. If you're eating, you don't want to say the purpose is to nourish; you want to enjoy the taste. If you're skiing, the purpose isn't to get down the hill; you want to feel the movement. The life that is most cherished is not on our way to something else but is experienced directly.
Tara Brach: We're dissociated as a culture. We overmedicate, we're born and die in hospitals, we mistrust the body. It feels mysterious and uncontrollable. And if we've suffered emotional wounds, we really cut off. But we all have emotional wounds, and healing them requires opening to the places of vulnerability in the body.
Tara Brach: It takes training to reenter the body. The first step is taking what I call the sacred pause—a pause that allows you to be still and ask what's going on inside. The second step is asking: What can I do with this information?