Depressed? Anxious? Disconnected from your life?
We've heard of "out-of-body experiences" (OBE's, or OOBE's), you know- reports from people who have experienced floating out of their body -during a surgery for example- and watching themselves from above.
Rarely however do we hear about in-body experiences. Likely because we're supposedly having an in-body experience pretty much all the time.
But if you live in a body, as I do, you know this really isn't true. Most of the time, we are not really inhabiting or experiencing what it is really like to live in this body, right here, right now. In fact, "49.6% of the time we're not really here".
There are many explanations for this, most of which point towards a learned disconnection from the body in service of protecting oneself from fully experiencing pain. The body is a storehouse for everything that's ever happened to us. The body remembers, where the mind may leave, the body still knows.
The level or degree of learned disconnection is however different for everyone. On one end of the body disconnection bell curve you might find profound ability to dissociate, and in even more extreme cases "losing time". For most of us, disconnection takes place on the lower to middle portion of the bell curve- but we still disconnect from ourselves, our bodies and our lives quite often. We drive home and can't remember the drive for example. We've disconnected over the years and now an in-body experience has become just as profound as an OBE!
Jon Kabat-Zinn and countless other mindfulness teachers talk about "living a short distance from our body". The original quote is taken from James Joyce's story of Mr. Duffy, a postmodern bureaucratic character, Joyce says, "Mr. Duffy lived a short distance from his body" to describe his disconnected, color-free style of living.
What are we really disconnecting from when we leave the body? Disconnection from what?....
Disconnection from body is really a protection from...F E E L I N G
It's always feeling.
When we learn to Feel our lives better, tolerate and accept what we are feeling now. We increase our capacity to feel anything, inhabit our body- and we become less focused on trying to control or avoid what it is we are feeling. We can engage with life with less struggle.
Alternatively, the more we try to escape what is, the more disconnected we become from our body and our lives, the less we feel pain and the less we experience true joy and vitality.
To feel better, we must learn to feel better.
Connection to the body and breath is usually our best bet for connecting to feeling and experiencing this precious present moment, whatever that might be. Go ahead, have an in-body experience ;-)