You have heard of the "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. There are many books on the subject and it is indeed fascinating. I personally like Moody's work, "Many lives many Masters" and the more recent neurosurgeon's near death experience which is detailed in "Heaven is for Real"
However, there were not too many books or tv specials chronicling "In-body-experiences". Likely because we're supposedly having an in-body experience every minute, all the time. Additionally, everyone we know has a body and lives in one, so it's just not that interesting?
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, present to, somatically mindful of our lived experience. We don't really like to live in this body... at least not right now, right this exact moment, right here. In fact, according to one of the largest psychological research studies on present moment awareness (AKA mindfulness) found that "49.6% of the time we're not really here".
Then where are we?
disconnected. fogged out. spaced out. distracted. in our heads.
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? What's the motive? Disconnection from what?....
We disconnect from the body to protect ourselves from feeling. We hit the eject-a-seat to miss the bodily experience of feeling. We abandon the aircraft to escape what is arising and falling in our earth suit.
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. our capacity for discomfort expands. the stillness within becomes more familiar territory. we find our still seat within, our home, abiding presence which is always always here. as we practice stillness, the one seat is unburried we take within ourselves becomes more findable s, our divinity, seat of the soul, or wise mind
Alternatively, the more we try to escape "avoid" 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.
In order to feel better, we turn back towards home, inhabit our space, live in and with our body. We turn towards sensation, we trust, attune, listen, wait and feel. We respond and attend to this moment, this feeling. We do not React, but respond, attend, participate in the moment. And, we get to Feel Better. We feel more simply by staying put, connected and abiding with....
We find that we can tune into bodily experiences anytime, purposefully, as life happens. We may feel the urge or craving to escape, but over time we can condition ourselves to respond differently, stay connected, feel and experience this precious present moment, whatever that might be.
Go ahead, allow yourself to tune in, inhabit your God Pod, get curious, attend and attune right now, just for a few minutes, have an in-body experience.