By Anna Pittman, PHD

In Nondual therapy we are inviting the experience of relaxing back and in to our natural presence. From this perspective we can more spaciously allow all thoughts, feelings and images associated with trauma and outdated, often unhelpful beliefs to be known and released experientially. The systems and fascial structure of the body have dutifully carried the karmic effect of these conscious and unconscious beliefs while itself striving for harmony and health. Our bodies often hold the past in its present state as tension and pain and may have parts that are not in our field of awareness at all. Even our conditioned, highly focused mind state draws our bodies into tension – the tension of narrow focus.

As we come to experience the mind in its wide and open state, the perennially peripheral unfocused mind invites the body to open as well. Yet, we may need to more directly meet the chronic tension of the body through nutrition, body work such as massage and movement such as yoga. These are very helpful modalities that offer many additional benefits and yet, the body and its habits can be very, very subtle, especially when in relationship with self-sensing self and other-sensing.

Traditionally, Advaita Vedanta uses a negation process for pointing toward what we are not. The body is dismissed and seen as irrelevant since it is the vehicle for the driver and not the driver at all. Even Yoga is traditionally practiced for purifying the body in preparation for the seated practices of meditation – which ultimately leads the practitioner to the knowing that he is not the body!

Ramana Maharshi is quoted as saying that:

“The physical body, composed of the seven dhatus (chyle/plasma, blood, flesh, fat, marrow, bone and semen is not ‘I’. The five sense organs and the five types of perception known through the sense are not ‘I.’

The five parts of the body which act (the mouth, the legs, the hands, the anus and the genitals) and their functions (speaking, walking, giving/grasping, excreting and enjoying/procreating) are not ‘I.’”

Since anything that can be seen cannot be who or what we are, including our bodies, it is often seen as unimportant or simply, something to take care of. But, for the duration of time that we are embodied, our bodies are quite relevant and necessary for receiving sensory input, generating creative expression and gifting the experience of touch to name a few. In Nondual therapy the body is seen as our tool and an energy signature of not only where we have been, but who or what we are becoming.

The nature of loving presence or natural presence is, in and of itself, quite neutral. What does a neutral body position look like when our bodies may be in the habit of representing old mind sets such as feeling rejected or accepted, fleeting pleasure or pain? Even if a movement practice has eradicated the posture of depression or the deep, inner bracing associated with fear, what posturing will this body take when guided to self-sense or sense another while in conflict? How can the body reflect a conscious mind state while the mind is guided to interact with self and other in empathy and action?

There is a home base position that compliments and mirrors this neutral state. A position from which other embodied positions of various mental states in their purity are possible.

Inquiry:

If we were to stand up now and spread the feet about hips width apart, try bending your knees for buoyancy and ease.

Bring both arms forward in front of your belly, elbows slightly bent, palms facing the front body, about eight inches between fingertips. Fingers are soft, but alive.

Allow your vision to widen into the periphery and include the space between your two arms and front body. Next include the space around and in the body as one space.

Then, gently move a little to the right and left remaining as awareness, not aware of anything at all, just aware of awareness in your natural state.

In essence, this position helps to give awareness a shape through the body. A position from which moving mind inward and out can take on a more accurate expression, increasingly exempt of past influences and simultaneously representative of the purity of awareness itself.