Updated: Mar 14, 2021
A glimpse into the simplicity of Being at Ease
The foundation of happiness is relational safety. Somatic Science® uses the experiences of the body, mind and feelings. It uses them in order to demonstrate in action that whoever we are, it is neither the body, the mind or the feelings. It is only because we habitually and unwittingly ignore the body, mind and feelings that we are so distraught by and fully identify with them. This results in a feeling of un-safety, and ultimately, unhappiness.
This individual habit of ignoring is coupled with the cultural habit of treating oneself and others as objects. If we treat ourselves as objects this will invariably cause a sense of separation within, experienced as incomplete nervous system responses (traumas, tensions, syndromes etc.) This sense of objective separation will naturally extend to our entire life. The sense of separation is experienced by our nervous system (ANS) as a threat, so it will trigger the threat response cycle and activate fight/flight/immobilization behaviors or attitudes. This is not a pleasant state of affairs, and is experienced as unsafe to the ANS.
It is You, it is I that mistake our identity with these. This generates in You and I the sense that something is wrong here and now -and this causes a discomfort within our self which we become habituated to call me.
This sense of me is seen to be a conjunction of bodily experiences (including sensations, thoughts and feelings about the inner and outer world) that have a repetitive & generally defensive energetic pattern at their core. This core is managed by the dorsal vagal complex (DVC) within the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system. Note that this refers mostly to structures associated with cranial nerve X in the image below.
Due to its evolutionary genesis within amphibian nervous systems, the DVC is the original manager of our bodily states - it came way before us! It controls respiration, heart rate, hormones and most other autonomic processes which we unwittingly call me. It is directly linked to a neural cortex within the hypothalamus that processes fear responses, and it can harness the power of the limbic and cortical structures in the brain. Therefore, even though amphibians cannot reason or feel affect about themselves or others, they can control our responses and fool us by making our muscles and viscera tight. This magnifies the experiences of fragmentation within the body, the sense of impending doom and the feeling of localization of our intelligent awareness as exclusively a body object.
We have devised a simple dialectic to explore the way out of this conundrum. For this, we work to establish relational safety with one another. Once it is established, we as aware intelligence can reflect this relational safety back onto our body experiences -ultimately relieving ourselves of the fictitious sense of fragmentation. This approach down-regulates the DVC and up-regulates the ventral vagal complex (the VVC is often referred to as the human vagal network).
Here is an example of dialectical and therapeutic inquiry in the form of a story, a fiction made from much experience with clients:
James: "I feel that something's wrong."
Bill: "When you say that you feel something's wrong, are you what feels something's wrong, are you what's wrong, or are you the one saying that you feel that something's wrong?"
J: "Oh... I guess I'm the one who says that something's wrong..."
B: "Ok James. As you realize you are the one that is saying that, what happens next in your experience?"
J: "Well right now my throat is getting tight - and I'm feeling sad..."
B: "As you realize this and say that right now, what happens in your body?"
J: "I feel tears welling up in my eyes...and I also don't want to cry in front of you - I'm afraid."
B: "Ok James. Know that I am with you, and that I am aware of your existence right here, right now - I am with you. Just as best as you can, can you let the tears come out? If not, just as you are aware of your throat getting tight, let it know that you know it's tight and wants to cry out. Just as I know that you exist right now. "
J: "When I allow myself to know that you know of my existence I feel seen, and I don't feel we are separate. When my throat knows that I am aware of its need to cry out, it is the same - it's as though it feels seen and this seeing liberates it to cry out and be as it wants to be. The intensity disappears and there is just space and flow there now..."
B: "Yes James, be free...be. "
When we see the body, mind and feelings for what they are -experiential objects in our awareness- the flow of energy in the body returns to smooth evenness, since there is an absence of polarities in the working of the mind. Our feelings reflect this and they remain unperturbed. We no longer feel intensely localized or fragmented - the body is a whole, and it's no longer clear that I'm just a body object - I feel spacious.
Only You, who are neither body or mind yet can reflect both, live in All-Is-Wellness. You who are aware here and now, as the writing & reading of these words takes place at this very moment.
You who are aware of reading taking place are neither the reading activity nor the content which is read. If there is an experience of discomfort within you, you are neither the experiencer of discomfort nor the discomfort which is experienced.
The conscious use of the mind discovers the exciting truth of bi-directional relational safety. This dissolves apparent separation between you and any object within your experience. It is Somatic Science®'s organic approach to non-dual awareness..