Oakville Zen Meditation

#105. Our body is the Window of the Mind.18APR16

Contrary to our Western medicine, the Oriental one and Zen Buddhism consider Mind and Body as an unbreakable single unit in which each part affects the other one continuously and at different degrees. Body functions, thoughts and emotions are the jobs of our subconscious and conscious mind. If thinking does not affect our body, our emotions have great impact on it - automatically, continuously at various degrees. Being the material reflection of the subconscious mind, our body becomes also “emotional” even before this emotion becomes conscious. Here are 2 examples.

  • Anger, anxiety, fear releases significant stress hormones producing faster heart rate and breathing, sweating, stomach upset, muscle aches, nausea, allergy, stiff neck, and constipation.
  • On the opposite end, subliminal sexual arousal triggers physical manifestations.

A complete list will be provided soon.

Research has shown that all emotions, still at the subconscious level and therefore not yet perceived consciously modify immediately the biochemistry of our body and induce physical reactions, called psychosomatic. These physical reactions, acute or chronic, are automatic reflexes, out of our control and therefore unavoidable. They vary in location and intensity.

If these symptoms persist or are recurrent, medical checkup is required.

Student: “So, can I say that my body is the window to my emotional mind?”

Yes. However, body reading requires good practice if you want to assess your subliminal emotions not yet perceived mentally. Discovering our emotions at the onset is important because, being aware and observing our emotional status is the first step to control it. Our body is a great proxy of our emotional mind.

Student: “What do you mean by observing my emotions?”

The more we identify ourselves with our thinking and emotions: - I AM ANGER - the stronger the emotional energy will be. You are not anger, your mind has it. Being controlled by our egotistic mind, we are struggling to get rid off our negative feeling. This is a normal defense mechanism. However, this reflex is detrimental and the more we fight it the greater is the pain. Your mind will never find the solution nor want you to find it because it is itself an intrinsic part of the problem that is source and effect. As an analogy it is very hard to discover the cause of the arson when the arsonist is the Captain of the fire department.

Move away from them. Learning to be aware and to observe our emotions should prevent us from being their victims. If you cannot be aware of your emotions, you cannot accept them. If you cannot accept them, you cannot control them.

Student: “What should I do?”

Once a while, focus your attention on how your body is reacting to these ongoing subliminal emotions. How is you breathing? What about your heart rate? Do you have knots and butterflies in your stomach? Is your skin itching? Is your neck stiff? How is your intestinal transit? your libido? Etc. To observe an emotion on your body is the same principle than observing a thought during meditation. The only difference is that, while a thought appears in your head while meditating, an emotion is materialized in your body. If you practice body scanning, all that unconscious feeling will be brought into the light of consciousness.

 Student: “So.... this old expression - it is all in your head makes sense right?

Yes, as long as an organic medical cause is ruled out if the symptoms persist or are recurrent. All emotions start in our subconscious mind then affect our body before reaching our conscious mind. To discover and control your emotions, remember this staging process:

1) Awareness using your body 2) Acceptance 3) Paying attention and 4) Control.

Finally, our body also affects the mind but it is another story.