I had a session earlier today where we combined bodywork and inquiry. This client is familiar with inquiry and is aware of a chronic contraction in his solar plexus/belly that’s connected to some long-standing issues, so we decided to start working on it from the body side and then see what came up.
Any psychological issue – whether it’s anxiety, depression, trauma, cravings, deficiency stories, or more generally beliefs and identifications – has a body side and a mind side. They are two sides of the same coin. So it makes sense to work on them from both of those sides.
When I first heard of the body-mind connection, it was partly from the new age world where it made intuitive sense but seemed a bit fuzzy and mysterious, and it was partly from science where I explored psychoimmunology and similar connections.
We can also explore this body-mind connection in a more simple and immediate way in our own experience, for instance through inquiry.
Body contractions give charge to any psychological issue, whether it’s anxiety, depression, trauma, cravings, deficiency stories, or anything else. These issues are unable to exist or have any sense of reality or charge unless they are associated with body contractions. It seems that for the mind to create these issues for itself, it needs to connect them with sensations, and the easiest way to do that is to create body contractions which provide these sensations. Chronic issues then come with chronic body contractions. These may not be obvious all the time, but they resurface whenever the issue is triggered. And sometimes they are obvious and present all the time, as with my shoulder tension.
The other side of this is that imaginations and stories (mental images and words) give meaning to sensations and body contractions, and any emotionally related body contraction will have imaginations and stories connected with it. If it’s chronic and long lasting, it may have a great deal of meaning – in the form of images and words – connected with it.
So if I am working with a client and we have done one or two sessions together, and we have identified a recurrent body contraction, we may do a bodywork session. A session where we focus on the body contraction, work on it physically, and then explore the mental images and words that come up through that work.
In this session, I massaged the belly contraction by leaning in, holding for a while, and then moving over slightly. The client rested with the sensations while noticing the (boundless) space they happened within. He also noticed and reported images and words, and rested with these as they came up. Occasionally, I would ask inqiry or mining questions such as is it a threat?, what is your first memory of feeling this contraction?
During silent periods, I did run some Vortex energy to help heal the issue behind the contraction, and also bring up images and words related to it.
The client trembled (therapeutic tremoring, TRE) at times, and I used Breema principles and moves when I worked on his belly (hara), so we got to use Natural Rest, Living Inquiries, Breema, Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises, and Vortex Healing in this session. They all came in naturally and seamlessly.
For both the client and me, the session felt grounded and real. That’s one of the benefits of working more intentionally from the body side of the issue.
I am not quite sure what to call it. Somatic inquiry? Bodywork inquiry? Mind-body inquiry? Inquiry with bodywork emphasis?
There is nothing new here. I believe there are many traditions and practitioners doing similar work. And it’s also an integral part of the Living Inquiries. One way to do it is to have the client massage the contraction themselves. And the other way, which I often prefer since it can go deeper, is for the facilitator to do it while guiding natural rest and simple restful inquiry.
- inquiry bodywork / somatic inquiry work / inquiry with somatic emphasis
- body contractions give charge to anxiety, depression, cravings/compulsions, deficiency stories etc.
- contractions/sensations gives charge and sense of solidity/reality to imaginations, and imaginations/stories gives meaning to body contractions/sensations
- that’s why it’s helpful to explore both sides of that equation, the equation creating distress, suffering, struggle etc.
- when use bodywork + inquiry
- typically after 1-2 sessions when you both are getting familiar with a chronic/typical body contraction for the client, often connected to specific issues (can be one major one, or several connected ones)
- when you have gotten to know each other better, a bit more trust, comfort with massage etc.
- the session today, with a client
- used massage/Brema (belly contraction) + NR + simple LI + TRE (spontaneous) + some VH (help explore the contraction)
- felt more grounded, real, since it all came out of physical work on the contraction
- what happens
- massage, tapping, TRE – helps bring the connected stories/imaginations to the surface
- NR – helps notice + allow, rest with what’s surfacing
- LI – helps see more clearly what’s there, mining questions helps see what more is there (imaginations/stories)
- VH – can help explore, bring to surface stories, rest with, even soften/dissolve the contraction, reduce the charge so it’s easier to explore in inquiry
When there are painful stories, they are connected to sensations and body contractions.
Body contractions give charge to anxiety, depression, traumas, cravings, compulsions, deficiency stories, and beliefs and identifications in general.
Painful stories and body contractions go hand in hand, so it only makes sense to address both of those sides of the coin.
The sensations created by body contractions give charge and a sense of solidity and reality to stories and imaginations. And stories and imaginations give meaning to body contractions and sensations.
- inquiry bodywork / somatic inquiry work
- massage (Breema) + NR + LI + TRE + VH
- after first or a few sessions, and when have identified/become familiar with a chronic body contraction
- massage, tap, breath, tremoring etc. + NR, LI – see what’s there, become even more familiar with it
- often, softening of the contraction + get to look at images/words connected with it (mining) + change relationship to it all (from enemy to befriend)
- contraction lends charge/substance to imagination, imagination gives meaning to the contraction