Use your body (1)

In my case, when I try to change some undesired behavior, mental exercise provides a temporary solution but usually no sustainable results.

The good news is however that undesired behavior (ultimately) always translates into some kind of physical discomfort. Growing an ongoing awareness of these (small or large) discomforts in a compassionate manner somehow activates behavioral change in a healthy and sustainable way. Main reason being that physical discomforts are easier to spot, allow a more objective analysis and more difficult to hide or disregard than mental discomforts.

It took me a few years to discover the right combination of physical practices and to develop a clear physical awareness.

Haptonomie was the first physical practice that made me instantly feel the direct connection between my state mind and what was going on in my body in a manner I had never experienced before.

A second practice that worked well for me is (long) nature walks. Being into contact with nature on a regular basis does not allow for sustained unnatural behavior. From there I gradually added meditation to my toolbox. Especially practicing Vipassana meditation makes the connection between mind and body extremely clear at a very deep and experiential level.

About 2 years ago my daughter Hadewych introduced me to Yoga (thank you H!). It took me a while to get into it properly but now, when practiced in a mindful manner, I can feel that it has the same powerful benefits (at a different level than Vipassana).

The good thing about Yoga is that it adds an active physical exercise component when compared to meditation. And it is easier to integrate into my / our daily life as it is more integrated in our western culture and practices than Vipassana.

So for now I have landed with a mix of Yoga, meditation and nature walks.

For further background info on stuff that cannot be reached by cognitive means and the logic of bodywork listen to interview with Bessel van der Kolk on On Being.

Hadewych on Rum trail

                                                                           Hadewych on Rum trail

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