When the mind is squeaking, the body listens
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 back and forth and continuously and at different degrees. Body functions, thoughts and emotions are the jobs of our subconscious and conscious mind and our brain which is made of contains around 100 billions neurons.
Recently, millions of neurons have been identified in our small and large intestine. There is a subconscious thinking and emotional loop between brain and intestines.
Rational thinking does not affect our body but our emotions, even at their subconscious level, could have significant impacts on various organs.
Therefore, being the material reflection of our subconscious mind, our body will always react automatically to our emotions before they become conscious.
Research has shown that all emotions, not yet perceived consciously modify immediately the biochemistry of our body and induce physical reactions, called psychosomatic.
Most common emotional triggers affecting our body:
Anxiety, stress, anger, fear, guilt, grief, resentment, graving (food, sex, drugs), depression, etc.
Physical reactions are automatic reflexes, out of our control and therefore unavoidable.
Their symptoms vary in location, frequency, duration (chronic or acute,) and intensity.
3 examples: slice of lemon, brain-computer-interface, placebo effect of sex drive.
Here are the most frequent symptoms from head to toes:
Headache/migraine— Neck/Back stiffness — Dry mouth—Fast breathing—Chest pain—Palpitations—
Loss / Increase of appetite—Loss/Increase libido—Abdominal cramps—Gastric upset—Nausea—Constipation—Bloating—Tremor, Sweating, etc….
Being the mirror or proxy of our mind and acting like radar, it is important to analyze our body reactions as soon as possible in order to identify and deal with their mental causes.
Practicing body awareness is a great tool to achieve these goals.
How to learn & practice body awareness?
Simply by paying attention, once a while, to various parts of your body you will learn to sense the body clues of your hidden feelings.
It is important first to seat or laydown and relaxes by breathing slowly.
After a couple of minutes you can start to “read” or scan your body.
This mental body scanning should be systematic from head to toes and should not take too much time.
With practice, you will learn to be aware and to assess various unexplained symptoms described previously.
What to do next?
When you notice an unusual physical complain, move back to your mind, that is:
During meditation, pay attention to your mind by bringing to the surface, the hidden culprit.
For example, thinking about what can be wrong or upsetting in your life. When the emotion/feeling is popping out, meditate on it in a mindful way that is accepting it w/o fight or resistance. Acceptance, by releasing the emotional intensity will help you greatly in dealing with this issue in a more effective way. If nothing happens, start again later.
If these symptoms persist or are recurrent, medical checkup is obviously required.
It is interesting to note that our mind, which is immaterial, can affect a material target such as our body. The reverse that is the material body is affecting the immaterial mind is also very true:
Mind and body are the 2 sides of the same coin and a coin cannot exist without them