Everyone talks about the importance of the mind-body connection for health and wellbeing, but few offer practical tools for making that connection. Here’s a thirty-minute guided meditation that will show you how to reconnect your mind with your body, and in the process initiate self-healing through self-awareness.
The guided meditation is simple. All it requires is taking thirty minutes for yourself. The benefits will be profound and lasting.
How We Lost The Mind Body Connection
The title of this article says “reestablish” your mind body connection rather than “establish” your mind body connection. The reason for this is that we all had a fully flowing mind-body connection when we were very young. We lost that connection through our developmental process. Our task now is to reestablish that connection as adults.
From birth to about age three or three and a half, there is a constant flow of information from the body to the brain. Our early, embodied experiences actually shape our brains as information flows from the body through the parietal lobes of the brain and forward to the frontal lobes (the primary seat of the mind). In fact, our mental constructs of our self-identity are formed by early experiences in the body.
But around age three to three and a half, something extraordinary happened to you. The frontal lobes became dominant and the “mind” took over. You suddenly started thinking about how you were going to be perceived. And you started thinking about how you were going to present your personality in order to be liked. In that process, you started selectively controlling your emotions and shutting off aspects of your body-felt sensations – to hide them from others and also to hide from yourself those things that would be painful or ‘bad.’
And so you – like everyone else – embarked on the numbing process of disconnecting your body from your mind.
Every time we shut off something from awareness, we do it for a good reason at the time: to fit in, to feel less pain, to act like we think our parents want us to act. Each choice to close off was a good decision when looked at in the short-term perspective of a child. It helped ease pain and helped us fit in.
But in the long term, every one of these choices to close off contributes to a process of degeneration, impaired health, impaired vitality, and accelerated aging.
The Costs of Disconnection
The more disconnected our mind is from our body and emotions, the more stress we carry in our body, the more stress-related hormones run through our blood, and the more work we are constantly doing to keep those barriers to connection in place.
Research shows that running this kind of stress response can have detrimental effects on health including:
- Heart attacks
- Kidney disease
- Suppressed immune system
- Type II diabetes
- Depression and anxiety and
- Gastrointestinal problems
For myself, I’ve found that when I’m carrying a lot of unresolved emotional barriers to connection, I tend to be less healthy and generally tired. When I ‘clean house’ by reconnecting, my health and vitality increase rapidly.
Fortunately, reconnecting again as an adult is a fairly simple process. (It may be emotionally challenging at times, but the process itself is simple.)
This thirty-minute guided meditation will give you a path to reversing the trend of disconnection and degeneration. It will give you path to self-directed healing.
You can use this guided meditation as often as you like. Each time you do, you will deepen your own self-awareness, and move forward on your own path of self-directed personal development.
The change each time you follow the guided meditation may sometimes be small and sometimes be large; but used as a regular practice, it will bring you a wealth of self-discovery and self-healing.
Personally, I use this guided meditation several times a week as part of my daily habits for personal development.
Before you use the guided meditation yourself, I’m going to give you an overview of what it is and how it works.
Here are the steps involved in the guided meditation. You don’t need to remember the steps. The thirty-minute guided meditation talks you through everything you need to do at each step of the process. Walking through the process first will help prepare you for doing the process yourself.
Head Rotation to Find Emotional Barriers to Connection
You’re going to start off sitting comfortably, and then gently rotate your head from side to side within your comfortable range of motion. It’s a very simple movement, but you’re going to be doing it in a very particular way. You’re going to be rotating your head very gently and slowly, looking for spots where it takes a little extra effort to push through the rotation. Here’s a video of me starting this head rotation.
Rotational movements in general engage the emotional body.
Rotational movements of the neck in particular engage the emotional relationship between the head (i.e. the mind) and the body.
As you explore, you will find there are some places in your range of motion that are harder to push through; that take a little extra physical effort to continue the rotation. These are the places where your mind-body connection is stuck or closed off. These are your barriers to mind-body connection. And hence these are your gateways to reconnecting.
By finding the barriers to your mind-body connection, you now have a road map for reconnecting. So we’re going to hone in on one of those barriers and use it as a pathway to reconnecting.
Once you’ve picked a barrier, you’re going to gently press up against the barrier. This will start the process of reconnecting with your body.
Here is the point where I chose the barrier I’m going to work on in my guided meditation today. You can see I start just gently pressing up against it.
Side-Bending to Find the Mental Barriers to Connection
Once you’ve found an emotional barrier to connection, you’re going to find a mental barrier to connection as well.
To accomplish this, you’re going to keep your head in the same rotational position as it was earlier, and add in side-bending, which engages the mental body.
You’re going to gently bend your head from side to side (towards and away from each shoulder) until you find a similar barrier in the side-bending motion as you did for the rotational motion. Here’s a video of me exploring for the side-bending barrier.
Once you’ve found this spot, you’ve found a mental barrier to improving your mind-body connection.
You’ll stay pressed against that barrier to gently increase awareness of it. Here’s me pressed against my side-bending barrier.
Flexion-Extension to Reconnect
Now you’re going to add in the third movement plane of flexion-extension.
This movement plane relates to protection. In other words, you’re going to be finding ways you have protected yourself from reestablishing your mind-body connection.
The most common reason for protecting ourselves from connection is in order to close off from physical or emotional pain.
So, be warned: when you let protections go, the first thing you’re going to feel will be some form of pain. It may be emotional pain or it may be physical pain. We don’t close off our wonderful feelings from our mind. We don’t need to. We only close off our more painful and unpleasant feelings from our mind. It’s a form of survival, or coping protection.
In my guided meditation today, the spot in my body that I landed on was the top of my left kidney, right in the back of the body. In this clip I point out the location in my body when I find it.
The good news is that when we reconnect to that long-forgotten pain, we start the process of healing. Rather than carrying the strain of long-buried wounds, we can start to heal – start to be free again.
Body Awareness to Reconnect
Once you have all three of these barriers to making a mind-body connection engaged (rotation, side-bending and flexion-extension), you’re most of the way there. From here it just requires patient curiosity and awareness of what’s going in in your body.
I’ll guide you to drop your awareness down into your body to find the body site that the three barriers relate to. This is the point of re-establishing the mind-body connection.
Once you’ve re-established the connection, you can go further and catalyze healing using your hands and heart.
Using Your Hands and Heart for Healing
I’ll guide you to tune your hands and heart to catalyze healing. With your hands and heart tuned, they can be powerful tools to support the healing process for the spot you have been working with.
Not only will you be re-establishing the mind-body connection, but you’ll also be using the connection you’ve just made for your own self-directed healing.
Here’s me using my hands and heart to facilitate the healing process.
After the self-healing process is complete, I’ll guide you to gradually come back to normal waking awareness.
After the Guided Meditation
After the guided meditation you may feel any number of things: a strong emotion, dizziness, confusion, tiredness, relief, lightness, joy… Whatever you are feeling at the end, take some time to yourself before jumping back into activities. Good things to do include resting, taking a walk, doing yoga, or whatever else would provide quiet contemplative time for yourself.
The Body-Psyche Guide to Inner Wisdom
Different body sites relate to different aspects of embodied consciousness. Every location in the body resonates to a particular set of set of emotional wounds and healing opportunities. So the body site you land on in your own guided meditation will give you a lot of information about what you are working on now and what is opening up in your personal healing journey.
In my guided meditation today, the body site I settled upon was the top of my left kidney. As a man, that relates to trusting other people, particularly women. (If I were a woman the left kidney would relate to trusting myself or other women.)
The Guided Meditation
Now you’ve gone through the preliminaries, you’re ready to do the guided meditation yourself.
One word of caution: The guided meditation is specifically designed to be emotionally stimulating. If you have any concerns about your ability to deal with strong emotions, then consult a licensed mental health professional first.
With that out of the way, the guided meditation is thirty minutes long. It may take a little longer than that if you choose to pause the recoding at certain points to give yourself more time for exploration. It is best to follow the guided meditation in a quiet, private spot where you won’t be disturbed.
Here is the recording.
Remember to take some quiet, contemplative time for yourself after following the guided meditation.
Find Out What It Means
If you are curious to know what the body site you settled upon relates to in embodied consciousness, post a comment below describing the body site you chose, along with any thoughts, sensations and emotions that came up for you. I’ll post a reply to let you know what your body site relates to in consciousness.
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Develop a Habit of Self-Healing
As I mentioned earlier, I use this guided meditation several times a week as part of my daily habits for personal development. You can do the same.
By using this guided meditation a couple of times a week you’ll develop a habit of regularly re-connecting with yourself and deepening your mind-body connection. Even if this is the only thing you do for your own personal development, it will have a significant impact. And the benefits will accumulate over time. The more you use this guided meditation, the more you’ll get out of it.
As you use the guided meditation repeatedly, you may find that you come back to the same spot in your body more than once. That’s OK. In fact it’s common. It simply means that that particular spot has been very important for you in the evolution of your embodied consciousness. It’s a place that carries important past wounds. And returning to it as often as you are drawn to it will support the healing process for that area.
It’s better to heal larger and more important wounds in a lot of small, incremental steps than trying to do it all at once. So coming back to the same spot repeatedly if it calls to you is a good thing. You don’t need to do everything all at once. If you make a habit of using this guided meditation, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to heal the spots that are more intensely charged with emotions.
Take your time, have patience, and have compassion for your own process.
The more you use the guided meditation, the more comfortable you’ll get with re-connecting with yourself and the easier it will become to connect more deeply and heal more easily. You may be surprised by how quickly your wellbeing and vitality improve.