Today's human has a double-edged sword with our capacity to think. Some of the deepest, most profound people become victims to the mental chatter of our “thinking” brain. Rather than feel the intuition of our bodies, we resort to logical conclusions, actions, and processes.
Getting in touch with our body and learning to trust it over our thinking brain can have unimaginable benefit for our every day life. More importantly, it can help guide us to our higher purpose (which may change constantly) and can answer many of our hardest questions.
How Does it Feel to Be Stupid?
How does it feel to be stupid? There is no feeling at all; it is a mental construct that one human passes to another, which is often debilitating in the wrong mind. When one identifies with being stupid or unintelligent because of what someone has verbally stated, it can create negative manifestations without any reality in the body.
This is an example of how our thinking brain can work against us. When answers seem so simple from our “gut instinct” or “intuition”, we decide to over-analyze and think about them instead. Terms like “gut instinct” indicate we should listen to our body more, but somehow we have lost sight of this.
Our capacity to think deeply has brought us many technological gifts, but it rarely brings us fulfillment and contentedness. We should all continue to philosophize, but balancing more of our hard decisions with an intuitive body can make a big difference.
Practices to Trust Your Body More
For those (often myself included) who get caught up thinking too much, there are ways to go back into our body to trust and embrace our wisdom.
This is a big one. Elliott Hulse said once “If you cannot dance, you are not free.” Without formal training, it is easy to get stuck in my head thinking about how I look rather than just trusting my body. I derive so much pleasure from the flow-state of dancing and because it allows me to break the habit of rigidity in my body. If you have ever told yourself you need alcohol in order to dance, this is a lack of trust in your body.
Go onto the dance floor and move your body around without thinking. Trust every leg movement, step, hand flail, and head bob; rock your hips, shake your butt, and just let go. Don't worry about controlling how you look.
One of the reasons myself and millions of other people love weight lifting so much is because it makes it possible to stop thinking so much and just do something with real sensations. Heavy weights hurt; there is pain involved and the inner masochist in all of us can enjoy the (muscular) pain of weight lifting to an extent. Pain is a heightened sensation even if we often identify it as being a negative one.
However, it is easy to get into the mindset of “mind over matter,” but this shows the lack of trust in your body. Of course, your body will try to stop you from doing something it deems unsafe, but the more you are in-tune with your body the more it will allow you to recognize the injury vs. protection response.
Don't judge feelings
Sometimes an event or situation will cause you to a certain way; anger, sadness, despair. Instead of trying to suppress or overcome / reason through the emotions, go for a walk and let them express themselves. Philosophical thinkers might take an affront to the ego and realize “this bad feeling is only my ego so I should not feel a particular way.” This is an over-analysis – you should feel however you feel!
Instead of thinking about the truth, go for a walk and let your expressions emanate from your body. When I am angry I will go on a walk listening to high-energy music, which helps get it out. I flex my muscles and sometimes even bark or jump around. This helps to release tension in the body and the byproduct is always that I come to philosophical reason afterwards. The only difference in going from body – brain rather than brain – body is that the realization sticks rather than fading a way.
By turning off your thinking brain and going into your body / breath, you can practice balancing yourself. I undertook an intensive 10 day Vipassana meditation retreat, which pitted me in the woods for 12 hours a day doing meditation with few meals and complete silence. During this time I realized how reliant I am on my thinking brain constantly churning and talking. You don't need this type of intensive experience to benefit from meditation; 20 minutes a day to focus on your breath goes a long way. Start with 5 if you have no experience.
Either Alan Watts or another great philosophical thinker said “You don't need to burn down the barn every time you wish to cook a chicken.” While meditation can offer great mental clarity and even hallucinogenic states, there is no reason you can't use psychedelics to enhance your understanding of the world around you and your body.
Some psychedelics, such as psilocybin, are very useful for present-ness and increased sensations. If you are able to take this with a group of safe, likeminded individuals in a natural / safe setting, this would be ideal. You may find heightened sensations that allow you to better experience the wisdom of your body.
Much like weightlifting, foam rolling can be painful in a good or bad way. It definitely hurts, but it releases tension built up in the muscles and afterward feels great. By foam rolling consistently, you will notice the self-chatter slowly dissipates and goes away. Suddenly the excruciating pain of your I.T. Bands overpower the guilt of what dessert you ate for lunch.
Go for a walk
Sometimes getting out of your head is as simple as getting into nature and going for a walk. Even living in an urban environment can create lots of great sensory input, but there is no reason to analyze all of it. Simply let it pass through the prism of your mind as your body enjoys the movement of a pleasant stroll. Like many of the other practices, walking often helps us to revert to listening to our body rather than constantly listening to our inner self-talk.