What makes Embodied Resilience a possibility (2020 Embodied Resilience Immersion – GD talk)
There are two fundamental factors that make Embodied Resilience possible. Where Resilience is the ability to absorb and assimilate difficulty without being overwhelmed. And Embodied means it’s actually functioning for you, not just something you are hoping for, dreaming about, talking about, thinking about.
Embodied Resilience doesn’t mean you never feel unsafe, that you never feel threatened, that you never feel helpless, but just that doesn’t overwhelm you. That those experiences don’t determine the nature of your behaviour: so that your behaviour is as much as possible an expression of your deeper nature and its invulnerabilities, rather than of your biological and social natures and their vulnerabilities. Vulnerabilities which you can never escape from.
The first fundamental factor that allows Embodied Resilience is your nature. Not your wealth, not your knowledge, not your skills, but your nature as a spiritual being. Yes you are a biological being. Yes in your biological nature you are a sophisticated organisation of vulnerabilities. But in your spiritual nature you are an expression of invulnerability. Now this is something we can think about, talk about, argue about, justify, explain and rationalise for or against, or it is something we can experience.
So that first factor that makes Embodied Resilience possible is the invulnerability of your spiritual nature. This is actually the context within which the vulnerabilities of your biological nature and its social expressions express themselves so loudly. So loudly perhaps that you don’t even realise that you have a spiritual nature. Perhaps you have been convinced by all of those people who think they know better that you, that you are nothing but a biological being. That therefore you are nothing but extremely vulnerable and it would be foolish to ever feel safe.
However you can experience for yourself that there is more to you than body and mind. You can even experience for yourself that this more, that you can most directly experience as awareness, is not a serendipitous extension or expression of your biology. That it is far more fundamental and therefore potent than that.
This you can experience.
But how can you do that? It is the how you can experience the invulnerability of your spiritual nature that brings us to the second fundamental factor that permits Embodied Resilience to be possible, and that is a willingness to feel
All of us without exception have been hurt by life, by others and not least by those that we loved and that loved us. This can be quite disturbing: to have such a long history as we all do of pain. And it can disturb us to a point where we can, even if only subconsciously, decide that it’s better to not feel anything so that I don’t have to keep feeling pain.
Without a willingness to feel Embodied Resilience is not possible. Then it’s only an idea, a fantasy, a dream. It is at best an irrelevance and at worst a hindrance: just a seductive concept that bothers you as you try to find out how to get it.
However the source of Embodied Resilience is your nature, and it’s already present. Accessing the invulnerability that is the source of Embodied Resilience depends upon your willingness to feel. This of course includes a willingness to feel tension, discomfort, pain. Not to indulge them but to become intimate with them.
So how do we become intimate with pain, how do we become intimate with pleasure? Well the answer is very simple: by feeling the sensations rather than getting caught in the conceptual elaborations of their imaginable implications. You know how you feel unwelcome, unpleasant sensations in your body sometimes and you end up saying: “I’m all alone, nobody loves me, nobody cares about me”, in response to those sensations. Your mind has run away with itself into its imaginative elaborations.
What this really means is that the possibility of Embodied Resilience depends both on your nature as a spiritual being, and on your willingness to feel.
However, what connects the two together is feeling as deeply and intimately as possible the sensations being generated by your body.
Most people participating in this immersion lived in a world where people spend a long time being educated in school, including university. Even if your were studying dance or communications or music technology the education to which we are all subject is very cerebral, conceptual, academic. We live in this culture that over emphasises the significance of the mind. A culture within which nobody realises that almost all of the problems we face in the 21st century have come from the mind: not least its attempts to solve other problems that it already created.
Within that culture and its assumptions, especially its assumptions about intelligence and happiness, it would be considered ludicrous to suggest that feeling sensations could be in any way important, could be anything more than an indulgence.
Yet it is.
You may think that you agree with what I’m saying. It’s very possible that you think that you do. However, if you do, that agreement exists only in the your conscious mind. It does not exist in your subconscious. Therefore it will not express itself into your behaviour. You will still think that if you want to be resilient, if you want to be ok, if you want to be happy, you have to work out with your mind how to do that. You have to work out whom to listen to, what to understand, what to be able to explain to yourself. Down that road there is nothing but insecurity.
Embodied Resilience depends not just on your willingness to feel, but your readiness to put it into action by way of sensations. You must get down and dirty with the sensations being generated by your body. So that within that you are brought deeply into contact with your nature as a spiritual being. As that contact deepens and stabilises the invulnerability and wisdom of your spiritual nature will begin to express themselves into your life. You will no longer need to rely on your mind to bring you home. You will find yourself already home.