Experiencing the Body


It is the purpose of our work together to experience something very rich and very intimate in the body. Now the degree to which we will be talking to each other is the degree to which we will be working our way out of our structural hold on the mind. In ordinary psychological terms, the emphasis is primarily on the way the mind is functioning. The basic framework of the content of the mind is accepted as having some reality to it. Our primary assumption here – even in the dialogue when we pay very close attention to what a person is working with in a very respectful and careful way – is that the mind is narrating an experience that the body is having. That narration is fundamentally wrong. It is skewed. It is not on target, most of the time.

In fact, the mind in general is preoccupied with explaining something that cannot be explained; that is, its central function, as we have evolved it, particularly in modern times, is to eliminate the experience of mystery from our lives. The mind is always trying to make conceptual, concrete sense of something that simply can’t be made sense of, and that is our experience as human beings.

When it comes to relationships between people, when it comes to knowing each other, to really feeling each other, to loving each other in a real way, it is not in the mind’s domain to accomplish that. The thinking mind, the conceptual mind, the limited predicament mind is incapable of love. Love is not a mind experience. It is a bodily experience. Love is felt.

It is also true that when we speak about some kind of spiritual awakening – whatever that means – we are speaking in truth about a bodily experience and not a mental experience. The mind in itself never becomes awakened. It becomes silent. It becomes clear. It becomes spacious. It leaves room for a very deep Intelligence to move through it and to translate Itself into felt ideas.

The mind doesn’t become enlightened or awakened or whatever word we want to use. When there is an experience of bliss, when there is an experience of energy, when there is an experience of intimacy, when there is an experience of loneliness, it is felt in the body, not in the mind. What is happening in the mind is often very subtle, sometimes very gross; it is often a very conflicted visual narration about something else.

What makes this work very delicate and very beautiful and very useful to many people is that we explore the various ways the conceptual narration can be disengaged from the energetic experience of the body. This leaves room for the possibility of experiencing something in another way than we have experienced before, particularly in human relationships.

The moment we attempt to understand someone conceptually, and not in a felt bodily way, is the moment we introduce conflict into that relationship. The moment we attempt to communicate with each other solely through the informational structure, through the concepts, is the moment we are introducing the past and all the associations with the past into the present tense.

The mind is simply a carrier of the past. It isn’t anything else as we know it. That is why the mind can’t make sense of the beauty, the exotic, the erotic, the open, the intimate. It simply can’t make sense of those things because it is preoccupied with its own hypnotic obsession with what has already occurred.

So, we are going to find a way, very gently, to journey together into moments where we can feel each other, where we can feel ourselves, and beyond that, where we can feel in the body something else other than the strands of thought and information that we generally use in evaluating our experience. In our journey, we are going to know and sense a Presence, something deeper within us and around us. We may discover, as we journey to this Presence, that It is very warm, that It is very safe and that we have recourse to It in very specific ways when what appears around us seems to be difficult.

This is not a technique, not an idea, not really an ordered process. It is an artistic felt way. So we have to understand that what we are going to do during this time is not about something. Many workshops, many seminars are about something. They are also narrating something.

What we are going to do here is not about anything. It is not about being right or being wrong. It is not about coming to something that we are all going to agree upon. It’s about an experience in and of itself.

There tends to be a fixation that change is a change of ideas or a change of attitude or a change of belief structure. We are not going to find change there. The change is going to be somewhere else in a place that is a little more subtle and a little more difficult to locate.


Copyright 1993: Estate of Stephen Robbins Schwartz

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