Susan Mankowski describes how body-mind connection brings her to a direct experience of being present.

Deepening the Connection to the Body

Aug 25, 2021

by Susan Mankowski

As my lifetime unfolds on this earth, I am discovering that there is more unknown about the body than known. This evolving mystery of who and what I am is no longer a search for me, but an invitation and reminder to come to an experience of myself that is direct, alive, and in this moment.

In the practice of Self-Breema, known as the Art of Being Present, information and concepts accumulated over the years from many systems of thought take a back seat to the exploration of body-mind connection. While my thinking often leads me to that fascinating inner terrain where speculation and imagination abounds, I have found that bringing the attention of the mind to the activity of the body, including the breath and weight, clears, calms, and opens my mind to a new ability to simply see what is in the moment and to be with it. Rather than seek meaning and purpose through the realm of thought, there is a possibility to enter into a dynamic and continuous process of being in and responding to life.

When the associative material from thoughts makes a return appearance, I again redirect my attention—this time used as a tool—from the subjective complexity of ordinary thinking and reactive feeling, back to the simplicity of being with the body. This process of forgetting myself in the thinking and feeling and then returning to experience myself in the moment expresses the principle of Firmness and Gentleness in its essence, one of Breema’s Nine Principles of Harmony. The gentleness is expressed through a nonjudgmental acceptance of the identifying nature of the mind, and the firmness lies in the intentional return of the attention of the mind to the body anew.

This inner relationship encourages a friendship between my body and my mind. At some point, the true feelings enter in, opening me up to be receptive to life, undisturbed by the habitual thoughts. When my body, mind, and feelings are together, I enter the dimension of unity within myself, with a possibility to know the mysteries of the questions of my existence firsthand. The more I return to and remain with that relationship, the deeper my connection to the body grows.

Susan Mankowski is a staff Instructor at the Breema Center in Oakland, California, currently working offsite in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  She teaches ongoing online Self-Breema classes at the Breema Center.

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