LISTENING TO GOD: CONTEMPLATIVE PRACTICES
Friday, March 5, 2021
Listening to the Wisdom of the Body
by Robbin Brent
It is amazing how many hints and guides and intuitions for living come to the sensitive person who has ears to hear what his body is saying.—Rollo May
Scott Stoner wrote about the wisdom of the body in week one, and last Sunday Malcolm McLaurin wrote about the powerful story of Starr Carter in The Hate U Give. I would highly recommend the movie too, where we see Starr learn to trust what she knows deep down in her body to be her deepest truth.
“The body doesn’t lie,” “The body keeps score,” “I just knew in my gut,” are just some of the well-known phrases we either say or hear related to how information and knowing are first perceived at the level of the body. And one of the best ways to listen more closely to what God is telling us through our bodies is through the breath. On average, we take 20,000 breaths every day, or 960 breaths every hour. Today we’ll work with the practice of noticing as a way to tap into God’s desire for our well-being through the wisdom of the body and our breath.
You can do this simple practice anytime, anywhere. Begin by paying attention to your breathing. Notice your inbreath and your outbreath. Don’t alter anything about your breathing, just notice it. After several breaths, when you feel ready, do a quick body scan and notice any areas of tension in the body. See if you can relax your face, your tongue, your shoulders, your toes. Notice where you are holding tension and then notice what happens to your breathing as you consciously release the areas of tension. You can also practice this when facing a challenging decision or situation. God often will reveal insight and wisdom when we take the time to listen to our bodies.
Making It Personal: How does paying attention to your body support listening to what God desires for you? Did you find a relationship between releasing tension in the body and in your breath? Remember that you can return to this practice anytime you want to access the wisdom of the body.