I have included another section of Eckhart’s writing (this time from “A New Earth”), as I believe it gives some wonderful clarity into the relationship between conceptual mental identification, emotional pain and reactivity, and the resultant effects on physical health.
It perfectly illustrates the core intention behind this form of bodywork: to restore physical connectedness, vitality, and an actual experience of feeling the underlying “intelligence” or “Being” emanating from within.
Through the experience (truly more of a remembrance) of connecting with the deeper Self, I often witness profound transformations as the intelligence of the body “cleans out” the outdated emotional states, and, without the supporting emotional energy to prop them up, redundant mental beliefs and conditioning often collapse under their own weight.
It’s a kind of reverse engineering; working directly with the natural intelligence of the body, trusting it’s innate capacity to harmonise and heal. It simply requires a few prerequisites: safety, gentleness, kindness, compassion, and reconnection with another who can witness from the state of Being.
THE BIRTH OF EMOTION
“…The physical organism, your body, has its own intelligence, as does the organism every other life-form. And that intelligence reacts to what your mind is saying, reacts to your thoughts. So emotion is the body’s reaction to your mind. The body’s intelligence is, of course, an inseparable part of universal intelligence, one of its countless manifestations. It gives temporary cohesion to the atoms and molecules that make up your physical organism. It is the organising principle behind the workings of all the organs of the body, the conversion of oxygen and food into energy, the heartbeat and circulation of the blood, the immune system that protects the body from invaders, the translation of sensory input into nerve impulses that are sent to the brain, decoded there, and reassembled into a coherent inner picture of outer reality. All these, as well as thousands of other simultaneously occurring functions, are coordinated perfectly by that intelligence. You don’t run your body. The intelligence does….
This intelligence gives rise to instinctive reactions of the organism to any threat or challenge. It produces responses in animals that appear to be akin to human emotions: anger, fear, pleasure. These instinctive responses could be considered primordial forms of emotion… The fundamental difference between an instinctive response and an emotion is this: An instinctive response is the body’s direct response to some external situation. An emotion, on the other hand, is the body’s response to a thought.
Indirectly, an emotion can also be a response to an actual situation or event, but it will be a response to the event seen through the filter of mental interpretation, the filter of thought, that is to say, through the mental concepts of good and bad, like and dislike, me and mine…
Although the body is very intelligent, it cannot tell the difference between an actual situation and a thought. It reacts to every thought as if it were a reality…. There is a buildup of energy, but since the danger is only a mental fiction, the energy has no outlet. Part of it is fed back to the mind and generates even more anxious thoughts. The rest of the energy turns toxic and interferes with the harmonious functioning of the body.
EMOTIONS AND THE EGO
The ego is not only the unobserved mind, the voice in the head which pretends to be you, but also the unobserved emotions that are the body’s reaction to what the voice in the head is saying….
The voice of the ego continuously disrupts the body’s natural state of well-being. Almost every human body is under a great deal of strain or stress, not because it is threatened by some external factor but from within the mind. The body has an ego attached to it, and it cannot but respond to all the dysfunctional thought patterns that make up the ego. Thus, a stream of negative emotion accompanies the stream of incessant and compulsive thinking.
What is a negative emotion? An emotion that is toxic to the body and interferes with its balance and harmonious functioning. Fear, anxiety, anger, bearing a grudge, sadness, hatred or intense dislike, jealousy, envy — all disrupt the energy flow through the body, affect the heart, the immune system, digestion, production of hormones, and so on.… There is a generic term for all negative emotions: unhappiness.
Do positive emotions have the opposite effect on the physical body? Do they strengthen the immune system, invigorate and heal the body? They do, indeed, but we need to differentiate between positive emotions that are ego-generated and deeper emotions that emanate from your natural state of connectedness with Being…
Ego-generated emotions are derived from the mind’s identification with external factors which are, of course, unstable and liable to change at any moment. The deeper emotions are not really emotions at all but states of Being. Emotions exist within the realm of opposites. States of Being can be obscured, but they have no opposite. They emanate from within you as the love, joy, and peace that are aspects of your true nature.”
Excerpts from "A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle