mens sana in corpore sano:
a sound mind in a healthy body
the poet Juvenal (60-127 ad)
the body is a community of 50 trillion cells based on harmonious coexistence.
the cell and hence the body has an innate and natural tendency towards joy, health and self-healing.
it seeks optimal conditions of enjoyment, comfort, safety, convenience and effort efficiency. its mechanisms of self-defense and self-healing are sufficient to repair most damage and to eliminate most unwanted matter and substances.
the architecture of the body, its logic, is an expression of the genius of nature.
the mind inhabits the body, the entire body, beyond the organ of the brain.
the prevailing idea that the mind and the body can be separate and that the mind must dominate the body, considered normal by so many of us, creates a gap between body and mind. this gap accentuates the differences between the way the body and mind work and can make them incompatible.
the functioning mechanisms of the mind: the psycho-mental mechanism (thought, emotion and behaviour) and the linguistic mechanism (the definition and understanding of everything through the word) operate differently to those of the body.
for example the logic of dualism (the necessity of opposites for understanding; hot/cold, open/closed, good/bad) and the linear logic (the necessity of linear order for understanding) are fundamentally different from the logic of the body where everything coexists without being experienced as opposites.
the functioning mechanisms of the body and mind coexist, communicate and collaborate in astonishing ways.
when this is allowed.
when their differences are accentuated and placed in hierarchical relationships the natural solidarity between body and mind becomes ineffective.
so we end up leading a way of life where we do not listen substantially to our bodies and we disconnect from the precious wisdom we embody.
a hierarchical relationship between body and mind leads to disharmony between them, between the conscious and the subconscious and between the individual and the environment.
an example is the over-emphasis on the use of hands and eyes and the inactivity of the rest of the body or our over-active perception of the outer world (sight, touch, hearing, taste, smell) and our under-active sense of our selves (proprioception, kinaesthesia, sense of position in space, awareness of our organs).
many ailments – such as exhaustion, depression, chronic injuries/pain, strokes and degenerative diseases – are due to ineffective communication between the central nervous system and the rest of the body.
this may be due to trauma or toxins and chemicals or the aforementioned disharmony which affect the transmission of messages.
but the most common source of interference in the communication between the brain and the rest of the body is the mind.
how do we inhabit the body?
the science of epigenetics shows that it is the membrane of the cell that acts as its brain, determining its development, not the nucleus and its genes. which genes will be activated depends on the environment of the cell. according to quantum mechanics the environment of the cell, and our environment in general, is defined by our beliefs and our perceptions.
so it seems that we are not victims of genetic destiny and external factors and that we have an inherent tendency to maintain prosperity and good health.
it seems inappropriate to feel powerless and unaccountable concerning the state and development of our material body and our soul.
it seems it is a matter of choice.
the subconscious mind works tirelessly 24 hours a day, renews our blood every 120 days, the cells of our body every 11 months, the eyeball in two days.
the subconscious mind can process 40 million pieces of information per second, the conscious mind can process 40.
95-99% of our mental activity is performed by the subconscious.
most of us no longer climb to the tops of trees or walk on uneven ground, we rarely dance and the cerebellum atrophies.
it is believed that the cerebellum, the ‘little brain’, is the seat of the subconscious and it contains more than half of the neurons of the brain and coordinates our physical, mental, cognitive, sensory, emotional and behavioural processes.
to what extent do we feel our guts?
mostly we live without pushing the boundaries of our motor and sensory capabilities and our everyday lives are flooded with sensory information that is not directly attributable to aesthetic effect (eg experiencing physical violence on the screen without feeling pain). the times we are in absolute silence or in complete darkness are few and the nervous system slowly loses its ability to rest and hence evolve.
our proprioception (our sense of self) is mainly activated by discomfort, pain, tightness, blocking, numbness. unless something is bothering us we don’t feel ourselves much. without substantial contact with our guts and subconscious our contact with our common sense, aesthetic intelligence and instincts is reduced.
our contact with the wisdom we embody is reduced.
the ability for detailed perception, awareness and management of the muscular/skeletal/respiratory/circulatory/neurological systems and the ability to activate the self-healing mechanisms gradually weaken.
many of the protective messages that come and go between the central nervous system and the rest of the body are not received consciously so the body is forced to turn to extreme means of communication: pathology.
before we end up in pain or illness our body has sent innumerable warning messages: the less these are heard the “louder” they become.
the mind is vulnerable to bullying, especially when residing in a vulnerable body, and the fear reflex is the only reflex that can immobilize the body. defense processes require the operations of growth, consciousness and intelligence to stop so that vital energy can be deployed to them and they cause, among other things, muscle contraction. when the body is exposed to a constantly threatening environment contractions appear on many levels and the body becomes rigid, squashed and in permanent tension.
in such a situation it is difficult to discern between senses, emotions and thoughts.
self-oppression and self-regulation become confused.
for many of us subconscious self-oppression has become part of everyday life which we stoically tolerate.
we are born with innumerable neurological abilities, instead of gradually loosing these as we grow we can cultivate and expand them.
i remain permanently amazed and inspired by the potential of our physical, mental and creative skills and by how unlimited the evolution of our sensing and moving nature can be.
a prerequisite for being able to retain and develop contact with our embodied wisdom is setting motor and sensory skills into continuous evolution.
recovering our sensation of our perfect construction, we can take advantage of the spaciousness, flexibility, joy, effort efficiency, safety, ease, enjoyment and comfort that we embody.
like when we were kids…
en [gre.]: in, soma [gre.]: body
ensoma is a combination of dance and movement techniques,body/mind and therapeutic practices and contact, chiropractic and massage practices.
it comes from twenty years of work and research through dance, movement and contact in artistic, educational and therapeutic contexts with people of all ages with and without specific conditions.
with a playful attitude and trust in the body the wisdom we embody is unleashed.
instincts and aesthetic intelligence are supported and empowered.
with creative skill and flexibility bodies and convictions are transformed bringing decompression, empowerment and healing to body and mind.
i am convinced that with the example, guidance and inspiration of the genius of nature we can evolve beyond what we are accustomed to accept as our human limitations.