Humans have the opportunity to make the shift now from fear-focused, adrenaline-fueled living to full-body-intelligent living. Body intelligence expands our perspective beyond fear to the rich, millennia-long wisdom we carry in our cells. BQ includes all feelings and inner experience, informs responsive choices, heightens wellbeing, and opens perception based on curiosity and possibility rather than scarcity and prejudice. BQ allows us to connect deeply with our essence and the flow of life that sparks genuine appreciation and collaboration with others.
When we value what our body is communicating to us, we open the doors to a level of vitality that cannot be achieved by following advice from a book. Every BODY has a different road map, and by becoming intimate with what our own body is asking for, we unleash our inner physician. It is through this level of nourishment throughout our daily lives, that regeneration of cells proliferate. It’s an “in the moment” experiment, and you know you are on the right track, if you notice feeling energized by your choices (as though your cells are humming the words “Thank You”).
Body intelligence is the direct, consciously felt experience of being alive, from the flow of blood and sensation to the many attitudes and mental shifts that weave with our responses to being in a body, in relationships, work and the world. Most people have no idea what they are experiencing in their body: sensations, feelings, emotions, etc. Rather, this common complaint is the predictable apotheosis of 2000+ years of culture and religion casting the body as bad, wrong, immoral and untrustworthy. We, therefore, have been taught to fear our bodies, and not listen, as though we’d turn into hedonistic gluttons if we did. The inventor of the light bulb, Thomas Edison, famously declared, “The chief function of the body is to carry the brain around.” Many people today seem to agree.
Consider instead the perspective of Joseph Campbell: “I think that what we’re really seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonance within our innermost being and reality, so that we can actually feel the rapture of being alive.” People must first come into their bodies to experience them, rather than proceeding through life as James Joyce described his character, Mr. Duffy, “who lived a short distance from his body.”
What would you actually be doing and sensing if you used more of your body intelligence? Here are some of the many BQ doorways that you can enter at any time in life:
Noticing your body’s communication
You can be aware of a vast continuum of sensation inside that gives you the somatic ability to effectively respond to:
—hmmm, something else going on here under the surface, or, I want or don’t want, or, Move Now!
—Or, shift, do something different/give attention to outside you/ say something, or eat/drink water/rest/ take a deep breath.
This self-caring skill is polar opposite of the critical, what’s-wrong-now kind of attention that most people are trained to focus on their inner experience.
Following your inner experience
You can learn to be with your experience as it emerges and unfolds. Whether following an emotion, an urge to communicate or a complicated physical skill, body intelligence amps up your ability to track what’s unfolding. You can follow the first buds of an emotion and feel what wants to happen, the tentacles of memory echoes and thoughts, as the sensations, course through to authentic expression. In contrast, one of the most common ways to decrease BQ is to distract yourself from being with what is going on right now. Common distractions: having a conversation with a mate/ close friend, non-stop tasking, emotional eating, obsessive thinking, shallow breathing, or holding physical tension.
When you or I bring attention, breath, open posture, turning toward, receiving, and wonder to this moment, presence results. Intimacy results. New solutions result with ease. The emergence of a new, conscious field of awareness that we can all tap into results. Right now ads with “kindly doctor” basically say: “Have a headache? Take THIS pill.” In a world that works from body intelligence, the kindly doctor would say, “Have a headache or body ache? Ask your body what the message is and make the necessary shifts to come home to yourself again.” Right now stress-related illnesses cost businesses at least $200 Billion a year.
In a body intelligence savvy world, we’d have fewer athletic injuries because athletes would be giving attention to their self-care as well as to goals they are trying to meet. Children would be going to schools that would teach them to stay attuned to their natural instincts and develop a balance between cognitive, emotional, and body intelligence. Imagine how business would change if sharing feelings were no big deal, just another valuable addition to collaboration. Otto Scharmer, bestselling author of Theory U, makes a strong case for the direct positive impact of presencing on the bottom line. Authenticity and transparency are gaining traction. The paradigm is shifting, and we can become a part of this evolutionary emergence.
We can learn to presence, even as technology tempts us toward becoming big heads with thumbs attached. If we don’t, evolution could continue in the current direction away from enjoying and occupying the ineffable joys of having a body.