"Thinking & Doing" vs "Feeling & Being"
Are you spending too much time in your head?
I’m always looking for simple ways to convey my learnings about life and self-development.
I like them to be simple because I think complex concepts tend to reinforce the notion that we need to think a lot in order to understand.
We likely know someone who has read every book there is about body-based therapy. They are a walking encyclopedia on the topic. But when we look at their body and their life, it is clear that they haven’t really embodied any of this learning. It’s just happening in their head. Maybe we have been like this too!
So, I think it’s important to make things simple. Like the picture below.
This guy has been split off into two parts. His head, neck and arms are the “thinking and doing” part. The trunk of his body and lower down are the “feeling and being” part.
As humans, with our big frontal lobes, we can become simply “thinking and doing machines.” It’s an option. If we were made of silicon chips, instead of flesh and blood, then we would be like this anyway. But we’re not.
The Western mind sees its task as getting our life efficiently and practically run. It also wants us to have a good front through which to face the world. The main issue it comes across is the high level of energy and emotionality that the average human has inside. It wants to get all this firmly under control so that it doesn’t interfere with our correct functioning.
It enlists our arms and hands to this task. Sitting at my laptop, typing this out, my mind, arms and hands are active, whilst the rest of me is relatively passive.
There’s an important thing that happens when these parts of our body are active in this manner - it keeps our heart closed. How? Because keeping these muscle groups active makes the region between our shoulder blades tense. And our energetic heart, our access to feelings, shuts down when we keep those muscles tight.
Working hours in front of a screen not only gets our work done. It also keeps our feelings down. For the part of the mind that just wants control - it’s a win-win!
What’s the solution?
Well, in the past, I used to get quite confrontational towards my own mind. I had this bi-polar kind of aspect, where I would either be thinking and doing a lot. Or raging about all my thinking and doing. I don’t know if this was so useful.
Nowadays, I recognise the usefulness of my mind and of thinking and doing. But I do my best not to let it dominate me. I endeavour to allow space in my day for just feeling and being. Also because it is such a joy.
This is a sensible solution. But there’s an issue that comes up for most of us when we try to follow it. Our mental states tend to act as though they have autonomy. Once we’re up in the “thinking and doing” state, it is not so straightforward to just come back down to the body. The state seeks to perpetuate itself, rather as though it were under threat!
This why I recommend setting aside some time daily for Bioenergetics or Reichian exercises, to open more deeply our sense of the body, such that we can start to get real pleasure simply from being present in it.
Check in with yourself. Did you spend time simply being present with the sense of your body ? Let’s do it!
Thank you for reading