Originally published in Body Sense magazine, Autumn/Winter 2006. Copyright 2005. Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals. All rights reserved.
All life is movement. We experience movement in our lives in three ways: as expansion, contraction, and integration.
Expansion in our lives expresses itself as moving to a new city, starting a new job, or meeting new people. We are opening ourselves to change, to something new. We are risking getting out of our comfort zone.
Contraction is experienced in how we feel after a busy week, after reading a good book, writing a report, or completing a course or training. Contraction comes from having gone through an expansion and completing that cycle.
Integration is the pause once we have experienced the expansion and completed the contraction cycle. It is in the pause, when reflecting on the expansion and the contraction, that new learning and insights are integrated into who we are and what we do. That learning may be the impetus for our next expansion. This is the cycle of the movement of life.Movement and Consciousness
The foundation of all movement is consciousness. Consciousness is the impulse that propels creation. It creates structures, establishes connections and relationships, and determines the dynamics among all things. Consciousness promotes the continuous enfoldment of creation and is the language of creation.
Our physical body is a vehicle for the expression of all levels of consciousness, from atomic to spiritual. For example, our body is composed of minerals that have a cohesion-consciousness. This consciousness is what keeps our entire body together. Our body also has the capacity to grow like a vegetable, and is endowed with the five senses, like animals. Cohesion, vegetative growth, and the senses are all forms of consciousness that permeate and express the different stages of creation. As human beings, we encompass all of these stages.
Moreover, unique to our embodied state, we experience life in five dimensions--through our body, emotions, mind, will, and spirit. These dimensions enable us to consciously love, discover, create, and serve.
Our bodies, emotions, thoughts, and choices are in a constant state of movement. If we do not move, we deteriorate; we lose energy, vitality, and disposition. We feel stuck and useless.Effects of Early Experience
As children, each one of us has had emotional experiences that have helped to form the basic belief system about ourselves and others that is our approach to life. There is a body of scientific evidence called character structure that explains how our bodies are
a frozen sculpture of our early emotional experiences. Psychologists know that early traumatic experiences can create maladaptive psychological symptoms in the adult personality, but that the nature of those experiences can be identified in a person's body is not common knowledge. Body psychotherapists, such as core energetic therapists, use this principle to begin to understand our early wounding, how it affects our level of consciousness, and influences the choices we make in our lives.Moving into Change
Exploring more about how we became who we presently are is truly empowering given that we can begin to look at ourselves, our bodies, and some of our own problems and issues. As our understanding unfolds, we ask: can my life be any different? The answer is yes. We need not be permanently impaired; we can consciously move into change.
However, we are not inviting you to move for movement's sake. Movement does not necessarily mean expansion, growth, or self-realization. The movement we are exploring here requires that a conscious direction be chosen, a vision be clearly defined. Another way to say this is that energy follows thought. The vision we speak of is also thought and it will be energized. This is a universal law.
Thus, conscious movement has a direction, purpose, and a deeply-felt commitment to flow with it in all aspects of our lives. This process will bring greater inner integrity, harmony, and power to fully live and share with others.
As we increasingly integrate our experience of our life through our physical body, our emotions, our mind, our will, and our spirit, we get to taste the fruits of moving in a purposeful direction. When we find ourselves in a current of distractions or negativity that keep us from purposeful movement, we also get feedback.
From the chart below we see how purposeful movements can nourish and facilitate our growth to the extent that we consciously seek to experience them. This creates an upward spiral of integration that promotes experiencing more and reaping the benefits of our purposeful movements.
On the other hand, when we find ourselves following a path of activity that distracts us from purposeful movement, we create a downward, self-feeding spiral, giving us more of the same, which in the long run will delay our growth. As we choose each day to tread the path of conscious and purposeful movement--saying yes to certain things, and no to others--we are unfolding our lives and becoming more of who we truly are. Jalieh Milani and Alessandra Shepard are core energetic therapists. They offer seminars on Awakening and Bringing Consciousness to our Daily Lives. They are authors of the book
Flexing Your Soul, Moving with Energy Consciousness, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
1. John Pierrakos MD, Core Energetics (Mendocino, CA: LifeRhythm, 1990).