I am very pleased to share this next blog written by Rosalind Daws, which is all about wellbeing and energy. Rosalind’s professional practice combines knowledge of scientific findings in areas such as complex systems, emergent properties, heart field entrainment, and the microbiome. As part of her gift to you (besides her wonderful blog), Rosalind has also shared a recording of a ‘body scan’, which you can listen to via the link at the end of her blog.
Enjoy everyone….and share! Dee
Whilst studying for degree in Psychology at Sheffield University I developed an abiding interest in the philosophy of science. I’d become frustrated with the limitations of reductionist methodologies to address the deeper questions of well-being. My particular areas during my third year had been the social construction of schizophrenia and the discourses present in sexuality. These investigations revealed the difficulty of addressing issues in health and well-being solely through mechanistic models. Travelling opened my awareness to the constructions of reality that are found in other cultures, some of which I share in the blog below.
Wellbeing through energy awareness by Rosalind Daws
I begin this blog by explaining what I mean by energy and would like you to think about it as Einstein did in terms of matter, which is ‘energy slowed down’. Matter is ‘that which occupies space and has physical substance’ – it is a general term for the world of solid objects, it is all of the ‘things’ that fill our lives, including our bodies. Physics has shown us that matter may appear solid, but it is not made of solid parts, it is energy moving more slowly than for example when we experience it as light or sound. Understanding this gives you a wonderful opportunity to explore the world as energy.
We may be more familiar with our experiences of the world as made of solid objects, but we do also encounter it as energy – though we have learnt not to pay conscious attention to these latter experiences.
Think about it for a moment now, and you will remember that you often experience energy as sensations in your body or as feelings such as ‘butterflies in your tummy’ or ‘shivers down your spine’. You will have talked about this many times too, for example you may have spoken of feeling ‘scattered’, feeling ‘expanded’, ‘high or low’, ‘heavy or light’. We are all experts at reading energy too, so you will have ‘felt the atmosphere in a room or crowd’, and noticed if someone is watching you from across the room, all of these are your energetic experiences.
Just as you can take care of yourself in material ways by eating good food, wearing clothing suited to what you are doing, moving your body, sleeping, personal hygiene, and cleaning your home; you can tend to yourself in energetic ways.
Everything you do impacts you energetically, but you may find yourself not knowing what to do about it. There are as many ways of working with energetic experience as there are people, but there are some basic simple things you can do to consciously engage with and take responsibility for your energetic self – like choosing to wash to cleanse your body……
To me the foundation of all energy work is awareness. I believe our culture is a materialist culture, that values intellect and rational thought over the information we gain from feeling, sensation and body. We live in our heads; see the brain as the seat of consciousness and sight as the sense to be trusted (so that seeing is believing). We have a distrust of emotions and what appear to be irrational ways of knowing, and are expected to rise above and/or ignore energetic experiences in important matters and in professional settings.
Historically we have accepted a split between body and spirit, with the body perceived as lower and sinful. Religion in western culture has given way to scientific dominance as the way of understanding the world and ourselves, but science too is constructed on a separation between the physical and the spiritual. This is an artificial split and limits our understanding of ourselves and we need to explore a more holistic way of understanding our wellbeing.
We mistakenly refer to nature as something other than ourselves, and as a consequence we tend to see ourselves as separate from other life on the planet, and from the planet itself. This sense of separation is fundamental to our experience of ourselves and our world. It allows the seemingly endless forms of exploitation, abuse, violence and cruelty that we have created. It leaves us feeling lonely and hopeless, disconnected. I believe this is what has led us to the precipice on which we now stand.
But this worldview is not the only human worldview on the planet, it is just the one that has become dominant. Many indigenous people experience the seat of consciousness in the heart or the belly, and unlike in the West, they think from these places. Science is catching up and proudly produces evidence of neurons in both heart and belly, the latter producing neurotransmitters which often respond to stimuli before the brain. This deep knowing is embedded in our language – ‘follow your heart’, ‘go with your gut’ – as is the implicit understanding that sometimes these ‘other brains’ know better than the rational intellect within our craniums.
When we refocus awareness from the head towards heart and belly, our understanding of the world, and our place in it, changes. We begin to experience ourselves as a connected part of a whole, we are no longer ‘other’ but woven into a web that is rich and abundant. We are able to feel grounded and be at home on our planet. Experiencing ourselves from conscious embodiment, we are able to connect with a unified flow of energy that has no hard edges with gaps between things, whilst still being wrapped in the matter of the body. We become aware of life as an ebb and flow of information and experience, that rises and falls in waves and cycles like the seasons. Growing this awareness is a lifelong practice, and there are a myriad of ways to engage with its development.
As part of this writing I invite you to experience a basic body scan combined with loving kindness practice, that has been developed from my many years of energy work. These are the two practices I learned first, they are the most powerful and the foundation of any other meditation or energy-based practice or healing technique you might want to use.
The scan combines bringing awareness to the body with developing an attitude of loving kindness to oneself. The session is 45 minutes long, so please make yourself comfortable (ideally sitting upright) where you can relax undisturbed. It’s ok to change position if you need to, but try and do so with awareness. If you choose to lie down you may well find you fall sleep which is fine. and it’s ok to use the scan as a way to go to sleep too. In order to build the ability to be present and deeply aware in the body, try practicing at different times of the day as well.
You may find you get distracted during the practice. That is to be expected, simply bring your attention back to the practice once you notice your mind may have wandered somewhere else. Notice if you have judgmental thoughts about being distracted, but try and notice them in a detached way as if you were noticing clouds in the sky, then return to body focus. You may find resistance, tension arising or frustration – annoyance with a sound or word that is used – this is normal too. We hold a lot of feeling in our bodies that we were not able to process or express at the time. We have retreated into our heads in order not to experience them, so bringing awareness into the tissues of our bodies can allow those feeling to move through us – sometimes we can find ourselves reluctant to allow that process for fear of becoming overwhelmed. Becoming aware will allow the feeling to move as sensation and then dissipate leaving you feeling lighter and with more energy. So if you can engage and stay with sensations it until they are gone. There is a wisdom in the body that will allow only what is ready to move and what you can handle to arise into awareness. Trust the process and trust your body.
You can listen to the body scan recording here….we begin with the sound of the sea…..
If you have any questions you can email me at email@example.com
For more information about the heart as a brain see Heart-Math institute https://www.heartmath.org/research/science-of-the-heart/
For an exploration of head centered and embodied living see https://philipshepherd.com/radical-wholeness-the-book/