There is a transition when moving from head-allegiance to heart- and gut-allegiance. It can feel as though our mind is getting foggy, forgetful, unclear as the viscera comes more online and the senses alive.
Clients in somatic therapy when experiencing trauma resolution will often become disoriented temporarily as the body integrates the healing. As they become more embodied and less governed by the fixated, binding thoughts that accompany unresolved trauma, there is more space in the psyche. This space experienced as temporary spaceyness creates room for their feeling capacity to strengthen and take hold.
What we’re moving towards is not an abandonment of rational thinking, but an integration of mind and body such that the heart/gut has greater say and sway in our perception and decision-making. Here we become embodied, centred in feeling more than reason. We remember we are feeling beings and that rationale is meant to serve our sensate capacities.
Interestingly, the vagus nerve, which runs from the gut through the organs and to the brain, is 80-90% afferent with the balance being efferent; meaning, far more sensory information runs from the viscera to the brain. Only 10-20% of information moves from the brain to the viscera. We are naturally built to live a “bottom-up” existence with our heart and gut intelligence leading the way.
But we are trained otherwise—to think more than feel, to trust the perceived certainty that logic relentlessly proposes over the felt-sense we are so naturally attuned to when children. We therefore struggle to feel, to attune to visceral intelligence, when overwhelmed by thought.
Feeling, as a consequence, can be threatening to the thought-full mind. For, the mercurialness of feeling demands an abandonment of control and a willingness to not know—the fog that arises when mental scaffolds surrender—all of which is scary for the linear brain. As we sink further into feeling, the world we thought we knew comes under greater scrutiny.
In feeling more, it’s naturally harder to “think straight” and fit in. Feeling takes us into the haze of the unexpected.
The world as we know it, after all, has been built from disembodied thought far more than feeling. The separation of mind from body is expressed in how we perceive ourselves to be separate from one another and Mother Nature. Of course, there are dire consequences when living with this myopic worldview: our symptom-based health care system is one; and then there is the overall, obvious harm of others and destruction of the planet.
Einstein once said, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” What’s needed now is the movement towards more embodied living where the rational mind works in more harmonious concert with the intuitive, feeling body; where the viscera leads and uses rationale as its servant. This demands that all of us practice honest self-reflection and have the courage to descend into the body and hazy places between.
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Check out Vince’s book: Wild Empty Spaces ~ Poems for the Opening Heart