The body gives us physical signals of our confusion or resistance. This includes:
- Hunched shoulders, stiff neck, and clenched teeth.
- Stiff, high, and strident voice.
- Contracting solar plexus.
- Tightened fists and forearms
When the delight of getting what you want is tainted by the threat of what you don’t want returning, your body doesn’t lie. Nor does your body allow you to relax when you’re filled with the fear that what you do want will never show up.
When you pit what you want against what you don’t want, consciously or unconsciously, your body responds with contraction.
These physical sensations are the body’s way of signaling that you are no longer moving with the flow of life as it is unfolding in the moment. Instead, you are wanting life to be different from how it is—a position that is inherently unsatisfactory.
This dissatisfaction usually means you have taken a polarized position—either seriously for or seriously against what is unfolding before your eyes.
To hold that life can be better is, paradoxically, not against relaxing into life as it is. Being able to hold both experiences is confusing but, nonetheless, a more peaceful and productive approach to creating a better world—now and in the future now.
When you recognize these physical tensions as signals of your polarized position either for or against what is unfolding, you can immediately reduce your stress by breathing into your body’s contraction. This frees you to then act from your practical wisdom that what is unfolding cannot be different from what it is in this moment. Again, paradoxically, accepting “what is” is not against future moments emerging in a different way.
I invite you to be aware of your body’s sensations throughout the day. Can you explore these sensations as signals?
Are you in distress about what is unfolding before you?
Are you unwilling to accept the moment for what it is?
Are you fearful that if you relax with an undesirable moment, what you don’t want will overrun you and your life?
Sengsten, the Third Zen Patriarch, is credited with saying, “To set up what you like against what you dislike is the disease of the mind.” Yet, the stress and contraction generated by this very strategy is, paradoxically, life’s most vibrant signaling system to keep us moving and growing.
Learning to manage paradox is the best stress reducer around, and … a direct line to opening the compassionate heart.
I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the box placed far below. I like hearing from you.
P.S. You can find out more about this in my book Unflappable – 6-Steps To Staying Happy, Centered, and Peaceful No Matter What