It’s how we move.
It’s how we express ourselves.
And it’s the first dimension of freedom.
Unfortunately, our daily routines keep many of us bent over computers, steering wheels, dish-pits, counters, fires, stoves, books, babies, gardens, engines… the list goes on.
Over time, this hunched-over posture trains the muscles in your body to hold these patterns. This posture eventually results in painful headaches, neck or shoulder injuries, a “chin-forward” posture, and many other maladies that restrict your ability to move freely.
The very lives we live keep us in postures that discourage openness.
And physical trauma isn’t the only source of restriction to the body’s free expression. Throughout our lives, we develop muscular tension from the various emotional traumas we’ve experienced as well. Each trauma may have many sources, or few, some more traumatic than others.
An adult could have repeatedly yelled, “Shut up!” Then immediately there’s tension in the neck, jaw, and face from sucking in the words.
Perhaps the threat of being hit was constantly present, so ducking or wincing becomes the pattern.
Over time, the body adapts to these patterns, developing the rigidity that keeps your body from freely expressing its natural strength and intelligence. Without this strength and intelligence, the ability to express yourself can be very difficult.
Everything from your nervous system to your skeletal system supports your physical freedom. If you can’t move freely, the journey toward inner freedom will be very challenging, and may even be impossible for some.
If the body is riddled with maladies and the mind diseased with fear, unleashing the true power of your spirit will be like being thirsty and coming by a small trickle of water. The very thing you need most only comes through in small drops. Constantly stifled at the source.
Your body and mind will work for you, but only if you unlock their potential.
It’s a fundamental misconception that your mind is your brain. Your body and brain act together in a wondrous way. So much so that they are one and the same.
Your brain is simply an organ inside of your body. A very powerful organ. Just like the heart and many other organs, life as we know it would not exist without the brain.
Your body is the vessel through which you experience the physical world, and it’s where freedom begins. Your brain and nervous system are like the deep root fibers of this freedom. They will support you if you unlock their potential.
Most people, if not everyone, have experienced some form of trauma in their lives. But there’s good news for those of us that have experienced these things. There are ways to heal these wounds from our pasts and mitigate the effects of these lifestyles that keep us restricted.
They’ll help release the trauma-induced tension that’s been building up over a lifetime so you can heal yourself and be free.
Like all human ideas, there are many ways to begin exploring your free movement. But, every journey begins with one step and it’s challenging to change your habits. So, it’s important to start with basics.
The basic exercises related to freeing the body aren’t linear programs. They aren’t complicated either. Your practice should always change to a certain degree as well because the needs of your body change as you grow.
If there’s no change, eventually you just get bored anyway.
The concepts bioenergetics and fascia are where I invite you to start.
Fascia is a layer of tissue that ‘wraps’ around your muscles and assists in their function.
Bio-energy refers to the flow of electromagnetic energy through your body.
Become aware of the subtle nuances of your energetic body by practicing the art of refocusing your attention. You can do this by breathing deep into your pelvic floor while also focusing your attention on the feeling of the breath.
Don’t worry about rhythm or tempo, just focus your attention on the feelings in your body as you continue to breathe deeply.
This practice allows you to find your physical restrictions almost immediately. Over time, you’ll recognize the patterns in your body where muscle tension has accumulated. Then you can target those areas with corrective stretching and myofascial release.
Massage and stretch these outer fascia tissues while continually practicing the art of refocusing your attention through breath and awareness. You can do this with foam rollers, massage therapists, and/or stretching routines.
Always be sure to refocus on the feeling and your breathing as you do this. Not only will this help deliver oxygen and nutrients to your body, but it will force you to become more aware of your body instead of the thoughts that inevitably come into your mind.
These practices should be done in a way that encourages openness and thoracic extension, and they should be done with as much focus as possible.
But keep it simple and start slowly because it should never be a chore.
Even just one breath a day is fine. Eventually, you move to a few breaths… then ten breaths…. then twenty. And as long as it’s with focus and awareness your body will begin telling you the truth.
This type of training will help undo the posture I spoke of earlier that, if left unchecked, will riddle you with upper back and neck problems that give people chin-forward, or hunched-over postures.
Opening the body’s ability to express its freedom in this way is the first dimension. If practiced with diligence, your body will be open to the world around you, and the world within.
Soul and Mind
Once the body is open, you can begin to address the soul’s freedom, absent of physical inhibitions and with newly released energy ready to be utilized.
The soul has an infinite amount of strength, intelligence, and creativity. All of this is just waiting to be tapped within each human, but such a gift is inherently your choice to express as an individual.
The saying ‘listen to your gut’ comes from this intelligence that exists between the body and the soul. So does ‘follow your heart’.
These are metaphors for the connection that exists between yourself and your physical body.
This dimension can be addressed in many ways. Yet, the concept remains simple and familiar no matter where you come from.
Experiencing your own presence is how you communicate with your soul.
This is why focusing on the soul before the mind is so vital in this journey toward freedom.
The mind is beautiful but powerful. It can get in the way of your free expression.
Just like the body, your mind picks up rigidity throughout your life. Any trauma or negative experience has the potential to create negative beliefs about yourself, or other people, restricting your ability to freely express the soul.
The soul is the deepest expression of your self. It’s something that can’t be easily conveyed in words. This is because every word that humans have ever created are only interpretations of the truth, so they can be misinterpreted.
The soul is what you express when your mind has agreed to work with your body to open the doors of freedom. That is where the infinite can speak.
There are many ways to begin this journey. Mindfulness helps calm the mind, so it can be still enough to recognize where your freedom is restricted. Meditation is another way to get your mind to quiet down long enough for you to begin participating in the intelligence, strength, and creative abilities that exist within yourself.
Both of these are just methods though. The principle is to open the body and quiet the mind.
Although straightforward and simple, these practices are challenging to turn into habits.
They also challenge your perception of the self and the world around you, which can be very frightening for some and may take years for others.
Freeing the mind is not a heady process.
It includes opening the body, so it can participate openly with the mind.
Although the mind is a highly intangible thing and has yet to be completely understood through the lens of Western Science, it has been confirmed time and again that the mind and body are intimately connected.
The mind is one of the most beautiful forms of expression you have. It is, however, the most biased dimension of your freedom, as it is the dimension you constantly perceive reality through.
But what is the mind, really?
The mind is where dominant society has focused most of its attention. But it is very poorly understood because it is constantly associated with the brain.
Your mind is not your brain. It is intangible. It is consciousness itself.
But that’s not really you now is it? You are much deeper.
The mind is an expression, and it’s made of symbols, emotions, and memories. It’s one of the most creative parts of your entire existence.
In Western societies, much of the conditioning that’s created the stifled freedom people experience is rooted in the mind. If you begin by focusing on the mind it will project this conditioning into the freeing process, which slows the process down and can introduce metaphorical viruses into the system.
These viruses will only come to the surface later as even more stifled energy and even less freedom. They will be keeping you from being you.
Being skeptical, critical thinking, and fallacy detection are all ways of answering the same need.
There are many schools of thought on critical thinking, but the basics are a practice that indigenous societies have been doing since time immemorial.
Our minds are structured in symbols. Everything from a belief system to a fleeting thought comes in symbols. Alongside these symbols are your emotions. If you never question these symbols or your emotions, you can never see which ones are true and which are lies.
When you think from a place of skepticism, you begin the process of questioning your thoughts, opinions, and even your most fervent beliefs if you decide to take it far enough. But this can be a very dysfunctional process unless you are also able to have enough awareness to listen at the same time.
Listening is patient, forgiving, and allows your thinking mind to be still enough to recognize the truth when you need it most. Without this process, seeing the truth amidst a sea of lies can be difficult because you’ll always be doubting and never accepting.
This dimension is one I’m particularly acquainted with because it’s where I spent most of my life. I attacked my freedom with my mind for twelve solid years before I started to cultivate the patience it requires to be still enough to allow the body and soul to speak.
It wasn’t until I began freeing my body that I was able to see lasting changes.
The journey seems slow when your mind is the guide, and it seems difficult to let the soul speak when your body is stifled, but once you let your body breathe deeply and move with freedom the entire process becomes exponential.
With a skeptical mind based in physical and spiritual freedom, the growth potential can be limitless. These three dimensions can come together in a tremendous way to reveal the master artist in each person, capable of sculpting your own reality with your own choices.
There is still one last dimension though, and perhaps the most important of the four… this dimension is Time.
Time exists in and around the other dimensions.
Without time, none of these dimensions can come together to create your own manifestation of freedom.
Although much of these practices are natural, the process can be overwhelming and may feel impossible. True freedom may seem beyond your grasp. But with time, patience becomes an ally.
Time allows these dimensions to resonate with your universe, bringing you back to balance so you can unlock your deeper self.
Instead of simply using the mind to make decisions, embracing time allows the body to speak, the soul to speak, and the mind the space required to let go of all those limitations that have piled up over the years.
Time makes it all possible because awareness comes back into the equation. This is the fundamental principle that these dimensions are based in.
Being aware of time cultivates a perspective that has the utmost respect and value for the present because with awareness the truth becomes self-evident.
The reality is that linear time does not really exist.
When awareness becomes your way in life, it’s easy to see that you exist in the present.
Fear is an emotion associated with the future, sadness is an emotion rooted in the past, while joy exists in the present. Remember that the past and the future don’t exist, except for in the present when we invoke them. So fear and sadness are only illusions that keep people from seeing the truth.
The truth is that life is purpose.
Purpose is life.
So live life on purpose, because who you are matters.
Over the course of human history, all of humanity has worked together to create a reality that’s full of violence and uncertainty. If this dimension is not considered it will be easy to stray off your path and become a prisoner to this reality once again.
That is not freedom.
Through these four dimensions, a clear path can take form in your own way.
These ideas are only secondary factors in your journey though. The principle philosophy of approaching your freedom through the body before the mind is like that big, strong tree in an old-growth forest. Freedom collapses under mild breezes if your roots are shallow, or don’t fit the landscape. As you age, your freedom expands, becoming stronger and deeper as you grow older and limited only by the physical laws of the universe.
With these four dimensions for roots, it’s possible to make freedom real, living life as the conscious master of your own purpose.
But remember that these are only roots.
Freedom is far larger than any one of us.
Stay Strong Everyone,