In essence we are human beings, something we often forget about. We happen to live more from a human doing perspective. But hey, how can you do things as your best version if we are not aware and conscious about who we are in essence?
The unconscious automatic pilot
You wake up in the morning, unconsciously your automatic pilot turns on and GO. You brush your teeth, you eat breakfast, you shower, you dress, you commute to work/your home office desk and start your day.
Next you open your laptop, start working and aim to be as productive and as efficient as possible. You complete some reports, make calls with colleagues and clients, eat lunch behind your laptop and continue ticking off the to-do list. Whenever you notice yourself daydreaming for a minute or become aware your thoughts are wandering off, you almost feel guilty for not being productive and focused. You continue the day, typing, calling, (video)chatting, analysing, replying to WhatsApp in between and scrolling a bit through social media, until it is time for dinner.
You figure that ‘work is never done’ anyway, so decide to close your laptop and start the evening. You actually feel like crashing down on the couch but decide that you also need to move a little. You choose between fixing a quick meal or ordering food to save yourself some time and race on to the gym. You want to forget about the day and to-do’s so you decide to do an intense work out and sweat everything off you. You shower, get home, watch Netflix, until it is bedtime. Another day passed by.
Here comes the trick question: How many of these actions have you done consciously?
And when I ask you: how was your day, really? Would you be able to answer that consciously? Did you feel your breath throughout the day? Did you notice how you felt calling a particular client, presenting your findings, typing all the emails or analysing the budget? Could you tell me, honestly, how you would rate all of these activities from 1-10? What energized you and what did not? Did you enjoy it, or did you experience any feeling of unease, stress or hurry? Were you breathing calmy throughout the day? Or did you experience shortness of breath and a tight feeling in your chest?
No-one to blame, no need to judge, but…often we do not really know the answer. The example might be a little exaggerated or feel extreme, though for many of us, this is often how we go about life. Most of the days we spend entirely in our heads, without even realizing for 1 second how our body feels, how our breath moves through us and whether we smile or frown. This means that though we reside in a human body and are born to be and feel, we simply just use our body as a vehicle to move throughout the day to do things, without paying attention to what signals it gives and what it needs. We are continuously focused on doing and thinking and forget that this doing is largely affected by and dependent on who we are and what we feel.
Your four bodies
We are conditioned to use our mind and entirely rely on our thoughts. Listening to your body, your feelings, your emotions is often perceived as…well…something uncomfortable, vulnerable and not necessarily easy to do. If you are in touch with your body and how you feel, it can even be perceived weak, or you can be seen as being ‘too sensitive’, ‘too soft’, ‘too emotional’. But in fact, there is a reason you were born with a mental body, a physical body, an emotional body and a spiritual body: you need all of them!
The mental body enables us to think, understand, analyse, make decisions.
The physical body allows us to move, sleep, breath, eat.
The emotional body communicates how we feel and experience things.
The spiritual body is related to energy, your vision and connects you to everything.
Together they form the basis of your existence and the foundation of who you are. So instead of only relying on the mind and mental body, why not also open up towards physical sensations, welcome emotions as a part of you and pay more attention to energies?
Your physical body is continuously communicating with you: it warns you, it gives signals and if you pay attention you feel all kinds of sensations in your body. It basically is the total sum of all aspects of who you are. Your emotional body can literally be seen as ‘E-motion: energy in motion’: it wants to flow through you. Whether it be anger, tears, laughter or frustration: see it, accept it, feel it, let the energy flow and let it go. Your spiritual body communicates to you via your intuition and your gut feeling and can be the most subtle one of all.
What if I told you that, if you are more aware of who you are (and nope: I don’t mean what your CV indicates), and are conscious of what you feel, you could positively influence the doing and thinking? What if I told you that when you start focusing on the signals of your body, connect to your feelings and trust your intuition, you become the one in charge of your life? What if I told you that, (re-)connecting with all four bodies allows you to ‘live’, instead of ‘being lived’?
Connect to your being
Where to start? You might think… Well, what about starting the day with being. Before reaching to your phone when you wake up, put one hand on your belly, one on your heart, and breathe. Just be with your breath for one minute, follow it going in and out of your body. No need to change anything, just be with it. Be the observer of your breath and be the observer of what else you might notice: certain feelings, emotions, tension, or maybe nothing at all. Whenever you notice that your thoughts are taking over; move your attention back to your breath again. Your breath is always available to you and is your anchor into the present moment.
You would not let the battery of your phone die, would you? So instead of checking your phone over and over again throughout the day, check how you are doing. Check your breath for a moment; how it flows, how you feel and whether you need anything. While doing this, see if your jaws are relaxed and if you can release your shoulders away from your ears. Repeat this a few times a day and I assure you, things will change. You become present and more aware, you can make more conscious decisions, you become aware of your boundaries and you will be able to respond more easily to what you need.
Especially in the current (challenging) time, where your work and life boundaries might have been dissolved entirely, your dinner table might serve as your office desk, and your coffee corner chats and daily commuting breaks no longer exist, your breath might be a (very) welcome tool to pause. It will help you recognize and eventually prevent getting ‘Low Battery – 10% battery remaining’ notifications from your body.
Though it might feel counterintuitive at first, just play around with it. Alternate your to-do’s with ‘to-be’ reminders. Add them to your agenda and start for example with 3x a minute per day: step consciously out of the hamster wheel and practice being present by focusing on your breath. Bring more being into your doing and experience how it helps you navigate through the day in a more sustainable way, by simply embracing the full ‘human being package’.