Embodied Awakening, by Anne Douglas
For millennia, humans have searched for the meaning of life. It could be said that every philosophy or religion has its roots in attempting to answer this enduring inquiry. For many, that search brought them to a revelation of the natural order of things and to a higher or all pervading consciousness that is central to all of existence.
In the embodied teachings of Tantra, we can begin with the recognition that there is already wakefulness in every cell and atom of your body. In any given moment, there is a symphony of activity being orchestrated by an unseen intelligence that dances the more than 7 octillion (that’s a 7 with 27 zeros!) atoms in your body towards harmonized functioning.
This animating force is the same intelligence that gives birth to galaxies, guides the turning of the seasons, drives the rhythms of oceanic tides, and turns day into night.
Your body is already awake. Even when it is asleep, it is awake, performing essential tasks such as muscle repair, detoxification, and storing and filing information as memories in your brain. But underneath, or within, all of that activity is a silent, still, awake presence that, unlike the body, is beyond time and space.
When we tune into our bodies natural intelligence and wakefulness, we avail ourselves to the direct perceiving of our true nature as an infinite consciousness that interpenetrates everything, and to the realization that it has been here all along.
In the practices of Kashmir Non-dualism or Tantra, we use the body’s sensitivity to open to subtler and subtler levels of experience. Each of these provide contrast for the subtlest ground of pure consciousness. Enlightenment is not something that we are waiting for in some future moment of profundity, but is ever present and available, now. It’s just that most of us aren’t oriented to this larger experience of ourselves.
Through various somatic practices (meditation, breath work, movement, and inquiry) we can sensitize to our body’s natural awakeness (its impulses, rhythms, and desires) as a form of inner dialogue or wisdom. Your body is an exceptional biofeedback mechanism that is ever guiding you towards a truly authentic life that aligns you with your deepest hearts desire and life calling. Instead of over riding the body, we listen to, honor, and befriend its deep intelligence.
When we move with the truth of our body, we move with the truth and intelligence of the Universe. This inner intelligence can be likened to music that moves the body in a divine dance. And, as its dance partner, we learn to give ourselves over to its subtle guidance.
Further, as we attune inwardly, we begin to notice old conditioned habits that no longer serve us and learn to dis-identify from them. Not out of self-refusal, but out of self-care, love, and the yearning for balance and harmony. In so doing, a sense of inner peace and joy may spontaneously arise, along with a greater capacity for stillness and silence.
When we dwell AS stillness and silence, even in movement, we find our most authentic self, essential wholeness, and inherent freedom. We live as Embodied Awakening.
Anne is leading an Embodied Awakening retreat in the spectacular Khao Suk National Park, Thailand, this January. She will engage the non-dual teachings of Kasmir Shaivism, inspired by sacred texts (Vijnanabhairava, Spanda Karika, Siva Sutras) and through a variety of practices that include meditation, BodySensing-Hatha Yoga, Breath Sensing-Pranyama, iRest® Yoga Nidra, self-inquiry, interactive dialogue, and periods of silence.
Anne Douglas has been teaching Yoga and Meditation for over 30 years and leads trainings, retreats & workshops internationally. She is the Founder of Anahata Yoga Therapy and is the past Director of Trainers for the iRest Institute. She has co-taught retreats and trainings with Dr. Richard Miller. Anne’s boundless enthusiasm and heart-centered wisdom create fertile ground for inspired learning, healing, and awakening.