Monday, August 19, 2019

Respect Your Body's Intelligence

Drawful is a party game I've been playing with my family for a couple months. I was tasked with drawing "shaved bears."  We only get to use two predetermined colors. I drew the outline of a teddy bear but the legs were kind of messy.  I drew some "fur" on the ground next to the bear, same color as the outline. I drew a T at a diagonal (looks like a razor) above the bear.  I drew a can with some shaving cream next to it.  How do I make it look like the bear is shaved?  I couldn't figure it out, so I decided to fix the legs.  I colored over the messed up part, filling in about half the (very short) leg.  I did the same thing to the other leg.

When my drawing came up, many players recognized the bear.  Some recognized the razor.  When they had all finally guessed what it was, I realized that filling in the legs was the answer to the question I couldn't answer.  It made the rest of the bear look shaved.  I believe this was my subconscious at work.  The solution that my brain came up with did not make it into my consciousness, but "fixing the legs" did.  The fact that I didn't realize I had found the answer until later in the game fascinates me.  Sure, it could have been dumb luck, but that theory would only present itself to someone who wants to deny the existence of the subconscious, the processing power to which our awareness doesn't have access.

I've been working on a book the beginning of which is Chapter One: Waking Up. The book is a kind of diary for me, rendering my life into story along with my search to be known better by the people who love me.  Chapter Seven is about the main character (my) wife, and I was stuck on how to write it because I wanted her input.  A friend emailed me asking about my progress and I wrote back that I was stuck on chapter seven, but while writing the email, I thought that maybe if I looked again, I'd be able to continue writing.  When I looked, chapter seven was already there.  I had forgotten that I wrote it.  I assume that having forgotten about it made me act a certain way until that moment.  I had already figured out how to write it, and I don't know why I still felt stuck.  Again, I think forgetting that I wrote it was a function of my subconscious, trying to help me with ... something - and I don't know what it is.

I'm in several Telegram groups and in one of them, someone posed a problem and asked for help.  The simple answer I provided was: Meditate.  Since I've developed the habit of taking my own advice whenever I give it, this made me chuckle.  I meditate every morning, but when I sent that message, it was the afternoon and I hadn't meditated yet.  It was a slow day, I guess.  More and more, I notice subtle benefits of meditation.  Meditating is something to which I don't mind being addicted.  Now I'm curious what are the symptoms of too much meditation?

As I try to understand myself better, I wonder about how that mind-body connection can be so elusive. Maybe it's not elusive at all, but we just take it for granted. It shows up starkly for me sometimes, and maybe what's different is that I have the humility to recognize that something my body did was not my intention. Sometimes we actually disagree, me and my body.

I noticed my motivation to do sit-ups, squats and pushups disappeared for a few days and then came back. I had done the extra exercise anyway, but it was getting more difficult each day to find the motivation.  I traced it to my use of a mat between me and the floor. The hard floor doesn't bother me, but I guess it bothered my body enough that it sapped my motivation away.   Since I started using a mat again, I find the extra exercise a lot more enjoyable.

My hope for this post is that by making you more aware of the processing power inherent in your body, power of which you might not be aware, you'll appreciate and accept yourself more, and respect the intelligence that your body exhibits in those moments when you discover it doing something you didn't intend to do.  Evolution has been chipping away at the singular goal of creating things that reproduce themselves. Apparently, intelligence is very helpful, and there is no reason to doubt that some of that intelligence is built into the structure and not available to the awareness of the being that inhabits the structure.  Not available, that is, until you look for it, and possibly not until you learn to appreciate it.

No comments: