While studying massage and specifically cranio-sacral therapy, I discovered and was fascinated by how much memory our muscle tissue holds from past trauma. These experiences are internalized and physically get stored in the body’s intelligence. In turn, our interpretation and meanings we’ve associated with these experiences are reflected in our body. Body and mind are connected and until we experience this for ourselves, the connection we make with others may be limited. Our own mind and body connection is the first step in being able to extend this connection with others and the world around us. And in doing so, the notion that “we are all connected” or that “we are one” is not only understood but truly felt.
In a book I recently rediscovered, The Alexander Technique sums up the importance of keeping an open attitude to overcome mental and physical past conditioning:
“We have to overcome our schooling and conditioning, which was of a goal-oriented or end-gaining nature and often leads to a fear of learning and of succeeding. Instead of being concerned with “getting the right answer,” it is much more important to be as open as possible, to be willing not to “get the right answer,” to go through the process rather than rushing for immediate results. This involves staying in the moment rather than jumping ahead to the future. Many of us are stuck in the past or worried about the future; we have to remember that the past is gone, the future isn’t here yet, and we only have this moment to work with. What happens in the future will grow out of what’s happening in this moment, so the more we stay with the current moment, the more fruitful the future will be. This is what Zen masters have called the “beginner’s mind.” In addition to staying in the moment, “the beginner’s mind” involves the capacity to enjoy your own development. It’s an attitude of intense self-interest without egotism, like a child at play, a state of animate, lively unity with what you are doing. It has to do with staying in the moment but without looking for faults in yourself. You don’t second-guess how good you can be, or how bad. There isn’t time to worry because you are involved with the process of change.
…The attitude of acceptance and reflection that is the essence of a good mental attitude leaves you available and able to respond to all the stimuli around you rather than anticipating future stimuli, not responding to the stimuli at hand, or playing out old responses to past stimuli. Before you can learn to inhibit your old movement habits and direct yourself into improved body use, it is necessary to let yourself explore. This leaves you free to take chances, make mistakes, make new choices, and follow new paths.”
-by Judith Leibowitz & Bill Connington in The Alexander Technique on Mental Attitude