Following on from my recent blog on the feminine belly, here are some further thoughts expanding on this (see my blog “Love Her Belly!”).
The masculine belly also needs to be fully expressed. Constriction of the musculature around the navel and at the top of the pelvis is the cause of the pot belly which so many men sport these days. If you breathe fully into the belly and soften the muscles, the shape of the belly will change (sorry guys, this isn’t a cure for drinking too much beer or eating too much, but it’ll help you redevelop a healthier shape for your stomach)as well as reconnect you with some energies in your lower chakras which you’ve probably been blocking.
The constricted belly is also another sign of the disconnection between man and nature. Western philosophy has stressed the important of logic and of the mind. Most of what we cherish in the Western world is a product of either the mind or the hands. This focus on the upper parts of the body raises the energetic centre of gravity of the body. Whilst this has some obvious benefits, the downside is that this raising of the centre of gravity disconnects us from our lower body. The effects of this are disastrous. It encourages a disconnection from our sex and sexuality (as discussed previously – see blog “Love Her Belly!”), a disconnection between head and belly/genitals and between heart and genitals/sex. This disconnect between heart and genitals is responsible for much of the distorted imagery of sexuality that we hold in our society, which tends to objectify sex and especially women in a sexual context. If our sexuality is expressed in connection with our heart, there can be no objectification. With this connection re-established much of the abuse and disrespect which our society experiences would cease. This is one reason that I am so passionate about this work . I believe that in doing our own sexual healing, we not only heal our own wounds but also the wounds around sexuality of the collective unconscious.
This societal focus on the mind and hands also disconnects us from our feet. This leads to a lack of grounding. Many people in the “spiritual” community can tend to be very much up and out of their bodies a lot of the time. They can tend to give attention to the spiritual but not the temporal. We exist in our bodies. A philosophy which tends to deny this, as many Eastern philosophies do by encouraging us to transcend the body, denies an essential part of our humanity. We may be “spiritual beings having a human experience” – but a big part of that experience is about being in our bodies. Any denial of this creates an unhealthy disconnect between mind and body. This is what Ken Wilbur refers to as the Centaur stage. The centaur is the mythical beast part horse, part man. We can often operate as two different entities – spiritual and physical, ignoring the needs of one or the other. But body and spirit both have needs and ignoring them will lead eventually to one form of existential crisis or another.
One of the more drastic consequences of this identification with the mind and upper body is that we lose our sense of groundedness. This is not only unhealthy for ourselves but also for our environment at large. Not feeling our connection with the earth disconnects us from our feet, our roots and ultimately from nature itself. Maybe this has been exacerbated in part by the Judaeo- Christian philosophy as expressed in Genesis: “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”” This sense of having “dominion over” the other animals seems to set man “above” the animals. As soon as you create a two tiered structure you create a “superior” and an “inferior”. This sense of superiority can so easily lead to an objectification of that which is held to be inferior.
So, I encourage you all to bring your awareness down into our bodies, reconnect to your lower chakras, to your feet and to the earth itself, which ultimately supports us all, both physically and nutritionally. In the end even man made things come from the earth. Plastics are made from hydrocarbons which use oil based chemicals which come from plant matter millions of years old. Apart from the odd lump of meteorite there is nothing on the earth which is not from the earth. Anything which thus disconnects us from our sense of connection to it disconnects us from ourselves at a very core level.
A Simple Exercise
Stand with your feet about 8-10 inches apart. Allow your knees to soften and gently bend slightly. Make sure your feet are parallel to one another and bring your weight forward a little so that without lifting your heels off the floor, you are putting most of your weight on the balls of your feet. Now slowly and softly bend the knees and then straighten half a dozen times.
As you do this, breathing softly through an open mouth, breathing down into your belly, then lower down – into your genitals and finally breathe down into your feet and into the earth beneath you. Feel a sense of your connectedness to the earth, imagine your centre of gravity dropping lower in your body so that you are really present, grounded and have a “weightiness” that feels solid and sturdy.
Doing this exercise regularly or when you feel “light-headed” or stressed will help to bring you back down and give you a feeling of security and solidity which is much needed to balance the spiritual. Only once we have a strong sense of our physical self and a knowing that we are grounded in this earth can we truly experience in a full and healthy way the delights of the spiritual.