I came across the term “somatic spirituality.” What is somatic spirituality? According to Ray, it
“involves tuning in to the vast interior world of wakefulness, freedom, and joy that lies just beneath the
surface, in our body.” He explains that the body is capable of an awareness beyond what our conscious
mind can achieve, that our bodies are aware in ways that our minds are not. The consciousness of our
bodies transcends that of the mind. Perhaps it is ironic that the word “mindful” is most commonly
understood as meaning present and aware. It is our bodies that are “mindful” in a way our logical
minds cannot be. Our logical mind judges, rationalizes, and worries about the future, whereas our
bodies experience directly, unimpeded by conscious bias and prejudice. And direct experience,
especially to Buddhists, equals awareness, which facilitates enlightenment, or “spiritual” awakening.
How can tuning in to the body help us emotionally? Tuning in to the body helps us access sensations,
emotions, and information unavailable to the logical mind. The body is a warehouse of wisdom.
Somatic therapies such as body-centered psychotherapy help clients gain precious insight by listening
to our “body-talk.” In the words of Reginald Ray, “Until our emotional blockages from trauma of any
kind are known directly within our somatic awareness, no actual psychological transformation is
possible.” Trauma, in this sense, could mean an angry exchange, an unmet need, as well as violent
abuse. Overwhelming pain or even mild irritation often bypasses our mind and lodges in our bodies. A
liver can “own” anger to spare the conscience. A sacrum can hold pain to spare the heart. As a body-
centered psychotherapist I will often facilitate a dialogue with the liver or sacrum (or toe or throat or
inner child), and attend to its (their) needs. Many times just listening brings clarity and relief. The
client may gain healing insight, and/or benefit from physiological changes/energetic shifts. By attuning
to and listening to our bodies, we can viscerally know ourselves and begin the process of healing.
Some might call that somatic spirituality.
Nancy Paul, MA, LMT is available to listen and help you at Lotus Center in Chicago! She accepts
cash clients on a sliding scale and can accept clients with BCBS PPO or Blue Choice PPO insurance on an in-network basis. Other insurance plans will use out-of-network benefits. Please call your insurance company for out-of-network benefit details. Schedule your appointment with Nancy now by visiting http://lotuscenterchicago.com/ or call Nancy at 708-289-3899.