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Journal: The Body

Note: This Journal entry was written on September 21, 2001, as I walked on the Old Tokaido. Take a look at that day's Logbook for more.


When I first came to Japan, I trained with 8 other people to teach Aeon-style lessons. One of my training buddies, Mike, was a veteran bungee jumper. He told a great story about his first jump. He said it took a long time to get to the jumping point, and he couldn't imagine what was taking so long. When his turn came, they strapped him up and told him to jump. He said OK, stood in the right position--and couldn't move. It took him minutes and minutes to finally jump.

His feet, you see, were smarter than his brain.

His brain kept sending signals: "Jump!" And his feet kept answering: "No!"

I'm learning how to listen to my body as I walk. Joseph Campbell said the brain is "a secondary organ. It thinks it's in charge, but it's not." Elsewhere he said that Jung's basic idea about dreams was that they resulted from the organs of the body communicating with each other.

"Let me hear your body talk," indeed. My feet tell me when to take a break, my throat says when to drink, my belly says when to eat. Once I do stop to rest, my legs start telling me when it's time to get up and go (I get antsy). So while the brain thinks it's making plans, it's the rest of the body that's really calling the shots.

Two anecdotes:

When Euro-Americans attend Hopi dances, it's said that the "clowns" sometimes run up to them with big wind-up alarm clocks set to noon, shouting, "It's time to be hungry! It's time to be hungry!"

And again: Gulliver and the horse-like Houyhnhnms talked about when to eat and sleep: the Houyhnhnms  did so when their bodies told them to, whereas Gulliver wanted to do it on a schedule.

Do we listen to our bodies? I think not, as a rule. But if we do, I think it will tells us what it want, and distinguish that from what it needs.

Right now mine is telling me I need sleep. Adios.

Posted September 30, 2019

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