If you’re living too much in your head, and not enough in your body, you’re likely an unlived life. Here’s some advice from Tara Brach from her book True Refuge on how to plant ourselves firmly in the universe, instead of living uprooted, with our roots up in the air.
In the early part of the last century, D.H.Lawrence found himself in a society devastated by war, a landscape despoiled by industrialism, and a culture suffering from a radical disconnect between the mind and body. Published in 1931, Lawrence’s words from “A Propos if Lady Chatterly’s Lover have lost none of their urgency.
“It is a question, practically of relationship. We must get into relation, vivid and nourishing relation to the cosmos and the universe…For the truth is, we are perishing for lack of fulfillment of our greater needs, we are cut off from the great sources of our inward nourishment and renewal, sources which flow eternally in the universe. Vitally, the human race is dying. It is like a great uprooted tree, with its roots in the air. We must plant ourselves again in the universe.”
When we disconnect from the body, we are pulling away from the energetic expression of out being that connects us with all of life. By imagining a great tree uprooted from the earth, we can sense the unnaturalness, violence, and suffering, of this severed belonging. The experience of being uprooted is a kind of dying. Jane felt it as an “inner deadness” and described herself as mechanically trying to keep herself going day after day. Some people tell me about the despair of not really living, of skimming the surface. Others have a perpetual sense of threat lurking the corner. And many speak of being weighed down by a deep tiredness. It takes energy to continually run away from pain and tension, to pull away from the life of the present moment. Roots in the air, we lose access to the aliveness and love and beauty that nourish our deepest being. No false refuge can compensate for that loss.
Like the Buddha touching the ground, we reclaim our life and spirit by planting ourselves again in the universe. This begins when we connect with the truth of what is happening in our body. The mysterious field of aliveness we call the universe can only be experienced if we are in the contact with the felt sense of that aliveness in our own being. For Jane, the simple practice of feeling the life of her hands expanded to include the wounds of unlived life, and then opened her to the pure aliveness of her heart and body. By connecting with her inner life, by bringing presence to the truth of her immediate experience, she had begun to replant herself in the universe.