Divining the Body
Reclaim the holiness of your physical self
A practical and inspiring guidebook for connecting body and soul in spiritual practice.
Excerpts from the book
Divining the Body by Jan Phillips
Messages of what we were supposed to want bombard our mindscape, diminishing our capacity for original thought.
We are all teachers to someone and we are all students of everyone. Every encounter has something to teach us when we become mindful observers of our own lives. Our lessons are in our relationships. Our life is the classroom field trip. Our bodies are the medium of our learning. And it is our feet that carry us forward on the path.
Our bodies are the word made flesh, the Divine incarnate. Every child is the child in the manger.
To be on the path of the heart is to move the way courage makes us move The step into God is a bold, clean step into nowthis day with these people under these circumstances. If we sink our feet into the present moment and feel anything but joy, were probably not on the path of the heart. It is time, then, to go inward, to ask our heart what it desires, and to move our feet in that direction.
The dance of human and Divine is the same as the dance of heaven and earth. One completes the other, is immersed in the other, has no life outside of the other. The Self is hidden in the hearts of all, as butter lies hidden in cream, says the Upanishads. The kingdom of heaven is within you, says Jesus. As above, so below, says the Tao Te Ching. This is good news. Why arent we dancing? Why are we standing like wallflowers at the prom of our lives?
Our physical bodies are the medium through which Spirit is made manifest in the world.
We have created a life system that has not only outgrown its usefulness, but is actually keeping us from evolving into our next phase of consciousnessthe recognition of our own divinity.
We cannot bless another without being blessed ourselves. This is the gift and the mystery of our oneness.
Every thought and action of ours influences the flow of our life force. It becomes disrupted when we accept, either consciously or unconsciously, negative thoughts or feeling about ourselves.
It is countercultural, in a way, to be grounded, to stand on our own two feet, to know our worth is priceless and stems from within. In an attempt to please, we mind our words, mind our waists, mind our movements and keep the incredible gift of our own originality from ourselves and the world.
To embody our courage we must get beyond our fears, and to get beyond our fears, we must know where they came from.
The Incarnation is an ongoing event, occurring minute by minute with the birth of every child.
God said to Isaiah, Im sick of your sacrifices. Learn to do good, search for justice, help the oppressed. What more do we need? What are we waiting for? Sacrifices are out. Service and justice-seeking are in. Learn to do good. Practice on yourself. We can only love others as well as we love ourselves.
Our self-esteem is an amalgam of what we hear and see in our outside world and what we hear and see in our inside world. One of the main ways we can help ourselves and our loved ones is by being conscious of what we say about our bodies. What comes out of our mouths is just as important as what goes into our mouths.
Just saying how we feel is an empowering act, and it encourages others to do the same. We may not be able to change the culture we live in, but we can change our attitudes about ourselves and resist the devaluing projections that come our way. We do this by reclaiming our bodies, reframing our notions about weight and age and wrinkles, and remembering that we are temples of the Holy Spirit.
That we have an effect on others is a matter of fact; the kind of effect we have on others is a matter of consciousness. Every occasion we have to be with people is an occasion to bless or blame.
Weve created a high tech civilization with a Stone Age mentality, expanding exponentially in the technical world while the heart goes unattended, the spirit unexpressed. We are evolving into beings who understand the necessity of wholeness and the urgency of balance. But to make a difference we have to make some waves.
. We pass on God in the gift of our creations.
We speak our choices with our voices, and every choice we maketo speak or not to speakhas a consequence on an energetic level.
It is virtuous to let our energy and words flow out of us. It is virtuous to speak our feelings, to be true to ourselves and others. It is virtuous to speak out for justice, for peace, for those who have no voice. There comes a time when silence is betrayal, and that time is upon us.
Its who we are that touches people, even more than what we do.
It is a risky business to live out loud. It takes courage to plunge into our depths in search of our own light and healing power, for most of us have learned to look outside ourselves for this.
In order to break down and transcend the old voices, we must acknowledge them, bring them into the light of day. When we share these voices in a group with others, we see how many of them we have in common. We understand that the problem is not internal, but externalcaused by a culture that is invested more in our silence than in our self-actualization, more in our buying than our being.
We are more isolated now than ever before, hardly aware of our neighbors names, much less their passions or politics. And the spiritual influence of the East has quieted us, altered us. The go and teach all nations mandate is giving way to a be still and see that all is well mode, and in many ways that is good. We do not need to evangelize, but we do need to actualizeour potential, our ability to take a stand against violence and wrongdoing. We need to activate our faith, to breathe its essence into the world, to serve as architects and artists of a global transformation. We are the originators of a new living faith, creators of new sacred texts, rewriting the narrative of our time. May we find the voices unique to us and sound them bravely into this world of need.
We are souls dressed up in sacred, biochemical garments, and our bodies are the instruments through which our souls play their music.
Our ears are gateways to sacred happenings, receivers of holy messages and vital secrets. Aside from enabling us to heal ourselves through the vibrations of sound, our ears give us the capacity to hear each other into being. Our stories contain the answers to each others questions. What I cannot find in searching through the riches and rubble of my own life may become apparent to me in the witnessing of yours.
Everything takes form according to the consciousness that shapes it. Since we create in our own image, in order for our creations to be light-filled, inspired, magnificent, so must our self-image be. What comes out of us is only as brilliant, as loving as our images of ourselves. To give gold, we must mine the gold within.
How we see ourselves has everything to do with how we see others and how we see God.
Perhaps each of us is a letter, the world is a word, the universe is a sentence, and God is the meaning. Until we each fully manifest our letterhood, the meaning will be hidden, like the butter in the cream.
Communion with others is not about answers. Its about our questions.
We are agents of evolution, not its observers. Each of us is here to do something particularand whatever meaning our lives have will rise up from our response to that challenge.
Our vision and faith calls tomorrow toward us.
We forfeit so much of our life letting this concern about others opinions drive us, when in reality, everyone is going to view us through their own lens anyway. We live in a holographic world where no one sees the same thing from the same place, physically or emotionally. Every image is a mirror of ourselves, and what we see is not something about the other, but something about who we are. One action will draw criticism from one, praise from another, so to act from anywhere but our own center is just silly. Inauthentic action is exhausting and time-consuming. If I believed in sin, Id put it in the cardinal sin category.
The only thing I can do is be true to the core of me, act with as much honor as I can, and remember that how people see me is something I have no control over. Im aware that my actions and my creations have a power, and that I can have an intention to direct that power, visualize its impact in positive ways, and send my energy out on a wave of love from the center of my heartand still, when it reaches the others, what they do with it is up to them.
We are the co-creators, the prophets, the mystics, but we have been taught the opposite for so long that we dont believe it, dont dare act on it. If we want to live powerfully, we must drop our notions of weakness. If we want to live in beauty, we must drop what is not beautiful from our minds. If we want to live in truth, we must question every belief we cling to and write our own creeds. To know and experience union, we have to give up our learned dualities and lean into the essence of everything around. There is not the sacred and the profane, the earthly and the heavenly, the sinners and the saved. There is only God, infusing and infused into everything.
Until we get a picture of it in our minds, we cannot manifest it. If we see it and desire it fully, imagine it fearlessly, hold to it wholeheartedly, despite criticism or opposition from others, then we create the possibility for its being. We become the vessels for its expression, and through us the new will arrive, enfleshed, incarnated. The Second Coming is the coming into consciousness, and it is happening all around us. One by one, people are opening to the Divine within, stepping into their roles as prophets and peacemakers, stepping out of old conditioning and becoming catalysts for conversations of consequence. There is a mass conversion underway as millions of us acknowledge our place in the body of God and devote our lives to the co-creation of a world that works for everyone. As we see it, feel it, and believe it, so is it becoming.
Physicist Max Planck wrote, All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particles of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together.
We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter. The who that we are is one with this very matrix. We are the vessels through which the Divine operates, just as a light bulb is a vessel for electricity. The force comes through us, taking whatever shape we give it. Whether one is a terrorist or a piano tuner, a murderer or a mystic, the very same force is behind each individual, holding the atoms and cells together, unifying us in the web of existence.
When Einstein reached the conclusion that something deeply hidden had to be behind things, this is what he was talking about. When the Indian mystic Sri Aurobindo wrote, That within us which seeks to know and to progress is not in the mind but something behind it which makes use of it, he, too, was referring to the Great Consciousness of which we are a part and to whom we belong. God is making use of our bodies and minds in order to be manifest. We are part of the mosaic of God. As the poet Hafiz writes: God said, I am made whole by your life. Each soul, each soul completes me.
When our souls materialize a body in order to do their work in this world, from the very beginning we are led to believe that we are our bodies. But we are not our bodies. We are their observers, their caretakers. We are the Mind behind their movements, the Eye behind their seeing. The cells in our bodies completely replace themselves every seven years, but our consciousness, connected to the Source, maintains its perfect wholeness throughout eternity. Our cells come and go, but our memory of the ocean stays the same.
Creativity is not a gift that some people have and others dont. Its a mode of mindfulness, a by-product of attunement. We are creative by nature, and every choice we make is a brushstroke on the canvas of our lives. Every feeling we have shapes the very contours of our reality.
Every cell is a carrier of information no matter where it goes. Cells are consciousness enclosed within a membrane, as we are consciousness enclosed within a body. Consciousness is what allows us to talk to 50 trillion cells in our body at the same time in their own language. Were having a personal Pentecost every day of our lives.
When the biochemicals of our emotions are flowing freely through our bodies, what we feel is happiness. Bliss is our default mode. To sustain it, what we have to do is allow the flow, all the while knowing were culturally conditioned not to do so. Until we get in the habit, it feels as if were going against the grain, and we are. Were taking back authority over our own lives. Were forging an identity thats integrated, dynamic, energetically charged. Were unfolding and liberating our creative imagination, firing more neurons, sparking more ideas. Were opening ourselves to the Light of the World and, selfish as it may seem, it is an act as honorable and humble as prayer.
Geneticists are discovering unused sections of DNA, masked by histones and activated by non-histone proteins, which are thought to contain the blueprint of the future. If histones have been masking these sections of DNA, perhaps we are the non-histones (the her tones, the sound of the sacred feminine) that are arriving to activate the proteins and nourish the imaginal cells of the new. This is all an inner process. There is nothing needed that is outside of us. This is the time for work within, for self-discovery and self-expansion. The frontier to explore is the frontier of our own beings.
It turns out that we have a significant amount of brain space that is not committed to any specific function, referred to by scientists as uncommitted cortex. Perhaps that is where God is resting, waiting for us to commit ourselves to the greatest collaboration we could ever imaginethe design and creation of a world that meets the needs of every living creature. Its like the blank page, the empty palette, the music awaiting the dance. What shall we do with our uncommitted cortex?
Strange as it sounds, there is only one of us, and each of us is a cell in that Great Holy One. Each of us is a carrier of sacred wisdom, a prophet announcing the world to come, a mystic bewildered by the God in our bed. We are part of an ongoing new creation that is unfolding through and in and with our bodies. Through our senses, we experience the miracle of the Divine Indwelling every day, in our own beings, and in everything that exists around us. The world is our altar, our communion table, our laboratory, our stage.
And these bodies of ours, these are our souls sacred vessels, the instruments through which the Great Beloved sings, laughs, labors, and loves. We are the eyes through which God sees, the Mind through which God ponders, the hands through which God touches. As we dwell as cells in the body of God, God dwells in us as our vital force, pushing outward, awaiting release, prompting communion, awareness, and joy. To love ourselves is an act of faith, a sacrament of acknowledgement, a gesture of solidarity with the Holy One within