The Soulful Layer - Part 3
From front to back and right to left – how to live the good life from the body’s center axis.
I elaborated on the meaning and importance of living within the body in the previous article, which dealt with recognizing support as a key ingredient in our ability to let go. Living within our body calls on us to go even deeper and seek experiencing life on our body’s center axis.
Humans, unlike engineered structures, have the capability to generate an awareness that can bring us to being present within the center of our "structure” in a way that is recognizably different from our constant and automatic presence within our external areas.
Our way of life that is automatically at our sleeves and not at our core* is leading and managing our emotional way ofbeing, which is mostly reactionary. Examples: when someone explains something to me I respond with my thoughts; when someone expresses emotion to me I respond with my own emotion.
Life on our body’s center axis offers a whole different kind of existence that is not linked to thought or emotion. It is an existence of the layer that is not characterized by abilities, skills, aptitude, personality, and any other trait humans possess. It is an existential layer with a more primal quality. I call this layer "the soulful layer” because this layer expresses the source of our existence – the spirit on one hand and the matter on the other. Together they create a life with the potential for existential awareness. Life on the center of our structure means having an existential awareness on the soulful layer.
Essence, synergy, and harmony
As I said before, most of us live our daily lives out of our external body parts – the strong external muscles whose function is to make large movements. Even if we experience a little bit of existence within our body, in the physical aspect of our existence, we are still not on the internal plain of the center axis – where our essence is – and we don’t operate from there.
I would cautiously say that a body that suffocates its essence (and awareness) for a long period of time is sentenced to extinction. What do you think happens in a world where so many bodies do not exist from within their essence? Many parts of the universe end up fighting to destroy one another. Is there a different way of existing? Can individual parts work independently, but also in harmony and synergy with the other parts? Can we do the same within our bodies? Can we live from the plain of our center axis to see how this cooperation can take place? Can we as individuals and as a country wake up to take responsibility for our actions, for developing our awareness to bring cooperation to our systems?
Intersecting plains and avoiding effort
The center axis lies where the two plains that intersect the body meet. The first plain bisects the body into front and back, and the second plain bisects the body into left and right. The intersection of the two perpendicular plains begins at the highest point of the head, and ends at the middle of the bottom of the pelvis at the perineum.
When looking at the body from the side, you will see the axis passing downward from the ear line at the head to join the apex of the neck arch, and then, in a well "organized” body, to the shoulder line. It passes in front of the spine in the chest area and then rejoins the spine at the waist (L2 and L3 vertebrae). Further down it appears on the line of the hip joints and in the body it ends at the perineum.
Let’s look at the center axis of each leg:
Start with the plain that bisects the leg into front and back. If we observe it from the side we will see that it meets the ankle and ends just in front of the heel.
Now let’s look at the plain that bisects the leg into right and left. At the foot it looks like it passes next to the second toe, and, obviously, through the middle of the ankle.
This is how we define the center axis of a well organized body – it starts at the tip of the head and ends at the front of the heels, and meets the spine twice along the way – at the neck and at the Lumbar vertebras. In essence, the spine is "riding” the center axis from behind and functions as a shock absorbing spring.
The center axis defines the space in the body where we don’t need to work hard to fight gravity. On the contrary – when this space is used it makes our physical existence easy. But to exist in this center axis one first needs an awareness of the possibility of this existence.
Separate the parts
What does the center axis have to do with the back?
Since most of us don’t exist in our center axis, our lower backs get pushed forward and we end up "losing” our back sides. The middle also gets pushed forward so we also lose the existence in our middle, and we end up only with existing in our front side – way in the front. This puts pressure on vertebrae, and causes chronic tightening of lower back muscles, which pinch a nerve either directly or by pushing the discs between the vertebrae in the region that’s pushed forward (any of the L2 to L5 vertebrae).
When a person knows how to recognize the earth as a support he "gives up” his weight to the earth without holding on anywhere. The earth pushes back and in essence returns everything the person gives to it. The more the person gives up, the more he gets back. The more the person holds on by tightening muscles (as a result of not recognizing the support), even though the earth is still supportive, he will not recognize that support and will not enjoy the reflection of his energy, and will walk as if he trusts nobody except himself. This person will never find his center axis because there’s no letting go without recognizing of the support, and without letting go the center cannot be distinguished from the front or the back. The sensual awareness of existing in the center as a distinct place, cannot take place without the ability to let go.
How do you achieve sensual awareness of existing in the center?
For most of us who live in the front of our body, this is a learning process on many levels. When we learn to recognize support, we will be able to experience it. This experience will teach us how to let go. Letting go will give us the ability to distinguish between the plains of our body and to recognize the center axis and the depth of the body. This recognition is usually achieved only by getting external help.
I will elaborate in my next article on the help that is required in order to reach a state of being and acting from the center, and the gradual learning that guides us to use the center axis.
* Living in the core and not the sleeves – a term that Dr. Ida Rolf coined at the end of the last century.
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