ASK ABDI: HOW DO I GET MY SPIRIT BACK IN MY BODY?
QUESTION: How do I get my spirit back in my body? I didn’t even know it was gone. Now I’m starting to have times when I’m not distracted and can actually feel energy in my being, instead of it being displaced with other people or times. It’s a new feeling for me. I have panic attacks that have been pretty intense lately, but after it passes I’m left with a new sense of peace. I just want to feel alive.
ANSWER: Who is this “I” that wants its spirit back in the body? Who is the “I” that didn’t even know it was gone? Observing our internal split by the language we all use is a powerful pointer of how split we feel in body/mind/spirit. The self-inquiry practice of “Who Am I?” (Vichara Sangraham), offered by Ramana Maharshi, is powerful medicine.
To your question: there is no magic trick here; in order to feel better we have to FEEL better. Then, and only then, can we reconnect with our aliveness. This means that we need to spend time daily to bring awareness into our physical structure. We all start thinking from the second we awake to the second we lay down to sleep. This constant mind-centered awareness hijacks us out of the moment and into the past and future. We can not “think” of the moment, we can only be in it. When we think, we are either thinking of the past or the future, which means we are not present in the moment. Feeling our body is a powerful way to ground our consciousness in the present moment. Literally having awareness of the ground beneath our feet and the breath in our belly does wonders.
Why is this so hard to do? Anxiety. The anxiety and other emotions that we hold at bay by constant thinking discourage us from being in the moment. We have to learn to tolerate these feelings initially, as we start practicing being present. These emotions can overwhelm us, since we do not have the practice of knowing that we can tolerate them. We all have been running away from them daily for so many decades, that we are estranged from ourselves. But once we get in the habit of sitting with and through these feelings, the peace that we are looking for starts seeping back in. As you have experienced yourself with the serenity that comes after the panic attacks.
You want your spirit back in your body? Stop being in your head and ground yourself physically. Thinking about such things is only a pointer and will bring no change. Actual daily practice is the only way to integration.
Below is an older meditation podcast episode that might be useful.