As a somatic therapist and spiritual counsellor I often reflect on the interconnection between body and spirit In my work I use the phrase “embodied spirituality”. This means a spirituality that’s experienced in the body, and considers our bodies as sacred vessels, that hold our spirits.
For many, it can be a radical idea to consider one’s relationship with your body, as core to
one’s spiritual nature. Collectively we still harbour remnants of religious world views that are suspicious of the body and it’s sensuous nature. From these world views, the body is an aspect of self to control and distance from, to pursue one’s spiritual aspects. The upshot of this is to separate one’s self from the ground of one’s being.
Pleasure = the goodness of life
Often when working with individuals in spiritual counselling, the connection to the body needs particular attention. This is where the topic of pleasure comes in. In the pleasure work I offer a reframe - that pleasure in its truest form, is the experience of “God”. And definitely real pleasure, nourishes our spirit in a deep and fundamental way. Another way to say it is - pleasure reminds of the goodness of life.
Making a priority for pleasure in your life, is spiritual nourishment. We don’t often put pleasure and spirituality together. Another remnant of old beliefs holds that somehow being spiritual, means we should, in some way, suffer. That pain is more spiritual rewarding, than pleasure. That our reward will come later, when this life is over.
From my perspective this human life we have now, is precious. It offers so many opportunities to develop spiritually. In our human experience there is definably a relationship between pain and pleasure. I’ve rarely meet anyone who hasn’t experience challenges, losses, and difficulties in this life. Learning to respond constructively to these challenges, offers a doorway to spiritual development.
One of the principles of Pathwork offers that anything can be a stepping stone or a stumbling block towards a more deeply embodied spiritual life. When life doesn’t go that way we hope it would, we can use the situation to look within and understand what part we’ve played to bring the “unwanted” experience to us; or we can see ourselves as victims of circumstance, and let ourselves be discouraged by life. One builds us up and moves us forward, the other sets us back.
But being spiritually nourished, helps us choose the former response. When we’re spiritual nourished we feel stronger, and more connected to the spiritual essence of both ourselves and life. When this connection is strong, we can receive guidance for our lives. We live with an eye more to spiritual realities, than an ego perspective.
What is spiritually nourishing for you?
Spiritual nourishment comes in many forms, and I encourage people to explore and experiment to find out what most nourishes them. However a good clue, is to discover what truly gives you pleasure. Pleasure provides as potent doorway to spiritual nourishment, as any.
Think – time in nature, music, movement of any kind, creative activities, time spent with good friends, family, your lover or partner, sex, just to name a few. Notice how so many forms of pleasure involve the sensuous nature of the body. I offer that pleasure is an “in the body” experience.
I invite you to consider your own relationship with your body, your spirit (however you name that), and pleasure. I believe we’re meant to know pleasure as a human experience of “God”.
But I’m also curious to know what that all means to you?
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