• Valentina Poletti

Suppressing the body and mind for the sake of spirituality

Just as there has been a bypassing trend in spirituality, whereby we suppress our bodies - their needs, desires, wants - to identify ourself with our spiritual aspect, I noticed a similar trend with our thinking mind. We have antagonised our bodies and our logical minds on the path of spirituality, but does this really make us more spiritual? Body, mind and spirit are all essential aspects of ourselves of what forms our ego, the entirety of our manifestation in this universe. Spiritual schools that teach us to disassociate from our bodies, essentially encourage the repression of bodily needs and sensations for the sake of focussing only on emotional or spiritual ones. How does this help us? If we have been on a long enough journey in our spirituality at some point it will be clear that our body is intimately connected with our spirit: it is its vessel through which the spirit can manifest and interact with reality, and one cannot live without the other. If the body dies, the spirit no longer has a vessel through which to interact with the universe, if the spirit dies the body cannot survive, without its ship commander. Our body is integral part of ourself, it is just as essential a component of our spiritual being as our emotions. In fact our emotions are expressed through our body, and when repressed they tend to manifest through bodily ailments, such as diseases and sicknesses. Our body is therefore a crucial interpreter of our emotions, and thus of our spirit. Our body is a physical manifestation of our sexuality, and of our chakras. It is the channel through which we live life. What I noticed in my personal experience with my clients, is that people who chose to detach from their bodies, often suppress their traumas in it, and their dissociation from their body is a way of neglecting crucial aspects of themselves, usually shadowy aspects, that they don’t want to own. They suppress them in their body, which starts to deteriorate in the long term, and bypass away from it. They are thus disintegrated, unwhole beings, who are not fully authentically expressing who they are.

A similar trend is happening with the thinking mind. There has been a movement demonising our thoughts and our thinking mind in spirituality. Some spiritual schools use meditation techniques solely with the purpose of repressing the thinking mind. Yet the thinking mind is another crucial aspect of our being, another spiritual manifestation of the self, that is created for a purpose, and serves us in essential ways to fully manifest our true selves. Our mind is essential not only in the process of manifesting, i.e. transforming our desires into reality, but also in the process of problem solving and understanding the world around us. Without our thinking mind we would not be able to use language to speak, we would not be able to create technology and build infrastructures. The thinking mind is an incredibly powerful tool. Yet many spiritual disciplines have demonised it and focus on suppressing it with the goal of focussing solely on the emotional or spiritual aspect. This again creates a disintegration of the being, a fracture where a being becomes unwhole and un authentic. By suppressing our thoughts we suppress an essential part of our manifestation in this reality.

A result of the first kind of suppression - the physical suppression - is that we see spiritual people that are sick and unhealthy, and that haven’t resolved important traumas that keep them from being fully present in reality. A result of the second type of oppression - that of the mind - that I am seeing in my experience with spiritual people and groups - is a lack of a grasp with reality, fantasy and illogical thinking, and ideas that do not manifest in reality in practice, i.e. lots of talking and little doing as well as using a spiritual or vague language to avoid speaking our truth, i.e. to detach from what we really think, want and feel. To give you a very practical example, “sending you love” is a phrase often used in spiritual communities to substitute actual loving actions. Instead of asking the other person what they need in practice and acting on that need, we use a “sending you love” sentence to escape our responsibility in the relationship while still sounding ‘loving’.

I would like to encourage that we move in a different direction, where we fully integrate and align our minds, bodies and soul in harmony and balance, where we become a whole being and re-own all of our aspects instead of suppressing them in some part of our being and rejecting it. I’d like to see spiritual people that are capable of thinking logically and of living healthily. I’d like to see a more balanced approach to life where we don’t deny any part of ourself or disown it, and we become more whole.

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