There’s a misconception that the field of somatics is about the body and limited to the senses and control of movement. That misconception leaves people with the view that the mind, or consciousness, is outside the field of somatics and somehow above it. The loftiness of the mind and all that — or the more pedestrian, “I, the mind, am in the body like a passenger in a single-person vehicle. Or a bus.”
But this is wrong.
There is no “passenger”, pe se. The “passenger” is a self-concept made up of various contractions in the soft tissues of the body and various internal, kinesthetic and proprioceptive sensings, felt as the self-sense.
The self-sense is a sensation — and generally an irritating one — arising from being aroused and tense in one way or another and so in one or another physiological state.
And that physiological state is like a genius’s artistic expression of the psyche appearing as physiological state. The physiology is the living expression of what is going on psychically (of and by psyche). The sense of all that is the passenger; the “passenger” is “I”, is soma.
The passenger is living a fabrication made of memory called, “Life”. The “passenger” is a fabrication — a fabrication of conceptual memory patterns, the reputed owner of memory, a body of living, moving memory — memory enacted in tangible form as physiological activity with a name and a social standing. Physiology substantiates psychology, it is not a vehicle for it. It is it as the movements of the particle are controlled by the field in which the particle moves.
There are not two: psyche and soma,
from which the redundant term,
“Somatic” is sufficient.
“I” is the body, experienced from within
known as “soma”.
“You” is some body, experienced from outside
known to yourself as, “soma”.
And there you have it.
BUT — never mind.
THE MIND-BODY CONNECTION IS A MYTH
From the somatic perspective, there are not two, “mind” and “body”, nor is there a mind-body connection. There is no connection because there are no two to be connected; they are one — and not “fused” into one, but rather two perspectives or views of the same thing. What people see as body, we feel as the sensations of mind, movement, and the sense of change. Whether it’s the body thinking or it’s thought that moves as the body they are one and the same, not identical, but identity.
Now, there is a reason that people consider that there are two — “mind” and “body”. It’s that so much of our bodily processes run on automatic without conscious mental involvement. The distinguishing word, here, is “conscious”; our involvement with those physiological processes — breathing, balancing, digesting, etc. — occur subconsciously, from deep levels of mind that run the show automatically, unconsciously. Those things that run on automatic, we consider the body; their very automaticity naturally gives rise to an “other”, not self — the body. From that springs, “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” and similar sayings. “The Devil made me do it.” (temptations of the flesh). Sin. Uncontrollable Silliness. Understandable.
It’s that so much of what’s going on in us is maintained by memory and by refreshing memory of experiences so they make an imprint on us. We remember. But then we forget that we are remembering, while we are remembering. We remember so well that we act automatically, habitually — with “steering capability” only to the degree that we remember that we are remembering, while we are remembering. Stick with it, Bunky.
To the degree that we forget that we are remembering, to that degree things seem to be running with a life of their own — and hence, the the seeming intractability of “otherness” that makes it seem, “other”.
The Marvellous Machine
But, let us say, everything we experience is memory
and it’s not the memory of a machine.
The “machine” is memory,
memory maintaining itself.
Our senses lag behind what is happening
limited as much by synaptic speed
as by our need for time to recognize anything,
making our experience of All That Is
the experience of the past.
Short-term memory fades,
allowing attention to be refreshed.
Long-term memory lasts and may fade
or it may get stronger.
Long-term memory shapes attention
and also captivates it
so that the tensions of the hour
become the tensions of the day
become the tensions of the week, month or year
placing demands upon the musculature (tension)
the hormonal/endocrine system (stress chemistry)
the joints (compression)
and the brain (stress depletes brain chemistry) —
“Nervous Tension” was an apt phrase used in the advertising of decades past for a headache remedy. Very apt. Perhaps they had no idea how apt.
Now, they say a similar thing about “Fibromyalgia” — being an “excessive activation of nerves” allll over your body. What’s the inside of fibromyalgia like? Hmmm?
Mind and body, indeed.
Somatics is more than joints, tendons and flesh. That’s anatomy, the study of the dead. Somatics is about how the inner/subjective (“mind”) and outer/observable (“body”) correlate. Simple enough, when directly observed (not speculated about or analyzed).
How soma manifests as higher reaches of attention become available is a very interesting topic.
At base, however, whatever subtler intuitions or perceptions one may have, they have their correlate in somatic expression.
A couple of clues:
Here’s a little experiment we can do in this moment. Move a little and notice how you can feel bodily sensations. Now, sit very still and notice that those sensations disappear. The sense of “body” is the sense of movement, or of change, in general; the sense of movement (a sensation) creates the body sense. (The basic movements that maintain the body sense are the heartbeat, which sends waves of pulsation through us, and breathing.)
The same applies to mind. Habits go unnoticed; only things that change get noticed. (The movement of attention is the basic movement of mind without which the mind subsides and disappears.)
The difference between “mind” and “body” is a matter of content. The principles of experience are the same: we notice change and don’t notice no-change (unless attention moves to notice). That’s because “mind” and “body” are one and the same, the difference being a matter of experiential content.
That said, we can say the next thing: the principles governing change and development, whether of mental content or of physical sensations, are the same.