We are embodied souls. Who we are on the inside, with all it’s inherent complexities and contradictions, does not exist except in the physical world. Our thoughts, feelings, personalities and wills are formed by our experiences of the outside world, the data collected by our senses, stored in our bodies. We receive healing physically through words, sights and touch. It is through the necessary mediation of the body that our inner life is made accessible and real to ourselves and others.
Why segregate touch from all the other senses? Because there is almost nothing so powerful in our body as touch to form our souls and wound our hearts. Touch is so intimate and so personal that it lacks the editing abilities of the other senses, taking in things with no filter and forcing the mind to immediately find meaning of what we are experiencing.
Through our senses and engagements we take in data and that data either jives or doesn’t with our notions about how the world should go. In this way, our senses are the transmitters between what happens to us and the grids we use to judge those experiences. But the senses are imperfect data collectors. We see what we want to see. And smell. And taste. And hear. Our senses are subservient to our souls preferences and narratives our hearts are prone to tell.
In so many ways language is a product of the mind. But here we mean something specific about language: the words we choose to engage the world. Our words affect what we love, what we remember, and how our preferences and peeves take shape. Experiences become connections and formations of meaning by the tools of engagement: our words. Language gives us a sense of power in an incredibly chaotic world.
The impulses of the heart must eventually become actions in the world. The bodies ability to stretch, extend, move toward, to run away, to create (all requiring movement) is central its ability to create habits and bring the intimacies of the soul present in the world. Our movements, our actions communicate more than our language ever could, giving us dominion over our environment and the opportunity to create something new.
We keep all our rules, the memories of how they were broken and all that we felt along the way deep inside. In the absence of healthy grief our very organs, tissues and cells bodily “remember” the commitments and failures of the past. Even when the mind doesn’t, the body remembers.
The body works. It's muscular sinews are built to be stretched, expanded and challenged in the pressure between our values and wants and the status quo of the world as we know it. Effort gives power to all of other physical functions. It is the engine behind our word choices, our movement, our sensation of the world and our deeply transformative sense of touch.