I often think of the physical body as being a laboratory for the work of transforming our minds. The two, body and mind, are intrinsically connected. It seems pretty obvious that, if the world is a mirror, the body would be one too! How could the body and mind not be connected?
In my research, I have found that many of our beliefs are housed in our body. I have verified this personally as well as through my work with clients over the years. Beliefs become cellular imprints that can twist the body like a pretzel in reflecting the limiting beliefs held by the mind.
Realizing the truth of the preceding statement through my own body, I devote some part of my daily practice everyday to exploring the painful places in my body to find and question the unhappy stories I hold there.
Recently I had a vivid experience illustrating just how powerful a role my own mind plays in shaping my physical appearance and I want to share it with you.
I received an email attachment with some photo's that were taken of me at the qigong training event I attended this past September (2010). Below is one of the photos that when I first saw it stopped me in my tracks. What put me on pause was the dramatic contrast between the two sides of my face that was so immediately apparent. The difference between the right and left sides of my face stood out anyway, but the difference was even more dramatic when I covered one side or the other.
As one of my students commented when I pointed out the sharp contrast to her, “the two sides seen separately look like ‘before' and ‘after' pictures!
One side of my face indeed does appear decidedly more aged than the other.
I was puzzled. What could the significance be for such physical phenomena? My understanding of the law of cause and effect helped me to know better than to think that my facial contrast was coincidental. So I decided to explore it further during my next daily practice.
I started my practice by reflecting on what I knew about the two halves of the brain (not much :)). I thought about the separate functions of the right hemisphere of the brain versus the left hemisphere of the brain, about how the left side of the brain is the reductionistic, concretistic, analytical and what I think of as ego-driven side of the brain. While the right side of the brain is the intuitive, inner connected, and more free flowing side of the brain.
It is the left side of my face that appears older, more stressed. (See photo below) That side of my face would be under the control of my left brain (not until below the neck does the control switch over so that the left brain controls the right side of trunk & limbs and vice-versa) I think of it as that side of the brain that houses my limiting definitions of myself.
Suddenly I got it. The limiting beliefs that were being reflected in the left side of my face are the stories I carry about the agonies of old age, and my fear of death! That side of my face reflects such beliefs as,”I am getting old … I'm an old woman who is growing more and more infirm with each passing day,” etc.
As I continued to reflect I started getting glimpses of how my body responds, how I see myself, and how I respond to the world, when I believe such life limiting thoughts as those mentioned above. And then I asked myself what might be different if I didn't believe those thoughts (See Byron Katie's inquiry process)
And then I thought about the other side, the more youthful version, of my face. I saw it in my minds eye as almost luminous, so gleaming was it with light, health, and vigor. It occurred to me that it is is ruled by that in me that questions my limiting beliefs and that no longer blindly believes everything it thinks. It is the right side of my face, ruled by the right brain, the hemisphere that houses our intuitive understanding of our innate connection with Source. For me it reflects that in me that does not blindly buy the story that I am getting old.
I closed my eyes and could feel the difference internally between these two opposing hemisphere; my right side felt relaxed and open with warm energy flowing freely through its energy channels (meridians). The left side of my face, on the other hand, felt blocked and dense. I made the connection suddenly with understanding the significance of my perpetually blocked sinuses on that side of my face! The energetic pathways were blocked by negative, limiting beliefs!
I began to visualize light coursing through the meridians in my face, moving freely from one side of my face to the other. As I visualized the light moving into my left side I felt a sort of popping in my sinus cavity on the left side. I questioned my stories about aging with questions like, “Do you know absolutely that you are old and infirm?
I suddenly caught a vivid glimpse of reality. I saw me as I am presently, strong and firmly rooted, toned and aligned, standing open and connected to the Source of everything that is – the Source of my being and life vitality. Everyday now, I visualize light flowing into my face, clearing blockage and old story that otherwise etches itself into my face.
Interestingly enough, one of my team members took a few pictures of me just a week or two after the first set of photos were taken … Below is one of those. Is it possible that the light and story clearing work I've been doing it already making a difference? You decide.:)