As I prepare for a (sold-out!) Autumn Retreat this weekend, I reflect on the one last year and a fascinating conversation about the word psychosomatic. In our culture, psychosomatic is used to refer to physical sensations that have a psychological source. The heart of the debate is this: if a sensation stems from a mental, emotional, or spiritual cause, is the sensation really real?
For too long psychosomatic has been largely perceived as "irrational," "made-up," and "strictly psychological." But I ask you, when your stomach hurts over something, anything, are you really feeling the pangs? The contraction in the abdomen? The sweaty palms? The shallow breath? The nausea? The dizziness? The discomfort? The answer is in the evidence--palpable and sometimes excruciatingly real.
While we use the word psycho conversationally to mean “crazy,” the Greek origin actually means breath, soul, or mind. Soma means body. Psychosomatic then, in its essence, is the place where breath and body meet; it’s the place where the soul and mind connect with muscle, tissue, internal organs, and all other intricate workings of our human anatomy. You, and I, and everyone else are psychosomatic, in that we experience real physical sensations that form the dialog between who we are and our bodies.
Like metal, the element of Chinese medicine with which autumn is associated, psychosomatic messages too are often hidden. These are the gold nuggets, life-sustaining minerals, and priceless gems that lie right below the surface of our awareness. In an acupressure session, you’ll undoubtedly hear me say, "Stay with it! What else do you notice?" whenever a strong physical sensation shows up. This is the gentle inquiry that uncovers our embodied knowing.
So when psychosomatic symptoms become more pronounced this autumn and holiday season, stay with it. Mine the sensation with your loving attention. It is the vein of ore that leads you to the precious jewel that you are.
May physical sensations guide you steadily to the shimmering preciousness that you are,
-- Shira Oz-Sinai
P.S. Schedule an acupressure session or register for one of the upcoming holiday stress relief meditations to uncover the psychosomatic messages you are receiving. Also, please enjoy the FREE MEDITATION on gratitude, streaming live until the end of November @ shiraozsinai.com/blog/in-gratitude4070217.