When is it better to let your body control the mind? - BodyMind Institute

When is it better to let your body control the mind?

By Chris Thomson | Spirituality

Mar 28

Average Reading Time: 4 minutes and 3 seconds

I am privileged to be able to ski, in wonderful country, whenever I wish, and almost free. My best, and most enjoyable days in the mountains are when there is no distinction between body and mind.

I live in Northern Catalonia, right under the Pyrenees. I am within 40 minutes of ten great ski stations, and I pay almost nothing because I am a resident, and because of my age. I tend to gravitate mainly to Alp 2000, which is 20 minutes from my front door.

Because I ski a lot, I am comfortable on any kind of terrain, in most conditions. But I suspect the real reason for this lies more deeply. I suspect that it is because I have learned to use my body as if it were my mind. I am sure that it is no accident that, when I am skiing at my best, I am at my most creative. I am able to tap into a very different kind of mind. I will say more about this in future blogs.

To put this another way, I am often “in the zone”. My skiing is effortless, and I am guided solely by my body, with my “mind” completely detached from the process. If you have ever experienced this, you will know that the Law of Reverse Effort applies. 

But what do I mean by this?

I mean that the more you trust your body and allow it to do its own thing, free from any mind control, the more effective and easy your activity is. Judo is perhaps the classic example of this.

Although Judo often seems to involve a lot of effort and strength, the true Judo involves as little effort as possible. In fact, the less, the better! This is because the word Judo translates as “the soft way”.

When I practised Judo in the 60s and 70s, I eventually learned that it is all about using the energy of your opponent to defeat him. Significantly, I also learned not to use my mind. Each time I tried to use my mind (for example, to calculate the next move), I failed.

I assume it is very much the same with skiing. Each time you try to use your mind, to work out something, you will make a mistake. When I was doing Judo, and when I am skiing, my body always knows what to do, and how to do it perfectly. No accidents, and good results!

If I were to try to capture the essence of this, I would say that, the more that you trust your body, allow it to do its own thing, and keep your mind out of it, the more successful you will be in whatever you are doing.

In other words, you allow your body to become your mind.

It doesn’t matter what you are talking about, your body always acts faster and more accurately than your “mind”, not least because it is not encumbered by unhelpful beliefs, mindsets and fears. That said, whenever you try to use your mind to override your body, mistakes happen!

Left to itself, the body knows exactly what to do, and it never makes mistakes. In contrast, what we typically think of as “mind” is forever making mistakes. When you observe most people skiing, you see that they look very unnatural.

They are using a lot of energy, getting very tired, and getting almost nowhere. I am certain that this is because they are using their mind, and not trusting their body. Now that I think about it, I assume that most accidents happen, in skiing and other activities, because people engage their mind, rather than their body.

Just as there is “emotional anatomy”, so is there “bodymind anatomy”. You can quite easily read the inside of people when you watch them skiing. Their movements, and overall aura, reveal what is happening inside them. And, more often than not, they are dominated by fear, insecurity, and a general sense that their mind will eventually solve their problems. 

In strong contrast, when you see a master skier, or a master of anything, several things are immediately evident:

It doesn’t matter what you are talking about, your body always acts faster and more accurately than your “mind”, not least because it is not encumbered by unhelpful beliefs, mindsets and fears. That said, whenever you try to use your mind to override your body, mistakes happen!

  • They are free of fears
  • They have absolute trust in their body
  • They make no distinction between body and mind

Enough for today. The mountains beckon. Next time, I will talk about how to take the first steps in trusting and allowing your body to do its own thing; how to be natural; and how to drop the unhelpful distinction between body and mind.

Article by Chris Thomson, Faculty Member at the BodyMind Institute

About the Author

Chris Thomson is a Scot with an unusual background and breadth of experience. In the early part of his life, he worked as an economist at the Bank of England, as a researcher in “scientific Chinese”, and as a lawyer in Scotland specializing in advocacy and human rights. In the mid-80s he was appointed Chair of the Natural Medicines Commission in the UK, and found himself immersed in the very different world of alternative and complementary medicine. From this, it was a fairly natural step to train as a psychotherapist in London, and to become fascinated by all aspects of personal development. Chris’ main focus these days is “conscious evolution”, which he defines as “working on yourself, to get as close as possible to your full potential.” He is particularly interested in the evolution of our consciousness, our character and our capacities. All his courses reflect this, as does his recent book “Full Spectrum Intelligence”.

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