transpersonal living thinking and living beyond the self

Mind-Body Connection

What is embodiment?

Embodiment is a way of knowing that transcends the thinking mind. It is a way of knowing through the use of the senses available to us in the given moment. The body and all senses are seen as the doorway to growth and transformation.We embody every time we drop into sensory experience in the moment and attune to our body for information. It is a phenomenological (sense being) way of being in the world.

We begin with the intention that the body knows far more than we give it credit for. It knows far more than it just being a system made up of organs, blood and bones. In a mindful, embodied way of life, one comes to learn that the conscious mind can only offer so much and that the body, when called in, completes the knowing.

Merleau-Ponty (1962) introduced us to his philosophy on the body, the lived body. According to Merleau-Ponty, the body is the perception that is with us always, a constant presence. He offered the idea that our body, rather than object, is actually our communication with the world. It offers us the ability to communicate with all.

“To be a consciousness or rather to be an experience is to hold inner communication with the world, the body and other people, to be with them instead of being beside them”

As therapists, most of us have been trained to turn the experience of the body into objective knowledge, and therefore a representation of the body rather than a phenomenon and part of one’s consciousness. Unfortunately, the more we draw our client’s to think about how their body feels, the more we move them away from knowing how their body feels.

Our body is the true subject of experience. It gives us the ability to take in the world around us. For Merleau-Ponty (1962) perceptions are formed through the interplay of the sensing body and the entities around it. It is an ongoing exchange, a constant dialogue and awareness.

“We have relearned to feel our body; we have found underneath the objective and detached knowledge of the body that other knowledge which we have of it in virtue of its always being with us and of the fact that we are our body…by thus remaking contact with the body and with the world, we shall rediscover oneself” (Merleau-Ponty, 1962 p. 206).


Merleau-Ponty. (1962). The phenomenology of perception (C. Smith, Trans.). New York: The Humanities Press.




Comments are closed.