Our bodies are an incredible resource for becoming more aware of each moment. The sensations we experience through smell, touch, sight, sound and taste are all very much in the present. By paying attention to the ever changing nature of our senses, we can tap into a more fluid, malleable and open sense of self.
Our minds tend to tell us things are fixed and unchangeable. Researchers have found we think around 80 to 90% of the same thoughts today as we did yesterday. This is just part of how the mind works. There is freedom in remembering that these repeating thoughts (some of them quite critical of ourselves) are not who we are. They are thoughts of who we are. The true nature of all of us lies in each unfolding moment.
There is a tendency in Western culture to conceptualize our mind and our body as separate entities. Our bodies operate automatically with breathing, blood pumping and neuron firing, but our minds are the seat of creation, goes this line of thought. Many people believe our minds give us personality, drive, definition. The thing is the body is where the mind lives. One cannot exist without the other. They are interdependent. Body and mind are not really separate places. They are just words we use to explain different ways of being in the spectrum of human experience.
We assign the mind with duties such as planning, conceptualizing, making sense of, getting things done (etc.). All these duties have a sensory experience to them. Each person has a different way of organizing their bodies to say, "get in planning mode". Their eyes may tighten and shoulders pull in slightly. Their energy may go mainly upward toward their head. Most of this happens on an unconscious level -- in the body.
Likewise we all have our own particular physical way of organizing around emotions. Anger in one person may mean a cue to go numb and stay very still. In another person, anger may fire a whole series of neurons and get their muscles alert and ready to attack.
The importance of all this is to learn how you organize in the world. What happens to you when you feel, say, disappointed? What happens in your thoughts, emotions and body? You have your own unique way of organizing around dissappointment, as we all do. Knowing how you organize around any particular emotion or situation gives you more freedom to decide if this is the way you'd like to keep it.
Many times the way we react in our lives is based on past experiences. People have told us things like, "just get it together" when we wanted to sob in someone's arms. Or parental rules like "you can't talk to me in that angry tone," when their behavior felt violating and unfair. So we reign in the sobs or the anger by doing things like constricting the muscles in our stomach or sending energy outside our body completely (dissociation).
Having a broader sense of how you respond both verbally and non-verbally can give you many more possibilities. Together we can better understand the ways you, or you and your partner navigate relationships and the world, and give you greater freedom of choice.