Somatic Meditation

Somatic meditation is a healing and grounding earth connection practice. It is a meditation where we return to our beginning, again and again. Somatic meditation is an invitation to remember we are part of nature, that we are of this earth. The remembering is an embodied experience.

Somatic meditation is practised seated or lying down, connecting to the base of our existence, through the base of our body (the souls of our feet, palms of our hands, our perineum and all along our back body). It is also practised in our day-to-day lives as a remembering, a focused awareness, as we undertake everyday tasks or face our challenges as they arise.

The etymology of the word soma, is often traced back to the Greek word meaning body. Although somatic meditation is all about the body, and the journey into meditation through the body, it isn't just about our physical body.

Our soma represents all our bodily entities, this includes those beyond the envelope of our skin: such as our energetic body (sometimes called the back body or the subtle body) and our earth body.

In his beautiful book, The Art of Living, Vietnamese Buddhist Monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, brings our awareness to eight bodies: human, buddha, spiritual practice, community, body outside the body, continuation, cosmic and the ultimate body. He explains the word body in this context means 'collection of energy' and illustrates how the many bodies relate to Buddhist principles.

'Buddhist traditions have developed ways to visualise our life without boundaries...when we are able to recognise and experience all our bodies, we live our life more fully and face the disintegration of our physical body without fear.' Thich Nhat Hanh

Disconnection is a direct response to trauma and/or things too difficult for us to witness in life. We disconnect from our bodies, heritage, ancestors, community and the earth, as the reality of the disintegration of life is too much to bare. Unable to face the dissolution of humanity, peace, the environment, or things as we know them, we turn away. We have distanced ourselves from death, equanimity and the impermanence of things. As such, we no longer have sure footing to ground us while we face the enormity of the destruction of war, climate crisis, violence within our community, the losses in our lives, or the uncertainty, which tends to pervade our everyday existence.

Somatic meditation invites us to reconnect with ourselves, in all our transformations, and to reconnect to the nurturing energy of mother earth. To return, again and again, to our beginning, to be able to face the now.

Somatic meditation is about the oneness and inter-being of all things. An acknowledgment that we are the hum of this earth, we are the energy source. We are the sand beneath our feet, the waves lapping the shore, the morning birdsong, the sunrises and rainbows. We are the essence of all things. 

As well as meaning body, soma is also a Vedic Sanskrit word for distill. Soma was the distilled essence of a plant drunk as an offering in ancient Vedic sacrificial rituals. The word derives from the Sanskrit root term 'su': meaning to expand and grow. Su in Sanskrit also means wellbeing.

Language is often our link to the intentional relationships between us and the world. With this etymology in mind, somatic meditation distills our awareness to pure awareness, as we reconnect to our existence beyond our physical body, in order to grow and foster wellbeing, again and again, every time it dissolves.

Somatic meditation is a practice of hope.

Image: rainbow on the horizon, witnessed in heart on the land of the Eastern Maar and Wadawurrung Peoples, commonly known as Kennett River. A spiritual place, where the forest meets the sea. 

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