When I notice my small house plant by the window, I see a love affair between the plant and the sunlight. This connection gives rise to the plant’s movement toward the light, and the sun validates this movement by pouring light on the plant. It is as if the plant is saying to the sun “I love you, and I need you,” and the sun keeps giving. In the words of the Sufi poet Hafiz, the sun never tells the plant “you owe me”. Such a love affair “lights the whole sky”.
Just as my house plant spontaneously moves toward the sunlight, there is in each of us a natural impulse for moving toward wholeness both individually and collectively. This striving toward wholeness can lead to embracing oneness of our humanity.
As my Somatic Experiencing® studies progress, I become more convinced that this movement toward wholeness and embracing oneness needs to involve working with our collective nervous system. We all have an autonomic nervous system that given proper care can shift toward a social engagement system. This engagement can be infused with kindness when we focus on our loving resources in life and the bodily sensations that accompany it. Through somatic awareness, we can notice the sensation of love in our hearts and let it intoxicate our nervous system. From this grounded emotional base, we can lovingly impact our social engagement system.
When we become a kind and supportive resource for each other, on a collective level, we are letting the sensation of love, like a thread, weave our nervous system together. This is how humanity can embrace oneness not just as a beautiful concept but as a lived experience. By tracking the sensation of love, we are imprinting our nervous system with the power of love. We are teaching our nervous system to shift away from greed and competition and stay with the desire to cooperate and connect. The world in its current state needs more love. With one nervous system at a time, we can learn to release the effect of our unresolved trauma which often blocks our movement toward wholeness and redeem our aliveness. Increased somatic awareness of aliveness can help people not to stay frozen in oppressive political circumstances and march toward liberation.
For many, the journey toward wholeness can be in a circular motion. When I recall supportive resources in my life, I often notice a warm pleasant sensation circling around my heart, and one of my hands spontaneously moving in a circular motion above my chest and getting closer to my heart. When I slow down the movement, it is like entering a warm life-affirming vortex of love which is opposite to the vortex of trauma. The image that arises spontaneously is a whirling dervish dancing in ecstasy and merging with the Beloved. As I notice the sensation, I can go deeper and deeper into the vortex of love and move toward homeostasis of oneness with humanity. This is what the wisdom of the body can do for us, and this is how in the words of Rumi, we can "find a voice that does not use words."
I am grateful to the Somatic Experiencing® Trauma Institute for providing training and tools that has deepened my personal journey toward wholeness.
© Payam Ghassemlou, Ph.D., is a SE student and a psychotherapist (licensed marriage and family therapist) in private practice in West Hollywood, California. www.DrPayam.com