Body and mind parallels

My posture is usually slightly hunched when typing on my laptop. My body sort of compensates to lessen the strain on my spine by tightening small muscles around my back. This compensation pattern protects my spine but soon begins to strain the overworked muscles rewarding me with a few aches and pains. Doing something like Yoga or getting a massage from time to time helps to ease this and helps put my posture back to alignment (got to start some Yoga).

There’s some parallel between how my body compensates and how some of my personality traits are formed. I like Carl Jung’s ideas on where I would find fulfillment. He believes fulfillment comes when I uncover my real self or know myself fully (yes, not just me). This real self lies at the centre of my personality and is hidden under layers of subconscious protective mechanisms. So just like my muscles are compensating for a bad posture, some of my oddities in personality compensate for things like fear.

For example my absent mindedness could protect me from a fear of responsibility or a fear to face certain challenges. No I don’t decide that I’m going to leave my wallet on a table in a crowded coffee shop, or not take a mobile phone charger with me on a trip (by the way I’m on a bus to Canberra right now and I have my charger with me so I must be doing something right). So this protective mechanism isn’t part of my immediate awareness.

My journey to fulfillment from Jung’s perspective starts by becoming aware of things like this. This is similar to how massage or Yoga assists with a better body awareness – I know where my muscle aches are coming from so I have more of an ability to remedy my bad posture. Likewise, knowing my own short comings or making them conscious helps me deal with the original fear with more capacity.

The point being is that all our unique forms of self protection especially the ones that prevent us from undertaking positive challenges inhibit our ability to become all that we can be. Every person has unique abilities that we can either choose to use or not. I think a lot of people have a hunch of what their particular abilities are, so when we’re not afraid to explore these (in the face of self doubt and criticism) we can move closer to fulfillment.

3 thoughts on “Body and mind parallels

  1. peter

    “yes” to all you say! arising from from my Zen practice I’m experimenting/exploring beyond this “self” (and its “shadow” a la CG Jung) to a place where there is no “me.” The way I understand that right now is that “me” is merely a construct, something comprised of stories, way I define who I am, what I tell other when they ask “who are you?”

    may you all be happy. peter (galiano island, canada); weblog

  2. 3mahappiness Post author

    Thanks for your comment Peter I agree with you too. I’ve also come to think that accepting everything about who I am also moves away from a limited self description. I guess I make a closed definition of myself as soon as I start admiring / rejecting parts of myself. Maybe the place where there is no “me” is also an extension of me and vise versa.


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