Natural Intelligence: Body-Mind Integration and Human Development
by Susan Aposhyan
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Watching an amoeba moving through fluid, one can see the currents of water around it and the currents of the plasma within it. The membrane separating the two—amoeba from the water—responds to both but seems to maintain some intention as well. The membrane shapes itself to engulf a particle in the outer fluid. It does so without resisting or jumping ahead of either the inner or outer flow. We humans have infinitely more forces moving us at every moment, yet we can integrate this natural intelligence of the amoeba on many levels.
This work celebrates the life of the body—all the mysteries, intensities, and potentialities that human bodily life offers.
Why is there need to address such a basic aspect of our existence? Because, we have lost our connection to our bodies. Centuries of denial have reduced our experience of body to a mechanical one. The body in all its richness and sensuality has been driven out of town. As children, we learned that we shouldn’t smell it and we shouldn’t hear it. We were told that feeling it too much would lead to indulgence and distraction at best, or homicide and sexual mania at worst. We learned to view our body as an inarticulate machine which we should spend as little time as possible maintaining. And we were taught to keep it as still as possible. These are the denials of body with which we have been unconsciously indoctrinated. And these deep denials in turn flatten our physical experience—an effect that further strengthens a mechanical view of the body.
My intention in writing is to reawaken within us the memory of our bodies’ natural intelligence. By natural intelligence, I mean the synergistic intelligence that arises out of including all the resources of every tissue and fluid in the body. Every system of the body has its own unique abilities to perceive and respond. For both cultural and evolutionary reasons, we ignore and override both sensory input and behavioral responses which arise outside the nervous system. Including and integrating the intelligence and creativity of the entire body is natural intelligence.
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