What is Somatic Awareness?

The word “soma” means “body” in Greek. Most of our physical processes are designed to run unnoticed. Even the ​more obvious physical movements, like breathing and contracting muscles, are often ​​not perceived. To begin to understand the body, awareness derived from an objective inner observer is a necessity.

All initial and consequential experiences of every human being form neural pathways in the nervous system and are then stored in the brain. This complex network of communication and adaptation is designed to keep us alive separately from other beings. Without this function, we would not be able to have our life experience; and therefore, this function takes precedence over other less-vital functions.  Amazingly, the more complex aspects of our human nature are superimposed on and informed and influenced by the more primitive aspect of the brain — the reptilian brain or the instinctual brain.

Becoming aware of, and to understand the function of, the instinctual and physical workings gives us access to the automatic, subconscious and unconscious aspects of our humanness.

As we learn and grow, we are developing adaptive strategies in order to save ourselves from harm and return ourselves to functioning as quickly as possible, so we can respond to life as we perceive it. This is how our personalities are being developed, and, it’s how they become highly conditioned based on past experience and what was successful before.  When our circumstances are giving us sometimes overwhelming experiences — and there is not enough capacity in the body to respond, we learn to contain the charge of that energy, as well as shift our attention back to the tasks or demands at hand.

You may be seeing that this is related to the nine patterns of our Enneagram personality types and the adaptive strategies well described in the Enneagram system from a cognitive-emotional point of view. Also, there is a reference to the original essence for each type, which refers to a specific spiritual quality for each of them.

The underpinnings of these patterns have a somatic origin and take us to the root of the formation of these patterns.

The study and development of “conscious awareness” of these somatic patterns gives us access to the root of the arising of these patterns.  As we attain a deeper understanding, we begin to awaken to the very nature of these patterns and for what they were designed.  It’s important to know that we can learn the skillful means to choose to follow these patterns, or not, and witness the contained charge in order to safely discharge, which will free the life force and create increased capacity for received spiritual experience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *