Embodying Unbreakable Wholeness and Well-Being
By Richard Miller, PhD
We experience ourselves and the world around us through our body, as every inner and outer perception that we experience is registered within as sensation. It is our ability to be aware of and respond to our internal somatic sensations, as messengers, that enables us to successfully navigate the ins and outs of everyday life and relationships, and embody our fullest potential to be an integrated, self-regulated, individuated, and fully awake human being.
Interoception refers to our ability to sense our internal somatic states at ever-subtler levels. Research shows that our ability to experience interceptive awareness can be trained. And that its practice leads to increases in neuronal connections and our ability to self-regulate our states of body and mind. It also strengthens our ability to experience harmony within ourselves and in our relationships with others and the world (Pearson 2019; Ceunen 2016; Craig 2009; Critchley & Harrison, 2013). In this regard, simple BodySensing approaches, as found in the practices of iRest Meditation, enable us to restore our innate ability for experiencing interceptive accuracy and awareness, as well as for enhancing our ability to tap into our body as a portal for experiencing health and healing, and ever-present unbreakable wholeness and well-being (Miller, 2004, 2015; iRest.org/iRest-Research).
Unbreakable wholeness and well-being are innate qualities of our essential nature. But when we don’t recognize our basic wholeness, we can feel that something’s amiss in our life. When we realize our wholeness, we recognize an indestructible resource that allows us to weather every challenge that life puts before us. We can discover this underlying sense of unbreakable wholeness through experiencing the simple feeling of being, which is a universal felt-sense, or non-verbal inner knowing that we all experience. Being is the quiet and ever-present background presence that’s always with us but that can go unnoticed until it’s directly pointed out. Mindfully sense where and how you experience your felt-sense of being as you read the following words that others have used to describe their felt-sense of being.
Peaceful. Calm. Everywhere. Indescribable. Warm. Undeniable. Nowhere specific.
Heart-centered. Presence. Loving. Connected. Safe. Refuge. Sanctuary. Well-being.
Five Pointers to Being
When you forget your felt-sense of being, you can lose touch with your innate felt-sense of wholeness. Fortunately, when you lose touch with being, five pointers, or messengers, arise to help you recover your wholeness. These are natural messages within your body that include your gut feelings, emotions and cognitions. Each messenger can arise in either a negative or positive form to guide you back to experiencing
your essential wholeness.
Pointer #1 - “I am contracted and limited” versus “I am outside of space and whole.”
When you forget the felt-sense being, you believe you need more space in order to feel whole. The solution is to ask yourself: “Where am I as being?” Then, experience your basic feeling of being that reveals your essential wholeness that lies outside of spatial orientation. While you can’t deny the feeling of simply being, being doesn’t have a distinct location with a defined center or boundary. It’s a boundless field of presence. So, one description of being is that: You’re outside of space and whole.
Pointer #2 - “I am limited by time” versus “I am beyond time and whole.”
When you forget being, you believe you need more time in order to feel whole again. The solution is to ask yourself: “When am I as being?” Then experience your basic feeling of being that reveals yourself as outside of time and whole. When you’re simply being what’s your relationship to time? When are you when you’re simply being? A man in the same class answered these questions with, “Time? Who cares?”
When you’re being, thinking settles down and with it your sense of time ceases. When you’re being, you’re outside of past, present, and future. So, a description of yourself as being is that: You’re undeniable presence that’s outside of time and whole.
Pointer #3 - “I am lacking and flawed” versus “I am complete and whole.”
When you forget being, you believe you’re lacking and need to acquire something in order to feel whole again. The solution is to ask yourself: “How am I as being?” Then experience your basic feeling of being that reveals your complete wholeness that is outside of lack, need, or want. When you’re just being, you are beyond lack, need, or want. There is nothing that will make you, as being, any more complete than you already are.
Pointer #4 - “I am confused and disconnected” versus “I am connected and whole.”
When you forget being, you feel confused and disconnected. You believe there’s something you must understand in order to feel whole again. The solution is to ask yourself: “What am I as being?” Then experience your basic feeling of being that reveals your connected wholeness. When you’re just being, there’s nothing you need to know that would make you any more connected than you already are as being. When you read a book like the Bible, Koran, Bhagavad Gita, or other sacred text, the message is always the same: Just be and know who and what you truly are. Seeking knowledge takes you away from being. As being you are connected whole, just as you are.
Pointer #5 - “I am incomplete” versus “I am complete and whole.”
When you forget being, you believe there is something you need to do to feel complete and whole. The solution is to ask yourself: “Who am I as being?” Then, experience your basic feeling of being that reveals your complete wholeness. When you’re just being there is nothing you need to do that would make you any more complete than you already are as being. Being is independent of cause and doing. Being doesn’t need any particular doing to be what and how it is. You are complete and whole just as you are as being.
Human and Whole
These five pointers are the product of your genetic inheritance, as nature has hard-wired these messengers into your nervous system. These pointers help you recognize that every sensation, emotion and thought you experience—every fear, anxiety, anger, hurt, shame, depression or delight that you feel—is a messenger that can reveal your deepest psychological and spiritual health, harmony and wholeness.
Being and wholeness are basic elements of your humanness. Being enables you to discover the wholeness that is your birthright. As a human ‘being’, you are:
- Spacious, even as our need for affirming healthy boundaries continues.
- Timeless, even as our psychological need for time continues.
- Complete, even as our personal desires continue to arise.
- Connected, even as our need to obtain objective knowledge and social connections continue.
- Whole, even as our need for doing continues.
Experiencing your basic presence of being and wholeness doesn’t depend on changing yourself, as being can’t be hurt or harmed and has no need of healing. At your core, as being, you are healthy and whole. Experiencing being throughout the day helps you stay connected to yourself, others, and the world. Abiding as being, you can learn to experience yourself as a unique and separate individual who is also not separate from others and all of life. Being is the foundation stone upon which is built a healthy sense of self, your ability to engage others, perform your work in the world, and engage and respond to every circumstance you will face throughout your life.
Forgetting and Remembering
These five pointers can reveal your basic being and wholeness. Now, allow me to show you what happens when your sense of being gets overpowered, causing you to forget your innate wholeness.
Take a moment to enjoy simply being. Welcome and enjoy feelings of your spacious timelessness; your being complete, connected, and whole; and feelings of well-being, harmony and peace that arise when you’re simply being.
Now, imagine that you experience a challenging life event. Someone insults you. You fall and injure yourself. Something goes wrong at home, at work, or on the street. In this moment you feel contracted and upset. You lose touch with your sense of being and wholeness and feel that something’s wrong. Then, before you’re able to recover, life knocks you down again…and again.
Overwhelmed by the intensity of your experience you lose touch with being. Your ego believes, “Something’s wrong” and misinterprets it as, “Something’s wrong with me. There’s something I need to do or know so I can feel whole again.”
You try all sorts of things to feel better, but you continue to feel contracted and confused. The thought comes, “Maybe there’s something I need to know.” You start reading books and seeking advice. When this fails, you feel more confused and disconnected. Then the belief comes, “Maybe there’s something I need to acquire to recover my inner peace.” But this fails and you move even farther away from your sense of wholeness. Then the belief appears: “If only I could have more time and space, I could figure this all out.” When this fails, you feel helpless, lacking, confused, and contracted; that you’re running out of time to heal yourself. As you identify with these feelings, you experience yourself as lacking, separate, isolated, confused, and powerless in your failure to experience the well-being you once knew. You’re exhausted from looking everywhere and not finding healing anywhere.
Shattered and weary you collapse into your chair. Having tried everything, you give up and unexpectedly fall into the experience of simply being. In this moment, your judging mind slows down. You experience within ‘This’ that is spacious, timeless, complete, connected and whole just as you really are as your essential wholeness of being.
At home again—as being—experiencing your wholeness you reconnect to your sense of inner peace and harmony that was always present, just momentarily relegated to the background, but now fully foreground. You remember. Your ego lets go of identifying with the thought, “Something’s wrong with me.” As being you drop into experiencing your underlying wholeness.
So, take a few moments now to relax into being. Then, maintaining your felt-sense of being and wholeness, move back into daily life.
iRest Meditation is designed to help you come home to yourself as being. It teaches how to welcome and nourish being in each and every moment—24-7-365—and experience your natural state of being and wholeness little and often throughout your day. Trying to fix and change what’s wrong without first experiencing your innate being and wholeness is like rearranging the furniture on the Titanic. You might look and feel good on the surface, but you’ll continue to suffer. Welcoming and experiencing the five pointers to being can help you awaken from your slumber of separation, pain, confusion and suffering, and experience your natural state of interconnected wholeness.
Conditioning and habitual ways of living can cloud your ability to recognize being. The practices of iRest Meditation support you to remember being in the midst of your daily life: while eating, talking, playing, working, and even sleeping. When you know yourself as being, other essential aspects of your essential nature such as love, kindness, compassion, joy, and peace naturally arise and blossom, along with your underlying wholeness, as natural expressions of your being human. Welcome home to your true inner home of your wholeness of being.
Richard C. Miller, PhD clinical psychologist, author, researcher, and spiritual teacher is the founder and chairman of the iRest Institute, co-founder of the International Association of Yoga Therapists, founding editor of the International Journal of Yoga Therapy, and past president of the Institute for Spirituality and Psychology. Author of iRest Meditation: Restorative Practices for Health, Healing and Well Being, The iRest Program for Healing PTSD, and Yoga Nidra: The Meditative Heart of Yoga, Richard serves as a consultant researching the iRest Meditation Program he’s developed, studying its efficacy on health, healing, and well-being with diverse populations including active-duty soldiers, veterans, survivors of human trafficking, youth, seniors, the homeless, and the incarcerated; with its impact of well-being and issues including PTSD, traumatic brain injury, pain, sleep disorders, and chemical dependency. Richard leads training and retreats internationally. For more information about Richard, please visit his website. (www.iRest.org).