So begins Ellen Langer’s introduction to her delightful The Power of Mindful Learning. There they all were – the myths that lock us into a functional stupidly when it comes to learning all neatly lined up ready to be shredded by a little mindfulness.
These myths she says undermine true learning because they stifle our creativity, silence our questions and diminish our self-esteem. Unmindful learning is the cruise control of those who’ve been there, done that, know everything and are done with learning.
Lots of talk in recent years of the new essential  skills to survive in the 21st century economy. Colleges that Change Lives is the title of Loren Pope’s very useful book for those planning for college. The first day of alleged spring and another day disrupted by the rituals and routines of early dismissal. When young people spend countless hours, days, and weeks on activities that they find meaningless, there are psychological and social costs. I learnt to use paint, calculator, see various places through the Internet, solve puzzles, play games, listen interesting sounds and songs. To introduce Somatic Learning and the power of Somatic Intelligence, I would like to share the story of my own journey—the healing that originally set me on this path. Like many things that eventually turn out to be wondrous discoveries, this journey was initially impelled by pain. The injury led to an infection, and—with a pregnancy and loss of pregnancy—I developed pelvic adhesions (scar tissue in and between my organs) that would pull and tear with the slightest motion, leading to more internal bleeding and scar tissue. The doctors insisted on a radical hysterectomy, since they were certain that the damage would make it impossible for me to ever have children. Between the pain and the pain medication—which was taking me out of myself, distancing me from my body—I could hardly think straight.
What I did to try to control the pain came from insights I had gained while teaching painting and sculpture to blind students a few years earlier.
I began by blindfolding myself to better understand their experience and discover ways to teach them. Until then, I had never thought of these blindfolded experiments as anything but experiments in perception. Now, bedridden and suffering from internal injuries, as I looked back on that experience of teaching the blind, it occurred to me that the lessons I had learned there might offer a pathway out of pain now. As I sensed movement through my tissues, they responded to my sensing, the way a plant responds to sunlight: form and structure opening into the vast light of awareness. However, when I started to rise from bed in order to physically move around in space, the pain and bleeding often returned. As I began the practice of observing myself in order to understand and build on what worked, I learned how to use the pain and related sensations as feedback, helping me sense in real time how consciousness was organizing this community of cells. This way of functioning—rather than being merely a fleeting relief from pain—gradually became a new way of living, a way that healed and renewed me. While I would never wish my traumatic experience on anyone else, at this point I’m immensely grateful to have gone through it.
Just think, you were born into a body that—far from being a machine that wears down, assailed by the ravages of circumstance and time—is a supremely conducive environment for learning to live in the present moment, to sense and move with the flow of what is. From Awakening Somatic Intelligence: The Art and Practice of Embodied Mindfulness by Risa F.
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Grateful to have had the opportunity to spread our message of recovery and mindful living with Eve Tannery and 69News. In order to post comments, please make sure JavaScript and Cookies are enabled, and reload the page. I learned it from within my own body and consciousness, just as I will assist you in doing in this book. They warned me that because of the adhesions, they wouldn’t know the impact until they opened me up. I had to find a way back to myself through the “underwater” effect that the medication was producing. Most of my students had been blind from birth, and few had visual memories through which they could relate to the world—or to what I was attempting to teach them in class. As I entered this world of not seeing, I started to understand that the search for how my blind students “saw” was not easy. At that point, however, I suddenly recognized the influence it had on pain—and, potentially, healing. What had seemed relatively fixed and solid—my very own body—turned out to be interpenetrating movement. So rather than attempting to escape from the pain, I began to “sense” inside the sensation of pain. This showed me that I needed to learn to rise up and move through the world with the same fluidity that I had discovered while resting. One thing I kept rediscovering was my habit of tensing up, and how this tension manifested in my daily-life activities in a myriad of ways. But it was enough not only to change my state of consciousness but also to reverse the progression of my dis-ease.
This mode of awareness—this ability to sense myself somatically, at a process level, in the bubbling, bursting, blooming of life—was the foundation of my complete recovery.
This living, ever-changing responsiveness of the body to awareness is the key to transformative learning and change.
Kaparo is a licensed psychotherapist and the developer of Somatic Learning, a body-mind approach to self-healing.
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So many deadening beliefs and behaviorist assumptions about learning turned upside down in one short and highly readable book.
The willingness to pay deep attention to the inner wisdom and movement of your body is a fully sufficient teacher to move you into a state of utter wholeness and aliveness. As an artist at the time, I had received a government commission to build a fibre-art playground on a Navajo reservation. I was told that even after surgery it was very probable that I would continue to bleed internally and remain in pain. After all, how does an individual who has never had sight experience his “arm?” I needed to find out how I could serve these students in my class. I realized that while this tensing or “contraction” might have begun as early attempts to help or protect me, in actuality it now had the opposite effect. That is, it was not just my perception of my body that changed; it was also my actual physiology.


Embodying mindfulness takes us beyond the limited way in which we have known ourselves up to now—a way that we mistook for the ground of reality—then we get to discover and even create a whole new reality. She has developed training programs for medical professionals and educators, and has taught Somatic Learning at multiple institutions.  She maintains a private somatic psychotherapy practice in the San Francisco Bay Area.
We had to ground our structures in rock—shale, we’d been told, a fine-grained sedimentary rock, easy to drill. I forestalled the surgery, hoping to find a way to get off the pain medication or at least lower it enough just to think straight.
At first, as I sat in the darkness, only memories and images projected themselves in my mind. Whenever I sensed myself from the inside out as movements within movements, I noticed that I felt tremendous aliveness and freedom.
As I opened to this realization, I began to see that my ability to get past the pain was not due to any “efforting” but rather to sensing my connection to something much larger. And years later I conceived naturally and enjoyed a wonderful pregnancy and ecstatic birth at home. As you move through this book I encourage you to reclaim your birthright: the gift of being embodied into the most finely tuned feedback system imaginable. As I sensed into it, the throbbing began to change shape, elongate, become undulating pulsations. I came to realize that what truly helps is going beyond the limiting images, habits, and conditioning of the past. Later, I came to teach what I had learned, as a self-sustaining process for transformative learning and change that anyone could adopt. With my hundred pounds of weight, I felt like a flag flying off the jackhammers, and my IUD (internal uterine contraceptive device) cut into my uterine wall.
I was very young and desperate enough to try anything that might relieve my pain and avoid the radical surgery.
Finally, I had a breakthrough when I began to sense through my own actual bodily system (as opposed to my mental image of myself). As these shapes changed, the intensity fluctuated and eventually diminished of its own, like a wave rippling outward. As I didn’t want to disappoint the children with whom I lived on the reservation or my six apprentices, I worked throughout the ordeal until I finished the playground. As I began to experience myself outside the visual field of perception, I discovered that my whole being responded. I later came to call this expression of gratefulness for receiving the infinite—this “kissing back”—presencing.
For instance, if I sensed my arm, it was no longer the arm as “object”—what I knew from my memory and imagination. What had seemed like an orchestra tuning up before a show, simultaneously and discordantly, had turned into music in its own right. Only then could I locate the pain in the lower-left quadrant of my mouth and eventually trace it to one particular tooth. Each pulsation gave way into another field of movement as I responded to my sensing, opening and shifting… and eventually, even the pain inside the tooth gave way.



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  1. 01.07.2014 at 23:26:29
    R_O_M_E_O writes:
    About how rather more mindful mindfulness is difficult, not to mention a half hour your fear, or your.
  2. 01.07.2014 at 20:18:56
    Kradun writes:
    Informally by focusing your attention in your second-to-moment meditation techniques to inmates, amongst have been also encouraged to domesticate.
  3. 01.07.2014 at 11:10:19
    TIGER85 writes:
    Also have ample time to meditate deepen their religion.
  4. 01.07.2014 at 21:45:17
    Nigar writes:
    Will guide you into the quiet place.