Don’t listen to your body. The body always lies.

As an embodiment teacher, I’ve been encouraging people to get in touch with their bodily selves – and therefore, their values, compassion and intuition – for years. Recently, however, I’ve started to hear people say that their reason for doing some piece of bullshit was because they ‘listened to their bodies’.

While the body can be a source of deep wisdom, its primary response to any situation is conditioned craving and aversion – basically being a dickhead. Greed, fear and anger tend to be what we tune into in the first instance, and being pushed around by these forces isn’t so great. Without the ability to self-regulate and listen deeper than the fight-fight-freeze response … well, you’re just being bossed around by your inner toddler. Well done, hippie.

It’s also just a great cop-out. When I asked a social justice princess why she engaged in some obnoxious behaviour recently, or when someone else I know broke a promise and I challenged them on it, their responses that they ‘listened to their bodies’ was a great fucking get-out clause. You can’t really reason with that, right? It’s the new ‘God says I’m right’.

So listen to your body, yeah – but with great care. It’s easy to fool yourself or to just use the body as a scapegoat for shitty decisions, if not.


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3 thoughts on “Don’t listen to your body. The body always lies.”

  1. I think that it depends upon which bit of the body one is listening too. To just say the ‘body lies’ is a bit disingenuous to say the least:
    ” “Why are we calling these brains?” says Oka. “We are not calling these brains. Science is calling these brains. There has to be a technical definition to what makes a brain a brain. Your elbow is not a brain. Your kidney is not a brain (as far as we know). But there are lots of good reasons why science can actually show that the head, the heart, and the gut are brains.

    They have their own intrinsic nervous systems. They’ve got neurons. They’ve got the whole range of [capabilities] in order to do complex adaptive processes. They can take on information, process it, store it, change and adapt. Basically, if it can learn, it’s a brain.”

    “Through behavioural modeling, we can discover how this applies to life. Low and behold, these different brains do different things.”” From:

    Listening to ones own opinions without careful reflection is always an issue, especially as in my own opinion, most people do not like looking at their own s**t. I have found it quite painful to discover that I am far from the perfect enlightened being I always thought I was. Greed, hatred and ‘delusion’ – the perennial deadly combination for suffering… especially being deluded that one is beyond the first two.


  2. Perhaps this arises out of what are commonly referred to as trauma imprints. Trauma imprints occur through our inability to mobilise/process an event. We don’t have the capacity – the resources at that time to get through – to survive.

    All that energy in our bodies made available as part of the fight/flight gets stuck. We are left with the feelings and sensations of that time with this unused potent energy. We tend not to register the date/time when it happened in our brain. We did, however, create a way to survive that event.

    The result is that when our unconscious fear detection system perceives a threat today we may get to use one of our survival strategies and because there is no date attached to it, it will feel like it is to do with today and we end up reacting rather than relating. We appear to do / say things are seem out of context in that moment.

    I believe that the more we get to integrate these earlier patterns, the more likely we are to be able to remain in relationship in a mutually supportive and cooperative way.

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