Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Floating Head Syndrome

We dislike fear not only because it makes us feel uncomfortable, but because it may not fit the image that we have of ourselves. For some the image they broadcast to the world is more important than how they feel. So they deny any feelings that contradict this image. People who do this love their self-image more than their physical self, and nurture behaviours that are focused mainly on enriching the concept of self. Often at the expense of the real self.

Before we continue, I’d like to acknowledge that we all invest time and effort into our appearances. Tending to an image is not in itself bad, unless it starts to become unhealthy. Which happens when the image loses its ties with its living foundation. People who are mesmerized by their self-image lose touch with their body. They become incapable of receiving input from it. At which point the body gets treated as a mute vehicle with a single purpose—to transport the thinker around.

It is in this way that people become capable of destroying themselves. Their lives become wholly guided by their conscious attention, or ego, and the wisdom of the body is ignored. It could be said that these people are living by the words of Rene Descartes: “I think, therefore I am.” These people have yet to consider another, equally convincing, proposition: “I feel, therefore I am.” We are governed by our feelings as much as by our minds, providing we haven’t severed the connection with our bodies.

An amusing side note. It’s easy to spot a ‘heady’ individual by looking at their posture. Most heady people carry their heads hanging forward, as if their skulls are trying to disconnect from their spines. This is because they so fully identify with their minds, that when they lean forward to look at something that’s caught their eye, they forget to move their bodies too.

But if we’ve not yet decided to reject our feelings, our feelings move us as powerfully as our minds. Someone who feels fully may jump and dance for joy—they quite literally embody the emotion. So the body, then, can be more than a passive vehicle for the mind. It can actively communicate its wants and desires to the mind, and help to determine a person’s behaviours.

To be a whole human being requires both thinking and feeling. An image that is not anchored in the physical body leads to confusion and probably madness. By focusing entirely on a mindmade concept, the body is ignored and effectively deadened. Perhaps redundant, but it must not be forgotten, our body functions as a bridge to the external world. It is the body, and its eyes, that invoke light out of the world. Without the body there is only darkness.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach