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As the years go on, scientific research continues to mount showing the truth of this simple principle: the body, mind, emotions and spirit are dynamically interrelated. What we feed our bodies, how well we sleep and how often we exercise all have profound affects on common mental disorders like depression and anxiety. Feelings of love and affection can make the difference between life and death in an infant. Prayer, meditation and other forms of spiritual exercise have been shown to increase grey matter in areas of the brain concerned with memory, learning and cognition.

Rubenfeld Synergy has been operating from this principle for about 50 years, and it’s exciting to see the research bearing out what Ilana Rubenfeld and her descendents have continuously found to be true.  What happens in the body affects the system all the way through.  The thoughts we continually ruminate on have effects in our bodies and emotions.  A trauma to the body is a trauma to the mind, emotions, and spirit.  And the more conscious we are of these connections, the more integrated a life we can lead.

My own experience with this principle came during the personal sessions I received during my training.  I was having a repetitive shoulder injury: every six months or so, the muscles running from my right shoulder blade up into my neck would lock up and spasm so painfully that I couldn’t raise my arm without crying out.  I would go to the chiropractor, who would snap my cervical vertebrae back into place, and then get massage to loosen up the spasmed muscles.  I would fully recover, only to have it happen again whenever I worked too hard at the gym, or spent too much time with my computer.  It was never clear what exactly would trigger it, and I could make no progress in improving my fitness and strength.  It was extremely frustrating.

On the table at one of the trainings, staring up at the ceiling of one of the little buildings at the Omega Institute, it came to me.  My Synergist, the marvelous Sarah Baker, had her hands beneath my shoulder.  I was in some pain that week, and my shoulders were tight and pulled in toward my spine.  I was also thinking about my writing, and why I hadn’t yet worked harder in my life to become published.  What was my problem, I wondered?  What was I afraid of?  Sarah had me tune in to my shoulders as I was talking about this.

I felt my shoulders pulled in, and I recalled myself as a teenage girl, walking the halls of my high school, waiting for the next lash of the various casual bullies who helped make my life there miserable.  I remembered curling inward, hugging my books to my chest, trying to be smaller, trying to be invisible.

“What might happen if you published a book?” Sarah asked me.

“I’ll be seen,” I said, tears starting.  “And being seen isn’t safe.”

My shoulders had been protecting me all of these years: making me small and invisible so that I wouldn’t get hurt.  With my tight, protected shoulders I was safe, but I couldn’t get stronger, I couldn’t get bigger, and I couldn’t put myself in any kind of spotlight.  Every time I tried, I got injured, and had to go back and start over.

Once I listened to the messages of my shoulders, I was able to see that their tightness had been integral to me at one point, but now it was time to do something different.  I didn’t need to be invisible anymore; I didn’t need that protection.  As I cried and released the emotion of the realization, my shoulders relaxed under Sarah’s hands.  I haven’t suffered that injury since.

The messages of our bodies are varied and complex, and tell stories that go far beyond tight muscles, old injuries, or sprains and strains.  They tell the story of our lives in all their prismatic beauty and pain – our emotional wounds and triumphs, our broken or soaring spirits, our troubled or clear minds.  This interrelation is key to understanding how Rubenfeld Synergy works, and how we can heal ourselves.

Next: Awareness is the first key to change.