The Spiritual Path and Somatic Entry Into the Natural State
About Somatic Descent
Through the Somatic Descent practice, we train ourselves to read our experience and learn to understand the language of the Soma. Soma means not only our physical body, but also the entire neurological network within which it is embedded, including the right brain, the intelligence centers of the limbic system, the brain stem, the heart, the gut, and the neural pathways that exist throughout the entire body. In this practice, we learn the language of our direct experience, without the mediation of the left-brain, top-down processing of the conceptual mind. We learn the Soma’s own way of being and knowing and, in particular, the ways in which it communicates itself to us on the most fundamental level. This practice shows us how to remain rooted in our body throughout life, on the cushion and off. It gives us a solid and reliable somatic foundation for the meditation practices of any stage of the path, and is a profound resource for our lives.
The original inspiration for the Somatic Descent comes from the yogic practices of Vajrayana Buddhism, and its way of understanding and being present within the body, but it is not a specifically Vajrayana practice. It is known in various forms in the other practicing lineages of Buddhism and Taoism, and it also draws on the well-known Western somatic discipline of Focusing, first developed by Eugene Gendlin in the 1960’s.