Self-less Expression  —  The Body Speaks

This entry is part 5 of 7 in the series The Body Speaks

Self-less expres­sion is all about speak­ing your truth with­out let­ting your ego get in the way. We find a way to “voice ourselves.”

My first and most pop­u­lar book,

This End­less Moment.

Learn to live a full and sat­is­fy­ing life. 

Today, we turn to the Throat zone  —  the Zone of Self-less Expression

This zone, runs from below the eyes down to the tops of the shoul­ders, includ­ing the lit­tle pock­et that you can feel if you push “down and in” in the hol­low above each clavicle. 

The zone includes 

  • the back of the neck and the occip­i­tal indents
  • the two points indi­cat­ed below the eyes (the “anchor of the social mask,”) and
  • the semi-infa­mous jaw points. 

In oth­er words, lots of picky lit­tle points, most of which hurt when you push on them.

This Zone is about expression. (Preferably self-less!)

This zone is where you enact what you have learned about yourself.

The process of human devel­op­ment, at its best, (which hap­pens for pre­cious few peo­ple, because of the work involved…) is con­tained in Ken Wilber’s famous con­cept, “tran­scend and include.”

What this means is, at each step along the way, we have some­thing to learn that we must also take with us.

To put it bald­ly, the goal is not to fig­ure out we have a body, only to “give it up,” and become all spir­i­tu­al. It’s about accept­ing our­selves exact­ly and pre­cise­ly as we are. 

And then, finding a way, or multiple ways, to be (to enact… to express) the totality of who we are.

I’m always read­ing books by Osho. In his “The Book of Secrets,” Osho’s book on Tantra, he men­tions that he read some­where that Freud thought all peo­ple were neurotic–and were born that way. Osho disagreed.

Osho says that we are all born nat­ur­al, and are turned neu­rot­ic by our upbring­ing. The neu­ro­sis comes as our cul­tures force us to split our­selves into pieces.

What do you mean
you’re look­ing at my eyes!

Osho uses the exam­ple of par­ents get­ting their infants to stop cry­ing. This is real­ly the first split  —  split­ting off the body (feel­ings) from the mind (think­ing.)

What the child learns is that if she cries she cre­ates a dis­tur­bance for oth­ers, and is “reject­ed.”

Now, clear­ly, the par­ent is dis­turb­ing him­self  —  the child real­ly has noth­ing to do with it.

I was speak­ing with a friend yes­ter­day, and she men­tioned that she had been babysit­ting a cou­ple of girls. The girls fight a lot, and my friend described being torn between walk­ing out of the room and stop­ping the fights.

Notice the judg­ment: fight­ing is ‘bad / a dis­tur­bance.” (Or bet­ter put, my friend dis­turbs her­self when wit­ness­ing fight­ing.) So, she cre­at­ed two options for her­self. Walk­ing away, or stop­ping the fighting.

I sug­gest­ed that she could cre­ate a third option, which is to sit there and sim­ply wit­ness the girls fight­ing, (while main­tain­ing a “no hit­ting, no hurt­ing” pos­ture) until they finished.

If she tried this, and if she stayed ful­ly aware, she’d notice how she is upset­ting her­self over her imag­in­ings about how “bad” fight­ing is.

Her ten­den­cy, as it is with most of us, is to either

  • run away from things we both­er our­selves over, or
  • try to get oth­ers to stop doing what we both­er our­selves over.

Being a simple Zen guy, it seems to me easier to stop bothering myself.

Any­way, the first “split off” for most of us is how we split off from our body and emo­tions. Most peo­ple see them­selves “catch­ing their emo­tions from oth­ers,” rather than sim­ply hav­ing them. “He makes me so angry” is how this world­view is stated. 

The mature, adult view we are pro­mot­ing is this: “I am mak­ing myself angry, and here is how I am going to choose to express it in a safe and ele­gant way.”

This approach is what begins the heal­ing process  —  the rejoin­ing of all of the parts of our­selves into a coher­ent whole.

Most people think of expression as endlessly flapping their lips and expecting the world to give a damn.

The mass of men lead lives of qui­et desperation.”

Hen­ry David Thore­au, “Walden”

The qui­et des­per­a­tion most peo­ple live in is the des­per­a­tion of try­ing to bend oth­ers and the world to their will  —  and end­less­ly failing.

Or, try­ing to fig­ure out what oth­er peo­ple want, and end­less­ly giv­ing it to them, in the vain hope that this will some­how make every­one hap­py, healthy, and dis­as­ter proof.

The alternative, the scary, scary alternative, is to, in the title of the old song, “Express Yourself.”

Instead of tight­en­ing down and repress­ing your­self, you take the risk to open up and be ful­ly human.

This is not a pre­scrip­tion to be yourself. Your “self” is what gets you into trou­ble in the first place.

Thus, self-less expression 

As hard as this is to accept, your “self” is a men­tal con­struct, and a series of habits. No mat­ter what you believe, the only per­son you are is the per­son you are right now. And now. And now.

The only place you have ever been is here.
And at the same time, you’ve nev­er been here before.

The key to this arti­cle, and per­haps the key to your entire exis­tence is this:

This is it.

Think about it. How much time, mon­ey, and effort have you expend­ed try­ing to have what is called a peak expe­ri­ence  —  a “once-in-a-life­time,” earth and self shak­ing moment?

You might even remem­ber, up there in your twist­ed lit­tle mind, a cou­ple of events that you so clas­si­fy. So, you try, and try, and try, and think, think, think, hop­ing for “the big­gie,” the killer “once-in-a-life­time event.

Well, the joke’s on you.

Every single moment of every single life is, and only is, and can only be, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

You’re end­less­ly liv­ing through, with­out notic­ing, what you think you’re wait­ing for!

Please, under­stand. This is not seman­tics. This is the way it is.

We waste our lives, our moment-by-moment moments, think­ing about past moments, and dream­ing about future moments.

Yeah, but that moment was bet­ter than this moment, and the next moment will be bet­ter than the moment I had a moment ago. Don’t you know anything?”

And somehow, this idiocy never quite works out. (You think??)

And have you noticed your mind’s habit, in the midst of a peak expe­ri­ence? You’re say­ing to your­self, “Boy, is this ever great! And the next time will be even bet­ter!” And boom, you’ve gone up into your head again.

The Expression zone calls us into being, just being.

  • It calls me into know­ing who I am, in this moment, expe­ri­enc­ing my expe­ri­ences. When think­ing, say, “I am think­ing,” or bet­ter, “Think­ing.”
  • I am tuned into my body, to its aches, to pain, to plea­sure, to the joy of sim­ply being alive. Moment by moment.
  • If I notice that I am resist­ing act­ing, out of fear of get­ting it wrong, I rec­og­nize that not act­ing is act­ing. Rather than do noth­ing, I choose a path and take a step.

Locate these two points on your face.

They are called, poet­i­cal­ly, the anchor points for the social mask.

This, from a Body­work per­spec­tive, is where we anchor our act.

This is the pres­sure release point for all of the rules and roles soci­ety has stuffed down your throat, and which you so will­ing­ly swallowed. 

It’s the home of labels  —  like father, moth­er, son, daugh­ter, hus­band, wife, child, par­ent  —  each of which comes with a spe­cif­ic set of social­ly approved behaviors.

You may have strained against the tight bind­ings of these set behav­iors, per­haps uncon­scious­ly.
But strain you must, because you nev­er have been, you are not now, and nev­er will be, a role.

So, spend a bit of time insert­ing your index fin­gers into these points; push down, and see what comes up.

During Bodywork, much time is spent in the Zone, and especially on the jaw points.

It’s a tough area to work with, because it gets real­ly sore, real­ly quickly.

In both Body­work and Breath­work, pres­sure is applied to the jaw points.

Most peo­ple have real­ly tight jaws, as they spent their entire lives repress­ing the expres­sion of their true natures.

We are all whole, healthy, alive–and we’ve been per­suad­ed that shar­ing this is the dumb­est thing we could do. So we clamp down On our jaws, and else­where,) tight­en up, hurt our­selves, and find our­selves inca­pable of express­ing the truth of ourselves.

So, thumbs on jaw points, y’all!

Many peo­ple, the day after a Body­work ses­sion, report what they call a base of the skull headache. The occip­i­tal indents are anoth­er real­ly sore place for peo­ple, and I think it’s the height of irony that those lit­tle dents are exact­ly and pre­cise­ly thumb-shaped.

It’s almost as if we were designed to have some­one shov­ing their thumbs into our occip­i­tal indents.

If those areas are tight and sore, I sug­gest that it’s because that per­son over-thinks and under-lives. And this includes almost everybody.

Work on your own occip­i­tals, or ask a friend to. Same with the oth­er points.

We have been conditioned to attribute meaning to everything.

It’s what our brains do best. Used effi­cient­ly, it’s a great thing. No one wants to have to learn from repeat­ed expe­ri­ence not to step out in front of a bus.

But liv­ing our lives in our heads, end­less­ly plan­ning, plot­ting, wish­ing, and hop­ing, gets us a life lived in our heads. This is not to judge that as bad.

It’s just to repeat that liv­ing your life in your head
is not the same as liv­ing your life.

This all seems so log­i­cal, and I’m sure most of you are total­ly agree­ing with me. And I’ll bet most of you want to spend some time think­ing about what I’ve said. And there you go again.

Bye-bye  —  off into your little head.

It’s sad, real­ly  —  I’ll miss you.

I know that you know that the only place we can hang out is right here, right now. And the only thing I can do right now is to be total­ly present as I write this. You’re going to do what you’re going to do.

But if I were sit­ting oppo­site you, I’d be say­ing the following,

I’m here with you, and you’re here with me, and all that exists, for you and for me, is this space, this time, and you, and me.”

Some Quickie Exercises to help with Self-less expression

Do a little Bodywork on yourself. 

You can eas­i­ly reach your jaw points and your occip­i­tal indents.

Notice how often you shut yourself down.


  • when you have a sense, a felt sense ‚that you should do some­thing, and you pop up into your head and talk your­self out of it, or
  • you decide that this time, you real­ly, real­ly are going to do it, but not until you’ve planned it, dis­sect­ed it, per­fect­ed it. In oth­er words, you lie to yourself.
  • The real goal is to stop lying to your­self, to stop telling your­self what you’re going to do some day when all your ducks are in a row  —  when the kids are grown, when your part­ner is less of a pain in the neck, when you have more time, or mon­ey, or expe­ri­ence. Stop lying to your­self. The only time you can do any­thing is now, so it might as well be this now.

So, instead, make contact.

Notice how often you want to reach out and make con­tact, and phys­i­cal­ly share with anoth­er who you are and what you’re about right now. Notice all the excus­es you come up with for not doing this, or for doing it ten­ta­tive­ly, lame­ly, or partially.

Give your­self a shake, stop mak­ing excus­es and enact yourself.

Be self-less  —  Have “No Self”

Even if you don’t real­ly believe this, tell your­self that you have no self.

Noth­ing of you is sub­stan­tial and per­ma­nent. You can see this clear­ly, if you will answer this ques­tion: where is the eight-year-old ver­sion of you?

At no lev­el does any part of the “you” who you were back then exist, in any way, now. Even at the cel­lu­lar lev­el, every cell in your body is different.

You want to pre­tend that there’s some kind of con­ti­nu­ity between your eight-year-old self, and your present self but it’s just a con­ve­nient fic­tion. This is at once scary and true.

Once you get this, you real­ize that the only place that you are, the only place you can be is right here, right now. This is it. And this is it. And this is it. Until we die. The only “it” you have to exist in is the one you are in. What are you wait­ing for?

Scroll to Top