Fully Human-Steve Biddulph
Book Overview - Kimberlie Furness
Steve Biddulph’s groundbreaking book reads like it was written by a Chiropractor rather than a Psychologist. The theme for our Autumn newsletter is connection and Steve is clever in the way that he connects the different elements of humans using an elevator analogy, which makes complex systems seem so much simpler and easier to understand. The most exciting things are the strategies given in the book to help you shift the levels of the elevator into better alignment.
Supersense - our Internal Sensory System
Supersense is a term used in the book to describe humans who tap into their nervous system’s incredible ability to tune into the organs, tissues and viscera. Contained within the collections of nerves deep within our bodies is wisdom and a deep sense of knowing; ‘a wired in response of the kind that has kept people alive for millenia’ according to the author (P4). Previously this may have been termed ‘intuition’ or a sixth sense before neuroscience was able to explain it. “You have a guidance system that is superb, subtle and powerful” (P6)
Unfortunately in the modern world we have not been taught to tune into these micro-cues or read our own gauges. By ignoring our supersense,’ we may well live a life full of blunders, large and small’ (P6) That may mean discomfort or even chronic pain as the body starts by whispering and then ends up having to yell to make you listen. The language of our supersense is visceral, not verbal as it came long before humans had the ability to speak.
Powering your Life with Emotions
Once you have turned into your supersense on the bottom floor of the elevator, you’re ready to move upwards to the next floor; your emotions. Emotions are not as subtle as the visceral sensations, they are more distinct and pressing, harder to ignore.
Society has taught our predecessors over the past generations to repress their emotions, with hugely detrimental effects to our humanity. Shutting down emotions is hard work and in time may contribute to deep unhappiness, depression, chronic pain and illness. ‘Unfortunately no culture in history has ignored the body as much as ours.’ (P43)
Fortunately we are recognising the importance of expressing emotions in a healthy and regulated way, so our children have the opportunity to live a more conscious life and to be more aware and tuned in to these important guides. A big part of parenting is helping our children understand their feelings. Steve describes an emotion as a change on the inside in response to an event on the outside.(P84) Steve helps you to make friends with your emotions and to express them at the time, rather than bottling them up and storing the energy in your body. (P79)
Using the Brain to Think Straight
The next level up is ‘better thinking’ and involves the part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex (PFC), the latest addition in evolutionary terms, which allows us to think in words. Words make it possible for us to function as a human being and to connect and communicate and cooperate with others, something imperative to the survival and thriving of our species.
Some of the worst atrocities through the ages have occurred when dictators/perpetrators were seeing the world through the lens of a child’s brain and not using their more evolved adult brain, according to Steve. Without rites of passage to help teenagers to step up into adulthood and elders to guide them with wisdom, adults can remain childish and the tantrums and selfishness that ensues when greed, power and money are involved can result in our world being a ‘dangerous and damaged place’(P165). (ie Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot just to name a few). Steve says “There are millions of babies walking around in grown up bodies.'' A sign of a mature human is someone who cares about the wellbeing of others and the world around them. “Thinking at it’s best can ease your suffering, give you perspective and instil meaning in the tough corners of life.”(P 167)
Spirituality is Not What You think
The final level in the elevator is being spiritually connected, however Steve sees this not just as a religious experience or something for mystics but as a pursuit of what makes you feel more alive and more whole. Anything from going to a rock concert to lovemaking to riding a mountain bike to raising a family can be a spiritual pursuit. The aim being to lose your sense of separateness and to feel part of the whole; to be in a state of flow. Anything can be made sacred when you have that intention and awareness, however it is best done regularly. “Learn to be present and your life will work," Steve comments.
Lining up Your Floors
By starting at the bottom floor and working your way up gradually one floor at a time, you can become more aware of the different levels of your consciousness. Sometimes the floors will be at odds with one another and sometimes you may be stuck on one particular floor, however your attention will help to heal this disconnection and work on helping you to be more whole. Steve comments that “A human being like any living creature naturally seeks unity in all its parts.”(P36)The founders of Chiropractic talked about adjustments ‘aligning man the physical with man the spiritual.’ (DD Palmer early 1900s)