A Dialogue on Awakening the Body (Embodiment)

Q: Scott, you say that the body has to awaken, not just the head. How does the body awaken?

Scott: If you listen to what people say when they have an initial awakening in the head, they point to the mind as being quieter, more spacious, or even empty. That’s the experience of the head awakening. There is less density in the mind at that point, less or no identification with thought.  A body awakening is experiencing less or no density in the body, with less or no identification with emotion or sensation.  They are very different realizations.

Q: I’ve heard people who have awakened say that “there is no body” or “I am not my body.” Isn’t that the same thing you are talking about?

Scott: It could be, but not necessarily. There is no way to truly know someone else’s subjective experience. “There is no body” or “I am not my body” could be a description of the experience of less or no density in the body or it could just be the head awakening talking, so to speak.

Q: What do you mean by “it could be the head awakening talking?”

Scott: Many people, upon having a head awakening, initially sense their body (their whole being actually) as being empty and spacious. But it’s really that they are experiencing a newfound emptiness in the head. The body is still contracted on a deeply unconscious level. For some, it takes years after that initial head awakening to begin to experience just how contracted the body is in certain areas. So they are speaking initially from the head awakening, having not come to the point where the contractions of the body have become conscious and certainly not to the point where they have dissolved. Not every teaching or method brings about a head awakening first. Some traditions focus first on the body so that when the head “awakens” the body is already pretty clear. But I find this to be rare in our modern spirituality circles.

Q: How can one know that they are speaking only from the head awakening when they say “There is no body” or “I am not my body.”

Scott: They have to trust their own experience completely. But mostly, they have to be honest with themselves and others. They have to move beyond the idea that they are fully enlightened or fully whatever just because they have had some sort of shift in the head and then remain open to what else has yet to be seen. A contracted body has a way of showing up as addiction, depression, anxiety, unresolved trauma and a host of other things. An initial head awakening can feel, at first, like a final landing point, until this other stuff starts to surface. If one is honest, as these contractions remain, they will start to see the difference between an initial head awakening and a later body awakening (also called embodiment). For example, saying “I am not my body” while still experiencing an addiction is a contradiction. As long as there is addiction, there is contraction and vice versa.  When there is addiction, one is still identifying to some degree with the body, which is screaming for relief and survival as a separate self.

Q: How do you know that as long as there is addiction, there is contraction?

Scott: By trusting my own experience (and watching the experience of thousands of other people). These contractions are like deep pockets of resistance and density that practically scream for relief through addictions.

Q: But not everyone is addicted after an initial awakening.

Scott: They might not be addicted to spiritual seeking anymore and they might not be addicted to drugs or alcohol, but if they pay attention to their experience, they will likely see some addiction to a substance or activity, even if the activity is something like work, food, sex, facebook, intellectualization or things like attention, acknowledgment or praise. For those who don’t find any addiction of any kind (rare), the unresolved contractions might show up as sluggishness in the body, bouts of depression, ongoing low-level anxiety or unresolved trauma. If we pay attention, our bodies are always telling us where we still experience separation, even after an initial head awakening.

Q: You said, “When there is addiction, one is still identifying to some degree with the body.” What do you mean?

Scott: All one has to do is pay attention to the mechanism in play on a moment by moment basis. When you experience an addictive thought, there is a corresponding sensation somewhere in the body. If you pay attention, that area of the body contains a sense of being separate from life, from others, and/or from the substance or activity to which you are addicted. It’s an aspect of your experience that feels divided. It longs for wholeness, so to speak. It longs for relief. It feels like a matter of survival on a very visceral level, as if you must reach outside yourself in order to feel satisfied or whole. You are identified with that part of the body. There’s a sense of “me” in that contraction. The experience of complete undividness or wholeness is not yet there.

Q: There must be some people who do not experience addiction after an initial awakening. Does all of this apply to them?

Scott: We really aren’t just talking about addiction here. Addiction is just one manifestion of a lack of embodiment after an initial head awakening. I’ve worked with many who have experienced bouts of depression, anxiety, deficiency stories or unresolved trauma after an initial head awakening. Unless there is some mental illness (which may be the case for some), these things are also a manifestation of leftover contraction. The body stores everything from the past that has not been resolved.

Q: Doesn’t the mind play a part in that?

Scott: Certainly. In fact, if you go deeply into inquiry around body contractions, you will likely see memories, words and pictures showing up, as if they are embedded in these sensations. With the Living Inquiries, we use a process called “mining” to pull out this unconscious mental material and let it dissolve.

Q: So if the mind is still involved, why do you focus on the body after initial awakening?

Scott: Because the mind stuff is largely unconscious. Like I said, it often feels unconsciously embedded into these contractions. It’s the contraction you feel mostly. It takes a lot of skill to begin really seeing what the mind has stored in the body. It’s like the body is a hidden cavern of unconscious material. You have to bring attention into the body to unlock the door to that cavern. Then you can begin to see the unconscious mental material locked inside there. This is why the focus is often on the body after an initial head awakening. The head awakening brings a quietness of mind so that you can really begin to feel how the body has stored the past.

Q: Aren’t there people who have had a complete awakening in one instance, such that there is no embodiment needed?

Scott: Probably. But again, you cannot know someone else’s subjective experience. It is left up to each individual to be completely honest with himself and others around this subject. Premature claims to liberation are just that… premature. The best way to know where someone is with regard to embodiment is to follow them around all day, to see if there are any addictions, depression, anxiety or triggers around old trauma. The majority of people I have worked with did not have an all-encompassing, complete awakening of mind and body. Mostly, the body awakening or embodiment comes later. For me, liberation is not an endpoint. It is an opening that keeps on opening. There is no end to that deepening.

Q: So one is never fully liberated? They must keep seeking?

Scott: Ha ha, well…no. Once a head awakening happens, usually the spiritual seeking dies. Embodiment is not about seeking really. It’s more like a natural unfolding that takes place. The most you can do is watch it and help it along by resting with whatever arises and using some good skills to undo the contractions gently and lovingly. It’s more like a surrendering to the inevitable. You can delay the unfolding through bypassing, by continuing to go back to addictions or by being closed off to the possibility of something deeper.

Q: Shouldn’t post-awakening also be about relationship? With all this focus on the body, what about leftover triggers and issues that arise in relationship?

Scott: Deal with the body and the relationships get worked out. The body is storing all that trauma and the emotional blockages that make relationships and intimacy difficult or challenging.

Q: I’d like to go deeper into this question of “how.” How does one become embodied?

Scott: For me, it happened through bringing attention into the body whenever I would feel that longing for anything outside myself (apart from the basics of survival like food, etc). The longing was showing me where contraction was still present. It felt like a relief to finally come down and just feel that contraction, rest with it for hours and hours, until it dissolved on its own. Inquiry helped alot, especially mining. If you keep your attention gently within a contraction for long periods of time (without any fight, freeze or flight response happening) everything you need to see, all of the unconsious mental material, will arise and fall away. As it does, the contraction starts to dissolve.

Q: Why not just stop at a head awakening? Why should anyone be concerned with embodiment?

Scott: No one has to be concerned with it. But if one remains open, he or she starts to see it as a natural process. It just sort of happens, whether we consent or not. Consenting to it helps it along and keeps us from delaying the process.  Consenting is different than seeking. Seeking has a sort of urgent push towards the future. Consenting is all about present moment resting with whatever is here and allowing it, and investigating the various ways you are fighting, freezing or fleeing the body. I use the term “infinite patience” to talk about this process of consenting to embodiment, without an urge to get anywhere. Just a natural unfolding that is watched and allowed.

Q: What is life like during embodiment?

Scott: It can be very painful. After all, we spend most of our lives in our heads or looking outside ourselves. To go deeply and silently into the body we bump up against everything we have been running from our whole lives. The contractions have a way of “bouncing us back out,” meaning it sometimes feels easier just to go back to an addictive substance or activity (get back on facebook, bury one’s head into a cell phone, eat some donuts, check out porn, go shopping, find someone to praise or love us, etc). Or we may bounce out of the body back into the head, getting involved with overintellectualization as a way of hiding the pain of the body from ourselves. But if one sticks with resting with these uncomfortable contractions, there is a huge payoff.

Q: What is the payoff?

Scott: Imagine no longer being addicted, no longer able to feel depressed and rarely, if ever, feeling anxious. Imagine that no earlier trauma has much hold on you at all. It’s like a distant memory that is no longer attached to any emotion or sensation. Imagine not trying to manifest anything in life because nothing feels as if it is missing and no part of your experience feels divided or cut off from any other aspect of your experience. Life just happens and you are ok with whatever happens. Imagine no longer seeking anything at all outside yourself. And imagine feeling as if the body is completely transparent from head to toe. It’s truly like “I am not my body,” but there is no self-deception in that statement anymore. No more bypassing. It’s truly your experience at that point. It’s a very joyous and liberated way of being. Very hard to put into words. But essentially, it’s the absense of contractions in the body.

"Working with Dan has been nothing short of transformational. His open heart, honesty about his personal experience and permission to be real and not hide have helped me unlock those qualities in myself. And that has been a total game changer. I've been truly blessed, not only to have him as my KI Facilitator, but also as my mentor. Without a doubt, working with him has helped me to show up authentically, helped sharpen my tools and made me a better facilitator than I would've been on my own. I can't recommend him enough."
Darby Totten
Certified KI Facilitator

Dan McLintock is a Certified Facilitator, Trainer and the Co-Developer of the Kiloby Inquiries method/approach the New Model of Recovery along w Scott Kiloby. 

A Jacksonville, Florida native, Dan graduated Flagler College in 2004 with B.A. in Theatre Arts and English Literature and has played music professionally in bands for over 20 years. But his true passion lies in sharing the context, possibility and practicality of healing, awakening and release. 

Dan has worked one-on-one with clients in and out of the Kiloby Center since 2017 and has an unconditionally loving and earnest approach to healing trauma, dissolving the drivers of addiction/suffering and unhooking long-held toxic beliefs about ourselves, others and the world at large. 

He’s also worked intensively, side-by-side with Scott Kiloby for the past three years to develop the transformative tools of the Kiloby Inquiries as well as the principles and approach of the “New Model of Recovery” rooted in unconditional love and non-judgment. Much of this approach was borne out of Scott and Dan’s work with each other on their own personal traumas as well as their work with clients at the Kiloby Center. 

Scott and Dan have simplified, demystified and condensed some of the principles and practices of eastern/non-dual spirituality into an easily accessible set of tools most anyone can understand, learn and utilize to free themselves from their own suffering. 

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What is a Clarity Call?

A clarity call is a free 30-minute introductory call with a Certified KI Facilitator. During a clarity call, you can ask any questions you have about KI and see whether a particular facilitator is a good fit for you.

To book a clarity call, select your preferred facilitator (hover over their picture and click the “Meet” button). Then, enter your email and click “Book Your Call.” From there, you’ll be able to select your preferred date and time and schedule your clarity call (please double-check your time zone before booking).

Valerie Vinger is a thriving survivor of life’s painful challenges and growth opportunities. She has worked with 12-step programs and is currently a 13-year stage-III cancer survivor. Her cancer recovery journey started with the traditional “cut, poison, burn” approach but eventually led her down a natural path to healing her body, her pain and suffering, and her buried emotions.

Valerie first stumbled upon Scott Kiloby at a workshop of his in Boulder, Colorado in 2012, which she says is one of the most transformative experiences she’s ever had. She is filled with gratitude for the person she has become through her journey with cancer recovery and with the Inquiries, which she describes as “coming home to myself.” She loves working with people who are ready for relief from their pain and suffering.

Julianne Eanniello is a Certified Trainer and Facilitator of both the Kiloby Inquiries and the Unfindability Inquiries (formerly called the Living Inquiries). She is also a Certified TRE Practitioner, and the developer of the somatic movement process called Natural Flow Movement. She works with clients all over the world on virtually any topic, including spiritual seeking, stress, anxiety, depression, pain and health related issues, traumatic experiences, repression, relationship issues, and general unhappiness with ourselves and our lives. She does this through online sessions, deepening courses, workshops and facilitator certification training.

About Julianne:

For most of my life I’ve wondered who I am and why I am here. As I was growing up, no one else seemed to be talking about these things, or even thinking about them, so I buried it deep inside and tried my best to fit in the way I was “supposed” to, all the while feeling like there was something desperately wrong with me and that I needed to fix it.

In my early thirties, the death of a young relative left me feeling hopeless and helpless, wondering what is the point of life if we’re all just going to die anyway? This launched me on a search. I didn’t even know what I was looking for, I just knew that there was a longing – a desperate longing for something that actually made sense about life. I learned several alternative spiritual and healing techniques. I meditated. I read books and watched videos. I eventually learned of non-duality teachings, and I read more books, watched more videos, and even sat with several ‘awakened’ teachers. Yet I was still searching, something still felt missing. I was looking for the key that would unlock the mystery of me and of life.

In my early forties, I developed a chronic health condition that left me unable to work for several years, and most days barely able to get out of bed due to extreme fatigue, brain fog and pain. I lost my banking job, and eventually lost my home. I saw a multitude of doctors to try to find out what was wrong with me, and used every tool in my metaphysical and alternative medicine toolkit to try to heal myself. My seeking became even more intense, and I was looking for a way to escape my pain.

In 2009, I met Scott Kiloby. Since I started working with him and doing the Living Inquiries, the seeking for enlightenment has stopped, and the question of ‘who am I’ is no longer relevant. My victim stories around my health started falling away. Once I started looking at my experience through inquiry, everything changed. I stopped chasing something ‘out there.’ I no longer seek some future state of happiness or peace. This is not to say that I don’t have problems, or ever experience pain. Quite the contrary. I still use the inquiries regularly, and now there is much less avoidance or resistance to what I’m experiencing. I experience more and more freedom in the present moment, exactly as it appears.

Having trained with Scott, I was one of the first to be certified as a Senior Living Inquiries Facilitator and Trainer in early 2012. In 2014, I moved to CA and became a business partner with Scott at The Kiloby Center for Recovery, where we worked with people suffering from addiction, anxiety, depression and more for the next 8 years.

I can’t imagine my life without these inquiries. They saved me from myself. If you are still suffering, searching, longing… I encourage you to give this a try.

As a young child I saw a picture of Jesus gazing lovingly at some children around his feet. I immediately longed for the unconditional love I saw in his gaze. At the same time, I was being read fairy tales, like Cinderella, and came to believe that romantic love would satisfy that longing for love.

So, I married my handsome prince at age 19. But then, by age 29, I found myself alone, as a single mother, with four young children. I was devastated and convinced that something was terribly wrong with me, to have ended up in such a predicament. 

I had learned to love and please others, but not how to love and respect myself. I was a “good girl,” and repressed my urges to have my own needs acknowledged and met. A wise teacher later told me, “We need to love everyone, including ourselves.” This was an amazing revelation for me!

Learning to meditate helped immensely to bring moments of peace, while I was sitting still, though I was still being triggered regularly in my relationships. Finally, the Kiloby Inquiries taught me how to turn my attention inside in daily life – towards the trapped thoughts and emotions I’d been running from – so that I could face and release them. It was like some tender, lost children began coming home, to take their rightful place in my inner world. 

I am honored and excited to be able to facilitate these wonderful inquiries for others.

Sumitra lives on the Hawaiian island of Kauai with some of her family. She has four grown children and six grandchildren. For many years she lived and worked in a yoga retreat community in California, and has taught yoga, meditation and Compassionate Communication in addition to facilitating the tools of the Kiloby Inquiries (since 2013).

Sumitra also loves working with couples and others with relationship challenges in a simple (though not always easy) deep listening practice that allows each person to be truly heard and acknowledged.

Alina is a certified KI facilitator & a founder of Presence Alchemy – An advance mindfulness platform dedicated to liberating suffering & limiting core beliefs through Kiloby Inquiries & non-dual awareness. Presence Alchemy was born eight years into Alina’s embodiment journey of an inner shift from ego to wakefulness. Alina works one-on-one with clients, hosts online intensives and training, and organizes local retreats & workshops.
Alec Rodrigues has been certified to facilitate inquiry since 2015 and brings a keen sense of intuition to his work. He believes that in connection, the deepest healing takes place, that the mirror of relationship is the best crucible for transformation. Through rest and inquiry, Alec has found the empowerment to meet others authentically and stop running so damn fast from the seeming “ordinariness” of life.

He currently lives in Washington state with his girlfriend and works as a training assistant for the KI Personal Mentorship Program, where he empowers enrollees by teaching them the KI tools.