The Conceptual Self and its Disconnected Body

People have always turned towards the seeking of authentic spiritual awakening because it promises the end of suffering.


People also seem to be increasingly turning into the growing conversation around the embodiment process that accompanies awakening.


Before we go any deeper down this rabbit hole, let’s discuss the difference between awakening and embodiment.

Awakening is a shift in perception where one sees the illusory nature of the separate self.

People often report a strong sense of present moment awareness after such a shift. Awakening relieves mental and emotional suffering. Caveat: one can have a head awakening where the mind feels clear while still having a contracted body. Embodiment is different than awakening. It’s the process of bringing what has been realized all the way down into the body so that the awakening becomes a truly lived experience. Embodiment work helps the body feel clearer, uncontracted, spacious, and peaceful. It allows energy to flow more freely throughout the body once the contractions and trauma are dissolved.


A lot of the embodiment process involves clearing unresolved trauma. Trauma is suffering, so if awakening is about freedom from suffering it must include an embodiment component.

Trauma leaves an imprint in our system and can negatively affect us for years after the event(s).

One big reason trauma continues to create suffering throughout our lives is that it usually doesn’t go away until it is directly addressed and can even turn into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which carries a host of scary and painful symptoms.


Embodiment is not just about clearing trauma. It is also about clearing long-held or repressed emotions, energy blocks, and contractions in various parts of the body (throat, heart area, stomach).

We hold onto this energy and emotion throughout our lives as a way to stay safe, protect ourselves, and get approval and love from others. We hold back our expression and how we really feel and we pay the price for it – a contracted body.


From an early age we learn the habit of avoiding being present to emotions. We are taught to inwardly repress anger or outwardly force our anger on others. We learn to fear fear and hide our fears from ourselves and others, just as we hide our shame and other vulnerable emotions.

If we fail to keep this more vulnerable side hidden, we may be judged, ridiculed, alienated, or attacked, leading to more feelings of fear and shame. So the cycle continues …


Let’s just say that our relationship to emotions is fairly unevolved!


All this emotion gets stored in the body. This is why people struggle after an awakening experience. They fail to understand the importance of embodying awareness in order to heal and integrate those emotional parts of ourselves that we couldn’t integrate during the earlier traumatic event(s).


How did we evolve into conceptual selves so disconnected from our somatic experience?

For that answer we have to go back to childhood…


Our parents were good at teaching us to think. They rewarded us the more words we learned and the more sentences we put together. They never rewarded us for our emotions, especially the negative ones. So we learned that these emotions are bad. In many cases, they judged and disciplined us whenever we felt or expressed anger, fear, shame and other vulnerable emotions.


Our parents weren’t skilled at teaching us to feel emotions in a way that allows them to be fully processed and let go of. And some of our spiritual teachers aren’t much better at it.

Some teachers can lead you to an initial awakening, but if they are not equipped to help you if or when your body starts showing signs of trauma, my suggestion is to leave that teacher immediately.

An awakening in no way guarantees that unresolved trauma will magically disappear. Trauma work, which takes some time, needs to happen or the embodiment process can prolong itself and carry on for many, many years.

Some teachings deny that there is any kind of embodiment process after awakening. I find it curious that within nondual teachings where there is talk of “no separation in the universe,” somehow the mind and body are separate? So the body doesn’t need to be addressed at all? Interesting theory. But it doesn’t withstand the scrutiny of science.

It’s no wonder so many past and present nondual teachings don’t speak of embodiment. The subject is beyond their scope of experience and skill. They don’t read the latest science. You can tell it by the way they still talk in archaic ways about the body. Unfortunately there is no mandated course for teachers to become more trauma-informed. My education about trauma came from Addiction Specialist School, years of research and owning two trauma-informed treatment centers.

Trauma is so important to the topic of awakening and embodiment. Mostly after an awakening, what makes it so difficult to bring awareness all the way down into the body is unresolved trauma, which is actually stored in the body.

Teachings miss the embodiment topic because they are not trauma-informed. It’s incredibly irresponsible for teachers to be helping people have awakening experiences without educating them, preparing them, and providing support during the embodiment process.

Many spiritual traditions – being detached from the clinical field – continue to this day remaining trauma-ignorant while still denying the embodiment process. It’s worth repeating that trauma is stored in the body. A head awakening where the mind goes quiet often doesn’t heal trauma at all.

Embodiment is needed.

An awakening also often brings trauma to the surface more. Some people actually suffer more after an awakening because they stick with teachers who are ignorant of the connection between embodiment and unresolved trauma.

It’s time for nondual and other spiritual teachers to start becoming trauma-informed and to stop denying the embodiment process. Stop denying science. Science is way ahead of spirituality on this subject. There are a slew of studies that show the connection between trauma and how it negatively shapes an individual’s somatic experience. When there is pain or contraction in someone’s body resulting from unresolved trauma, suggesting that the person rest as awareness or just feel it and let it be can be highly detrimental to them. More skill is needed than simply resorting back to tired, old nondual pointers.

With the Kiloby Inquiries we are constantly evolving our work so that we remain one of the most skillful methodologies for trauma and embodiment.

To join this rich exploration, visit www.kiloby.com

"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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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.