Body and Ideomotor Signals

As you focus on your breath, you calm your mind. A calm mind allows you to perceive what is alive and active in your larger body. Your body is the primary channel through which the unconscious manifests in your awareness. It’s easy to observe your body as external to your self, as an object, but it’s also intimately connected with your consciousness. Every thought and feeling in your awareness is mirrored in some way in the body, and vice versa. Twitches, itches, heat flashes, and other spontaneous body movements are messages from the unconscious.

An unconscious or involuntary body response that comes from a thought, feeling or an idea, rather than from an external stimulus, is called an ideomotor response. Ideomotor literally means the idea-movement. An example of an ideomotor response might be a chill or tension in your stomach when you think of something fearful. When you think of a sunset, your ideomotor response will probably generate different bodily sensations.

How does your unconscious respond to a sunset?

Say an itch develops during your breathing exercise. The itch may be caused by something on your skin or it might not relate to anything tangible or recognizable. The itch may be an ideomotor response connected to something in your unconscious. Though these kinds of physical movements may make no logical sense, if they are allowed into consciousness, they can become meaningful. When you are listening to a lecture, for instance, you may nod when you agree with the ideas. You may not be conscious of either the nodding or your agreement, but your unconscious is still communicating. You may even consciously agree with something while your unconscious disagrees.

Do you know what happens in your body when you know something is wrong?

Perhaps your stomach tightens up or you get a chill. This is your ideomotor response. As you become more in touch with how your unconscious communicates, you can pay attention to its signals even when they contradict what you think consciously.

Sensing these ideomotor signals in the body is the basis of kinesiology. In kinesiology, muscle responses are interpreted in simple terms of right and wrong, or “yes” and “no.” The response you feel in your stomach also occurs in muscles throughout the body. You can notice the difference in any muscles you pay attention to, fingers or arms being the most common. Typically with a “yes” response a muscle is stronger, a “no” response is weaker. The response is generally stronger when there is more importance to the “yes” or “no.” Since you can control your muscles consciously, you get more accurate muscle responses when your conscious mind is relaxed and detached.

Dowsing is a method that uses these same subtle ideomotor responses. Dowsing uses an external tool to amplify the unconscious responses in the body. A pendulum or a dowsing rod is perhaps the most common dowsing instrument. It only takes micro-muscular movements in the hand or arm to generate a visible response in the movement of these instruments. The force that moves the pendulum comes from the unconscious, through the body. The unconscious may have information gathered through normal sensory means or it may be operating with intuitive information. I personally believe there are no other outside forces, magnetic fields or subtle energies that are physically causing the pendulum to move.

That may not be true for you though if your intention is to perceive these external forces.
Inviting an ideomotor response is essentially giving some control of your mind and body over to your unconscious. An essential distrust of the unconscious is pervasive in our modern society. Any uncontrolled or spontaneous behavior that isn’t clearly “sensible” is frowned upon. From an early age we are conditioned to be still, quiet, and in control. We are punished for lack of control and thus learn to fear it when it happens. When children fidget in their seats in school, their movements are coming from their unconscious, trying to bring some comfort, balance, or even movement into their bodies. By stilling them, we are essentially teaching them it’s more important to conform than to honor their own intelligence.

If you’ve never consciously recognized the unconscious aspects of your being, your ideomotor response might be surprising, even threatening. You might even think the forces you feel in your body are caused by a malevolent force or entity. If so, it would be helpful to journal a little bit about your beliefs. Remember the wisdom you are accessing within you can be tremendously wise. You can learn to trust yourself again.

This is one reason I encourage you to move when you feel the need, even if it doesn’t make sense. When you attend to what you are sensing for yourself, you validate your own wisdom. Your action may be something that helps you bring your body back into health and balance. Sitting and reading for hours at a time is not natural; movement is. If you’ve restricted these spontaneous ideomotor movements your whole life, then a healthy “relaxing” response may manifest more as movement, release, and physical letting go. These unconditioned movements may feel awkward, but they do have value. The larger part of your being is always seeking your best health and well-being.

Using a dowsing tool can be very helpful for getting in touch with your own ideomotor process. Remember, there is no power inherent in the pendulum itself. It is in you. Here’s a nice analogy about dowsing from Jeffrey Mishlove’s book, Psi Development Systems:

We may liken the radionics (dowsing) instrument to a pencil. If you were asked to multiply 123 times 178 in your head, the task might well seem impossible. However, if you had a pencil and paper, it would be no problem to go through the step by step multiplication procedure. Even using the pencil, nobody would think that it was not you who did the arithmetic. Nobody would suggest that there was a magic “pencil power” which was able to solve mathematical problems. In fact, if you tried you could probably train yourself to do mathematics without the use of a pencil at all. 25

Similarly, the pendulum makes accessing the unconscious easier but it isn’t the source of the movements or the information provided. Once you develop a relationship with your unconscious, you may be able to dispense with the dowsing tool altogether. Accomplished dowsers know the pendulum or forked stick isn’t always necessary. In a crunch they will simply tell you the answer. Yet they still use the tool since its familiarity puts them into a comfortable and relaxed ritual space.

Stay tuned for another article on how to use your pendulum.

This article is excerpted from the book: "A Joyful Intuition" by Patrick Marsolek

Author's Bio: 

Patrick Marsolek has been lecturing and teaching practical, hands-on classes using these intuitive tools to individuals from all walks of life. He has shown businesses, individuals and families how to use these proven techniques effectively and compassionately and how to access untapped resources for growth and effectiveness for over 15 years. He is a practicing Clinical Hypnotherapist, the author of "A Joyful Intuition" and “Transform Yourself: A self-hypnosis manual,” as well as a series of self-empowerment audio recordings.