Diana Winston wrote:
Your body is the doorway to mindfulness. As you may have noticed by now, your mind can be anywhere at any time…. Your body, by contrast, is always in the present moment, so brining attention to it brings you automatically into the present. The task is to turn your attention to this reality, to put your attention on your body and become aware of whatever sensations you may encounter.Susan L. Smalley, PhD and Diana Winston, Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Meditation, page 66
I practiced with this when I was at the dentist on Wednesday, getting a filling replaced. I’m not one of those tough meditators who can do fillings without freezing… but still, there was the discomfort of the sound and vibration of the drill even with the numbing. Rather than thinking about how much I didn’t like that sound, I turned my attention to the body.
What were my feet feeling? There was weight, warmth. The legs? Oh, I can feel tension there. Hands are tight too. I invite them to relax. Shoulders are also tight. But they didn’t ease much. No problem.
I was still there, in the dentist’s chair. The drill was still drilling, my mouth full of drool. But I was not longer resisting the experience with story of how much I hate the sound of the drill.
Through the appointment, I would scan the body again and again, and I’d notice when things felt tighter – and I’d also see where the stories were louder then. And when things would ease.
And then it was done. And I had a half smile (the other half was still frozen).
A body scan is a useful practice in daily life (dentist chair, driving, sitting at the computer), and it can be done formally, which is a way we can develop the skills for daily life situations.
Here’s a 26 minute guided meditation by Jill Shepherd: “Beginning with a body scan, tuning in to areas of the body that tend to habitually store tension and inviting it to relax, then bringing awareness to physical sensations throughout the whole body”
Tuning into the body this way, we can learn how body and emotions interact, how things change, and learning to trust the wisdom of the body.
Have you ever had the experience of stopping so completely?By Jon Kabat-Zinn, as found here
of being in your body so completely,
of being in your life so completely
that you knew and what you didn’t know
that what had been and what was yet to come,
and the way things are right now
no longer held even the slightest hint of anxiety or discord?
It would be a moment of complete presence, beyond striving,
beyond mere acceptance,
beyond the desire to escape or fix anything or plunge ahead,
a moment of pure seeing, pure feeling,
a moment in which life simply is,
and that “isness” grabs you by all your senses,
all your memories, by all your very genes,
by your loves, and
welcomes you home.
May you find moments of stopping and being in your body today!
With good wishes,