Do you recall as a child, the ease and joy of lying still in the grass as you watched a ladybug skirt across your arm?
Noticing with intent curiosity the sensation on your body as its legs crossed over your skin? Did you notice how pleasurable this felt, this sheer act of paying attention?
Mindfulness, such as maintaining awareness of the sensations of a ladybug on your skin—not only alerts you to the pleasure of a delicate ladybug, but it also trains the mind to focus and develop a sense of stability and strength.
Complete absorption in physical sensations—often so ordinary—allow us to drop from our perpetual thoughts, judgements, fantasies and criticisms, into the sanity and wisdom of our body.
AS A PRACTITIONER OF BODY-CENTERED PSYCHOTHERAPY I AM INSPIRED BY THE MESSAGES OUR BODY HOLDS DEEP IN ITS CELLS.
As we bring attention to sensations in our body—whether it’s a knot in our stomach or the feeling of a light breeze on our skin—we come into more authentic contact with what is true about our experience. We discover that we are not separate from our anger—I might notice, for instance, that anger is a part of who I am, and therefore I must tend to my anger as I would tend to my younger brother or sister, with love and care.
If we treat our emotions as something we must fight, or destroy, we disconnect from our bodies, stew in our thoughts and continually cause more suffering for ourselves. If you cannot be compassionate to yourself, you will not be able to be compassionate to others.
So, what is mindfulness of the body?
Mindfulness of the body is a practice that allows you to see the truth of your current experience—when you are mindful of sensations in the body, you begin to look at things deeply, understanding their true nature so that you are not misled into the confusion of the mind and its sophisticated web of suffering.
Mindfulness is the ability to maintain a gentle yet sustained inward focus of attention. It is the ability to notice, with heightened sensitivity, all that enters your consciousness.
MINDFULNESS OF THE BODY IS ONE OF YOUR GREATEST RESOURCES FOR ACHIEVING HEALTH, HAPPINESS AND FULFILLMENT ACCORDING TO ANCIENT WISDOM TRADITIONS.
So, why is the body so important in this practice?
Our body is where formative memories and beliefs are stored—it is the felt experience of the body that gives you access to this material. Total mindfulness means being completely in tune, being “one with” all of this.
By honestly and clearly attuning with your body--not separating your thinking mind from your sensing experience--you’re able to unwind material from the past that no longer serves you in order to lead a life of more passion and fulfillment. If you are listening closely to the messages your body speaks to you, you begin to discover a sense of purpose and belonging.
LIVING A PASSIONATE AND PURPOSEFUL LIFE REQUIRES ATTENTION AND PRESENCE.
By developing the capacity to continually return your awareness to the present moment—through sensations in the body and by following the breath—the mind is drawn back to itself in a positive way. You will begin to trust this process of returning to yourself over and over again. Before you know it, your mind and body will be in unison and your mind will finally become your greatest ally.
When you are completely in tune and in harmony with your mind, it becomes a relief and a joy to simply be alive.