Mindfully Being in the Body
“There is one thing that, when cultivated and regularly practiced,
leads to deep spiritual intention, to peace, to mindfulness and clear
comprehension, to vision and knowledge, to a happy life here and
now, and to the culmination of wisdom and awakening. And what is
that one thing? It is mindfulness centered on the body”.
The Buddha from the Satipatthana Sutta
Embodied presence is the word that most captures the state of awareness that brings us into our bodies in a conscious way. The Buddha said that the foundational level of mindfulness is being in tune and in touch with the myriad of sensations that occur in our body, moment by moment. When these sensations are coupled with an experience of making contact with the weight, the force of gravity, and the experience of grounding in the body, it brings awakening alive within us.
Recognizing the touch of the body, making contact with the ground beneath us, or one body part touching another is a way to stabilize our attention and mind in the body. Bringing openness and curiosity to pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral feeling tones in the body helps us discern if the body language is calling for softening and ease, or if the body is maintaining a relaxed and peaceful feel, or if we are residing in a place of balance and evenness. This information provides the choice of how to be with different sensations, and reveals the way we are connected to all parts of body and being.
When we observe this reality of embodied presence, we begin to experience a felt sense of inner knowing. We can feel the ways we belong, the interconnection with our true self, our birthright to “Be Here Now”.
When we come alive in the body, there is an opportunity to relate to pain in new ways, not as suffering but as another bodily sensation that might be experienced as tightness, pinching, throbbing, clenching, burning, sharpness, and many more. If we can notice this without reacting to it, and learn to allow it to be as it is, then we begin to open a portal to equanimity, to letting things be, to being okay with this moment, to relaxing and to being at peace.
One traditional way to practice coming into the body is to practice the Body Scan, through guidance and when learned on your own. In this practice we know all our senses, the details of a sensation, how to breathe with this process, and when it begins and ends. We can come into both our inner and outer experience, and learn to make friends with current conditions and its causes. Take time to recognize, allow and inquire into your body; it can open you to freedom.