I can barely imagine a more beautiful setting than last Saturday at the Full Day of Mindfulness for past and current MBSR Sydney Mindfulness Training graduates. Those of you who couldn't come missed a wonderful day of self-care, introspection, quiet, beauty and community. The next one will be held in August. I'll let you know closer to the date!
Here I am in a very large (a slightly too large) campervan at a Big 4 Caravan Park with everything I need. We are exploring the south coast town of Eden. What fun! It took a while to figure out the gas, the waste system and the beds, but we're all good now. Happy campers!
Today we went to Guerrilla Bay. If you haven’t, you should. It was so beautiful. Yesterday we swam at Hyams - the whitest sand in Australia. AND I found (and stocked up on) what I believe to be the best coffee roasters south of Sydney. Bliss.
When people first come to a mindfulness class, the first meditation is usually a Body Scan. Mindfulness of the body is often described as the first foundation of mindfulness. Similar to the Yoganidra at the end of yoga.
The Body Scan is not designed to relax the body, it's more about waking up to different parts of the body.
The body, like the breath, experiences things in the here and now. Meaningful moments that are happy, gratifying or pleasurable are usually felt in the body. Like being present for a birth, a death, a beautiful sunrise for example.
On the other hand, when we are suffering or fearful or in conflict, we often do the opposite. We tend to disconnect from our bodies – a clever response because we hardwired for survival AND we don’t like pain!
We can use our sense of touch, sight, sound, taste and smell to bring us into the body. Without the intention to be here, we are conditioned to leave all the time. So how do we teach ourselves to sit with our emotions?
We have a tendency to develop our own personal escape habits, numbing ourselves with too much or too little food, obsessively drinking, shopping, texting, Facebook, Instagram. You know what you do. We convince ourselves that if we don’t feel, then somehow we have conquered our fears. But numbing isn’t the same as being, being balanced, at ease, fearless in the face of all that arises in our body heart and minds.
We tend to cut off from our body’s intelligence and our heart's wisdom. As we deepen our awareness through the body scan and breath practices, we can train ourselves to come back again and again and deepen our conscious awareness. We can begin to live all of our life, the good, the bad and the beautiful
Approach slowly with interest and care. We wouldn’t have left if we weren’t afraid of what’s there, so be very forgiving and gentle and kind. Forgiving about leaving, gentle about arriving. Approach your body tenderly as a container of freedom and joy.
MEET EACH MOMENT MINDFULLY, MEET IT AS A FRIEND
I have uploaded a Body Scan here for you to have a play with. This is a systematic arrival in different parts of the body. Try to do it every day if possible, or every other day, and see if you can open up to whatever experiences are here, feeling the sensations from the inside out. If you don’t know what I mean, hold your arm up in the air for 5 minutes. Sensation!