Today we explored a body scan meditation. Instead of using the breath as our bridge to the present moment, we used the numerous sensations throughout the body. Here is a link to a similar meditation: https://soundcloud.com/jennie-sara/body-scan
We began with a short breath meditation called ‘Consciously Connected Breathing’. It is taken from Michael Brown’s book, The Presence Process. For this breath, we intentionally eliminate any pause between inhale and exhale or exhale and inhale. We match our breath to the following text using one breath for every two words, one on the inhale, one on the exhale:
I am here now in this
1. Noticing the body
Even when we are lying on a mat or sitting still there is motion within us. Breath and body rise and fall together; our hearts beat; the smooth muscles of our digestive tract keep right on moving. The more we pay attention, the more we notice. Maybe we feel the tingle of cells dividing, DNA replicating, proteins being synthesized.
We experience a cross section of a never-ending progression of movement and breath, extending infinitely forward and backward in time.
-Yoga Anatomy, Leslie Kaminoff & Amy Matthews
2. Noticing the world around and within us
In each moment, there are infinite things to which we might bring our attention. The body scan helps us notice how, in each moment, there are sensations in almost every part of our body that we could pay attention to. And that’s just the physical sensations inside us! Sometimes it’s hard to choose where to focus our attention. Certain thoughts, sensations and feelings seem to stick around more than others. But as we practice, we may begin to notice spaciousness in the world and become aware of the endless variety of sensations, thoughts and feelings that are occurring right now.
By Mary Oliver
My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird — equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect?
Let me keep my mind on what matters, which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium. The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes, a mouth with which to give shouts of joy to the moth
and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam, telling them all,
over and over, how it is that we live forever.
3. Week’s practices
- Choose a routine activity and try to engage with it the way you did the raisin last week. It’s good to pick something brief and uncomplicated, like brushing your teeth or washing your hands.
- Practice a meditation each day. Aim for 20 minutes. Try the body scan at least once.
- Notice when your attitudinal foundation arises on its own. Try to bring it to your daily life – maybe when you’re stuck in traffic, or annoyed with a co-worker.