Late Night Thoughts on Mindfulness of the Body
Learning to practice Mindfulness of the Body has been one of the most useful things I’ve done to help deal with difficult emotions and experiences that arise before, during, and/or after a session. Sometimes called Somatic Awareness, nothing has helped me move my attention from that which I can’t control, to that which I can.
Over and over, we hear stories of people having the insight, ‘happiness is a choice’. Mindfulness of the body gives us that choice. Anytime I blame or fear, anytime I’m of the mindset that ‘they did that to me’ or ‘that might happen to me’ or ‘I don’t know what’s going on’ there is no choice, no power, no happiness. In the middle of a session this can be hellish. Even in our ordinary life (default mode) the result of these thoughts is a disconnection to the present, to our center. A state of dis-integration.
Mindfulness of the body brings us back to the present, by asking us to get in touch with exactly what sensations we are feeling Right Freaking Now. Instead of ‘they hurt me’ or even the slightly more aware ‘they made me angry’, we try, ‘I feel heat and tension in my arms and chest’. Or whatever it is. Pure sensation. Often uncomfortable sensation. Somehow more uncomfortable that self righteous anger or even a deep terror. It’s weird how a twisted feeling in the stomach is so threatening. The cool thing about it though, is that it’s workable. If a situation is confusing or terrifying, there isn’t a lot I can do, especially if I know it’s just my trip. But when it comes to tension in my own belly, I can look at that with compassion. I can breathe into it, let it vibrate, let it release. If I stay with my sensations, and bring kindness and presence to them, I stand a chance of healing something potentially deep and old. Mindfulness of the body, it’s always an option. It costs zero dollars, and provides limitless benefit. I’ve learned so much about myself, and at the same time I’ve learned how to be kind to myself. Win.