How aware of your body are you as you read this? When we are not preoccupied with the external world, the world of the senses, we tend to live in our head, among our thoughts. Unless we exercise, make love, shower, or experience physical pain, we can go about our business every day without being much aware of our body.
Take our teeth for example. We take them for granted until a toothache or an impending visit to the dentist reminds us of them. Once the problem is solved, we go on chewing and munching as before, forgetting about them again, until our filling falls.
The same is true for the rest of our body: our brain, eyes, nose, ears, tongue, heart, lungs, kidneys, arms, legs. They do their job and on an average day we pay no mind to them.
How many people realize how wonderful it is to have ears only after losing their hearing? How many people spared a thought for their kidneys until after the doctor informed them they have stones? How many times our lungs have breathed for us without us even realizing it?
Most of the time our presence is concentrated somewhere in our head, behind our eyes and between our ears, and we take the rest of ourselves for granted, until pain reminds us otherwise.
Becoming aware of our body is not only relaxing but reassuring. It feels wonderful to “be” in your body, to inhabit it, especially when you are healthy. It awakes you to the simple joy of being alive. It’s simple and easy to do.
Feel your body as you read this. You are probably sitting on a chair, aren’t you? Feel the ground under your feet, the tension in your back, the position of your head, whether it is tilted slightly to the left or right or leaning forward, toward the screen. When you touch your body with your mind, they both become aligned and you begin to feel relaxed.
Next time you lie down or settle in a comfortable position, close your eyes and scan your body from your head down to your toes, one body part at a time. Begin by becoming aware of your breathing, the in and out swing in your chest, and then feel the warmth of the blood irrigating your body, the sense of perfect order inside of you.
Every day after lunch I lie down for about 15 minutes and scan my body, feeling it from the inside. When I get up I feel whole and refreshed, ready for whatever I have to do after.
Without a bit of mindfulness every day, it’s easy to forget ourselves below the neck, to go through life like floating heads. But we shouldn’t. Spending too much time in our head can lead to stress, and worse things.
However injured, scarred, fat, thin, or old, our body is a wonder, a marvelous artwork of cells. Become aware of your body now, and you will feel what a masterpiece it is.