Welcome back to the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Meditation Series.
I am your teacher, Nejra, and I will be guiding you in today’s journey through the body.
As we go through the business of life in a constant doing mode, we can get completely disconnected and fail to pay attention to the interconnectedness of the mind and the body.
This practice is an invitation to drop into the body, asking us to pay attention as best as we can to whatever arises.
Not making up or searching for sensations, but allowing whatever is already there to simply be.
So to begin, setting the intention to step out of the automatic pilot and gently come back home to the body.
And in a way, we start to become deeply intimate with the body, as we gather our scattered minds into the senses.
Paying attention and scanning all different areas of the body, holding one by one in our awareness, staying a while, tolerating or accepting, then completely letting go, even if we may want to hold on longer, is the practice.
And we do this with an attitude of curiosity to whatever arises in our body.
A beginner’s mind, investigating the experience as for the first time, acceptance of what is here for us now, and loving-kindness for our body.
Let’s begin by finding a comfortable position, and shifting to assume a dignified, upright posture.
Keeping the spine straight, but not striving for perfection. Allowing this to be a time in which we set aside the usual mode of doing. And switch to simply being with our body, here and now, as best as we can.
You can choose to sit on a chair, making sure that the back is self-supported.
Placing the hands to rest on the lap or the thighs, and perhaps just taking the moment feeling the ground beneath the feet, or noticing the contact between the chair and the sitting bones. Or you can choose to lay down on your back, on a padded mat, rug, on the floor.
Making sure you won’t be cold, so you might want to cover yourself with a blanket.
Uncrossing the arms and legs and stretching them out to a distance which feels comfortable. Feeling the ground supporting our whole body now.
Making a loving, conscious decision to allow ourselves to be exactly as we are with gentle kindness and wise acceptance.
So taking a moment now to feel the entire body lying or sitting here, scanning it from the soles of the feet to the top of the head.
Start the body scan.
Starting the body scan now by guiding the attention to both of our feet.
Practicing zooming into this area. Allowing ourselves to feel all sensations in our feet.
So perhaps there is a pulsing, tingling, or numbness.
We may notice the temperature of the feet. Are they warm or cold?
And observing the toes, space between the toes.
And remembering that there is no need to make sensations happen. If the sensation is subtle, then that’s what is there to be noticed. And if there is no sensation, then registering a blank.
So tuning into the feet with a beginner’s mind.
Now moving the attention up to the ankles and lower legs. Exploring with curiosity what is here to be felt?
Perhaps noticing the pressure of the calves against the mat or the back of the chair? Perhaps the subtle touch of the fabric against our skin?
Maybe suddenly noticing if the mind has wandered off somewhere else?
Finding ourselves off into the future, or back into the past, thinking, planning, ruminating, judging. That is okay, it’s normal, as it is what our minds naturally do.
So gently and without judging the distraction, returning the attention to the lower legs.
Shifting the attention to the knees and thighs now. So holding this area now the center stage of our awareness.
So bringing a curiosity of what sensations arise now that the attention is directed here?
Observing the pressure, contact with the surface, the temperature, the position of the knees and thighs.
Moving the attention to the hips and pelvis area. The right hip, the left hip.
Noticing any sensations, perhaps a heaviness, a grounding.
As best as we can, bringing a freshness, a sense of beginner’s mind, exploring what is here.
Holding the stomach now the center stage of awareness. What is here to be felt?
Paying attention to how the stomach expands on the in-breath and contracts on the out-breath.
Observing the never-ending stream of breaths rolling in and rolling out.
Gathering the attention to the chest.
Perhaps feeling the sensations of the breath here. And feeling the chest rise and fall with every breath we take.
Dropping into your inhalation. Dropping into your exhalation.
Inviting the awareness to travel to the spine. Feeling the lower, middle, and upper parts of the spine.
Observing the parts that are in contact with the floor or chair, or becoming aware of the spine in space.
Self-supporting, assuming a wakeful posture.
And noticing if the mind has wandered off into the past, or the future. Noting where the mind has wandered, letting it go, and coming back to the body scan directing the awareness to the hands now.
Feeling the position of the hands, maybe their contact with the floor, or thighs? Are they relaxed or curled up?
And moving the attention to the wrists and forearms. What is here to be felt in this moment-to-moment awareness?
Moving the attention to the elbows, the upper arms. Investigating the sensations.
Holding it all in awareness.
And when we are ready, guiding the attention to the shoulders. What is the experience here? Maybe tightness, maybe looseness. Can you feel the shoulders touching the floor or their position in space?
Guiding with curiosity the attention into the neck, observing its position. Then scanning the head, the scalp.
Feeling into the sensations of the lower jaw. Is the jaw relaxed or stiff?
Noticing the chin, the mouth, the contact of the upper and lower lip. The nostrils, surface of the nose, the cheeks. The ears. The eyes. The eyebrows. The forehead. Sides of the forehead. Holding the entire face in awareness now.
Allowing the awareness to expand to envelop the entire body just as it is. From the soles of the feet to the top of the head.
And investigating the feeling of being alive in this very moment. The only moment any of us really knows we have for sure.
Inhaling, and exhaling.
And perhaps, imagining a wave of breath, flowing from the tips of the toes to the top of the head. And all the way back down again.
Feeling the contact with the floor. A sense of being grounded, held.
And as we bring this meditation to a close, this is an invitation to reflect on how the body feels now.
What is different? How can we bring more acceptance to our bodily sensations in everyday life? And tuning in to what does the body need from us? How can we love and nurture it more?
Starting to bring some movement back into the body, whatever feels appropriate. So perhaps stretching, moving, swaying, wiggling the toes. And when we are ready, gently coming back.
The body scan meditation is now complete.
Thank you for meditating with me.
In the next session, we will be exploring a deeper awareness of the breath that keeps us alive.
See you in the next practice.
”As we go through the business of life in a constant doing mode, we can get completely disconnected and fail to pay attention to the interconnectedness of the mind and the body.