You may find this next exercise helpful. It is a wonderful tool to use to bring you back to a place of awareness and more importantly it can help you to stay grounded and being mindful in the present moment.
First of all I want you to make sure that you are as comfortable as can be in whatever position you like. In time this mindfulness tool can be used in all manner of ways even to the point of having a conversation with someone.
RE-KINDLING THE ENERGY WITHIN
Start to focus on your breath mindfully. Bring your attention, wherever you are right now, to the present moment. As you begin to relax I invite you to just simply place your attention now on your hands and breathe naturally. You may like to close your eyes to begin with while you practice this exercise.
Feel your hands. Don’t think about your hands, actually feel them. At first you may not feel anything at all but in a short space of time during this exercise, by placing your attention fully on how your hands feel, you may start to notice some very subtle sensations – the energy within.
So many people are disconnected from how their body feels. They become almost numb to the aliveness of their own body but, when you bring attention to any part of your body it’s as if you turn on a dimmer switch. To begin with, the energetic sensations that you will become accustomed to may not be so noticeable but in time this feeling will grow in strength and in doing so you will find that this practice acts like an anchor to the present moment. This happens because you cannot have your attention in two places, so instead of your mind aimlessly wandering you become aware of how your body feels.
HOW INNER BODY AWARENESS CULTIVATES POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS
From body awareness you can learn to operate in life more mindfully. For example, you can be with people and give them your fullest attention by simply placing a part of your attention within your body and unlike the thinking mind, you will not be distracted. This will actually enhance your relationships by being able to be there fully with the person you’re having a conversation with. You will truly listen to the person and give them the space to talk. Some may call this deep or attentive listening.
How many times do you have a conversation with someone and the next moment instead of listening you’re thinking about what you want to say and even sometimes daydreaming to the point that you miss what the person is saying to you. Mindfulness helps to resolve this by helping you to become a better listener which can be healing for your relationships and in your everyday interactions with others.
Try this for yourself, the next time you speak to someone simply bring part of your attention to the feeling in your hands as you listen to them. Notice that when you place your attention on the energy in your hands as you listen mindfully your mind naturally quietens down. Don’t worry about whether you will be able to respond, this will naturally happen by itself. You will find that at the right time in the conversation, if you stay with the feeling and just listen, when it becomes your turn to talk you will simply find that the right words to answer will arise in your mind, as they always do. Except this time you will answer from a place of openness and awareness.
It is a beautiful and peaceful practice to give the person you’re talking to real space, I like to call it a sacred space as so often in life this aspect of being is usually missing from most peoples lives. You will find that also in challenging situations with people, more often than not, by allowing them the space to talk without interrupting them this will eventually create a resolution or a more harmonious outcome than normal. This is because the person you’re dealing with will know on some deeper level that you’re actually listening to them which is a very rare gift these days. By simply placing your attention on the energy within you you’re actually accessing a deeper wisdom that can not be touched by the thinking mind alone.
So, how do your hands feel? Remember at first it may help to close your eyes. If you’re still struggling with this I invite you to see it from this perspective. Again close your eyes and without moving your hands, or thinking about them, how would you know that you still have hands?
This sounds silly but try. Of course all you can do then is feel. After a few moments you may now feel an aliveness moving within, a tingling sensation, heat or vibration. These are all natural sensations that occur when you finally start to give your body the attention it so craves. It is alive and it is that aliveness that you can feel.
If there are no sensations at first do not worry, it is not a failure or abnormal in anyway it just may take a while for your body to wake up so to speak depending on how little or no attention you have given to the body in the past.
As you grow more accustomed to feeling the energetic sensations in your hands you can, if you so choose, place your attention now on both your feet. Again, with the same measure, simply notice how they feel. Then bring your attention to your hands and feet together. Is it more difficult or just as easy? If you find that your attention wanders to some thought or emotion bring your attention back to the feeling of the hands and feet just as you would when you are using the breath as a mindfulness tool.
The key eventually is to feel the aliveness of your whole body all at once, no separate parts, just an alive energetic body. It is wonderful to be able to then give full attention to your whole body all at once. It is a different kind of nourishment for your cells, but let the feeling be the judge of that and your own experience. When you can feel your hands and feet together try then to feel both arms, then place your attention on your left leg, your right leg, then both together. Finally feel your hands, arms, feet and legs all together at once and in your own time eventually work to feeling your body as a whole.
If at any moment you find it too difficult to feel more parts of your body together then just go back to the simplicity of feeling your hands. This is just as valuable to begin with, it isn’t a race and as I’ve already stated it’s about being gentle with your body and mind. If you rush or force this exercise, because you won’t be as relaxed, the energy of your own body will not respond in the same way as it would do in a relaxing manner.
Once you get used to practising feeling the energy in your body I invite you to try performing some action whilst listening to your body even if you are still only bringing your attention to your hands. So for example feel the inner energy body whilst holding a cup in your hands, walking to another room or whilst you are reading this post. Investigate this way of being for yourself. See if this exercise helps you to remain more mindful throughout the day. By placing your attention on the feeling of energy within the body through regular practice you will find that you are able to stay more and more in the present moment and less likely to be absorbed in mindless thinking.
You can also combine the body feeling with mindful breathing. The two work perfectly and harmoniously together. This is also wonderful if you have trouble falling asleep. You can use this body scan to relax your mind and your body and in many people is a great aid for helping them to sleep. It truly provides a deeper nourishment that sleeping pills are unable to fulfil. Why don’t you try it tonight and see if you sleep like a baby? Enjoy!
These posts are part of my mindfulness course, “A Little Piece of Mindfulness for Everyday Living”. This is a mindfulness course borne out of my own experiences and spontaneous living. It is not a programme for you to follow as a set routine in a robotic kind of fashion. It is simply to inspire you to live a more mindful life. To learn to live in the present moment and to show you that it is possible to live a life of spontaneous joy, peace and harmony.
Let us together, step by step, through our daily living, through the love of our hearts and the peace of our minds, touch the souls of others and raise the vibration of the planet so that we may all live in a more peaceful, compassionate and loving world. Namaste ॐ