Spend some time with your own body



One of the saddest things we have all learned from the mainstream media is that there are some bodies to be celebrated and some bodies to be ridiculed — this is a really sad lie that is robbing many of us of the complete and amazing joy of living in a human body.

One of the best things we can learn from mindfulness practice is to come into the actual direct physical sensations of the human body instead of living outside of ourselves and experiencing our own bodies from an outside view, as if watching a movie or a television show in our minds.

When I’m teaching a Mindfulness Meditation class we often do a body scan exercise. This is a meditation practice where we bring attention to different parts of our bodies as a way to focus our attention on the present moment. I always instruct my students during the body scan meditation not to picture their bodies as if they are looking at an image inside their minds, but instead to experience the actual sensations of their body that are going on in the present moment.

Direct physical sensations can be movement, stillness, texture, pain, colour. It can be very active or be nothing at all.

It doesn’t matter what the actual sensation is. What matters is that we take the time to experience what our bodies have to offer us.

Unfortunately, when we feel we aren’t enough or when we think we are inadequate because of the way we look, we can easily end up always scrutinising ourselves, as if other people are looking at us and deciding we don’t measure up.

The truth is mostly no one is looking at us. Mostly everyone is just worried about how they look and how they are perceived. Mostly, we are the only ones looking at ourselves and worrying we aren’t enough.

What mindfulness practice can end is this watching ourselves, as if we are outside of ourselves.

What mindfulness practice can gift us with is the ability to live our lives from the inside of our actual experiences.

When we dedicate ourselves to mindfulness we stop evaluating ourselves with an internal fictional mirror and start to experience ourselves just as we are, in reality.

And this is a good thing because life’s goodness is inside direct experience. This is where pleasure and beauty are waiting for us:

The wind against our skin — this is a favourite of mine — or our hearts pounding in physical exertion, or the feeling of another’s skin against ours, even in a platonic hug.

Or how about warm sheets against our pyjamas, chocolate against our tongues, and a first sip of sweet, milky coffee?

There is so much pleasure every day that our bodies are experiencing, and we miss it simply because we are living outside of our bodies instead of inside our experiences.

No matter what our bodies look like. No matter if they are missing parts or are big or bumpy or little or cause us worry because of certain bodily functionings that aren’t optimal. Our bodies are having experiences every day, and a limited societal definition of what a beautiful body is should never be a reason for anybody not to spend time with their own body.

We are each the only person who can experience the sensations our bodies have to offer — and so there is no excuse not to.

How are you going to spend some time with your body today? Let us know in the comments.


{Photo: Daniel Santalla / StockSnap}

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Ruth Lera

Ruth Lera

Ruth Lera is a mindfulness meditation teacher, energy healer and boreal forest loiterer. She is inspired to write constantly and loves the sense of connection this brings. You can find out more about Ruth at her website, Facebook page, Twitter or YouTube channel (links below)

1 Comment

  1. 16th November 2015 at 10:05 am — Reply

    Thank you for this article, which for me was very appropriate today. I will try to be more mindful of my body, from within, rather than without.

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