Surprisingly, mindfulness and meditation are very much about the body. As usual I wasn’t making the connection until it was pointed out to be in Looking at Mindfulness. As I read the chapter “Inhabit Your Body” I realized how connected the two are. Yet we mostly don’t think about it or unaware of it.
“Body and mind are totally inseparable; neither ever lets go of the other. Calmness in one affects the other, and so does excitement.” True, no?
One of the intriguing things about meditating is that I do focus a good deal on the body. I feel sensations in it and in a vast array of different ways. Until I read this chapter I wasn’t making the connection on the duality of the mind-body relationship while meditating – my mind focusing on my body and its sensations.
Author Christophe Andre says “Body and mind are neither one and the same nor two separate things. They are two different but very closely connected realities. Being aware of the connections between them can teach us a great deal. This is what it means to experience your body.”
And about meditating he says, “Sometimes, when we allow our body to exist for our mind, we feel strange sensations, as though we were leaving our body behind and it was floating, or very heavy, or changing shape.” I’ve experienced this meditating. For whatever reason it is one of the reasons I enjoy it.
The physical practice of yoga on the yoga mat presents opportunities to look at the mind-body connection as well. I have a hard time doing it, but it is becoming increasingly intriguing to me to try to be aware of the connection. When I am being pushed, my body shaking with the effort, what is my mind doing? How can I simply “be” with the feeling watching it. It requires incredible discipline and fortitude. My teacher is guiding me in this and offering the opportunity to practice in class. The first thing she says is to breathe. Then I need to relax. Relax! Dang. But if I can, it helps. Then feel it. Not a problem there. But going forward to watch how I am reacting and simply allow it to be there is really, really tough. Maybe this is why I like it. It is a whole new kind of challenge.