Mind and Body
By its very nature, mindfulness focuses mostly on what is going on in your mind. The aim is to build awareness of yourself in the present moment.
However, it does not stop there as far as awareness of self is concerned. If you mind is the subject for consideration, your body is also an important object.
The fact is that we are pretty much fully unaware of most of the sensations we pick up from different parts of our bodies all the time. We only concentrate on a few that seem particularly important at any time or that may be catching our attention.
For example. How much attention do you normally pay to the sole of your foot? What if it gets itchy or someone tickles it? A rather different answer.
How much attention do you normally pay to your teeth, even when eating? What if you have a toothache? Again a very different answer.
Your mind is filled with the memory and make-believe that is the past and the future while ignoring most of the information your body is giving you in the present.
This needs to be addressed. We have already looked at something a bit similar on Day 4 with the Breathing Meditation. But your body is much more than just your breathing and mindfulness requires much more than just awareness of breathing.
So we want to extend the awareness to all parts of the body and all the senses. This is a more difficult element to do effectively and it will be the subject of the tasks for the next few days. But we’ll make a start today.
Task for Today
The task for today is to begin to pay attention to your body and all the sensations you can feel.
First, sit or lie in a comfortable place and repeat the breathing meditation from Day 4.
If you are finding it difficult to keep your mind focused then either continue to try to do so for a while or else leave it, get up for a few minutes and then return and start again.
Start with your feet. What are they touching? Describe it to yourself – is it hard or soft, hot or cold?
The same for your legs, torso, arms, shoulders, neck and head.
Focus on each part of your body for a few seconds and then move on. Describe the sensations in each to yourself, but don’t start an internal commentary.
As ever, if your mind begins to wander or analyse what you are experiencing then simply note this and come back to the exercise.
Don’t worry if you don’t seem to get much out of this today. It can be one of the most difficult exercises and that’s why we will concentrate on this topic for a few days.
Now do a routine task in a mindful manner.