Our bodies are a crossroads of different trajectories: culture, race, gender, class, religion, etc. Most of the time we judge our body according to some outer criteria: how it performs at given tasks, how it looks, how well it fulfills our expectations.
We rarely stop and appreciate the body just the way it is.
On top of that, urban life forces us to move in pre-designed patterns of streets and public transportation routes, following the rhythm of the traffic and the pulse of the street. It is easy to fade out and switch to automatic pilot while rushing through the crowd to get from A to B.
Do you sometimes feel that rushing like this means you're missing something important?
Rushing from one place to the next, constantly falling behind and catching up....we miss nothing less than our life itself, as it unfolds in us, moment to moment.
The way to reclaim our life is by practicing mindfulness.
Here's a simple but powerful inquiry I invite you try out:
Stand in front of a mirror and watch your reflection for a while. Listen carefully to the narrative unfolding in your mind while you're doing this.
How do I feel in my body?
Then close your eyes and tune inwards, into the inner landscape of your body. Watch internally for some time. Feel your feet touching the ground, feel your legs holding you, feel the softness of your belly, the breath in your chest, your arms hanging freely, your head centered..
Listen to what is happening inside.
What's the difference between these two perspectives on your body?
Which one feels more true?
Being aware of the body from within, non-judgmentally, with kindness, moment to moment is one of the most effective ways to practice mindfulness.
You can do this anywhere, anytime.
Pick one simple action:
walking in the street
standing while waiting for a train
taking a shower...
and wholeheartedly do just that, knowing that you're doing it. This 'knowing' is not an intellectual kind of knowing, but a direct experience of what is.
When you're walking, know that you're walking.
When you're standing, know that you're standing.
When you're sitting, know that you're sitting...and so on.
Yes, it is. But it's not always easy!
The mind likes to jump from one thing to another, dealing with past events and future worries. We are rarely able to do just one thing at a time. So, whenever you notice that you're all over the place, doing one thing and thinking and feeling something else, stop for a moment. Just gently stop. Let go of the inner narrative. Find your breath and come back to whatever the body is doing.
Be aware of your body from within.
Be the body.
Notice. Stop. Come back to the here and now.
With practice, you will be able to notice more often when you're not in the here and now.
The present moment is where your life is happening. Don't miss it!