It’s easy to associate our “being” with what goes on in our heads.
It’s where all the loud action is, right?
It’s where we think, plan, dream, and create. It’s also where we worry, plot, scheme, and fear.
Let’s face it, the mind can be a hot mess.
So, we turn to mindfulness as the antidote to the mess in our minds.
We try to quiet the mind. We try to tame it and get it under control.
To a degree this is helpful, but the mind is designed to do all the things it does. It’s designed to be alert, to scan and then evaluate what’s going on around us. It’s meant to analyze and make up meanings for things.
It’s not going to stop doing those things. Those things are its job.
The first level of mindfulness is the body, not the mind.
Mindfulness of the body is where it begins.
This was news to me. I always thought of mindfulness as occurring above the body. Or a tool to use to detach from the body and its actions.
Approaching it from the top down like that though is like trying to build a building from the top down, and seriously, who would try that?
We start with mindfulness of the body because we need a sense of solidity. We need to be grounded in our foundation. Those senses come from the body.
That’s what mindfulness of the body gives us.
There’s suffering in the body.
A lot of people have complicated relationships with their bodies.
Too fat, too skinny, too tall, too short, too slow, scarred, marked, aching, poorly functioning….
Our bodies can feel heavy. They can weigh us down. They can get sick and break down. They eventually decline, as our spiritual youth remains intact.
Not too many people are comfortable and at peace with the body. And staring at yourself in the mirror and marveling over what a beautiful specimen you are isn’t comfortable peace either.
So we detach from the body. We live in the head.
After all, that’s where all that delicious drama resides. Like a dog with a good bone, it’s nearly irresistible.
The mind, though, is dominated by fear and insecurity.
It’s assessments and computations are so fast, we don’t even know we’re manufacturing what we think is reality.
The mind demands our attention, and when we try to ignore it, it gets louder.
All that loud noise in the mind makes it hard to hear the inner wisdom that comes from your heart.
If you’re not connected with your body, you’re not connected with your heart.
Your body is where your wisdom resides.
Your gut. You heart. Those centers have their own nerve centers that send signals to every cell of your body. You have a gut brain and a heart brain.
The head brain is go-go-go and buzzing like a bunch of monkeys with espresso while the gut and the heart brains are calm and centered.
They’re the strong silent types. I picture a large sumo wrestler. He doesn’t have to make a scene. He can just stand there, and you know by his presence not to mess with him.
Add mindfulness of the body to your wellness routine.
Spend quiet time visiting with the parts of your body. Are there parts that have been sick or cause you pain?
Spend extra time with them. What do they need from you? What do they want you to know? Send love, gratitude, and forgiveness to them.
Connect with your heart. What does it want to tell you? Ask your heart the questions you haven’t been able to answer in your head.
Feel your connection to the Earth. Feel how strong and stable it is beneath you. Feel supported by it.
If your head brain tries to crash the party, tell it gently but firmly you’re spending time alone with your heart right now.
Mindfulness, after all, isn’t meant to be spent in your mind.
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