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Mindful : June 2013
Where is your mind? Most of us point to our head. The word mindfulness ca n suggest cog nition—some- thing to do with thinking and the brain. But mindful- ness means bringing aware- ness to our whole experience, not just from the neck up. By acknowledging our bodies in meditation, we synchro- nize mind and body and experience ourselves as an integrated whole. When we experience an emotion, we notice how it feels in different parts of our body. That helps when it comes to acting on our feelings. Dismissing our feelings leads us to live out of step with our hearts, and by It’s easy to focus on the negative too much. On the other ha nd, self-help-style positive thinking ca n end up as a superficial pep talk. In contrast, simple appreciation means taking a bit more time to allow things to be just the way they are, without want- ing them to cha nge so much to suit us. If someone is being cold toward us, we see that for what it is, without trying to push it away too hard or sugarcoat it. With this kind of attitude, we can appreciate beauty, warmth, friendship, and joy, but also sadness and anger, loss and illness, difficulty and disappointment. It may go against our conditioning, but increasing our body aware- ness, we have a chance to redress this imbalance. HOW? Slowly scan your body from toe to head, notic- ing each par t and where the tension lies. A practice like this tunes you into the pulses and rhythms of your body a little more. Long-distance runners do this to be aware of how different parts of their body are responding to the effort they’re expending. In everyday life, pausing sev- eral times a day to feel what’s going on in our bodies can free us f rom being caught up in the speed and impor tance of our thoughts. in embracing what’s difficult we hold the key to not letting negative thoughts overwhelm us. Pushing them away just fuels their power. HOW? Sit up and take an uplifted, open, and relaxed posture. Even that little gesture of not slumping and shirking helps us embrace life with more equanimity. We can savor the good things and meet our problems without trying so hard to get rid of, fight, or deny them. What would happen if we cracked a smile when we were depressed? It’s not just awaytogrinandbearitbuta step toward appreciating the inevitable ups and downs of existence. Body Awareness Appreciation in practice 74 mindful June 2013 insight