May My Body Be Happy
This week we return to the practice known as “Body Scan Meditation”. After spending last week engaged in Loving Kindness at each of the CMP community sessions, and with Valentine’s Day coming up this week, we are reminded of a variation of the Body Scan practice that blends Body Scan and Loving Kindness.
Traditionally the practice known as “Body Scan” is a mind-focusing practice in which we place our attention on parts of the body and attend to any sensations that may arise there. In doing this, we are practicing holding our attention on an object of our choosing, we are unlearning the habit of letting the mind fill in blanks and, instead, noting what we are actually observing in the moment, and we are building the skill of being fully present for our embodied lives. Done the tradtional way, the practice supports physical and mental well-being.
In Sharon Salzberg’s wonderful book, Real Love (on the CMP recommended books list) she describes a variation on this practice that she learned from a 94 year-old Sri Lankan monk. Rather than simply moving systematically through the body and observing the sensations that are directly discernible, you offer a wish to each part of the body: “May my ears be happy; may they be peaceful”…. “May my shoulders be happy; may they be peaceful”. In another variation, you can also thank each part of the body for its contribution to your well-being, and, for areas that are uncomfortable, offer words of support such as, “Thank you, left knee. I know you are doing the best you can right now. May you be at peace.”
Both of these variations move away a bit from the pure mindfulness practice of the traditional body scan, but taking a moment to attend to our body with kindness and love can feel incredibly restorative.
If this is a bridge too far for you into the land of touchy-feely, then by all means stick with the traditional body scan. But if you’d like to offer your physical being some kindness and care, try sending a loving wish for well-being or a message of gratitude and support to each area of your body.
Please join us this week as we practice tuning into our physical experience.
May all beings everywhere, without exception, feel an embodied sense of peace and happiness,
Your friends at CMP
Community Sits This Week:
Monday 6:30 PM Ridgefield Library, 472 Main Street, Ridgefield
Monday 7:30 PM Sama Yoga 45 Grove Street New Canaan
Tuesday 1:00 PM Ferguson Library, 1 Public Library Plaza, Stamford*
Wednesday 12:00 PM New Canaan Library, 151 Main Street, New Canaan
* Made possible by a grant from Bankwell
Guided Meditation Recordings:
For a discussion on Body Scan Meditation, see our Resources page.