Our culture disconnects us from our bodies. We have to relearn that connection along with the connection to our emotions and other people.
If you don’t think this is correct, ask yourself when was the last time that you felt the feeling in your feet from walking along, or even, when was the last time you were aware of your feet at all?
For our first foray into this new world of bodily self-awareness we shall try a little exercise that has been popularised by Eckhart Tolle.
Sit in your favoured meditation position. Hold your hands out, almost parallel in front of you but slightly higher than your shoulders with your arms extended.
Close your eyes and ask yourself how you *know* that your hands are connected to your body.
You should feel your hands now more directly and fully than you will have, possibly for a long time. You may feel tingling, you may feel the blood flowing in your hands and the life in them. Just do this for a few moments then stop.
Now take your shoes off, let your feet rest on the floor and allow yourself to feel, not the floor but the feeling in your feet and see if you can find similar sensations in your feet to the ones you did with your hands.
You are focusing your attention on your feet. You are now actually fully aware of your feet, possibly for a number of us, for the first time ever…
Now move the focus of your attention, body part by body part, slowly up your body leaving your attention on that body part for a few seconds each time so that you allow yourself to be fully aware of it.
As you move your attention, allow that body part to relax. Allow yourself to feel the tension leave your body. For parts of the body that carry a lot of stress such as the shoulders and neck leave your attention there for long enough to enable it to completely relax.
Move along your body, relaxing as you go: feet, ankles, calves, knees, thighs etc. When you get to your neck move the focus of your attention to your head and face then back to your neck and finally your hands.
If you’re doing a body scan alone then it’s now finished but if you’re doing it as an initial technique in your meditation routine you can now move the focus I your attention directly to your breath and continue.
That is a body scan.