MBSR Class is currently working with body scan practice. The body scan, like most things we find daunting, is just a series of moments, and moments themselves aren’t all that complicated. These are my left toes….this is my right knee….these are my fingertips….this is my chin.
But let’s be realistic. Most of us are not used to the body scan’s pace (really slow) or the subject matter (this body). We often face the unfamiliar with a worried quality of mind, like: “I’m not used to this–I’ve got all this other stuff to do…..this is really wacko…what will people think….jeeminy how long is this going to take”….fill in the blanks for yourself. How can we work skillfully with our thinking to make the body scan more accessible?
One way is “beginner’s mind”….deciding to approach each moment (ie. right knee, now) as if for the very first time, with openness and curiosity. Like this:
“Hmmm, what is going on in this knee right now?”
Forget how goofy this may sound….remember you don’t have to justify it to anyone, and your MBSR classmates, (past present and future) are in it with you!
Another way to work skillfully with thinking is simply to notice thoughts as they arise…( a story, a memory, a grocery list…) and, gently redirect attention back to body scanning:
“What is happening here with this knee ? What is happening here with this hip? And what are we having for dinner?…..oops, what is happening here with this hip?…..pork chops? baked or grilled….gravy would sure taste good….. oops, now what is here in the hip?…….etc.”
Simple but not easy! That is why we practice in class. And why we practice with recorded instructions at home. Hang in there…….the body scan has much to teach. New skills will emerge.
Try a body scan here:
Art credit: achurchforstarvingartists.com