Gentle Mental Nudge

The body…  this body is at the center of mindfulness practice.

Rumi said

Appreciate the wisdom of the body
Each cell alive with spirit, emotion and intelligence.
Ready to help you at any moment,
Always with you and for you

Tsongkhapa wrote

The human body, at peace with itself, is more precious than the rarest gem.  Cherish your body, it is yours this one time only. The human form is won with difficulty, it is easy to lose.  All worldly things are brief, like lightning in the sky; This life you must know as the tiny splash of a raindrop; A thing of beauty that disappears even as it comes into being.  Therefore set your goal and make use of every day and night to achieve it.

Kabir cautioned against being drawn into wanting. Advising

Be strong then, and enter into your own body; there you have a solid place for your feet. Think about it carefully! Don’t go off somewhere else!

In a recent yoga class I attended Eileen used the kernel of Dorothy Hunt’s wonderful poem Peace is this moment without judgment as the theme to teach the class. In the next class, a day or two later, the teacher Alison responded to the request by one yogi to focus on hands, and another who asked about feet by devoting the entire class to practices for hands and feet.

While mindfulness practice is not easy (after a lifetime of creating patterns of interacting with the world), it can be heartening to remember that becoming present can be as simple as pausing. Taking a conscious breath. And actually feeling your feet. Or feeling your hands. Perhaps without looking at them ask yourself ‘How do I know I have hands? How do I know I have feet?’ And letting your your facility of Interoception (the sense which allows us to feel our inner body) answer the question.

Or just taking a moment or two to collect attention to physical sensations. When all of your attention is feeling the body, it’s not busy with I want or I don’t want or I like or don’t like. You are present. If only for a breath or two. And that’s a start.

Steve Taylor included this in his poem The Alchemy of Attention This morning, making breakfast for the kids I catch myself daydreaming and with a gentle mental nudge Remind myself of where I am And straight away the kitchen clutter turns to spacious presence

The Kabir passage concludes just throw away all thoughts of imaginary things, and stand firm in that which you are.