Releasing the Fight and finding Freedom
In this enews I'd like to share with you a "new" body-centered meditation that emerged when working with a client a few months ago. I call it the Body Surrender Meditation.
It helps train us in releasing an ongoing, sometimes quiet, sometimes loud fight we have with our bodies and promises a way to experience freedom! It helps train our parasympathetic nervous system which governs our body & mind's capacity for rest, rejuvenation and relaxation!
I put quotes around "new" because the day after I excitedly presented this "new" meditation at one of my workshops I led at Psychotherapy Networker Symposium two weeks ago, I attended a workshop by Rick Hanson, the author of Buddha's Brain, and he led a meditation that felt similar.
I considered this as a confirmation of "I'm on the right path" with this meditation approach in that I have tremendous respect for Rick who as a neuropsychologist and meditator has linked the best of neuroscience research with meditation, mind-body health and consciousness.
By the way, I encourage you to read his book I mentioned above--very readable, enlightening and practical. You can also sign up to receive his weekly simple "buddha-development" (my term) practices at Rick's website
Also as I little aside, Rick and I co-presented a keynote presentation event called The Dancing Brain where movement meets neuroscience. It was a pure joy sharing this collaborative event with him--we had just met each other moments before we co-presented and the dance of co-teaching was a joy--our mirror neurons danced well together.
Now onto my "new" Body Surrender Meditation which encompasses two basic steps:
1. Be aware of body feelings
2. "Surrender" into the feelings
Body Surrender Meditation Here's the first step:
sit comfortably and lengthen through your body as your sit bones sit firmly upon your chair or cushion
open your mind's awareness to body sensations and feelings (consider your body like a movie with many characters on the screen and speaking--notice which part of your body, which character gets your attention)
Here's the second step:
with your observing mind surrender into your body experience.
the way to do this is by intimately sensing the area of your body you have been called to visit--feel the texture and quality of the feeling and sensations (whether its tight, rigid, heavy, thick, open, free, light, spacious etc.)
surrender by giving up whatever fighting against, resisting or desire to change your body experience you discover
instead try on the idea or intention of "being with this body feeling for an hour"--really say to your body--"Hello tightness in my belly, I'm just going to be with you for an hour".
trying this mental framework "of an hour" sets a tone of patience and tolerance. Using time as a tool is very powerful here. even if you truly only have 5 minutes for this meditation, hold in your mind that those 5 minutes with your "tight gut" could be imagined as a full hour so you can luxuriate in time.
here are some key "anchors" to help you release the fight to your body and open to freedom within
notice if the energy in the part of your body you are surrendering to is "stuck" or "free"--to the degree its stuck, give up the fight to make it "be free" or the tendency to criticize it or reject it in any way--instead surrender into the stuckness "for now"
notice the breath quality inherent within this sensation--is it shallow or deep and simply be with the breath rhythm and feeling
notice any images that may emerge out of this release into your body experience
notice any emotions that may emerge and release into the emotion; let tears flow or the heat of anger to rise
notice the "felt" messages that may emerge from your body like "I'm so sad", "I'm angry" etc
lastly, notice any shifts in this part of your body as a result of anchoring into the diverse flow of experiences connected to this body area.
In doing this practice you are allowing your body to process what it needs to digest and process. You are also training your mind or awareness to follow the lead of your body! You are transforming the habit of living from the head and instead you are befriending your body. Stay tuned for next issue where I will present Body Surrender Yoga flow. Enjoy the practice of being, being you! Warmly and buddhafully, Dan