The Aliveness of Presence

Our body is a masterpiece of the cosmos. Our body carries within it the stars, the moon, the universe, and the presence of all our ancestors. How many millions of years of evolution has it taken to give rise to these wondrous two eyes, legs, feet, and hands? Countless life-forms are supporting our existence in this moment. Reconnecting with our physical body takes only a few moments of stopping and breathing with awareness.
Thich Nhat Hanh.

The in-the-body-ness of children is often evident to us in an unrepressed expressiveness, aliveness and here-and-now-ness in their movement and play. You can see how they are in their legs and feet as they stomp in puddles, in their hands as they mold the cookie dough.

Our relationship to our body is influenced by how others view our body and how we respond to that view. When our spontaneity is too much for others around us or considered inappropriate to where we are, in school for example, we learn we are supposed to control our bodies, reinforcing the belief that our body is an object. We come to look at our body from inside our mind and stay in contact with only a small portion of the immediacy, the richness and the subtlety of our body experience.

Coming back into the aliveness of our bodies doesn’t mean that we follow our instinctual impulses as a child does, but that we attend to the body’s sensate self-awareness, the condition of consciousness that is natural to the body, which we have distanced from by living in our idea of our body. Coming fully into our body is a way to enter into presence, the palpable essence of our beingness. Presence in the body is often felt as a tingling humming alive fullness, a cellular sense of being awake and here right now.

Practice: Expanding Awareness Through Walking.

As you walk, sense into your feet – the soles, arches, toes, tendons, muscles, skin, the contact with your shoes. What is the texture and angle of the ground you are walking on? Feel the continual shifting of weight as your legs, pelvis and spine adapt to the surface and to the pace and rhythm of your walk. How does the rest of your body engage – your torso, arms, neck and head, the inner organs, the heart? You might like to walk slowly, as in walking meditation practice, or stroll barefoot on the earth or grass, but you can just as easily attend to this in your ongoing daily activity. What happens to your awareness if you stay in your feet and legs as you go about your shopping, your errands and tasks, moving from room to room in your house, standing in the shower?

New Rain Online: Awakening Awareness and Presence Through the Body-April 2022

This site is best viewed in vertical mode.
Please rotate your device 90°.