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What is mindfulness of the body?

I'm pretty sure I would have to focus on what I touch and stuff but does that also include paying attention to every movement? I really don't know.

Comments

  • It is possible to develop physical awareness or body centered understanding of mind correspondences to quite a minute level.

    ... however in the spirit of the question, you can explore what effect a mind state is having on the body. Where is your negative feeling? Where is your agitation?

    In particular for Buddhists, how is your anger or stress effecting your breathing?

    Swaroop
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem Samsara Loop Veteran
    edited April 2016

    Here and now are two magical words to understand mindfulness of any of the five skandhas.

    Being mindful is simply observing your life as it happens, without having your mind straying elsewhere in the past or the future.
    Acknowledging thoughts as they arise without feeling compelled to act upon them.
    Being present in your body this very second, right here.

    It is not as complicated as it sounds, though it takes some practice: sort of living your life one breath at a time.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    edited April 2016

    I have found it is something that takes some time to develop but has life-changing consequences as far as how you operate your life on a regular basis. I really can't say I did anything in particular to make it happen, but I credit yoga with a lot of it. Body scan meditation helps as well, and tunes you in to what your body is like at any given moment. The human body is an amazing thing, and when you take the time to stop and contemplate all those workings, it's kind of mind blowing. Like contemplating the size of the universe.

    I know my body pretty well, and feel in tune with it most of the time. Knowing better what is going on leads to changes in the decisions I make. Just like being led by the nose by monkey mind prior to learning meditation, I was often led by the nose by my cravings and sensations in the body. But not anymore, because I can tell the difference and make better choices. I've been meditating for about 5 years now, but the mind-body connection didn't come until I started doing yoga 2 years ago. But I also do a lot of reading on how the body works and I can base my decisions on that, too. I might crave particular junk foods when I have PMS but now that I understand why, and the effects eating those foods has I know to avoid them and make other choices so that I don't feel even worse.

    We tend to run our bodies on autopilot with little attention to the details. When you walk, do you just swing your limbs without any thought? Or do you slow down and actually feel what your bones, joints, and muscles are doing? Because when you do so you'll notice that your one foot lands differently than another, and it's probably due to a weak butt muscle. And then you can fix it, so that when you walk your knees don't hurt. All those connections are so important to how well our bodies function. you don't have to do it 24 hours a day. But stopping to do it on occasion will bring changes automatically.

    lobster
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited April 2016

    It doesn't mean you have to second-guess every movement, every gesture. It's more about not being distracted while you attend to tasks, and being in the moment, generally. Breathe, and be aware of your surroundings, the sunny day, the breeze cooling you, the birds in the trees, the cars driving by, as you walk down the street, vs. daydreaming and not paying attention. It means breathe, slow down and observe the act of washing dishes, the sensations, the warm water flowing over your hands and the dishes, rather than thinking about the next chore, or having the radio or TV going to distract you from the task. Washing dishes, or walking down the street can be a meditation, rather than something to get out of the way so you can move on to the next thing.

  • meteorshower01meteorshower01 Manila Explorer

    I hope this would help and if not, to those who knew better, I hope someone can.

    Personally, Mindfulness of body on its physical aspect is to know what you are doing. If your sitting, are you sitting straight? If feeling a sensation on a particular body, just feel it, where is it coming from exactly, can you identify how its making you feel? and the list goes on.. There is a technique in mediation called "Mindful Meditation" ..BUT I strongly suggest, dont go ahead and do it ok? =) If your doing mediation now, it would be better to ask your spiritual teacher. In any case asking a spiritual teacher to help and guide you would be the best thing to do.

    There are scriptures about mindfulness as well that you can read about and Im sure those will help

  • sovasova delocalized fractyllic harmonizing great lakes Veteran

    @dooksta123 said:
    I'm pretty sure I would have to focus on what I touch and stuff but does that also include paying attention to every movement? I really don't know.

    If you stretch out, in that moment you can become really aware of the heat/tension/burn in a particular muscle. I think of it kinda like that. There are techniques you can use to cultivate it and they're rather wonderful, because bodily awareness is something aside from sight, and mostly aside from sound. There are very subtle soundings of the body such as your heart-beat, your blood flowing, your nervous system humming. Very very subtle sensations within the body. Generally, the approach is to develop a broad or enveloping sense of all the different areas of your body, surface-level and within that. Temperature is kinda like the body energy.

    I'll attach a funky image I just found today that kinda helps me understand what mindfulness of body really alludes to.

    This is sorta just a collection of my thoughts on the matter so may they serve you well.

    Basically, we can feel on some coarse level and with some focus of attention, our body gently vibrating all the time. It happens everywhere and this vibration is actually independent of sight. Close your eyes: where are your feet? Close your eyes. Where are your knees?

    There are some bodyscan meditations (where you use noting / subtle mental labeling to climb up or down the physical body) and they are very helpful for developing a sense of bodily resonance.

    Yoga and the suchlike (stretching) are very helpful because as your bodily pliancy improves, so does your mental and vocal pliancy. It's really wonderful.

    So I suppose part 1 is awareness: try doing everyday motions in slow-motion. Take 20 minutes walking up your stairwell and really try and be with every subtle shift in sensation.

    part 2 is becoming a ninja via relaxed-aware stretches

    You can always ask yourself "what color is this sensation, or what is the texture like?" It's really about improving sensitivity and in doing so one improves their sensitivity and awareness of the world and their own experience as it's being.

    Namaste, hope you find some usefulness in these haggard syllables.

  • sovasova delocalized fractyllic harmonizing great lakes Veteran

    @dooksta123 said:
    I'm pretty sure I would have to focus on what I touch and stuff but does that also include paying attention to every movement?

    If you stretch out, in that moment you can become really aware of the heat/tension/burn in a particular muscle. I think of it kinda like that. There are techniques you can use to cultivate it and they're rather wonderful, because bodily awareness is something aside from sight, and mostly aside from sound. There are very subtle soundings of the body such as your heart-beat, your blood flowing, your nervous system humming. Very very subtle sensations within the body. Generally, the approach is to develop a broad or enveloping sense of all the different areas of your body, surface-level and within that. Temperature is kinda like the body energy.

    I'll attach a funky image I just found today that kinda helps me understand what mindfulness of body really alludes to.

    This is sorta just a collection of my thoughts on the matter so may they serve you well.

    Basically, we can feel on some coarse level and with some focus of attention, our body gently vibrating all the time. It happens everywhere and this vibration is actually independent of sight. Close your eyes: where are your feet? Close your eyes. Where are your knees?

    There are some bodyscan meditations (where you use noting / subtle mental labeling to climb up or down the physical body) and they are very helpful for developing a sense of bodily resonance.

    Yoga and the suchlike (stretching) are very helpful because as your bodily pliancy improves, so does your mental and vocal pliancy. It's really wonderful.

    So I suppose part 1 is awareness: try doing everyday motions in slow-motion. Take 20 minutes walking up your stairwell and really try and be with every subtle shift in sensation.

    part 2 is becoming a ninja via relaxed-aware stretches

    You can always ask yourself "what color is this sensation, or what is the texture like?" It's really about improving sensitivity and in doing so one improves their sensitivity and awareness of the world and their own experience as it's being.

    Namaste, hope you find some usefulness in these haggard syllables.

    lobsterShoshin
  • Great answers, guys. I appreciate knowing what are the important things to focus on. But now I made a bad habit of paying attention to every movement when I'm trying to be mindful and it's getting distracting. lol But I get the point. Thanks.

    Shoshin
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @dooksta123 said:
    I'm pretty sure I would have to focus on what I touch and stuff but does that also include paying attention to every movement? I really don't know.

    Ideally, yes. This is how it's described in the Satipatthana Sutta:

    "Furthermore, when walking, the monk discerns, 'I am walking.' When standing, he discerns, 'I am standing.' When sitting, he discerns, 'I am sitting.' When lying down, he discerns, 'I am lying down.' Or however his body is disposed, that is how he discerns it.
    "Furthermore, when going forward & returning, he makes himself fully alert; when looking toward & looking away... when bending & extending his limbs... when carrying his outer cloak, his upper robe & his bowl... when eating, drinking, chewing, & savoring... when urinating & defecating... when walking, standing, sitting, falling asleep, waking up, talking, & remaining silent, he makes himself fully alert."
    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.010.than.html

    lobsterdooksta123
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