Monday, February 18, 2008

in the body, out of the mind

I am currently reading A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. Sound familiar? Yes, this is the current Oprah book club selection. When Oprah first started her book club, I read a few of her book choices, and as much as a admire Oprah, I quickly realized we have vastly different taste in books. So, I haven't read any of her book choices for years now. However, her newest book club choice, A New Earth, is one I knew I would appreciate. It isn't her traditional fiction choice, but is a non-fiction spiritual guide...just the type of book I find myself drawn to.

I'm posting an excerpt of the book today that focuses on body awareness. For all you yogis out there, this is an integral part of yoga practice: The shedding of the ego (or unconciousness) and the present moment being experienced through becoming aware of the aliveness of our bodies.


Although body-identification is one of the most basic forms of ego, the good news is that it is also the one that you can most easily go beyond. This is done not by trying to convince yourself that you are not your body, but by shifting your attention from the external form of your body and from thoughts about your body--beautiful, ugly, strong, weak, too fat, too thin--to the feeling of aliveness inside it. No matter what your body's appearance is on the outer level, beyond the outer form it is an intensely alive energy field.

If you are not familiar with 'inner body' awareness, close your eyes for a moment and find out if there is life inside your hands. Don't ask your mind. It will say, 'I can't feel anything.' Probably it will also say, 'Give me something more interesting to think about.' So instead of asking your mind, go to the hands directly. By this I mean become aware of the subtle feeling of aliveness inside them. It is there. You just have to go there with your attention to notice it. You may get a slight tingling sensation at first, then a felling or energy or aliveness. If you hold your attention in your hands for a while, the sense of aliveness will intensify. Some people whon't even have to close their eyes. They will be able to feel their 'inner hands' at the same time as they read this. Then go to your feet, keep your attention there for a minute or so, and begin to feel your hands and feet at the same time. Then incorporate other parts of the body--legs, arms, abdomen, chest, and so on--into that feeling until you are aware of the inner body as a global sense of aliveness.

What I call the 'inner body' isn't really the body anymore but life energy, the bridge between form and formlessness. Make it a habit to feel the inner body as often as you can. After a while, you won't need to close your eyes anymore to feel it. For example, see if you can feel the inner body whenever you listen to someone. It almost seems like a paradox: When you are in touch with the inner body, you are not identified with your body anymore, nor are you identified with your mind. This is to say, you are no longer identified with form but moving away from form-identification toward formlessness, which we may also call Being. It is your essence identity. Body awareness not only anchors you in the present moment, it is a doorway out of the prison that is the ego. It also strengthens the immune system and the body's ability to heal itself." (pgs. 52-53)

Very cool, huh? Today, try to experience your daily interactions through your body rather than your mind. This is the only way to truly be out of ego (unconciousness) and in the present moment (all that actually exists).

Just try it. Try practicing being what we were created to be--a spirit-filled, humanbeing rather than a numb, disconnected humandoing.

Have a joyfilled, fully alive, and present day.


1 comment:

a oz said...

I used to get that feeling from running. Nothing like pushing your body to the edge and having it respond to feel alive inside. I think our bodies are amazing and most people do not give them as much credit as they deserve (even myself at times). Once you bring life into the world, it also changes the way you think of your body - in a good way! :-)