Building awareness - Meta-Bodyscan
To me the foundation of all energy work is awareness. Our culture is a materialist culture that values intellect and rational thought over the information we gain from feeling, sensation and body. We live in our heads, see the brain as the seat of consciousness and sight as the sense to be trusted (seeing is believing). We have a distrust of emotions and irrational ways of knowing and are expected to rise above and/or ignore them in important matters and in professional settings. Historically we have accepted a split between body and spirit, the body and it's desires and needs have been viewed as lower and sinful. Though religion in western culture has given way to science as the dominant way of understanding the world and ourselves, this separation of matter and spirit is still fundamental. Science ignores matters of spirit - love, kindness, life, intuition, feeling are all largely excluded from scientific models and study. This assumed separation and 'otherness' leads us to disassociate ourselves from other forms of life and from 'other' races, sexes, cultures and interest groups. We tend to refer to 'nature' as something other than ourselves and see ourselves as separate from other life on the planet, and from the planet itself. This sense of separation is fundamental to our experience of ourselves and our world. It allows the seemingly endless forms of exploitation, abuse, violence and cruelty that we have created. It leaves us feeling lonely and hopeless, disconnected. It is what has led us to the precipice on which we now stand.
But this worldview is not the only human worldview on the planet, it is just the one that has become dominant.
Many indigenous people experience the seat of consciousness in the heart or the belly - they think from these places. Science is finding now that we do have neurons in both of those locations, and they produce neurotransmitters and have been observed responding to stimuli before the brain responds. This understanding is embedded in our language - follow your heart, go with your gut - as is the implicit understanding that sometimes these 'brains' know better than the rational intellect of our heads.
When we refocus our awareness from the head towards the heart and the belly, our understanding of the world, and of our place in it, changes. We experience ourselves as part of a world that is alive with the same life that we are. We are no longer 'other' but woven into a web that is so rich and abundant it is overwhelming. We find our ground and our home.
We become aware that though our solidity seems to make us separate, our lived experience tells us we exist in a unified flow of energy that has no hard edges with gaps between 'things', but rather we are an integral part in an ebb and flow of information and experience that rises and falls as waves and cycles like the ocean and the seasons.
Growing this awareness is a life long practise and there are a myriad of ways to engage with its development. Equally the simplest technique if practiced regularly can be enough for a lifetime's exploration. I offer here a basic body scan here that combines bringing awareness to the body with developing an attitude of loving kindness (meta) to oneself. These are the two practices I learned first, they are the most powerful and the foundation of any other meditation or energy based practise or healing technique.
The session is 45 minutes. Make yourself comfortable some where you will not be disturbed if possible. If sitting be comfortable, but the more upright the better in terms of energy flow and maintaining attention. It's ok to change position if you get uncomfortable, try and do so with awareness. If you choose to lie you may well find you sleep if you are not used to this sort of practice. That's fine and it's ok to use this as a way to go to sleep. It is also of benefit to practise in order to build the ability to be present and deeply aware in the body too so try practising at other times as well. I have layered sound healing instruments under the voice to help support the process. I hope that this is a practise that is supportive to you in many ways.
You may find you get distracted during the practice. That is to be expected, simply bring your attention back to the practice once you notice you have gone off somewhere else. Notice if you have judgmental thoughts about being distracted, but try and notice them in a detached way as if you were noticing clouds in the sky, then return to body focus. You may find resistance, tension arising or frustration – annoyance with a sound or word that is used – this is normal too. We hold a lot of feeling in our bodies that we were not able to process or express at the time. We have retreated into our heads in order not to experience them, so bringing awareness into the tissues of our bodies can allow those feeling to move through us – sometimes we can find ourselves reluctant to allow that process for fear of becoming overwhelmed. The amazing alchemy of awareness though will allow the feeling to move as sensation and then dissipate leaving us feeling lighter and with more energy. So if you can engage and stay with it until it’s gone. There is a wisdom in the body that will allow only what is ready to move and what you can handle to arise into awareness. Trust the process and trust the body. Don’t hestaite to contact me if you have any questions.