Gratitude and an inner body scan that’s more than skin deep.
This eyes-open meditation and body scan is inspired by all the walks out in the neighbourhood while we’ve been isolated at home during coronavirus. Having the simple pleasure of time to notice the little things in and around the streets of where we live and even within our houses.
It reminds me of being a tourist in a brand new country. As soon as we land, our eyes are wide open, looking all around and marvelling at the things that we’ve never seen before. Our camera is out, ready to take a photograph of the most simple things. The welcome sign at the airport! An interesting rooftop, or a collection of colourful plants on a windowsill.
In Stephen Batchelor’s book, After Buddhism, he refers to this concept as the ‘everyday sublime.’
The quality of beginner’s mind – the mind of a traveller exploring new sights – that brings unexpected joy; bliss and a reverence for life, even in our own backyard.
So despite isolation; of not being able to travel very far, we can still take a trip at any time, just like the tourist.
– MEDITATION –
Grab your headphones, settle in and hit listen in browser.
Welcome. Today’s practice helps us notice and appreciate the very things right in front of us.
So, spending a few moments setting yourself up. Getting cosy. In whatever position feels appropriate for you for the kind of day you’re having.
And before you close your eyes, take some time to bring yourself fully into your surroundings.
WHAT CAN YOU SEE?
Glancing around at all the things you can see in your midst… Looking at your environment… like you’re a tourist.
What things grab your attention? What things have you never really looked at before in any detail?
Perhaps it’s as ordinary as the weave of the carpet. Or something so basic as the shapes and sharp edges of a remote control. Or some other object that’s right before you.
Just opening your eyes to all the sights like you’ve never been in this place before.
Using the gift of vision to become present and to be open to receiving a glimpse of something quite magical you’ve not ever spotted before. The awe in the ordinary.
EXPERIENCE THE BREATH
So now, if you’d like to do so, you’re welcome to close your eyes.
And make a connection with your breathing however you perceive it best. Taking the inquisitive nature of the tourist to really experience the breath like it’s the first breath.
You might like to place a hand on your tummy… and feel the rise and fall as the oxygen travels in, and the carbon dioxide travels out.
And just like a tourist, taking a snapshot of the in-breath. Maybe at the top.
And a snapshot of the out-breath. Perhaps at the bottom.
scan the BODY
And as you continue to breathe, the next destination on this little itinerary is the body.
And today we’ll explore the body beginning from the outside and travelling in.
FEEL THE SKIN
And so, we’ll start things off with the skin.
Just gently resting your attention on whichever part of the skin is most obvious, or sensitive to you.
Perhaps for you, it’s the hands, or the face, that are exposed to the cool air… or perhaps it’s a place where you can feel a lot of warmth… where the clothes are hugging snuggly against your body.
And breathing into the skin and out through the skin.
Pausing to observe all the different sensations that you can feel on your skin.
DISCOVER THE FLESH
For our next stop, we’ll travel a little deeper. Breathing into the flesh that lies beneath the skin. Inviting an awareness of the tender flesh just underneath. Breathing in and out through this soft layer of the body.
RELAX THE MUSCLES
And breathing more deeply still, going further within, next aware of your muscles… noticing any tightness that your muscles may be experiencing. …And using the breath to ever-so-slightly relax and dissolve this tension.
SCAN THE SPINE
Beyond the muscles lay the bones; like the spine, the ribcage, collar and shoulder bones. Perhaps you’d like to scan the spine… From top, down to bottom, and back up again.
FIND YOUR HEART
And for our final stop the organs. Discovering the kidneys. Lungs. Liver and Heart.
And as we draw to the end of this internal body scan, you might like to place a hand on your heart.
BREATHE IN LIFE
And just breathe. … Breathe life into all the layers of the body, from outside to within. Breathing life into every tiny little cell.
And if you feel like continuing, when you’re ready, transition into your own meditation. Allow the moments unfold … and for thoughts, emotions, and interruptions to be a welcome part of your experience.