This post outlines my findings from week 2 of the mindfulness course.
This week our home practice was the Body Scan. This is entirely different to Mindfulness of Breath meditation. The practice is to move the spotlight of attention to different areas of the body from the feet to the head tuning in to the sensations that you might find there. I don't seem to have many sensations in my body to rest my attention on, apart from my feet on the floor, my hands and my always painful neck and shoulders. It seems I cannot drop the anchor of attention anywhere else physically than the ends of me!
It’s important to recognize that the body scan is not a relaxation exercise—the point is not to feel calm (and particularly not to try to feel calm). The prime intention of a body scan is to incline the mind into sensory experience—to experience how it is to “be a body".
I can take my awareness to other parts of my body but I register very little. And with that my mind is soon ranging as it has nothing to hold on to. However, you might find the Body Scan meditation preferable to the Mindfulness of Breath meditation. Many of my fellow MBSR course attendees are getting on fine with it. Moving the attention for them is easier than concentrating the attention in one place. Perhaps each of us has a "Goldilocks" anchor and related mindfulness meditation that is just right. 0730hrs in the bath at a friend's No time today to sit and practice this morning so I took my phone into the bathroom and tried doing the Body Scan whilst I lay in the bath. Wow, this is really different, so many sensations to notice - heat, water, bath itself - that distract me from my body. But, it seems I can meditate in a bath. Outcomes and findings Whichever object we are to concentrate on, it seems the process is the same. We turn our attention inwards and scout for a particular sensation in the body, whether it is where we experience the breath or sensing a body part such as our feet.
We seek the sensation and eventually we find it. We then focus our attention there. I like giving thanks at the end of the Body Scan meditation. I feel grateful for my aliveness. I am allowing time for my practice now, it has not felt forced this week. I don't mind if my routine is 5 minutes off on work mornings. I want to practice. I have noticed that actions of others that really used to irritate me (like the sound of people in the apartment above me) have lessened their hold on me. My response is now muted or even absent. I feel very centred.