For the past 2 or so months, I have been learning about and practicing focusing on inner body awareness to achieve a state of stillness in the present moment.
This is where you concentrate on feeling the energy or aliveness in your body. For those of you that don’t yet know how to do this, I will show you later in this post
But first I want to share with you some of the wonderful benefits I have noticed by doing this pretty consistently. Now of course my thinking mind always tries to take over, but I am finding with practice that being present in the moment through inner body awareness gets easier and easier. My hope is that you will give this a try for yourself and make it part of your daily life…
1. I feel calmer.
The first and biggest benefit – This practice is very much helping me in dealing with anxiety. When I am concentrating on feeling my inner body, this overrides any negative thought patterns.
When I dwell in the past I can feel sad and depressed. When I project into the future, I get anxious and freaked out. And either of these choices costs me my life right now.
When I am here right now and can feel the aliveness in my feet, or in my legs, for example, I am anchoring myself firmly in the present. There is never any fear in the present moment when I do this. I am learing that it is always ok in the present.
I have practiced this “live” in public many times, especially when I notice my mind going off to the races with anxiety. Yesterday at work I started feeling anxious out of the blue. Suddenly I had flashes of dread that I wouldn’t be able to make it through the day. None of this is true. This is an old mind pattern that comes up at work when I am vulnerable.
So I noticed that this old pattern of crap was happening. I didn’t bolt in my mind. Instead, I just gently went into my body, where all is well. I experienced my inner energy field. I coupled this with the Triple A Technique. (Learn more about that here)
In the moment, nothing changed, and yet everything changed. I was still in the exact room with the exact coworker. But I no longer put my attention on the dreadful thoughts. I anchored myself firmly in the present moment. I felt my inner energy field, where all is well. It was still just 2 people in a room, but now I was calm and no longer thinking. The dreadful thoughts were gone. I felt pretty darn triumphant. And grateful too of course.
2. I sleep better.
My daughter is leaving for college in 2 weeks and this is a huge change for our family. As I shared with you I have been lamenting about this milestone for years. And I have had a lot of very bad nights where I couldn’t turn off my mind and sleep.
I found that by practicing inner body awareness, I can fall asleep very quickly. This has been such a godsend for me!
What I do is lie on my back and start by doing slow diaphragmatic breathing for a minute or so. Then I start my practice by focusing my attention on my feet. I feel their aliveness and inner energy field for a few moments. then I move my attention to my legs and do the same. Next, I go into my hips. Then the abdomen, chest, shoulders, neck, jaw, and finally the muscles around the eyes.
Without fail I am asleep in no time. And when I wake up in the middle of the night to pee, I do it again and fall back asleep. This is something I could never do in the past. I am so thankful to be able to sleep at night.
3. My bowels are regular
I know this is probably TMI but in case I’m not the only anxious person who has chronic constipation, I just have to give this a mention. I have had to use suppositories almost daily for over 20 years. I could just never ever have a spontaneous poop (unless I had the flu lol!).
Since I started practicing inner body awareness, I haven’t had to use them except once when I was at the beach earlier this summer.
This is life changing for me. I am in utter awe that my body just naturally does what it needs to do every day without any fanfare or preparation on my part. I am now being still enough to actually tune into my body I guess.
All I can say is it is so wonderful, and I thank God every day. When I was riddled with panic and anxiety, I could never relax enough to be able to just go. Ok, enough of that
4. Life feels like a playground
Remember when you were little and everything felt fun and you were just naturally happy? When we grow up we lose this because we live so much in our heads. Anxious people are the Imperial Wizards of living in our heads right? We over-think everything. For me I even do huge stories in my head about things that never even happened. For example, If someone rubbed me the wrong way, I would replay it over and over in my head coming up with clever come backs and zingers to give the offender his or her just deserves to help restore my dignity. All in my head. Exhausting!
When I use my inner body awareness and come back to the present moment, I am living through my body, not the head, and the mind chatter eases off. Where I am right in the moment becomes much more interesting. I can notice sounds and notice that I am looking out from my head. I can feel my lungs gently breathing. This is such a pleasant and peaceful alternative.
For example right now I am watching my fingers type and hear the cool click click clicking on the keyboard. I just took a sip of my steaming black coffee and felt it warm my throat as is went down. So nice!
When I do this “live” at work it makes everything feel fun, kind of like a playground. I just love to observe all the people at work. I love sounds. Like the sounds of voices and people walking. I find myself smiling a lot more.
Here are some tips from true experts on present moment awareness to help you experience this for yourself:
CONNECTING WITH THE INNER BODY, passage from The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle:
“Please try it now. You may find it helpful to close your eyes for this practice. Later on, when “being in the body” has become natural and easy, this will no longer be necessary. Direct your attention into the body. Feel it from within. Is it alive? Is there life in your hands, arms, legs, and feet — in your abdomen, your chest?
Can you feel the subtle energy field that pervades the entire body and gives vibrant life to every organ and every cell? Can you feel it simultaneously in all parts of the body as a single field of energy? Keep focusing on the feeling of your inner body for a few moments. Do not start to think about it. Feel it. The more attention you give it, the clearer and stronger this feeling will become.
It will feel as if every cell is becoming more alive, and if you have a strong visual sense, you may get an image of your body becoming luminous.”
And here is a downloadable audio meditation I found on Oprah.com:
Learning to live in the present moment has been one of the most life changing experiences for me. It has truly taken me from a place where I was living and existing to the best of my ability but always with some underlying dread, to a place where life just feels good and I am feeling that dread less and less.
Please let me know what you think of being present and still by using your inner body as an anchor. I would love for you to give it a try. You so deserve to feel calm in your present moment!
I wish you peace,
image source: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/393924298627595511/