How to stop worrying about your body.
One can spend a lot of time worrying about the body.
It’s not very fun, and sometimes it can amplify unpleasant sensations.
And yet we might feel that it’s positive to notice our sensations and to pay attention to our body. I certainly do. I find that it is a useful mirror and a delicate instrument for gauging and experiencing the world around me. It has become the door through which I access life.
So, we pay attention to our sensations and sometimes end up in a place of hypersensitivity that doesn’t exactly feel healthy.
It came to me the other day as I was in the watsu pool, and my mind was just going on about everything that was up for me at the moment. There wasn’t even anything very big or triggering that was going on for me, but my mind was just chewing away. I was getting a bit down on myself for not being here now, and essentially missing out on parts of my session by letting my mind carry me off someplace else. I could feel the difference between living in my thoughts and living in my sensations.
And that’s when it occurred to me!
I realized what the difference is between being with our body in a way that seems to enhance discomfort and being with our body in a way that is deeply nourishing, and sometimes profoundly relieving.
It boils down to this. We can notice our bodies while we’re thinking. And we can notice our bodies without thinking. One is a present moment relationship, an openness. The other is analysis.
Analysis can lead to worry and judgement and also to getting an answer. There is a time and a place for that.
But the practice of being with our body, and feeling sensations in and through our body, without letting any of it lead us into thinking. This is a transformative practice.
It’s easy to go from feeling a sensation to thinking about it, just like it’s easy to sit in meditation being present with the breath and then notice that you’ve actually been carried away by a thought for the last five minutes.
Any time that happens you can just let that go. Any time you find that you’ve switched from feeling the sensations in and through the body, to thinking about those sensations…you can just say to yourself, “Thinking” and come back to relating, without judgement, and without the need to fix or change anything.
It’s very easy to go from feeling a sensation to thinking about that sensation. It happens without us noticing it.
It’s a dead give away that this has happened if you notice that you’re trying to change something.
Of course there are things that we want to fix or change, just as the thoughts our mind chews on can often be about things we’re trying to make some decision about, or figure out in some way. There is room and time enough for both. If you have the urge to analyse or worry about something you’re feeling in your body, you can just set it aside for now. It doesn’t mean you can’t go back to analyzing it later, but you can take a break from that and just be with the sensation. There is value in just being with experience without fixing or changing it.
It’s awfully hard to fix or change something in a useful way until we’ve gotten to know it.
It’s an agitation and an inability, or struggle, to be with what is that causes us to jump into fixing things without clarity and awareness. This gets us into all sorts of trouble. It’s a good idea to just listen for a bit, without judgement, so we can see something that we didn’t see before.
If we can just take in the sensations that the body is offering us, as though we were listening to our friend tell us about their experience, without knowing what’s right or how to fix it–sometimes the body will quietly tell us what it actually needs. Usually it’s one of the many forms of love.
“Postpone result/solution thinking until later; it’s through connection that solutions materialize – empathy before education.”