The invitation is to particularly attend to your body in this stage of our process.
If you can, spend time every day in some kind of mindful awareness of your body. Attend to sensation: what you can feel of breath, pulse, chemical flow, energetic flow. Track subtle internal movements. Observe how change in one area – a thought, say, can trigger a cascade of sensations. These may be very subtle things to notice at first, so find ways to stay curious. Perhaps this is helpful – the more I do this, the more I experience this kind of attention as deeply pleasurable, softly sensual – it’s almost as if the body is purring, just by being noticed so closely. Paying attention to the feeling of the heart, and the feeling that comes from smiling, I have found to be particularly rewarding.
And I’ll write here for reference the Somatic Guide I mentioned in our first session:
- Move slowly: find the sensual, an internal sense of intimacy and alignment
- Become aware of your back body: lean back, take your attention to the skin and muscles of the neck, the back, the back of the arms, legs, and feet.
- Notice any anxiety you might be carrying in your breath or posture and soften, with kindness
- Experience the sensuality of the writing act itself – the pen in the hand, the swirl of ink
Part of my delight in presenting this course is the chance to introduce you some truly extraordinary teachers. I acknowledge that it’s beyond my skill and experience to curate this into some kind of step-by-step revelatory process. I acknowledge too that I will be sharing the work of some teachers whose bodies of work are vast, immersive, requiring great time and commitment. They will, therefore, be tantalising glimpses down paths that weave through the field of knowledge we are exploring. We are all taking walks through the same pasture, tall and lush and nutritious, having come in from many different terrains. We will shape paths through the grasses. Perhaps lovely patterns will be seen in this field from high above.
It feels easy to trust your maturity, curiosity and respectfulness – to meet these teachers with gratitude for their wisdom and generosity, knowing that to dip in is just that – yet even a brief meeting with a true teacher can change us.
With that preamble, I offer you the beautiful work of a teacher of mine, zen practitioner Corey Hess. His emphasis on and skilful explanations of embodiment finally made zen real for me, and connected it to many other paths of being in the body with grace and integrity. He has many wonderful short pieces on his website – many that go straight to the core of what co-becoming feels like, and how it might be lived as a way of being.
This post is an exciting place to start.
I also highly recommend the profound work of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhist teacher Reggie Ray. Doing his guided meditations into the cellular life of the body dramatically affected my capacity to be with the world, our expansive body, in a relaxed way. There’s a taster of his work here.
If you have the chance, I would like to introduce you to a wonderful exercise from the Bodyweather school of dance. The invitation is to go outside and find a comfortable place to lie on the earth. Then, set a timer for half an hour, and close your eyes. Now, take that entire time to roll over. In other words, move very very slowly, attending closely to each sensation. It can be surprisingly tricky and clunky to move that slowly, so don’t give yourself a hard time – just be curious, gentle and kind with yourself, and see how much you can relax – there’s no need to stay with discomfort, and there’s no right way to do this. One you’ve rolled over, stay as long as you like, relaxing into the earth.
And here is some information about Focusing, a modality I have found particularly rewarding in enhancing the felt-sense, the primary sense organ that we work with in co-becoming.
Thanks Sarah R and Sarah H for prompting this post with their shares!
And one more gem – I’ve found this book Wisdom of the Body Moving by Linda Hartley to be so enriching. Linda Hartley demonstrates the basic philosophy and key elements of Body-Mind Centering. Drawing on animal and infant movements, she takes readers through the wondrous realms of Bainbridge Cohen’s pantheon—from the ‘minds’ of the skeletal and muscular systems to the quite different inner lives of digestive, lymphatic, urinary, respiratory, vocal, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive organs. Her choreography ultimately brings us into the states of consciousness of skins, cells, blood, fat, cerebrospinal fluid, nervous system, and brain. Hartley’s explorations of the images, feelings, sensations, and intuitions of the diverse organs and cells lead to exercises that gently guide students in ways of discovering and integrating their bodies’ multidimensional aspects.