The body awareness practices given here may seem rather simple but in actual fact they are both more difficult to do well
and more powerful in their effects than you may think.
They serve a number of functions: to strengthen the psychosomatic link between mind and body, to increase ones awareness
and understanding of the body, to loosten and dissolve energy blockages within the body, and as a lesson in the meaning of
that which is refferred to as the sphere of Malkuth; often we are only aware of our bodies as they relate to our will, and
only aware of that which comes to us through our senses after it has been interpreted according to our past experiences and
its relation to our will. In this exercise it is necessary to put these things to the side and try to be aware of Malkuth
- the realm of the body and the senses - in a pure and singular manner.
Basic Body Awareness Exercise
In its most basic form the body awareness exercise is quite brief and simple to perform and is generally used as a relaxation
exercise prior to performing some deeper kind of meditation rather than as a meditative practice in its own right. The amount
of time and effort to be put into it, however, is quite flexible.
In this form the exercise is based around points of contact. You begin by focussing your awareness on the contact between
your body and whatever is supporting your weight - the chair and floor beneath you, or whatever it happens to be. Consciously
try to let go of the weight of your body, allowing your self to relax and let the chair take your weight; feel yourself sinking
down as the tension in your body eases and the full weight of your body is focused with your attention on the contact with
that which is supporting you. Next focus on the contact between different parts of your body - perhaps your arms are resting
on your legs, or your lips touching together. Try not to move from one point of contact to the next, but rather hold them
all in your awareness together, along with the first point of contact (with whatever is supporting your weight). The third
point of contact is between your skin and your clothes and the air around your body. Once again try to hold an awareness of
your whole body together, along with the first two points of contact.
Advanced Body Awareness Exercise
You may find it useful to begin each session with the basic exercise given above as a preperation.
These more advanced exercises are split into sequential stages of practice.
You begin by concentrating oin the feet, which should be unclothed. In fact, you should begin with a single foot. Run
your hand, or some soft implement, across the sole of one your foot in a regular brushing motion backwards and forwards, trying
to encompass the whole of the foot. follow this sensation with your awareness, trying to concentrate singularly on this one
thing. After a short while you should cease the physical act of brushing, but keep running your awareness backwards and forwards
in the same way, as if it were brushing the foot itself. Try to maintain an even awareness across the whole foot and a regular
backwards and forwards motion. Gradually speed up this motion until you are going as fast as you can without simply jumping
from one end to the other and skipping out everything in between. After a few of minutes of this repeat this action across
the top of the foot, and then finally, without preceeding it with a physical action, include the whole foot. If you then do
the same with the other foot then that would usually fill up the whole first session. In the next session do the same with
the legs, and then later with the hannds and arms. After this you should do both feet simultaneously, being careful that your
awareness is even and not drawn more to one side or the other, then with both legs, both hands, and both arms. Finally include
the entire body running up from your toes to the top of your head and then back down. You may find a natural urge to synchronise
the rhythm of your awareness going up and down with the rhythm of your breathing, but this is to be avoided; to to turn your
attention away from your breathing and concentrate on the external awarness.
Once you are comfortable with this exercise it can also be repeated with the awareness running up and down from the inside.
During this exercise you may experience a tingling sensation similar to pins and needles, or breif bursts of a sharp pain
seeming to come from the bone; these sensations are energy blockages with in the body being dissolved.