Imagine you own a huge, custom-built mansion. C’mon…let’s just play for a minute…
Your mansion’s got everything you could want: if you want a bowling alley, it’s got one. Movie theater? Swimming pool? Sauna and steam room? Just play around and imagine the place.
For the purposes of this story, be sure your ultra special dwelling has at least one bedroom, one bathroom, a fully equipped and stocked kitchen, and a vast library.
Now, imagine this…
Despite all the rooms, you’ve created, you find yourself spending at least eight hours a day in the library. The fascinating books and magazines are all calling to you. And if you want to explore any topic, you’ve got a great computer and Internet access.
You get so engrossed in your library, reading and learning, that you have to remind yourself to eat. The hunger pangs finally hit and, with a book in hand, you run for the kitchen, open the fridge, and dish up a meal. You keep reading the compelling book while you eat. You gobble down your food, and hightail it back to an ultra-comfy couch in your library to absorb more of this story. Once in a while, you answer the urge to take a bathroom break. At the end of the day, you reluctantly set your current book on the night stand, and tuck your tired self into bed.
It’s easy to inhabit your body like a mansion, where the library – the thinking part – is the enormous centerpiece.
But are you visiting the rest of your body’s mansion? Are you in touch with what your body is signaling you, moment to moment?
It is all-too-easy to get caught in the mind, and forget the greatest wealth of your being: your precious sensations.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with thinking. But just as some of the books in the library are fiction, so too are your thoughts. You don’t have to believe everything you think. Yet when your brain tells you things like “you will never measure up,” or “what an idiot you are,” you need a way to catch and transform those thoughts before they turn into nasty mind storms, that leave you feeling down, depressed, and desolate.
You can catch yourself starting a mind storm by noticing your body’s sensational response — like feeling a constriction, a heaviness, or a sense of queasiness. To shift out of the negativity, you can continue to neutrally focus on your moment-to-moment body sensations. It’s like visiting some of the other rooms in your mansion to get a new perspective. Your sensations provide fresh, neutral information. Instead of focusing on the negative thoughts, you can shift your attention to the sensations that arise from those thoughts. And when you keep your focus on the present-moment sensations, you can stop thinking yourself in circles. You’ve simply got to get out of the library. In other words, move out the mind and all its mental chatter and move with curiosity and wonder into an exploration of your current sensations.
Sensations are your body’s non-verbal messengers, telling you how you’re feeling in every moment.
Sensations are your navigational indicators, helping you know which direction feels right, giving you a sense of what you need more of or less of in your life – like time with others, food, movement, stimulation, warmth, breath, quiet and so on.
The wealth of your own body mansion is not so much in the library, where all the thoughts are. It’s in the sensations, and their guiding wisdom. Your heartfelt longings. Your gut instincts. The things you know “in your bones.”
But are you paying attention to the sensations? Or are you overriding or ignoring them?
Imagine you’ve been sitting at a desk for hours, and you notice a tightness on your buttocks and upper legs. Maybe you tell yourself “Oh, my butt hurts! But I must absolutely finish this report. I’ll power through the pain.” If you ignore the sensations, you’re allowing your mind to call all the shots, and perhaps not too compassionately.
Or, do you stand up, stretch, walk around for five minutes, and come back to the task refreshed? Responding to your sensations in that way honors your body.
Your sensations are constantly signaling you.
Let’s check out what yours have to say right now.
TRY THIS: Notice your breathing right now. Is it deep or shallow? Fast or slow? Tight or loose? What do the sensational signals tell you about yourself in this moment?
OR TRY THIS: Feel your belly area. Is it warm or cold? Is it hard or soft? Tight or loose? Put a hand on your belly area and tune into the sensations. What is your belly telling you right now?
When you make it a practice to listen to your body, you literally get in touch with yourself. You sense what you want and find your way, step by step.
This exquisite mansion that you live in — your wise body — is a truly smart home for your being.
TRY THIS: Visit all the “rooms.” Venture out of the headspace, that inner mental library, and visit a body part…let’s say once an hour. Check in with a body part. Say a mental “hello” and ask “what do you want me to know?” You’ll discover you have a wealth of wisdom within you.
You’re sensational. Always.