February 11, 2011

Day 11: The Great Meditation Challenge

I stayed home sick today. My feet are cold, my head is clogged, my nose is dripping, and my lips are cracked. This morning, I ambled slowly down the stairs for a cup of tea, not as a mindfulness practice, but because I feel tired and sore. My whole body aches. 



The second week of the 28-day meditation challenge is about working with our bodies. In Real Happiness, Sharon writes, “A very good place to become familiar with the way mindfulness works is always close by—our own bodies. Investigating physical sensations is one of the best ways for us to learn to be present with whatever is happening in the moment, and to recognize the difference between direct experience and the add-ons we bring to it.” 



With this in mind, I tried the “Body Scan Meditation” practice that Sharon describes on page 84. I lied down on my bed and, starting with my feet, tried to note the sensations happening in the different parts of my body. Thanks to the sickness, I didn’t have to focus too hard to find sensations to hone in on. A sick body is not subtle. Throbbing. Clamminess. Etc. etc. I won’t go into more details.

One of the first things I noticed in doing this is exactly what Sharon had said: the difference between direct experience and the add-ons we bring to the experience. Not only could I feel my quickly beating heart, I panicked about what this meant about my general health. Clearly, I’m not working out enough. When I focused in on my head, which felt heavy, I worried about lying in bed while there were so many things that could be accomplished today. As if feeling under the weather isn’t enough, here I am getting upset with myself about feeling under the weather! 



This is a good thing to notice, I’m sure, only now I’m wondering about how to stop doing it…

Image: from the Flickr photostream of 729:512

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