Awareness is the ability to pay attention.
It is a skill that takes willing practice.
I once had a friend complain to me that if he spent all day paying attention to the sensations of his body, he’d never get anything done.
At first it may seem like that – your full attention has to be on your body all the time. Be patient with yourself and just be dedicated to noticing when you remember to notice. Congratulate yourself when you remember and let it go when you realize you’ve gone for hours (maybe even the whole day at first) without paying attention and notice what you notice.
After some practice, you’ll find your awareness will be constantly running in the background of your consciousness.
It will be “on” all of the time to a far more sensitive degree and you’ll only have to gently shift your focus to receive information.
Without that practice, it’s more work. You may even have to set time aside, go to a particular place in your home and prepare your mind.
With practice, you are welcome, of course, to set that time aside, designate a special place in your home to focus on your body sensations – or body meditation, but you won’t have to.
You’ll be able to check-in any time.
And receive information that may prevent injury, and even help you heal more quickly from injury and illness. You will receive information that will give you the power to choose what to do next.
You will have a choice, instead of doing the same thing over and over and hoping for a different outcome; without knowing you can do it another way.
Think of it this way:
You’re driving to work and you come across a construction road block.
What do you do?
If you’re aware of any other routes you can take them, right?
What if you aren’t?
Then your choices are:
to sit at the road block and hope it will go away before you’re late for work,
drive your car into the roadblock, attempting to push it out of your way and hope no one gets hurt and you don’t damage your car or get arrested,
or drive around until you accidentally find another route.
You can use body awareness in exactly the same way.
Now I know somebody out there is thinking, “I’ll just use GPS.” I love GPS. I am so grateful for GPS and for the fact that it is so useful because the city streets rarely, rarely change.
In terms of body awareness, not only is “GPS” information from an external source – another person who cannot possibly fully grasp what you are feeling, but it is information about terrain that is changing constantly. We are different every day, even moment to moment (how long did your last meal keep you full? If it’s 3 in the afternoon, are you still as full from your lunch as you were right after you ate it?).
You are simply not the exact same person you were last week – or even yesterday.
What we have is so much better than GPS. It is highly responsive and totally interactive. Even just thinking about doing something differently is enough to create change and that may be all you need.
Can any GPS do that?
Ok, so you’re listening
what do you hear?
what does it mean?
What are you going to do with the information?
Go ahead, dive into your new practice and we’ll talk about these parting questions next time.