Hi Peter,
My name is Daniel, from Norway. I have just read Zen Body-Being, and it changed the way I look at the body. Do you feel your body constantly, all the time? I find it very difficult. Can feel it a few minutes, but then I forget about it and my brain starts to think about something that’s going to happen or something from the past. Should I just keep practicing, with the goal of feeling my body all the time? I find it very strange to do it, like something is missing or something like that.

Daniel


Daniel,

Yes, of course I feel my body—my whole body —all the time (except when I’m asleep). But it seems you confuse thinking with not being able to feel your body. Why can’t you feel your body and think at the same time? These are not mutually exclusive. You seem to find it challenging to keep your attention on both.

Perhaps your challenge exists in an inability to focus and stay on a subject, maybe you are simply being distracted and instead of focusing on feeling your body your attention goes to a thought to the exclusion of the feeling. Yet you can have attention on a thought and feel your body at the same time. You might want to practice feeling your body, and while you do that, think about something but don’t stop feeling the body.

Also, it took me quite some time to train myself to feel every part of the body as a whole and all at once. Most people don’t. They can think about or imagine their whole body, but they don’t actually feel every part. Nor do most people feel it well, meaning the feeling they have isn’t very sensitive or finely tuned. Such sensitivity and wholeness needs to be trained. If you practice putting your attention on each square inch of your body until you can feel it, and then feel it well, you can train yourself to feel every part. Then continue that by feeling every part all at once. This may take some time and a lot of practice but it can be done, and it’s worth it.

Being able to feel the whole body with great sensitivity allows you a different relationship to your body and its movement. It also allows you greater awareness of your surroundings and so increases your ability to relate to your environment.

Peter

 

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