Sarah Silverton invites us to perceive our physical sensations, which can give us very useful information about the state of our body and our emotions.
Extract from The Mindfulness Key by Sarah Silverton.
Our bodies spend a lot of time moving as we go about the daily business of our lives. But how often during the day do we really notice the sensations in our body?
If we learn to be receptive to these messages, it can help us to be in our lives more fully and make choices about how we act and behave.
• If we can feel our body rushing, we can choose to slow down.
• If we notice our jaw is very tight, we can realize that we are tense about something and perhaps respond to this.
• If we allow ourselves to feel ourselves in the process of moving somewhere, rather than being lost in thoughts about where we are going, we can actually be here in our life as it actually is.
Experiencing Daily Activities
As mindfulness is simply about paying attention in a friendly, interested way, we can bring this attitude to any activity in our lives. When we turn toward our experience, the experience may feel very different. We can wake up to details that we’ve missed for many years.
You may like to experiment with bringing mindful attention to things that make up your everyday life, such as getting dressed, having a shower, feeding the dog or cat, gardening, washing up, driving the car or riding your bike. Perhaps you can focus on all your senses as you carry out one of these activities, or maybe just pay attention to what you see, or hear or smell.
Exercise: Mindful Walking
Walking is something that we do naturally and generally without effort in all kinds of situations, but we rarely pay attention to putting one foot in front of the other unless it is painful to walk.
- Begin by coming to stand. You might choose to do this in bare feet in order to increase your sensitivity to this exploration.
- Notice the sensations of your feet in contact with the ground. Which parts of your feet are actually touching it? What do you feel? Are there more sensations in your toes or in your heels, at the sides or on the balls of your feet? Is your weight evenly distributed between your feet and through each foot, or do you perhaps feel more pressure in certain places in your feet? You could perhaps experiment by shifting your weight a little in different directions to feel the
sensations alter as you move.
- Expand your attention now to slowly scan your whole body, feeling all parts of it standing here, breathing.
- When you are ready, bring the beam of awareness back – just to the area of the feet.
- Now you’re going to begin to move, so make the decision to shift your weight over onto one foot. Feel how the sensations shift and change as you do this. Please note: Walking slowly can be very challenging for our balance. If you know that your balance is somewhat unreliable then please walk where you can hold onto or place a hand against something safely, or alternatively you can choose to walk a little faster.
The Mindfulness Key
£7.99, Available from Watkins Publishing
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