The Body Doesn’t Tell Lies

Using the body as a vehicle for awakening may be the greatest tool a spiritual practitioner has available to them. It is there and always at your disposal, but over the years it is easy to take for granted. Especially if you view it as a reminder of past failures, or it may be failing you now on some level because of some physical ailment/pain. Perhaps it no longer possesses as much aesthetic beauty because of age. Oftentimes the body is looked at as a vehicle for sin instead of transcendence. All of these are just more reasons to be unhappy, but, more importantly, they are also great reasons to become even more present.

Let us take the breath for instance. Breathing happens without any involvement of the mind, so it is easy to forget to be aware of it. The breath is an effective means of becoming present. Just noticing is enough to bring you home in the moment. Presence comes forward and all else fades into the background. Take time throughout your day to create some space by feeling the the chest as it expands and contracts. Place a hand on the abdomen as the oxygen fills your lungs with life, and exhale the past as you rest in the now. It doesn’t even take that long either. Most people believe it requires a lot of time and effort, but that is only an excuse for avoiding this sacred instant.

Movement is also a powerful means for uncovering the present moment. Make it a priority to use simple motions as a doorway to being. When we are involved in ordinary activities, especially when we’ve done them a hundred times, they have become just a means to an end. “I’ll just suffer through this first, then I’ll be able to relax when it’s all done.” Never force yourself to do things. It is the equivalent of pushing down negative emotions you don’t want to cope with. A very unhealthy and dangerous practice for your body and mind. Know that you can bring joy to these necessary acts by giving them a different kind of importance. Begin by imbuing doing with being. Give the slightest action your complete attention. Imagine the Tai-chi master as they make every motion an end in itself. Remember Daniel-San? Wax on, wax off!

The body will become an anchor for staying in the present moment for longer periods. Use it to tell you when you aren’t being present. Are you clenching your fist? Grin and bear it much? The body has some valuable lessons to share. It has vast intelligence and wisdom. All you have to do is listen.  

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