There’s a growing trend to push the body to extremes, with many more extreme sports using the words ‘ultra’ and ‘iron’ to define achievement. There is a definite lack of mindful body awareness (interoception) among the population.
Nowadays people are aggressively pushing their body and mind to achieve more and more. This morning a young female gymnast dropped out of the Olympics saying the pressure was too great. She is not the only one.
It would seem that if you’re not pushing yourself hard enough then you are lazy. However I would say creating a healthy balance is what is needed.
When you push your body hard through exercise or daily living or both the body becomes tired, very tight, achy stiff and sore, although any such sensations are generally ignored or pushed away due to their inconvenience.
There’s a switching off, a lack of willingness to hear the body’s requests for rest and ease. When you push the body hard, then at the same time your mind will most likely be busy with harsh thoughts of self judgement, blame and shame. The body’s need for attention is sadly drowned out by a waterfall of negative self talk.
The body will eventually demand attention by causing injury or illness that will ‘knock you off your feet,’ so to speak for a while. Even then you will wonder why a body part is effectively ‘broken’ and causing such inconvenience to your schedule. ‘What caused that?’ people ask without any mindful body awareness or a failure to make the connection between their injured/sick body and their lifestyle.
Boomers grew up in an era of ‘No pain, no gain,’ this is an outdated approach nowadays. A newer approach would be to learn to listen to the subtle nuances of the body. The intuitive wisdom of this marvellous creation and give it some credit to know what’s best for you. We are conditioned not to listen to the body until we feel pain or fall sick and by then it is too late.
The body is an amazing creation still not fully understood by scientists and anatomists even though the human race has done many other amazing things like travel to space; build huge building; create mystical sites like New grange; and build technology like the internet, yet we still don’t fully understand how the body and mind work, and fail to give it any credit placing our demands on it regardless, choosing to ignore it’s intelligence.
Learning to listen with mindful body awareness to the body’s messages is a skill that requires practice and attention. So Pause sometimes to hear it. Instead of listening to the inner critic in your head come into quiet stillness and tune into your body and ask it:
‘What do you need right now? How can I support you?’
‘What does that vulnerable part need right now?’
Understanding, acceptance, a loving presence?
Try placing a hand on that vulnerable spot, even if it feels false, do it with a kind intention. You may have to repeat this many times, give yourself time to tune into your body and acquire the skill of mindful body awareness. You’ll be so glad you did!
Maybe you feel numb inside, however even numbness feels like something. How does it feel? Also what parts of your body can you sense an aliveness? The hands and feet are much more sensitive, can you feel a tingling sensation in them from the inside out? Then focus on that.
What we don’t realise is that our body is our Home where our true self resides from birth to death. Respect your home you may even think of it as an inner golden temple. Respect it’s wisdom, listen to it, cherish it, love it from the inside out.
Hari Om Tat Sat
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