Fortunately, there is a way to resolve the mind/body split, which I’ve been discussing the past few weeks. How? By simply bringing awareness to the body.
Bringing awareness to the body is often done by scanning the body gradually with your awareness. Thus it’s often called “body scanning,” but I also like to call it “minding the body.”
To “mind” something means to pay close attention to it. According to Webster’s, to “mind” something also means “to pay obedient heed to,” “to be concerned about,” and “to give protective care to.”
Each of these definitions is relevant. We may not pay heed to the body. And while we may be “concerned about” and “give protective care,” to the bodies of our children or our spouse, we may not treat our own body with the same love and care.
Body scanning – or minding the body – doesn’t mean thinking or obsessing about your body, or your waistline. Rather, it involves tuning in to your inner body – an awareness you had as a child, but may have lost touch with long ago.
Now when you first start to place attention on the inner body, the mind may come up a million and one reasons why you shouldn’t. You may have thoughts such as, “This is a waste of time,” or “Nothing is happening.” Or maybe, “If I get in touch with my body and its needs, it might take over! I might feel more out of control than I do now!”
What if you’re currently experiencing discomfort or even pain in a part of your body? Believe it or not, plenty of research shows that applying mindfulness to the experience of physical pain is one of the most effective ways to diminish your suffering.
Minding the body is not only a superb way to heal the mind/body split and recover the lost wholeness that may have led you to out-of-control eating behaviors, but it’s also extremely healing and calming generally. The body is crying out for our awareness, but we’re usually too busy with our thoughts to give it any time.
So take a few moments now, as you stop reading, to tune into your body. Feel your body from the inside. Feel your posture. Feel the experience of your body. What does it feel like to be a body?